Graphic scenes

Oh, dear readers, Box 761 has been busy these past weeks.

Crazy busy.

Work crews in and on my house, Mr. 761 home from KAF, etc.  The work crews are great — I love the idea of having a sound roof without holes, and I love the idea of having walls that do not house wet insulation. Love it. I was willing to move out of my bedroom to facilitate the work, and International Student 761 had to vacate her room as well. Necessary chaos. Acceptable chaos, even.

Chaos, nonetheless.

Even sleeping in my office is okay. If I want to send a midnight fax, all I have to do is roll over and it’s done. Fast Eddie, my contractor, is funny and talks more than I do, but still manages to get the work done. I like him.

But I haven’t actually read a book in a week. I’m getting itchy. I’ve read bits and pieces, but haven’t had a the opportunity to string some moments together and have a nice long read. I miss it. I got my copy of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County in the mail a while ago and after reading about 10 engrossing pages, I put it somewhere so it wouldn’t get covered in drywall dust. Now it’s lost. I’m reduced to re-reading Dean Koontz novels I find stuck on random shelves in my office (within rolling distance, of course).

Lemire’s book is on the Canada Reads Hunger Games Top 5, in case you’ve forgotten. My mentioning it here isn’t favoritism (though I have no problem with that, really);  it’s just that it’s so… pretty.  As an object, it delights me, and I haven’t even read it yet. The heft of it is just right, the trim size, perfect. I love the cover and the card stock the cover is printed on. I love the thing, I really do, and I’ll admit that I smoothed my cheek lovingly on said satiny-slubby cover when I unwrapped the book. I love my e-books, but some things are just meant to be held in hard copy. Graphic novels may be one of those things. I’m new to graphic novels (this month, though, I’ve read one Angel  and 5 Buffy Season 8 graphic novels, and have secreted Essex County into a safe and as yet undisclosed location (after fondling it, yes).

We’ll see how I feel once I read it, but right now, it’s one of my favorite things. I wish I could find where I put it.

So. My inner geeky fangirl is showing herself today. I know a couple of things: I love Buffy Season 8, and Jeff Lemire’s book fascinates me. I don’t remember the last time that I ordered a book with so much curiosity and anticipation. I’m really looking forward to reading that book.

I’m looking forward to figuring out how and where it fits in the literary canon. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this book is defended and attacked by the Hunger Games judges. I’m curious about how they will, in fact, judge. Are they going to be talking about why it’s an “essential” book? Is it the “best” one? Is it “lit-er-ah-ture“? The Games begin 7-9 February, with a new wrinkle: live stream/chat.

I foresee all sorts of mayhem on those three days, and many offenses to my sensibilities in the days leading up to it. I will offer more on that another day, but Box 761 has some work to do offline at present.

Box 761: Pop Culture Edition. Buffy, Vampires, and Bones

I’m a bit tired today. I stayed up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 1. Well, only about half of it, but the damage has been done — I now have to watch all of the other seasons and have to find the time to do so.

This sort of thing requires some research, as well. I have to actually find the rest of the seasons (I only bought the first) AND I don’t want to spend a fortune. Thank god for the internet.

A bit of background. I have heard for years about this Buffy show, and never watched it. I

... and, she wears sensible shoes.

think I probably thought I wouldn’t like it, or that it was over-rated as a camp-tastic romp, etc. Then I just plain kind of forgot. But I continued searching for my Buffy-esque brain candy… I tried them all folks — The Dog Ghost Whisperer (which has its moments — I mean, not everyone can pull off that 5 inch heel and lacy bed-jacket vibe like J Lo-Hew, and nobody can rock the false eyelashes like she can).

But hey. I have some taste, and that show got seriously bad when she started playing out her real-life yummy mummy fantasies and they all of a sudden had an abnormally precocious (even by tv standards) 5-year old who was, like, an empath or something. Oh, and her second husband? He’s really her first husband’s soul in her second husband’s amnesiac body and looks to us like the first guy but when you see him in a mirror on the show he looks like some other guy (the amnesiac second guy)….

Too complicated? Yes. And not in a fun way. And they actually canceled it without a final show, but I had stopped watching it by then anyway. How many Friday nights can you spend counting the inappropriate outfits that Melinda wears? (Hey, my husband is in Afghanistan… nothing much else to do).

See? Just trying too damn hard...

I just bought the first season of Buffy, and now see that The Ghost Whisperer is a too-earnest, gawky step-sister to Buffy. Where Buffy is effortless and funny and satirical, TGW is too much a vehicle for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s hunger, too much a pale imitation, too freaking earnest).  The Ghost Whisperer, if it were a person, would be Ashlee Simpson to Buffy’s Jessica.  Ashlee might be more slick, and maybe even more “popular”, but Jessica was there first — an over-the-top Jessica Rabbit and an original. Jessica might be corny and campy and unwittingly sort of well, teetering in the liminal space of cool/uncool, but she got there on her own. Like Jessica, Buffy’s sartorial choices are hit-and-miss (Pantsuits. Really Buffy?). She has some great looks, but some (like Jessica’s mom jeans) really need to be banished down the Hellmouth along with the other evil things. It is this, though, that makes Buffy lovable, and J-Lo-Hew just kind of a  pose-hard derivative Ashlee.

The ghost that Jennifer/Melinda whispers to is Buffy, and I don’t think that Buffy is listening.

So. I’ve pretty much figured that I’m a Buffy fan, right? I have to say that I might also be a vampire fan, too. At first, I was going to deny it, but upon reflection, there have been numerous guilty-pleasure pop culture experiences in my life that are vampire-related.  I’m gonna admit it here, and just put it out there…. I read the Twilight books. Every single one of them. I even watched the hideously horrible movies made from them, and can with certitude say a few things here:

this photo is for my eldest daughter. She loves him.

I think Robert Pattinson looks like he needs a shower, but he’s kind of okay. On the other hand — while reading the books I was firmly in “Team Jacob’s” camp but upon seeing the movies I can now say that they have made Jacob, um, yucky. The casting is wrong, and this says it all (that link is genius).

The books are not high literature, but are a rollicking good read nonetheless. When I’m looking for  reads of the rollicking variety, I go for the big fat series’:  Outlander Series, Twilight, Harry Potter, Jack Reacher books, the Millennium series, Alex Ryder books, James Patterson’s Maximum Ride stuff, the Odd Thomas books… you know, they uh, rollick. They aren’t illiterate, they are internally consistent, story-driven and when you’re done, there’s almost always more.

At this point in time I’m going to put my inner teeny-bopper away for a moment and remind you all that I actually have a Master’s degree in English Literature, okay?

Good. Glad we got that out. And just so you know, it’s a bona fide degree too, not a fake one from the internet….

So where was I? Vampires. I’m going to give up on discussing the evolution of vampires in popular fiction (from Lestat downwards) and cut to the chase. Angel. I discovered that not only is he a vampire who loves Buffy, but he later gets his own series! Yay! (Don’t tell me what happens, okay?). I find myself intrigued with this guy. Not only because I want to know if the series jumps the shark and lets him and Buffy be a couple, but because I’m amazed at what the years have done to this guy. Wow, they haven’t been entirely kind to him.


Huh. 15 years makes a big difference.

I like this guy (or did, until he started cheating on his wife in real life. Now I think he’s a jerk). He stars in one of the worst television-steals-from-books series there is: Bones (which is based loosely on Kathy Reichs’ clever and gripping Tempe Brennan series). Apparently these are done with the blessing of Reichs, but I can’t figure it out. In the books the protagonist, Tempe, is a smart, funny, flawed and really great character. In the show, she is some sort of high-functioning Asperger’s savant with (admittedly) great clothes. Ruined it, and have belabored the joke so long that it’s just not funny.

Don’t get it.

Why do I know all of this, you ask? Because I have a teenager living in the house, and  I consider watching tv with her slightly more “quality” a time than say, letting her sit in her room and text her friends all night while I read a good book somewhere else in the house. This way she can text in front of the television while I read in front of it, and we both watch it with half an eye/ear. See?

Quality time, people. That’s how you stay connected to your teen.

Okay, that and I love television. I love popular culture and I love television — the crappier the better. I love it all — reality shows, cooking shows, gossip/entertainment shows. I like drama, romance, comedy. All of it. I remember the jaw-dropping, stomach clenching but euphoric feeling it was to watch the very first I want to Marry a Millionaire. How much better can it get?

This is the stuff that will send our civilization careening down a slippery slope that we won’t be able to clamber back up. And I have a front row seat!