Song of the Moment

Song of the Moment: "Shake it Out" by Florence + The Machine

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Novel: A Work In Progress

I had a dream last night that gave me an idea for a new novel.  It would be in the young adult genre, but I still love reading young adult books even as an adult, so writing one may be even more fun.  I don't have an official title yet but I'm thinking Irving Prep.  It will be about the ruling circle of girls at Irving Preparatory School and the take down of their queen.  A "Mean Girls" type drama with elements of a thriller.  Here's the Prologue...

      Once upon a time, there lived two princesses in a far away land.  One with golden hair, the other with hair as dark as the night.  They were the greatest of friends.  The battles they fought throughout their land made their bond even stronger.  They felt like nothing could ever break them…
    “You see girls, this is going to be the two of you when you grow up.  Two strong girls who can depend on each other.  It’s getting late, time for bed.  We’ll finish the story another time.  Sleep tight, angels.”  She sat the book down on the night stand and headed for the door.  Switching off the overhead light, Avery’s mother closed the door behind her.
    Looking back, that was Avery’s earliest memory.  Back when everything seemed perfect and the world was still a magical and safe place.  Of course, when you’re four years old that’s how it should be.  Now that Avery was approaching adulthood, though she still had a year left, she had figured it all out.  The world was not safe nor perfect, but your life is how you make it.  Avery was an expert at making things out to be exactly how she wanted them to be.  What was her secret?  Power.
   Avery’s power wasn’t something she just happened upon.  She worked hard for her seat on the imaginary hierarchy of Irving Prep.  It took work and determination to knock down the lower beings and make them learn their place.  And, in order to rule the school, you need your royal court.  Which is exactly where her friends came in to play.  Corrine Matthews, her life long friend, was her second in command.  They had been best friends since before they were born.  They’re mothers were best friends growing up.  It was like they planned their pregnancies so that their children would be friends too.  They’re planning worked out pretty well.  Avery was born just a month and a half before Corrine and they had been inseparable ever since.
   Next in Avery’s chain of command came Ronnie Edwards.  Her real name was Veronica, but she hated it.  Though she hadn’t lived in Hampton her whole life like Avery and Corrine, she figured out at the early age of 12 that getting in with Avery’s group of friends was the way to survive.  She’s what Avery would call shy, but to others she was a chatter box.  Ronnie just knew when to keep things to herself.  The brainiac of the group was Maddie Hendricks.  She’s had a 4.0 all throughout school and won't let you forget it.  A little conceited, as they all were, she had a way of throwing her smarts right in your face.  The last girl in Avery’s circle, was Ashley Martin.  She was always in and out of the circle, though Avery never had a problem with finding a back up to complete her Circle of Five.  Ashley sometimes challenged the ways of Avery’s rule and often found herself on the outside.  It never took her long to make her way back into the circle.  She craved acceptance so her moral compass sometimes had to take a back seat.
         Avery Allenwood and her circle paraded down the halls of Irving Prep every morning, with Avery always in the middle and her cohorts flanked on her sides.  The morning of their senior year was the same as any other, but unbeknownst to Avery, this morning was the beginning of her downfall.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Fall Shows: Review #1

Photo Credit: The CW 
The Secret Circle
Thursdays @ 9:00 on The CW

Going into watching this new show, I had already decided that I was going to like it.  Given the subject matter and the fact that Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, Dawson’s Creek) was producing it, I knew it would be a show for me.  The opening scene was what really hooked me.  Right off the bat, you knew who the villain was going to be and boy does Gale Harold play bad well.  The group of kids that will be making up the circle of witches don’t have instant chemistry, though I think Brit Robertson, who plays Cassie and Thomas Dekker, who plays Adam, will have some steamy screen time, even if they never touch.    Phoebe Tonkin, who plays Faye, the bad girl, struck me right away.  She’s a great antagonist, the exact opposite of Diana (Shelley Hennig), the good girl who wants everyone to get along.  Cassie is the new girl in town, who makes up the 6th member of the current circle of witches, in a town where witchcraft has been abolished.  It’s hard to tell what Cassie’s personality will be like.  Will she be sassy and stand up for herself or will she sit back and let things happen to her?  So many of the teens on TV these days play the victim and let things happen to them like they have no power over their lives.  I’m sure Cassie will not be one of those girls.  She won’t let the rest of the circle walk all over her.  I’m interested to see what will happen next with her and rest of the circle.  I give it a B+

Photo Credit: The CW
Tuesdays @ 9:00 on The CW

When I first heard that Sarah Michelle Gellar was coming back to TV, my Buffy loving heart felt whole again.  It’s been 8 years since Sarah has been on a regular TV program and I couldn’t be happier.  Although, the thing I was afraid of actually came about.  I wasn’t all that thrilled with her new show.  Ringer is about twins, one named Bridget, who’s a recovering addict and is running from the law and the other, Siobhan, who is a socialite in Manhattan and lives in a fancy apartment with a fancy husband.  The two sisters couldn’t be more different.  When a boating accident leaves Siobhan presumably dead, without anyone knowing except Bridget, Bridget takes the opportunity to take over her sister’s life.  Little does she know, someone is after Siobhan.  Not only does she have to try to figure out how to function in her ritzy sister’s life, she has to figure out who is after her, now that she has assumed her sister’s life.  I think the show has potential, but is a little slow for my tastes.  We’re getting a lot of back story about the twins’ relationship, but there’s not much progress on why someone wants Siobhan dead.  I’m also hoping that Bridget will start to be more active in discovering her sister’s secrets.  It’s strange to see Sarah Michelle so meek and helpless.  I have high hopes for this show though.  I’ll keep watching to see if it progresses.  I give it a B.

Photo Credit: Fox
New Girl
Tuesdays @ 9:00 on FOX

I have always been a fan of Zooey Deschanel, so when I first saw the preview of her new show I was super excited!  She has perfect comedic timing.  I was not disappointed in this one, at all.  New Girl is about a girl named Jess, who has just broken up with her boyfriend after catching him cheating on her.  She moves in with 3 guys that she’s never met before.  They attempt to help her get back on the horse and start dating again, yet Jess has horrible social skills and is the definition of awkward.  You can kind of tell from the pilot that one of the roommates will be a love interest for Jess, but we’ll have to wait and see where that leads.  This one is a definite must see.  The only problem?  It’s a sitcom, which means it’s on 30 minutes long.  Not enough!  I give it an A+

Photo Credit: ABC Studios
Wednesdays @ 10:00 on ABC

This show is the one I was most intrigued about.  I have always been a sucker for a good drama.  Hello, I was raised watching soap operas.!  So when I saw the preview for Revenge I was excited to see how the story would unfold.  This show is about a woman named Amanda, though she is masquerading as “Emily Thornton,” who has come to The Hamptons to enact her revenge on a group of over privileged socialites.  The residents of this beach town were responsible for ruing the life of Amanda’s father.  You don’t get all the details about what all went down in the first episode but I’m assuming we’ll slowly learn what everyone’s role was.  Emily VanCamp is perfect for this role.  When she is putting on her charade, I was reminded of her good girl role on Everwood, but she can instantly drop the act and display a conniving, and almost psychotic woman, set on a path of revenge.  I give it an A. 

The next shows that I'll be posting about will be Charlie's Angels, Hart of Dixie, Terra Nova and PanAm.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Need For Original Movies

Photo Credit:
Paramount Pictures
We've seen it happen in the past and quit frequently of late.  Our favorite movies are being remade.  Movies we loved growing up have been given a face lift, or a botched one in some cases.  Sometimes it turns out OK but most times it turns out to be a waste of money, or just a joke.  The idea that sparked this post was when I saw the trailer for the Footloose remake.  That is one of my all time favorite movies and to be honest, I was excited when I heard it was going to be remade since it's a great story.  When I saw the trailer I realized that they didn't revamp it and change some things to make it original.  They took the original and just copied it with updated music and new actors!  All of the characters are the same and even the name of the town is the same!  I'm sorry, but I'm a big fan of the saying, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."  Footloose is an iconic movie from the 80s that didn't need a copycat.
Photo Credit:
Paramount Pictures

It's not even the fact that Hollywood is remaking one of my favorite movies because they know they can make a few bucks that bugs me.  It's the fact that there are so many great screen writers out there that have really great original ideas and they aren't the ones that are getting their big breaks.  It's the people that rewrite something that was already great.  What makes you so special?  We need more movies that we haven't already seen before.  Step it up Hollywood!  Give me something I want to watch and not know how it will end.

As I was writing this post I was trying to come up with a remake that I actually liked.  There is one movie in particular that is one of my favorites, although I haven't seen the original so it probably doesn't count since I have nothing to compare it to.  The Italian Job, originally released in 1969, starring Michael Caine, was remade in 2003.  The remake is one of my favorite movies.  I can't tell if it's the actor's in the film that make in special for me, or if it was the story in general.  If it's the story, then my love for it stems from the original and has nothing to do with the remake.  Although, the original was made in 1969 and being that I'm in my late 20s, it wouldn't have been likely that I would watch the original.  So, in remaking epic or iconic movies, Hollywood could be creating a new generation of fans of one particular movie.  Children who are still growing up or are in their teens may go to see Footloose and fall in love with the story, just like I did with the original.  This new epiphany I've just had totally defeats the purpose of the beginning of this post, but at least I've come to realize that maybe Hollywood knows what they're doing (most of the time).  I'll still be angry when I see movies I love being remade.  That won't change.  Just stay away from The Sound of Music and Pretty in Pink or there will be hell to pay!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Global Buffy Watch

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
April 14th is Sarah Michelle Gellar's birthday, Miss Buffy Summers herself.  In honor of her special day, I've decided to gather as many people as I can on Twitter, to have a "Global Buffy Watch" for the entire week of her birthday.  Here's how it will work.  Starting at 6pm (PST, 9pm EST) on Monday April 11th we'll watch 2 episodes each night for the week of her birthday.  While you're watching on your own device (whether it be on DVD, via Netflix Instant, Hulu, or some other source), tweet while you're watching!  Be sure to add the hashtag #GlobalBuffyWatch so that others can tweet along with you.  Below are the episodes we'll be watching each night.  The episodes that have been chosen are not written in stone, so if you have other suggestions, please let me know either via my twitter (@haymel112) or in the comments section below.  I'm excited to see everyone's opinions/reactions to each episode as we're watching.  Buffy may be off the air, but the fans are still pulling strong!

Global Buffy Watch Schedule

Monday 6pm (PST)

Season 1, Episode 7: “Angel
Season 1, Episode 12: “Prophecy Girl

Tuesday 6pm (PST)

Season 2, Episode 10: “What’s My Line?: Part 2
Season 2, Episode 22: “Becoming: Part 2

Wednesday 6pm (PST)

Season 3, Episode 8: “Lover’s Walk
Season 3, Episode 16: “Dopplegangland

Thursday 6pm (PST)

Season 4, Episode 10: “Hush
Season 4, Episode 20: “The Yoko Factor

Friday 6pm (PST)

Season 5, Episode 16: “The Body
Season 6, Episode 7: “Once More With Feeling

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Weekend of Stalking Vampires and Creating Lifelong Friendships

Photo Credit: CW Network
If you know me at all, you will know I love all things vampires, whether it be movies, TV, or books.  From Buffy, to Twilight, to True Blood, I love it all.  So when The Vampire Diaries debuted in the fall of 2009 I knew it would be right up my alley.  Little did I know, that show would give me a chance to meet so many amazing people and travel to an area of the United States that I’d always wanted to go.

The very first exclusively The Vampire Diaries convention in the U.S. took place in Atlanta March 25-27.  The show films in the Atlanta area so not only was it convenient for the cast to attend the event, it created an opportunity for fans to visit locations that we’d seen on the show.  The town of Covington, GA is about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta.  This quaint, colonial style, town creates the backdrop for all of the outside shots of the town of “Mystic Falls” in the show.  All of the scenes you see of the characters in the town square, the local hangout “The Mystic Grill,” and the outside shots of the character’s houses are all located in this town.

Covington is so well known with The Vampire Diaries fans that an awesome resident of the town is actually making a living at giving tours of her town, showing all of the locations they’ve filmed at.  The Mystic Falls Tours tour was the highlight of my trip to Atlanta.  It was so fun remembering the scenes that were filmed at each stop on the tour.  Because our tour guide lives in the town they film in, she watches them film quite frequently.  She is always able to find them when they’re filming in town.  She refers to this as “stalking.”  People are allowed to watch, depending on where they’re at in town, if it’s a public place.  While I was in Atlanta, they just happened to be filming in town for 2 nights.  We watched until after 3am for 2 nights in a row.  We couldn’t really see what was going on because they were filming in front of a house and we had to stay at the end of the long driveway, but just being there, hearing them yell, “rolling!” and “cut!” was pretty freaking cool!  We got to see a few cast members come and go and they waved at all of us.  Two of them actually came out to greet us fans and take pictures.  They were very generous with their time, considering they were getting off work at the wee hours of the morning and didn’t have to stop.  It made all of us so appreciative and really made us realize how the cast feels about their fans.

The tour and watching filming were Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday was the actual convention.  This consisted of photo ops, autographs, Q & As, a banquet dinner with the stars, and a masquerade ball.  Although the photo ops and autograph sessions were over priced and poorly organized, the question and answer periods made up for it (but that really had nothing to do with the company running the convention.  The cast are just amazing and funny people, so the event runners are still  douchebags).  The banquet was also a highlight of the trip, although many would disagree with me.  Most people hated the food, which I didn't really mind.  It wasn't gourmet like we were told, it was a mediocre buffet, and since 2 cast members backed out of the event a few weeks prior, not everyone was able to sit with a cast member.  I was lucky enough that since I had purchased a platinum ticket and purchased it as soon as they went on sale, I got priority seating.  I got to have dinner and chat with one of the actors for over an hour.  It was pretty amazing!

After the dinner it was time for the masquerade ball, which every one of us was anticipating.  The show actually did an episode entitled, “Masquerade,” so you can imagine our excitement when we found out we were going to get to have our own masquerade, that the cast was to attend as well.  Unfortunately this event was the biggest disappointment of the whole weekend.  The room it took place in was way too small for the amount of people attending.  With that many people crammed into that small space, you would think they would have air flowing, right?  Nope, it was hotter than hell and since everyone was crowded into a line like we were cattle to “mingle with the stars,” everyone was over heated and annoyed.  They had a couple of the cast members secluded in a side room and 5 people at a time were allowed to go in and talk to each person for about a minute and then you were scooted along.  When the information about the ball was posted, we were told that it was an “adult event and not for the faint of heart.”  Well, it was actually like a bad prom with balloons and someone’s iPod playing music.  There was apparently a bar in the small room, but because everyone was lined up to “mingle with the stars,” I didn’t actually see it.  The line of people was blocking it, I think.  We stayed at the ball for about 20 minutes and then decided to get drinks at the other bar in the hotel, which had one bartender working.  You can imagine the frustration we felt by that point.  This event and the dinner were not included in our tickets to the convention, mind you.  They were separate.  I’m not going to tell you how much I spent on each event because it makes me ill, but my money was pretty much wasted.

Besides the tour of “Mystic Falls” and watching filming, the best part of my trip was meeting all of my fellow fans, who will forever be my great friends.  Because of Twitter, there were a handful of people I knew that were going to be at the convention and we’d talked quite a bit prior to the trip.  It was so much fun getting to see, in person, the people I’d been talking to and planning this trip with.  It was amazing to meet people from all of the U.S. and there were quite a few people from out of the country that attended the convention too.  People from all of the world all in one place discussing our favorite TV shows was pretty epic!  Since I didn’t personally know anyone going to the convention at the time I bought my ticket, the company running the convention offered a roommate finder.  They paired up people by gender and age range.  I was lucky to be paired with Andrea, who was a local.  She was a great tour guide!  I was able to get a driving tour of downtown Atlanta and attend a Thrashers’ game (NHL).  I had so much fun with all of the girls that we’re already planning our next meet up.  So, besides the poor organization on account of the convention company and the sometimes rude convention employees, this was a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Coffee Shop Diaries

Location: Starbucks
Time of Day: Mid Afternoon
Date: February 19, 2011

The Coffee Shop Diaries makes people watching a fun and exciting activity.  When I go to airports or coffee shop I like to sit and watch people for a while.  When I do this, I end up creating stories about their lives in my head.  I thought it would be fun to write down the things that I come up with.  This is purely for enjoyment and nothing I’ve written is true by any means.  The only things that are true (that I know of, anyway) are the physical descriptions of the patrons/servers in the shop.


       “Man With a Fedora,” (we’ll call him Roger) wearing a button up silk vest, walks into the coffee shop.  He gets in line behind two other people.  He looks around, then glances down at his watch.  He’s running late and is hoping the people in front of him will be quick.  He needs to hurry up and get some caffeine in him.  He’s going to be up late and will need it.  Band rehearsal starts in 30 minutes.  They have their first paying gig tonight.  Roger joined the jazz band a few months ago.  The band had lost their sax player when he was injured in a car accident.  Roger had seen the posters advertising their audition session after he had his very last meeting with his lawyer.  His divorce had just been finalized and he was in the mind sight of doing something he knew his ex-wife wouldn’t have approved of.  He had been in a band when he was younger, but his wife wasn’t so keen on the late nights out that came with the gig.  He had quit to make her happy.  Considering the divorce was in result of her affair with her personal trainer, joining a band seemed like the very right thing to do. It was the best decision he had ever made. It’s finally his turn to order up at the counter.  He orders his latte, pays the woman behind the counter, then steps aside to wait for his order to be up.  He looks down at his watch again.  He has to be at the studio in 15 minutes.  If he leaves right now, he’ll make it just in time.  He takes his coffee from the barista and makes his way to the door.  He leaves with a huge smile on his face, because tonight he knows he’ll be living his dream.


       “Man With a Black Jacket” (we’ll call him Steve) opens the door for a fellow coffee-a-holic and follows in behind her.  The woman was going to let him go first, but he doesn’t get in line like the woman thought he would, so she steps up to the counter.  Steve slowly looks at all the coffee cups and coffee presses on the shelf to waste time.  He’s waiting for the barista (we’ll call her Lisa) to finish the woman’s order.  He’s been coming in every afternoon for the last week “looking for a particular gift.”  That’s what he had told Lisa, the barista.  He secretly has a crush on her but he’s been too nervous to say anything.  He’s only been single for a few months, since his girlfriend of 10 years broke up with him.  He’s in his mid 30s and has almost forgotten how to pursue a woman, since it had been so long since he'd need to.  Lisa finishes up the woman’s order and comes around to the other side of the counter.  She saw Steve come in and is anxious to talk to him.   Steve is unaware that Lisa is interested in him as well.  She walks up to Steve and shows him the newest shipment of travel mugs.  She touches his arm while he talks.  He picks a piece of fuzz out of her hair.  The sexual tension is clear to everyone around them, yet they are clueless to each other’s interest.  A line begins to form again and Lisa is called back to her duties.  Steve continues to look at the merchandise for a few more minutes.  He goes up to the counter to finally order his coffee.  They flirt a little more.  She smiles at something funny he said and tucks a piece of her hair behind her ear.  She hands him his coffee and they say their good byes.  Steve is regretting chickening out, again, as he walks to the door.  Tomorrow will be the day, he says in his head.


       “Man With Black Leather Jacket & Shades” (we’ll call him Mark) walks into the coffee shop, whistling.  He waltzes up to the counter and removes his shades once the barista comes to the counter.  The amount of flirting coming from Mark is obvious to the barista.  She laughs, awkwardly, and continues to take his order.  Mark doesn’t notice the signs of the brush off, so he continues to attempt to flirt while she’s making his drink.  There is no one else in line, so there is no one to save the barista from Mark’s over the top style of wooing.  After barely responding to his attempt at conversation, Mark get’s the hint and goes to the far end of the counter with his coffee and picks up a newspaper from the shelf.  He sits down at an empty table and begins to flip through the paper.  He glances at the date on the front page.  He still can’t believe it’s 2011 already.  Where has the time gone, he thinks to himself.  He’s been an executive at his company for nearly 15 years.  Has it really been that long?  He realizes, though he drives a Porsche and has more money than he knows what to do with, he has no one to share any of it with.  He’s alone.  He used to be able to pick up women left and right when he was younger, but at almost the age of 40, his old ways have been less than successful.  He finishes his coffee, puts the newspaper back on the shelf and thanks the barista for the coffee.  As he’s leaving he decides that something has to change.  If he’s going to find love, and not just a beautiful woman who knows how to act as a corporate wife, but real love.  Real love that is all encompassing, nothing else matters in the world kind of love, he’s going to have to come at it a different way.  He first needs to find someone he would enjoy having a cup of coffee with.    

Monday, February 28, 2011

Update on Abby's Book

I just wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of my children's book I'm writing for my niece, Abby's, birthday.  If you remember from my previous post, her birthday is February 26th...I'm a little late, obviously.  But, writing a children's book is harder than I thought it was going to be, so it's taking a little longer than expected.  Plus, coordinating with my sister, who is doing the illustrating has been challenging.  She has a full time job with 2 kids so her free time has been spent drawing, painting and arranging the pictures.  I appreciate her hard work so much!  In updating you I also wanted to share some of the wonderful illustrations that will be going in the book.  I realize not all of you will be able to see the finished project, so I thought you'd appreciate a little taste.

The picture above is of our main character, Abigail.  Isn't she cute! The picture to the right is of the entrance to the castle.  I love the affect she did for the stone wall.  It's a paint splatter over watercolor.  Very cool, plus the guards are awesome!

Oh, and I forgot to tell you the best part!  The book will be printed like a real book, hard cover and everything!  Kinkos is affiliated with a pay to print company that has created a program that lets you put your book together and then submit it to them and they print it to your design specifications.  Copyright and everything. It is the most awesome program.  I may use it to print my first book.

All that is left to do is enter in the last few illustrations and then I can send it off to the printer.  Hopefully by the end of the week I will be able to announce that the book is done and 7-10 days later it will be in my hot little hand.  You have no idea how excited I am to see my name printed on a book....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An Ode to Matt Donovan

Photo Credit: CW Network
A few weeks ago, when I posted about my favorite TV characters, it pained me to leave out Mr. Matt Donovan.  I already wrote about another high school football player character (also happened to be named Matt, Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights) so I felt like I couldn't include Mr. Donovan.  But, I have come to the conclusion that Matt Donovan (from The Vampire Diaries, in case you didn't know) is in a category of his own.  I have called it the, "All Around Good Guy Who Get's The Short End Of The Stick" category.  Now, Matt Saracen could also fall in this category but he played on a winning football team.  Matt Donovan's team had to forfeit most of their games because their coach got malled by a "wild animal" and I guess they couldn't find a replacement?  Who knows...I wouldn't want to live in that town if I were a teacher/coach, either.  Their life expectancy is a little short.  So, Matt Saracen will have to be counted out of this category.  In conclusion, Matt Donovan deserved a little recognition so I came up with a little poem for him.  The poor guy needed some love since he missed out on another intimate moment with the girl he loves because he got interrupted, again ("Not now, Dana!").  So, without further ado...

An Ode to Matt Donovan 

Matt Donovan’s not your average guy.
With his lack of funds, he pays attention to what he buys
He works hard for his money,
Even missing out on events with his honey.
He’s romantic, but doesn’t know it.
Endearing and sensitive, but doesn’t like to show it.
He’s the type of guy who would never jerk your chain.
He’s loyal to his friends, even when they’re a pain.
His mother’s not around because she’s kind of a whore.
His sister died last year, so she’s not around anymore.
You can’t help but feel bad for him, but he keeps plugging away.
His day in the spotlight will come some day.
Sure, he may not know about the things that go bump in the night,
But he’s always true to himself and does what he feels is right.
Knowledge of his mysterious town will come soon,
I’m sure it will be during a full moon,
But with a guy like Matt,
No matter what you are, he’ll be there for you, like that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Next Writing Project

During my Christmas vacation, I wrote a short story about a little girl and her experiences during the Christmas season.  My niece Abby was the main character in this story (which you can find here on my blog if you haven't read it yet).  I had so much fun writing from a child's perspective that I've decided that I want to write a children's book.  This will be quite an adventure for me, because I've never really written for children before.  What I'm extra excited about with this project, is my sister is going to illustrate it.  She has experience with water color and is very creative, so I know whatever she comes up with will be beautiful.  What makes this project near and dear to my heart is the main character will again be my niece and the plan is to have it finished by February 26th, her birthday.  I plan on giving her the book as a special gift from her auntie.  It will be something she can cherish and look back on even when she's older.

The concept for the story is in lieu of the rise in bullying at our schools.  For some reason children seem to be lacking a sense of individuality and the tolerance for a person's right to be different.  Without these morals ingrained in our children's every day lives, they can't grow up to be become teenagers and adults who are respectful of other people and of other people's decisions.  It's important for a child to know early on that uniqueness is far more superior to being "just like everyone else" and to appreciate another's uniqueness.  This will be the underlying moral of my story.

But, since children can comprehend morals more adequately when put in a story they can relate to, Abigail's Adventure in Strangeland will be about a young girl who discovers a world that is being dominated by an evil queen who wants everyone in her world to be exactly the same.  What was once a "strange" world is now a plain world.  None of its residents are allowed to stray from the path or assert their individuality.  Abigail, with help from some friends along the way, must find a way to defeat the evil queen and give the people of Strangeland back their uniqueness in themselves and of their world.

Stay tuned for progress reports of how the story is coming along.  Cross your fingers that my sister and I can get this done by February 26th!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Favorite TV High Schoolers and the Stereotypes They Represent

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
I just recently had a birthday, #28, which means my 10 Year High School Reunion is quickly approaching.  It was thinking of this dreaded event that got me thinking about the subject of High School.  Most of the TV shows that I watch or have watched in the past, all center on a group of teenagers or had a teenager as a pivotal role.  While in high school, whether it be in California or Connecticut, teenagers end up falling in categories/stereotypes that society and entertainment has created.  The biggest example of this is the 80s movie, The Breakfast Club (which is one of my favorite 80s flicks).  Each character filled a role in what you could call, the “High School Hierarchy”.  In the movie you had The Jock, Miss Popular, The Bad Boy, The Nerd, The Outcast.  Most TV shows that are set in a high school environment all have characters that are in some way versions of these stereotypes.  Of course, since most of my shows are about teenagers, like I’ve said, I have my favorites and least favorites of these stereotypes.

Photo Credit: NBC Universal
Matt Saracen “All American Football Hero” (Friday Night Lights

Every high school has their football hero.  The one person that holds the fate of the school on their shoulders, or in the quarterback’s case, in their hands.  You can’t have a show about high school without the football team, right.  There have been many great football player characters on TV.  Matt Donovan from The Vampire Diaries would definitely fit this role.  So would Finn from Glee, but my favorite football hero has to be Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights.  Not only did Matt have the fate of his team in his hands (and let’s face it, in the town of Dillon Texas, if you lose the football game, you might as well buy a bus ticket out of there), he also took care of his senile grandmother, worked part-time to pay the bills, attended school and had to get good grades so he could play football!  The whole town looked to him as their hero, all because of his love of the game and his courage to never give up.  By the way, Matt Saracen is my absolute favorite TV character so if you've never seen Friday Night Lights, I suggest you get the DVDs and see what I’m talking about.

Matt: “You don’t have to worry about me, in a fight I just kinda stand in the back and just yell stuff.”

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
Cordelia Chase “Mean Girl” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Every high school on TV has THAT girl, you know the one I’m talking about.  The girl who has everything and treats everyone else like dirt.  A role that made Rachel McAdams famous was playing Regina George from Mean Girls, who was the best  Mean Girl ever, but we’re talking TV, so she doesn’t count.  Next best to Miss George has to be Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Now, everyone who knows me knows of my love for this show so I may be a little biased, but the blog post is about MY favorites, so I’m allowed.  Cordelia always commented on everyone else’s clothing and made sure you knew that she was superior and you just walked around in her world.  Even her friends, and I use that term losely, knew she was in charge.  She was Cordelia and they were the Cordettes.  Cordelia eventually got a little nicer but she never lost her Queen Bee attitude.

Giles: “Cordelia, have you ever heard of tact?”
Cordelia: “Tact is just not saying true stuff.  I’ll pass.”

Photo Credit: Columbia Tristar
Griffin Holbrook “Loner” (Party of Five

The Loner is a character that is not usually noticed as much as the other more front and center characters, but there have been some greats.  Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life and Jess from Gilmore Girls fit into this role, but in this stereotype I’m going to switch it up and talk about one of my LEAST favorite characters on TV, Griffin Holbrook form Party of Five.  Griffin was Julia’s loser boyfriend, and then husband eventually.  He kept to himself most of the time and didn't say much and was always getting in trouble.  His inability to express himself or his emotions made him that character that was always on the sidelines.  He had such a fear of rejection (created mostly by his unemotional and abusive father) that he would have rather not participated in his life than be subjected to heart ache, as most loners are.

Julia: “Do you want me to stay?  I mean, is there any part of you that says ‘please don’t go’ ya know, ‘I don’t want you to see him’?”
Griffin: “Look, I’ve got this rule.  I don’t tell anybody what to do, and no one tells me.  And it works.
Julia: “You could at least care…”

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
Rory Gilmore “Over-Achiever” (Gilmore Girls

The Over-Achiever in high school is usually that annoying one that seems to always get an A and participates in every extra curricular activity and is perfect in every educational way, but because of Rory’s excellent use of her pop culture knowledge and all around awesomeness, she is an Over-Achiever that you love instantly.  Her goal, from the beginning of her life, is to got Harvard (even though she ends up going to Yale instead) and creates her life around that goal.  She reads more than is required and does a ton of extra credit that it makes her this intellectual character, but then she would throw out some movie reference and you’d remember that she does have fun every once in a while. 

Rory: “I can’t finish all this and sleep at the same time.”
Lorelai: “You have to sleep.  It’s what keeps you pretty.”
Rory: “Who cares if I’m pretty if I fail my finals.”
Lorelai: “Oh-kay.  You’ve got this so completely backwards.”

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie “Computer Geek” (Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars is quite possibly my most favorite high school based TV show. Mac was one of Veronica’s best friends and a genius around a computer.  Although this was a tough decision for me, considering one of my other favorite TV characters was Willow from Buffy, I figured Mac never went evil, so she should win in this category.  Mac could create fake databases, hack into people’s email accounts and do all things computer related.  She was Veronica’s “Girl Friday.”  The witty banter back and forth with these characters was always the icing on the cake.  Much like my Friday Night Lights recommendation, if you’ve never seen Veronica Mars I highly recommend watching the DVDs.  Sadly, the show was canceled after 3 seasons, but it will remain one of my faves for a long time.

Veronica: “How long does it take you to create a highly incriminating, thoroughly liable sexually explicit website?”
Mac: “Uh, 45 minutes, give or take?”

Photo Credit: 90210 Productions
Dylan McKay “The Bad Boy” (Beverly Hills: 90210

Most girls love the bad boy (not me though, I go for The Noble Hero character).  Why, you ask?  Who knows.  Maybe because there’s some part of us that like to try to fix a guy and the “want what you can’t have” sort of idea.  The “bad boy” is the unattainable challenge, and that’s sexy.  The definition of this has got to go to Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills: 90210.  He was the one that Brenda tried to fix, even when trying to fix him some times put her in danger.  Dylan was an alcoholic by the time he reached high school, cut class to go surfing, and was reckless while driving.  He was everything you’d want in a bad boy, plus he was hot!

Dylan: “I just don’t believe in winning through intimidation.  Unless of course, I’m doing the intimidating. 

Well, there you have it!  Those are my favorites.  I could come up with so many more of my favorite high schoolers and the stereotypes they represent, but then this blog would never end.  What are some of your favorites?  Sound off in the the comments section below.