the best friends you’ll never have

Browsing in the internet

Having just started a small fire in my kitchen while cooking rice, now seems like as good a time as any to stop my hiatus and return to posting here.

I have also been more absent than usual from my regular BSC-related internet activities, but not so absent that a shift in the fandom has passed me by. It’s a small shift, to be sure, barely perceptible except to those who have been around for a while and pay close attention. It used to be that I, born in 1986, was at the young end of the BSC fan spectrum. Perhaps this is just a natural part of life, that you used to be the baby and now you feel like a seasoned old-timer who should be retiring to Florida within the next couple of years, but now I can name a handful of people in the fandom, who are active and post on the boards and on the lj and on (illegally!) who were born in 1997. 1997!!!! In 1997 I was revelling in my angst and listening to silverchair! And of course, reading new BSC books, although I was already embarassed to be seen buying them in the bookstore.

And now we have new readers of the BSC, for whom the fashions of the late eighties and early 90s are as difficult to understand as the sanitary belt of the unupdated Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret was for our generation. But something still resonates with them, and they build their collections secondhand, not lucky enough to have been around when you could count on a new regular series every month, a new Mystery every other month, and a Super Special in the summer. They come online and discuss the books with us, bringing their currently-happening middle school experiences to the table.

I have long been a cynic when it comes to the question of reissuing the books or Ann writing a reunion book. A reunion book is something I just plain don’t really want, but a new print run I have always thought to be not particularly financially viable. The BSC was a huge series, and it’s just not conceivable that it would sell as well as it did at its peak to make printing them justifiable. And true, the graphic novels did not sell well enough to merit extending the series beyond the planned four books. But some kids aren’t into graphic novels, even though the BSC ones are awesome and I adore them. My sister, who is eight, didn’t want the graphic novels, but she wanted my regular books. I gave her my doubles, along with some other childhood favorites, and my dad said she “really loved the books,” so perhaps I have created another young BSC fan.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the BSC books would do well, well enough at least to republish the first 25 or so books. But one thing: no updating, like SVH. I think part of what makes BSC so popular is that it is from a relatively simpler time, without cell phones and before the internet had really taken hold. I liked books from before my time as a kid for this very reason. I loved reading about life in the early 1960s on the Upper West Side almost as much as I liked reading about Harriet M. Welsch herself. So please Scholastic, if you do rerelease the books, don’t trade in the Junk Bucket for a unnamed used Honda Civic, like what happened with poor 1BRUCE1.

I found this on youtube. It’s a song by a Czech band called SandWitch entitled “Mallory on Strike.” I’d like to think they were inspired by Ann’s novel, which I have been reading lately.

It’s relatively well-known that Cary Retlin is named after a real person, and so are his brothers Ben and Steig. Some may also know that Steig Retlin did Amalia’s sketches in California Diaries.

So I googled him, to see what he’s up to these days, and he has a website called Plastic Flesh with a ton of his recent work on it. Awesome! And if you go on myspace you can find his and Cary’s profiles, which I won’t link to but they’re there nonetheless. Cary in real life is pretty cute, although a bit too outdoorsy for my taste. He definitely doesn’t look like a Mischief Knight, but maybe it was different when he was thirteen.

Anyway, it seems as if Cary in real life is friends with David Leviathan, who was an editor of the BSC. I think that’s the connection there, rather than Ann.

If you haven’t already, go to wiki and start editing! I haven’t had time to do much editing myself–lots of stuff before graduation–but everyone working on it has been doing a really awesome job.

I think that if Claudia were a real person alive today, she would totally have an Etsy shop. And it might be this one.

(via Fops and Dandies)

A more meaningful update will go up later today, but for now I just want to relate that word from my outsourced sources has lead me to believe that tomorrow major headway will be done on the super secret awesome Stoneybrookite project. So, keep watching for it…

So a new community just got started on livejournal: BSC Snark. In all honesty, I’m actually not that big on snark. A little snark here and there is fine, but I actually adore these books. Snark with love, perhaps, is the flavor of snark I go for. But anyway, I was reading a post about Karen’s Bunny by Lilysela when I saw this picture:


Now, I have never been a fan of Susan Tang’s interior artwork for the LS books. It always seems like she got bored after drawing the face of the character and just scribbled the rest. Looking at these illustrations, I get the impression that I, too, could make a living being an illustrator if these drawings are considered good enough to be used throughout a series that lasts for over a hundred books. But just look at this picture! I realize that yes, this scene actually does happen in the book. That does not mean, however, that it is not a weird and disturbing image. The look on Andrew’s face, the fact that he seems to be gripping onto something imaginary, his tiger face, everything… it’s all just… WRONG.

I have developed a head cold and my sd card reader has not arrived with my suitcase yet. My plans for the next couple of posts I want to do involve photographs, which requires a way to transfer said photos to my computer. Boo and bullfrogs!

I just discovered the BSC Scrapbook at uandme4bsc and it is hilarious.

Also, I was reading Abby’s Twin today and she said that Long Island was half an hour from New York City. This confused me greatly. Brooklyn and Queens are, technically, ON Long Island. Even if by “New York City” Ann/the ghostwriter meant “Manhattan” it does not take half an hour to get from Queens or Brooklyn to Manhattan, unless traffic is really terrible. Long Island is really, really, really big. It is wider than Connecticut. So saying that “Long Island” is half an hour from New York is crazy, because driving from say, Southampton to New York City would take a hell of a lot longer than one half of an hour. Unless you had a teleporter. I suppose that Abby meant that where she lived on Long Island was half an hour from New York City, but still. Being precise matters when it comes to geography.

Like how Abby’s mom took classes at the Culinary Institute of America, which is in Hyde Park. I have been there, and it took a really long time to drive there from the immediate NYC burbs. Like 2 hours. Just because they are both in New York State does not mean that somewhere on Long Island is close to Hyde Park.

Far too long has gone by since my last post. But sadly, I’ve had a lot of schoolwork, a lot of work-work, and also a newly rekindled addiction to Alice books. I haven’t really had any posts take form in my brain lately, so I felt it was time for some housekeeping and randomness.

  • In about five weeks I am taking a vacation. I don’t like the idea of neglecting this blog for two plus weeks, so I was wondering if any of you readers would be interested in doing some guest posting. Leave me a comment if you are interested.

  • The BSC Wiki has a ton of stuff on it now, thanks mostly to the efforts of Pigeonrat and cpennylane. Over the next week I’ll be making the Complete Guide project data available to wiki contributors, so I expect there will be even more good stuff there over the next few months.

  • Just as a general survey question, what are the topics that you are sick of reading about/discussing? For me, it’s definitely the infamous “time warp” and also people posting that they found a shitload of books at a yard sale/used bookstore/etc.
  • Who is ANM? Is it… Ann Nadezhda Martin? Ann Nelson Martin? Ann Nicholas Martin? Or Ann None-of-the-Above Martin?

    Answer: the last one!

    See, Ann’s middle name is Matthews. So she is Ann M. Martin, or AMM. Perhaps ANM is a bastardization of “Ann M.,” but seriously ANM is said, at least in my brain, as “A-N-M.” It’s just incorrect.

    Sadly this trend has really taken off in the BSC fandom. I am here to say no, it’s wrong, don’t do it. At least not on this blog. I am leading the crusade to give Ann back her proper initials. Say it with me: “A-M-M.”

    I was going to do a follow up post to my last one, where I said that basically the whole BSC is rich, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

    I just finished The All-New Mallory Pike . This book is a favorite of mine, probably because I myself am a Boarding School Survivor. I love reading about her boarding school adventures as they remind me of my own, although her school sounds much more luxurious than mine. Everyone knows that in the joy of the boarding school experience, suffering is inherent. Anyway, I also like reading about Mallory about Riverbend because I like Riverbend Mallory Pike. She is more confident, and no longer playing the “Junior Member” role. I like Mallory being recognized for her kindness, for her brains, not just being the big sister or one of the two who can’t sit at night. I would have loved to see a California Diaries-style series about Mal and her friends at Riverbend. Why has no one written fanfiction about her boarding school life? When asked about what they think happens to the BSC post-graduation from eighth grade, and in many RPGs, Mallory ends up coming back to Stoneybrook for high school. Personally, I see Mal staying at Riverbend till college. What do you all think on this issue?

    Also, over at The Miss BSC Pageant, Mary Anne Saves the Day has emerged victorious in the poll for most popular BSC book. All I have to say is: EW. This is one of my least favorite BSC books. I don’t like the fight. I actually don’t really like fights in BSC books in general. They make me feel really uncomfortable, like when you’re hanging out with a couple and they begin airing their dirty laundry in front of you. Awkward. The only one I like is Stacey vs the BSC, because instead of feeling uncomfortable I just bask in the glow of Bitch!Stacey. I also like the book Mary Anne’s Makeover despite the fights, cause there’s so much fashion and gossip. But Saves the Day has neither fashion nor interesting gossip, and Stacey is just kind of pathetic in it. I also don’t like it when Dawn gets so mad at Mary Anne at this one, although I do feel like it’s indicative of their future relationship, which will include lots of petty bitch fights. But yeah. I was disappointed by the results. What do you think about the results?

    The Miss BSC Pageant is close to showing which BSC book is the most popular, and Stacey books and Mallory books predominate. The Stacey-Goes-Bad arc (which consists of Stacey and the Cheerleaders, Stacey’s Lie, Stacey vs the BSC, and Stacey and the Bad Girls), which happens to be my favorite, seems to be especially popular. What makes this arc so popular?

  • It’s markedly different from the rest of the series. No one else in the club, besides maybe Abby at the very end, seems to question the value of the BSC in their lives and the overbearing way Kristy runs things. This is the first time someone says, “Forgoing a social life for the sake some bratty kids kind of sucks.”
  • Boys! Cute boys! Romance!
  • The grunge fashion and U4Me, I think, really brings us all back to those mid-nineties. The 80s outfits are before my time (I’m a 2nd generation reader), but the 90s ones I can actually remember.
  • Not so much focus on the baby-sitting plotline. Yes, there is a stupid talent show in Stacey vs the BSC, but this is only memorable for how Stacey totally betrayed Charlotte Johanssen due to fallout from her totally awesome boy/girl party.
  • The Bad Girls are so wild! They wear black lipstick and sneak liquor into concerts! It reminds me of this time I was reading Teen Magazine in like, sixth grade, and they did a big first-person story on some girl who tried to sneak wine coolers into a concert and her car was pulled over and she was totally taken to the station. That story put me off wanting to try drinking for at least like, three months.
  • Again, I think the main point is that this arc finally addresses what we’re all thinking–baby-sitting kind of blows, so why do these girls never try having a normal teenage existence?

    Sadly, after Bad Girls, we get the Stacey of Stacey McGill, Super Sitter who wants to be the best BSC member ever. Luckily, once Dawn moves back to CA and CA Diaries begins, we once again get to see a member of the BSC who also is over the BSC and its strict ordinances. And Dawn? That girl never goes back to her old ways. For me that more than makes up the butchering the ghostwriters did to Dawn’s character after the first thirty or so books.

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