Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Twilight," by Stephenie Meyer

The Chick: Bella Swan, a girl who moves to live with her dad in Forks, Seattle ("The Rainiest Place on Earth") from Arizona, in order to give her mother and her new hubby more space. Needless to say, she doesn't take kindly to having to adapt to this new climate.
Shady Past: She's whiny, has low self-esteem, and both of her parents are self-centred, oblivious morons.

The Dude:
Edward Cullen, a super-hot, super-emo vampire capable of reading people's minds who treats Bella like shit for half the book and spends the next half playing yo-yo with their relationship.
Shady Past: Was sired by Dr. Vampire (Carlisle Cullen) when he was dying of influenza in the early 20th century. Is sparkly. Likes to eat woodland animals. Can't make up his mind worth a damn.

The Plot:
Bella: I hate Forks! I hate rain! I'm such a nice person, but I hate Forks! And rain!

Mike, Jessica, Various Other Forks Residents: Hey Bella! Let's be friends! Sit at our table! Cheat off our homework! Can we bake you cookies?

Bella: Anyone who could possibly like Forks must be an idiot. Sure, I will deign to sit at your table and let you shower me with friendliness, but I will remain in my comfortable depressive funk and will continue to think that you are all hicks. Who's that?

Edward: *SHUNS*

Bella: Wow! You're the perfect guy for me! Date me!

Edward: NO.

Bella: What?

Edward: Yes.

Bella: Yay!

Edward: We musn't!

Bella: Uh...

Edward: I can't resist you!

Bella: Wait...

Edward: NO! This is WRONG! I am too dangerous and sexy for you!

Bella: Well...

Edward: I love you!

Bella: Great...

Edward: I'd love you for DINNER! NO! NO I MUSTN'T!

James, The Tracker Vampire Who Gets to the Point: Ooh, human girl. TASTY. *tracks, catches Bella*

Edward: *kicks fucking ass!*

James: *DIES*

Edward: Bella, I love you! But I'm dangerous! But you're so pretty! But I'm a monster! But you're so...

Bella: You could just, uh, MAKE me a vampire. That'd make things easier.

Edward: I can't do that! Then there wouldn't be any sequels, silly!

Romantic Convention Checklist
1 Conflicted Vampire Hero
2 Careless Parents
1 Romantically Lackluster Rival
1 Efficient Villain
1 Clueless Best Friend

The Word:
M'eh. I'd heard so many things about these books, but I never got around to reading them. Writing for Green Man, I was often given a lot of paranormal romances with vampires and demons and crap (Working for the Devil, Blood Ties Book One, and Moon Called) and I just got sick of them. Tired out. Vampires are almost universally gloomy, sad, sober characters and I HATE those, quite frankly. You rarely get a vampire character with a happy, devilish sense of humour or who's cheerful or anything - they're always conflicted, boo hoo, "I hate myself because I'm a monster," blah blah, "our love can never be but while you're here we might as well have hot kinky sex," yadda yadda.

But Twilight just got so much hype, and for once, I didn't hate the vampire characters - Edward Cullens and his adopted family (or "coven") of vampires run by Carlisle Cullen, or as I like to call him, "Dr Vampire." Edward was pretty good - conflicted, hell yes, and pretty much completely indecisive (every second sentence out of his mouth towards Bella that isn't "I love you" is "we totally shouldn't be together because it's stupid and wrong"). His yes-and-no game can get tiring, but he's wry and heroic and has that cocked-eyebrow thing going for him so he's fine by me.

Actually, it was Bella I didn't like. I nearly put the book down after the first hundred pages because she's such a wet blanketed bitch. I mean, she earns goodwill points by doing a pretty selfless thing (moving to a town she's always hated to give her mum a chance to have fun), but she flushes those points down the toilet by acting incredibly selfish in Forks. Everyone in Forks pretty much bends over backwards to be friends with her and she brushes them off and acts peevishly uncomfortable with all the positive attention. I get it, she's in a town she hates, but when she's so determined to remain unhappy that she treats the genuinely nice people in town like dirt for having the gall to try and cheer her up, I nearly gave up right then. Even worse, she blows off all the genuinely nice people in town to hang out with the guy who treats her like dog shit right off the bat. Oh, it's going to be one of those stories, is it? I thought.

Eventually Bella warms up to people, but throughout the book she continually treats Edward like the only person worth living and everyone else like lesser annoyances she has to deal with. It's a little easier to understand her aloofness once you realize that she's had to be independent, since both of her parents are those irritatingly airhead-neglectful types who never talk to her except the occasional obligatory, "You're not pregnant are you?" and are obviously too obsessed with their own lives. It's still incredibly hard to relate to her, though. She has a few reasonable faults - like clumsiness and low self-esteem and, but really, she doesn't actually demonstrate a whole lot of positive points either.

The main reason Edward ends up falling for her is because he's can't read her mind like he can everyone else's, so she has that air of mystery. But she has nothing else. I like a good hero as much as the next romance gal, but the heroine has to be worth loving too, and Bella gave very little back to the relationship, in my opinion. So, while the vampire characters were well-written and most of the book relatively pleasant, this isn't a keeper by any means, and nor will I read any of the sequels. Unless Bella finally decides to get her head out of her ass and treat people like people. B-.

Free at last! Free at last!

I finished my last exam yesterday, my last exam FOREVER (unless I go back in the distant, distant future as my mum keeps on insisting I do) and on TOP of that, I was able to snap up an impromptu but still very successful job interview with the University library. If I get it, I'm set for eleven months at a job that's a) easy to get to, b) has regular hours and no evenings or weekends, c) encourages a casual dress code (so long as you don't dress like a slut), d) starts up right after tour, and e) pays more than minimum wage.

I'll still have to get a job after this one expires at the end of March '09 if I get it, and while it'll cover tuition it won't cover all my living expenses, it's probably the best job I can hope the get and the one I'll enjoy the most. I was still worried at the end of my exam that I might not find a job, but the interview (especially since it went so well) really relaxed me. Now I can go back to writing and preparing for UAMC tour!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Ride Has Ended...Please Pick Up Your Adulthood at the Door

Yesterday was my absolutely LAST day of my degree. My LAST. Mum thinks I should go into academia, seeing as I got straight A's on all of my term papers, but my experience with graduates has been pretty negative - I might read a book and say, "I loved the circular narrative structure." A graduate student might read a book and say, "I loved the book's use of repetitive feminist allegorical space" or some crap like that. I don't want to pick apart books like that into tiny sterile pieces, and I don't think that's how many books are written, either.

Anyway, I'm done except for exams (and three of those require no studying, really) and I've got great grades. I kept my eyes open on the last day of my degree, my last day of education really until I go to VFS. I don't know, I guess I thought something significant would happen, but nothing really did. I didn't go to the beergardens. Someone didn't just up and offer me a fantastic fulltime job. It was just an ordinary schoolday, when I was expecting it to be somehow different from all the others. It wasn't different, it was just over. I don't know if I'm disappointed or elated.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"Rapunzel," "Rapunzel," Go Down in Flames

Disney and Pixar revealed their slate of animated movies until 2012, and Rapunzel, sadly, is still a go. I shouldn't be sad, it'll probably be awesome and have wonderful visuals and music and it's better than all that Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons shit they've been peddling.

But it won't be my Rapunzel - the animated screenplay I was (slowly) outlining and working on and animating in my head while listening to Alan Menken. It was original! It had a nerd inventor shut-in heroine! It had a witch stepmother who was actually misunderstood - and her demon familiar who totally wasn't because he was totally evil. I had a handsome prince with flaws! FLAWS! It dealt with bullying and being yourself and gave the notoriously difficult fairytale a relatable context! ARGH!

That's not to say I don't have another ideas for when I work for Disney. I put a lot of personal stuff into my story for Rapunzel, so I'm disappointed that I couldn't write it and get famous fast enough to show Disney how brilliant it obviously is. I mean, I've seen some of the early pictures for Rapunzel. Blonde, again? Pink, again?? Seriously, there are different colours out there, and Punzie doesn't have to be blonde. Can you imagine how dingy her hair would look like after a few climbs if it's so light-coloured? Ew!

Anyway, sad sad sad - but maybe I should get my ass on writing The Six Dancing Princesses, The Frog Prince, The Princess and the Pea, and The Seven Swans screenplays before Disney snaps all those ones up too.