Friday, May 28, 2010

susie's recently updated bookshelf!

So I realize everyone's waiting on a trip report from the fabulous Disneyland Resort, but I'd like to get this post out of my system first. See, it's summer, which is a joyous time for many reasons, but especially for English majors it means that we can read whatever we want, and not whatever our professors are thrusting down our throats.

I like going back to reread my favorites every summer (cough, the entire Harry Potter series) but I started off this summer with a bang, with books I didn't think I'd like.

It's no secret to those who know me that I'm obsessed with Meg Cabot. I think she's a genius. I think J.K. Rowling is a genius too, but I value Meg's opinion on everything, not just books. She once had a pink streak in her hair, just because. While she was in her 40s. She writes from the point of view of teenage girls, and it's convincing. I see parts of myself in all of her characters. Plus, she's so great to her readers. It's really a shame she didn't want kids because she would've been awesome at being a mom, I'm sure of it. She probably deserves her own post in this blog.

I was iffy about her Airhead series, featuring a typically beautiful model on the cover. I read the summary on Amazon and thought it wouldn't be anything special. I gave the book a chance and read it, and I instantly loved it. It's narrated by Em, your standard 16-year-old social pariah, which is Meg's go-to character because she figures lots of readers can relate to social outcast-type characters, and she's right. Anyway, Em has a little accident, and the next thing you know she wakes up inside the body of the person she least wants to be - teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. Yep, she had a brain transplant, thanks to the company Nikki works for, Stark Enterprises, which is basically Disney + Wal-Mart + any other major corporation rolled into one. She has to stick to Nikki's modeling contract, and no one outside of her family can know that she's really herself, Em Watts. She can't even tell her best friend (and the boy she's secretly in love with), Christopher.

I'm kind of ashamed for having my doubts...of course if Meg Cabot wrote it, it's awesome. Period. Airhead did not disappoint. I'm no 12-year-old, but it was fascinating seeing this incredibly glamorous life through Nikki's eyes, in a nicer way than the cynically trashy narrative of the Gossip Girl books.

The second book in the series, Being Nikki, kept me glued the entire plane ride home from California. There is a definite sci-fi twist to this story because of the whole brain-transplant thing. It gets creepier in the sequel. I won't spoil it for you, but Stark has something dark hidden under their spotless exterior. Meg Cabot also plays up the romance thing, as usual, with Christopher (and the many celebrity boys who are in love with Nikki - her body, anyway).

Finally, the recently released Runaway wraps up the trilogy, and last night I sped-read to get to the end. I totally saw what was coming, but that doesn't mean I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I won't spoil the ending, but it was freaky, y'all. Go buy all three books, or at least borrow them from me.

On the other end of the spectrum, my new favorite celebrity is Chelsea Handler, comedian and star of late-night show Chelsea Lately. She's confident, she's funny, and she's hot, aight? Look at her!

I never thought I'd read her books based on the titles: My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. Well out of pure curiosity I picked up the latter in the little bookshop in Santa Ana's airport. And I laughed so raucously on the plane that I disturbed the people sitting around me. Yesterday I bought My Horizontal Life at Barnes and Noble and finished it today. Chelsea is a dirty girl and writes wildly inappropriate things, but dude, she's hilarious. She uses my favorite brand of comedy, and that is dry sarcasm. Plus, I admire someone who speaks so frankly about herself and life in general. Here's my $15.99, Chelsea, thanks for making me laugh harder than I have in ages. (Plus, for those who might be shocked by the content of her books, Chelsea confesses at the end of her first book that she realizes her life really is horizontal, because it's not going anywhere thanks to all her one-night stands. She decides to get more serious about her life. So she throws in a lesson with all the laughs.)

I'll probably get started on her third book, "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang," tomorrow. If I can keep a straight face in front of customers, which I doubt.

What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

twitter giveaway results!

It's 12:22am, it's been a weird day, and we may or may not be going to Disneyland tomorrow, depending on the state of my grandma's health (she needs your prayers, guys). Either way, it's the end of the Twitter giveaway! I was blown away by how many responses I received. I learned a lot about Disneyland trivia while having fun, and I hope y'all did, too!

I wanted to do this via webcam, but my computer won't cooperate: I put one slip of paper for every correct answer into a big bowl (I had a LOT of pieces of paper in there!) and pulled random ones without looking. My mama is my witness! Here we go...*drumroll*

First place: winner of Disneyland merchandise of his choice, up to $30: @kjmaje.

Second & third places: winners of smaller Disney surprises: @hatboxfiend and @bigdsp.

The winners can direct-message me their addresses on Twitter.

(If we end up not going to California in the morning, I will try to find something Disney-related around town, instead.)

Thanks to everyone who played along! It was a blast. Here are the questions and answers for those who missed them!

1. What American town was Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. designed after?
- An idealized version of Marceline, Missouri, Walt Disney's hometown.

2. Which Disneyland attraction first used Audio-Animatronics technology?
- The Enchanted Tiki Room, which opened in 1963.

3. Where are the controls for the fireworks show Fantasmic! located in Disneyland Park (more than one answer)?
- Possible answers: Cider Mill on Tom Sawyer's Island; the balcony near the Disney Gallery; a light tower in Frontierland.

4. What is the name of the statue in the hub of Disneyland Park featuring Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse?
- "Partners."

5. What is the name of Disneyland's paddle boat? (Hint: Its Walt Disney World twin's name is the Liberty Belle.)
- The Mark Twain.

6. Imagineer X Atencio wrote the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts" for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Which other iconic song did he write for another beloved Disneyland attraction?
- "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" in Pirates of the Caribbean.

7. In honor of Mother's Day, what is the name of Walt Disney's mother?
- Flora Call Disney.

8. The Imagineers use a special technique to make buildings throughout the Disney parks look taller than they actually are. What is this technique called?
- Forced perspective.

9. Which themed land is home to Splash Mountain in Disneyland?
- Critter Country.

10. Which Disney Imagineer designed the concept art for "it's a small world," not to mention several Disney movies and the mural in Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort (famous for its five-legged goat)?
- Mary Blair.

11. What is the name of Disneyland Park's nighttime parade (which will soon be shipped to Florida for the "Summer Nightastic" promotion at WDW)?
- Main Street Electrical Parade.

12. Which attraction replaced Disneyland's Carousel of Progress in 1974?
- America Sings.

13. What is the name of the cab Guests board in Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin? (Hint: it's not Benny.)
- Lenny, Benny's twin brother! (Benny is a character from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Roger is driving him throughout the attraction.)

14. For their 31st wedding anniversary, Walt Disney gave his wife Lillian a very unique gift. It's on display in Frontierland. What is this gift?
- A petrified tree stump.

Well, that's it, guys! I won't be blogging from the parks, but hopefully you'll still follow me on Twitter! (If we go.) Please keep my grandma in your prayers!

Have a magical, blessed week.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

win free disney merch! srsly!

Hey guys! Guess what? I leave for the Disneyland Resort on May 18th, which is 15 days away! So in honor of my very first trip to Walt's original park, I decided to have a little Twitter giveaway. My friends @kidanikatie and @shaene_o_mite did Disney-themed Twitter giveaways of their own recently - I won an "it's a small world" t-shirt from Shaene! - so I decided to continue spreading the Disney love.

I'll be posting a Disney trivia question every morning up the 17th. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is answer the question correctly. Don't worry, I'll try to make some of the questions easy enough so that non-Disney fanatics will have a chance to win, too! For every question that you answer correctly, your name will go into a hat. So if you answer every question - 14 total - and get ten of those right, then your name will go into my hat 10 times.

And what can you win from this giveaway, you ask? The grand prize winner will get a Disneyland souvenir of their choice, valued at $30 or under. Anything goes: t-shirt, snowglobe, Vinylmation - whatever, as long as it's $30! Two other winners will get something a little smaller.

My Twitter name is @SusieNotSusan, and I hope to see lots of participants!

Everyone have a magical week! (Good luck preparing for finals, LSU people!)