Welcome to my Spanish-style, split-level blog

Welcome visitors. I’m taking a hiatus with this blog right now, but please browse or revisit all my recaps of the original Sweet Valley High books. I’ve also recapped other series and written updated version of the Baby-Sitters Club books, and you can find those under “categories” to your right. Or, just browse the archives.

UPDATE: After a successful campaign, I’m working on the full, unofficial guide to Sweet Valley High with an expected release of early 2013.

In the meantime, you can read other things I’ve written here and follow me on  facebooktwitter & tumblr.

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Excuse me while I get self-referential for a bit.

Thanks Serena for leaving this comment, and it really made me think and want to give a direct response. I really appreciate you posting this- and I don’t know what sort of trouble you could get in (maybe I’d spike your punch with vodka?) and I’ve actually only deleted one comment in this blog’s lifespan…because it contained really hateful and racist language for the sake of being hurtful. And along with all the porn spam. But anyway, essentially:

Because Francine’s publishers are contacting all the Sweet Valley recap blogs and treating them like straightforward “fanpages” (instead of mockery done by critical readers who may remember the series with some fondness as a part of their childhood but aren’t blind to it’s faults) and giving bloggers free swag to give away in contests/asking them to promote her upcoming book…

You guys are gonna lose your edge! Please don’t sell out and cut back on the snark, especially when it comes to the new book (which the majority of first-chapter-readers seem to think is crap…except for people who were invited to meet the publishers — ooh, ahh! – to get a sneak peek and not-so-surprisingly only have positive things to say.)

I understand bloggers may be excited to be in touch with an author/publisher, and get free merch, yada yada. But the danger is that you’ll start thinking, “oh, they’ve been so nice to me…I don’t want to not-be-nice back! I’ll cut them some slack and give their product a more favorable review.”

That is a totally valid and astute observation. I was contacted by St. Martin’s press and asked to link to the Sweet Valley Confidential Website, which I did (and just did again). I wrote back when they asked me and said “Have you actually read my blog? Are you sure you want me to be associated with your product?” She wrote back and essentially said what Serena mentioned- they are considering these blogs as fanpages. To be fair to the publisher, it is their job to promote this book and get publicity- maybe even going with the idea that “any press is good press.” I can see why they are going with the plan to connect with people’s childhood memories instead of social commentary… ultimately, they need to sell books, right?  I’ve also spoken to many people about SVH (I’m often introduced to friends of friends as “someone who blogs about Sweet Valley High”) and most people remember it, but not everyone wants to talk smack about it. Legit. They would rather have it as a piece of childhood nostalgia and not deconstruct it for its social implications. Totally legit, although it does frustrate me. But I’m someone who alienates 85% of the population because I’m always looking at pop culture through a sociological lens instead of “just stop taking everything so seriously….and just enjoy it”. The way I do enjoy things IS looking at it through a critical lens and understanding the social implications. Don’t get me started on Avatar. However, it makes sense for the publisher to go this route because their goal is to sell the book. Which, last I checked, is the goal of a publishing company. So I’m at peace with that.

Did I agree to link to the first Chapter? Sure, because it was of great interest to me and to my readers. Am I grateful that this blog is linked on the website? Sure, but it’s not like it has brought me a plethora of new readership. In fact, to demonstrate my own free will to be critical: wtf is with that “website”? Can it even be called that? St. Martin’s press, please splurge for a web designer. Or a class in Dream Weaver.

Was the first chapter “good”? HELLS NO. It was a living cliche of bad romance novels and trite writing. Did I enjoy it? Yes. In much of the same way I enjoy Dear Sister (not that they are even in the SAME LEAGUE of badness (goodness)). And this opinion had nothing to do with any freebies (I’ve also yet to see any freebies). A “Team Elizabeth” or “Team Jessica” t-shirt which probably doesn’t fit my body type anyhow doesn’t impress me much anyway. I actually think that is trite, overdone marketing idea. I promise you all that I’m still thinking for myself….OR AM I? I mean, I once fell for the allure of a shitty co-op and a hot cult leader from Good Friends after the tragic occurrence of my family making fun of my cooking skills. So, you never know.

And let this be considered an OPEN INVITATION TO FRANCINE PASCAL if she ever was willing to do some sort of interview or something. I’d of course be nice to her as a person (maybe), but feel no hesitation in offering a “critical response” to her life’s work. Francine, BRING IT ON!

Serena, you rock, thanks for bringing this up, and making me think more about my motivations. I am so going to nominate you for Pi Beta Alpha.

Proof of my devotion

When you are embarassed about a photo, what better way to deal with it than to post it for all the web to see? My father recently unearthed lots of old slides and scanned them and sent them to me. Among oodles of pictures of me with a bowl haircut, birthday parties at Pizza Hut, and on vacation at Sesame Place, each year our birthdays were recorded. Alas, my eleventh birthday:

Yes, my parents got me a t-shirt (or is that a snuggie?) that says “So many books…so little time”, because, you know, wearing that to junior high would ensure instant success. And I can’t remember if that is technically a perm or a body wave. Is there even a difference? You can see that year I was gaga over Christopher Pike, and I can identify those as Scavenger Hunt, Gimme a Kiss…and I don’t know. But there is a definitely a Fabulous Five Super Special lurking underneath there, and a book called Breaking Up With Ernie that I recall being obsessed with.

Skip ahead a year, to my twelfth birthday…the perm is still there (yeouch) and my excitement is over the Baby-sitters Club Calendar.

For the love of Pete, I hope my outfit was just the pajamas. The best thing about the calendar is  that there was a “map” of Stoney Brook in the back, and it was not what I imagined at all. The neighborhood of course only consisted of the people mentioned, and Kristy only seemed to live a few blocks away from the rest. Did they think we wouldn’t notice the cartological inconsistencies?

To help you erase these images from your mind, I’ve got exciting news. I’m in touch with a former SVU ghostwriter and I will be posting an interview soon, as well as a giveaway of some signed books as well as her new book.

I’m in Entertainment Weekly!

No, not draping myself over Zac Efron, but in their Shelf Life Blog, profiled along with the always exquisite  Nikki from Are You There God? It’s me Nikki. Thank you Catherine Garcia for writing a great article. She’s currently an intern..someone give her a job now!

For those of you that are first-time visitors, welcome! Thank you for validating my existence. Please check out the full list of the reviews.

And again, read the article here.

welcome to my world

My lack of updates is due to the fact that I just purchaed my first home, and I’ve been busy with escrow and contractors and all that other stuff I still don’t really understand. Over the weekend I worked on repainting the place. I’ve always likes the look of brown walls, and I painted my common area a chocolate brown. After standing back and admiring it, I think….

…yes, some of you realized it already. Jessica Wakefield is so crazy that she on a whim painted her bedroom walls chocolate brown, which her family affectionately calls “The Hershey Bar.”

Yes, I’m thirty-one, just purchased my new home, and I am comparing myself to Jessica Wakefield. Fuck my life.

Make Donna’s dreams come true!

Hey Donna, not to single you out, but I’m gonna, but I’m reposting your comment from the request section over here.

Feel free to laugh hysterically at this, but my teenage self is dying to know…is there a real life Sweet Valley?

I will be visiting California in November (I am from Australia)…if anyone knows if Sweet Valley exists geographically (ie if Sweet Valley is based on a real town), I would sooooo love to visit. Given the numerous references to Sweet Valley’s proximity to LA, Malibu and San Diego, I thought SV might have some basis in reality?

Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Just imagine the shenanigans a non-size six, brunette, Australian girl could have with the Wakefields and their gang.

Thanks in advance!

Donna, I’m not laughing, and I love that a hunt for Sweet Valley is part of your vacation to the States. Now it’s time to break your heart: there is no such town as Sweet Valley. OUCH! Now you must feel like Jeffrey French.

HOWEVS, I do know that there are Southern California towns in the area in the areas that you mentioned that would closely represent Sweet Valley, complete with sparkling blue beaches, shopping malls, burger joints, privileged blond teenagers, large mansions, and a split-level house or two. So, the basis for Sweet Valley didn’t just get pulled out of Francine’s well-toned ass.

Problem is, I’m a Northern California inhabitant and don’t know the rest of California, so I was thinking we can help Donna out? Those of you that know SoCal, maybe you know of some Sweet Valley-esque small towns? That way Donna can get a feel for what Sweet Valley must be like. Maybe I can even arrange for some folks to pat your shoulder or have you kidnapped by an orderly.

Mr. Collins wasn’t available for consultation.

Hey folks, I’ve been writing this blog for over two years and it’s been a blast. But lately it’s been tiring. I never want this to become something that seems more like a chore or a nuisance. I want to have this blog be able to be an outlet for my creativity, fill a niche of some kind, and continue to support the awesome interactions and conversations that some of the posts have created. I also love nostalgia, cultural artifacts, and most importantly, hate on stuff that is heinously written.

The last thing I want to do is to go on hiatus. I’ve seen other blogs do this promising to return, but they never do. I’m trying to think of ways to keep from doing that. Here are some ideas:

-Start accepting guest posts. Really, in the past I’ve been selfish and wanted this blog to represent my thoughts and my experiences. However, my blog pet peeve is blogs that are not often updated, and other content could prevent that. There are also a ton of old YA books and series about there that I will not get time to read. If you are interested, and I mean seriously interested in contributing something, email me [thedairiburger[at]gmail.com]. I don’t need and actually don’t want an exact recap of every word and every chapter of a book. As long as it’s mean-spirited. Ha!

-Recapping a new form of media.

  • I am a huge fan of the ORIGINAL Degrassi Junior High series, and between the Canadian accents, high drama, and fugly outfits, I could have a field day. Zit Remedy, anyone? Stephanie Kaye for president?
  • I am also considering recapping episodes of Jem and the Holograms, because I actually spent a significant sum of money obtaining the complete series on dvd. I know I had started my Little series blog, but that turned out to be harder than I thought. Maybe because the show is too long. [Shrugs]. I think I will throw some time into that too.
  • Perhaps recapping some craptastic and fairly obscure teen movies of the 80s and 90s. I just watched Satisfaction on my Netflix instant play.

Because I love this survey widget, here ya go.

[Yea, that had no relevance. I just watched all of Season 1 this weekend and I am having a hard time deciding. I think I’m hot for Sam Merlotte.]

on hiatus

Hey everyone, sorry for the no posts, I’ve actually been – gasp!- out of the house a lot with not a lot of time to write. I have no Bachelorette recap this week because unfortunately, I may not be writing them anymore. But we’ll see. Plus, I’m headed out of town for the next week and a half and it is doubtful I’ll do any recaps on the road. Where am I headed? One of my favorite cities, Washington, DC. If this were an SVH super special, Jessica would meet a mysterious handsome stranger who is secretly an international spy and would save her from perishing in a twerrorist act. Then the government would give her a medal and one for Liz for apprehending the nation’s only drug dealer. Liz would also casually be taking the White House tour, and overhear a cabinet meeting about the economy. She would offer her help and be asked to give her unput, and Barack would thank her personally.

ANYWAY Jezebel is one of the best blogs ever, and this BSC reference when talking about sperm whales made my life.

Also, here are some pics from The Campire Diaries Show. Man, is that going to suck. Plus, the cast looks blah. Ian Somerhalder maybe, but isn’t he about 35?

Behave yourselves, don’t get into any motorcycle accidents. I’ll be back in about two weeks with the compelling story of Jennifer Mitchell and John Pfeifer. Who? Exactly.

more blatant self promotion

Please be sure to read and comment (on the film.com site) my recap of The Hills. I am really running out of ways to make fun of it. But I’ll try. Also, the season 5 promos freak me out:

I'm Justin! I'm INTENSE!

Steopphanie looks about 47. And tweaked out of her mind.

ALSO I’m twittering. I know, I’ve jumped on that bandwagon. Follow me if you like: ihatewheat. I will mostly post about stuff I’m watching, listening to, or reading. I promise I won’t post everytime I have a bm’s or every time I inhale oxygen, which some people tend to do.