Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Monday, January 29, 2007

You'd Make a Wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts

Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. I loved Inigo. And as cute and charming and heroic as Westley was, I never quite went for him. I mean, after all, the dink fell for Buttercup- a more useless wimpy character I've never seen.

I hated Buttercup.

Use the dagger on herself after the wedding she didn't want? Screw that. Use it on the Prince and make sure he won't have a wedding night, if you catch my drift.

But anyway- as I said, I loved Inigo. The image of a little boy seeing his father killed; growing up studying relentlessly so he'd have the skills to avenge the death; and overcoming mortal wounds to finally kill the murderer. Okay, so maybe he wasn't the sharpest sword in the shop, he still fascinated me.

At the end of the movie, I couldn't care less what Buttercup and Westley did with their HEA. I wanted to see Inigo with his new adventures as the Dread Pirate Roberts.

We own the movie, and watch it at least once a month. The latest viewing had me chortling over my favorite line, naturally, Inigo's: (after hearing Vizzini cry 'Inconceivable!' for the 3rd or 4th time) "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." But then I started thinking. There are very few times in movies that I root for the hero. Sidekicks rule. And as dedicated a romance reader as I am, I have to admit it's happened in books quite a bit, too. So many times the sidekick will get the job done when the hero can't. I always manage to get so invested in them I get frustrated when they don't get as much airtime. Or pagetime, as the case may be.

I don't imagine I'm alone in this, because many a romance series has been built on the sidekicks we all fall for. Haven't you ever read a passage giving you a tiny glimpse into a second stringer's heart and thought, Oh, yeah. Sequel fodder. If you read Julie Garwood's The Secret, you just knew sidekick Brodick Buchanan was going to have his own story.

What about you? Do sidekicks do it for you, too?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Titles That Will Make You Twitch

Harlequin Presents.

Need we say more?

A Virgin for the Taking

Robyn: Which is sooo much better than a virgin for the sacrificing.
Missie: Um, I'm this a Viking novel? Or maybe medieval Scotland? No? Mmm, kay. Got nothing then.

The Forced Bride

Robyn: I can't tell if he's backing her up against a park bench or a radiator.

Missie: That title, combined with the author's name, just gives me the willies.

The Italian Millionaire's Virgin Wife

Robyn: Thank you for letting me know his nationality and financial status right in the title. I'm sure it never would have come up anywhere in the book.

Missie: All the virgins I know totally wear slinky red dresses and let guys carry them. It's like in the rules of the club or something.

The French Count's Pregnant Bride

Robyn: Since she's obviously not a virgin, I suppose the Count's not as good at this as the Italian Millionaire.

Missie: Did the French Count Nair his chest or is he just now going through puberty?

Pregnancy of Passion

Robyn: As opposed to Pregnancy of Test Tube? Pregnancy of Passed Out After Jello Shots?

Missie: Mommy, why are there naked people on our Christmas tree ornament?

Blackmailed by Diamonds, Bound by Marriage

Robyn: I don't need to read the book now, right? The title told me everything.

Missie: Not to be confused with Embezzled by Emeralds, Bound by Handcuffs.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

These Ladies Have No Friends

Or at least none that would tell them what they really look like. We've wondered what causes excessive catty snarkiness around award show fashion, and we've decided its a big honkin' case of schadenfreude. I mean, when we have a big night out, we go shopping for a new dress...but can't get the shoes AND the clutch, unless we settle for that other dress that's only okay, but then if we get the wonderful clutch we can't get our hair done, so maybe the shoes we have at home will work, and we can get the perfect dress, the clutch, hair AND nails. When we finally get the financial wizardry done and go home, we have to put on panty hose while removing toddlers from our legs and apply make-up in stages while making arrangements for the babysitter to be picked up when her ride falls through and ordering pizza for them all to eat and figuring out what to say when our darlings choose that moment to ask where babies come from.

So we think we're entitled to a little unholy joy when a woman is a jillionaire who doesn't have to say no to anything, has unheralded access to designers and stylists and glam squads, an army of nannies and flunkies to take care of domestic issues, and teams of P.R. people whose job it is to make sure she doesn't make an idiot of herself, shows up at internationally televised events looking and acting like this:

Robyn: We are in mortal peril of finding out if she got a Brazilian before the show.
Missie: Note that fell from Beyonce's clutch while walking the red carpet:
"Dear Beyonce, Just wanted to let you know that your Pap smear came back negative. Don't forget to schedule your yearly exam next January. Sincerely, Your OB/Gyn".

Robyn: Angie, I know children are starving in Africa. You didn't have to wear a shroud.
Missie: You can't read it, but her tattoo is cussing you out.

Robyn: Justin is NOT worth losing your mind for. Come away from the ledge.
Missie: She reminds me of my crazy aunt who thought she found the Crown Jewels in her closet.
(Snarkling Clean editorial note: Missie's not kidding.)

There were more, but we can't take it. For the love of Pete, please listen to your stylists. Or fire them. Whatever. Just so you starlets have an example of how to do it right and rock it no matter what your age:

Robyn: I so want to be her when I grow up.
Missie:I want to be Helen Mirren now!

And just because we want to:

Robyn: YUM!

Missie: Now that is something I could look at for a solid 24, that's for sure!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Book Pimpage!

We here at Snarkling Clean have a couple of good friends- regular commenters who are celebrating their newest releases! We wanted to give them a big hand, and encourage you to give them some linky-love and check them out. And hey, they're both medieval. Can't go wrong there. We haven't read them yet but we can't wait.

December Quinn's The Black Dragon is available now. She has a short story in an anthology and another release as well. You go girl!

Michelle Willingham's Her Irish Warrior will be be available May 2007, but I think you can pre-order it on Amazon. Michelle, we're giving you a smiley face on your paper!
Congrats, ladies!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sunrise, Sunset...

Today is my son's eleventh birthday.

For the past week, I have been buying, hiding, and wrapping presents, getting miscellaneous cheap toys and candy ready for the goody bags, calling hither and yon to make sure the cake is ordered, the pizza will be delivered, etc etc etc, in preparation for his big party on Friday night. All the while thinking...and remembering...and dreaming...and crying.

Twelve years ago, I was 24. Young, idealistic, madly in love with my husband of three years. We talked about having a family and how we'd like to maybe get pregnant around September sometime. Then the baby would be born in the summer, and wouldn't that be great? Um, yeah. First parenting decision that wouldn't happen like we thought it would. We got pregnant in April. Right after our anniversary. Two weeks after me starting a new job. With new insurance. Yeah.

I remember in mid-May feeling very tired all the time. I couldn't get enough sleep or drink enough caffeine to keep me halfway functioning while I was awake. I was only about a week late for my period so I wasn't thinking that this fatigue could be caused by SOMETHING! IMPORTANT! A friend of mine said one day, "Well, are you pregnant?" Light bulb went on...Duh? Could I be? Well, I suppose. But see, we were planning to get pregnant in September, remember? So off I went to buy the pregnancy test that very day at lunch time. My husband was at home for lunch that day too, so while he was resting on our bed, I went into the bathroom and took the test. I remember coming out and sitting down by him and saying, "What are we gonna do if it's positive?"
His response: It's not positive.
Me: How do you know?
Him: I just do.
My man? Is currently working for the Psychic Friends Network.
So after the three minute waiting period, I went to check. There were two lines. And they were pink. Now, I don't mean faintly pink. I don't mean a pastelly pink that could possibly mean yes or no. I mean, two neon pink lines that could be seen from space. I grabbed the test and brought it out to Him Who Is Still Lying On The Bed And Not Acting Like Our World Is About To Change Forever And Ever Amen. I was laughing and crying and shaking, waving the test around like a magic wand, and babbling, "Honey, look! It's positive! We're pregnant!"
His response: It's Not Positive.
Me: Whaaa?
Him: What do the two pink lines mean?
Him: Nuh-huh.
Me: (getting really mad now) Yes, huh!
Him: Did you do the test right?
Me: Honey, I had to pee on a stick. If I didn't do the test right, I have no business reproducing.

(sidenote: Approximately 8.5 yrs later, when I got pregnant the second time? He again asked me if I did the test right. Apparently, he thinks my mental status may have declined in the interim.)

At the ultrasound when we were going to find out what our little person was, I just had this knowing, this maternal instinct that I had heard so much about...I KNEW I WAS HAVING A GIRL! Because, see, here's the deal. Of course God would give me a girl first because hello? I am a girl. I know about girl stuff. I would have so much fun with a girl. I could dress her all in pink and take her shopping and paint her nails and she would look just like I did as a child. Oh, what fun my girl and I would have.

(sidenote: Alison? Looks nothing like me. Not even remotely. The End.)

Imagine my surprise when the tech said, "You are having a boy." No way, I said. Did you do the test right? The tech looked at me and said, "I don't know that I have ever seen a little guy who is so intent on showing us exactly who he is during an ultrasound." My son. The exhibitionist. So. Okay. Yeah. A boy. I am going to have a little boy. What do I know about little boys? Nothing! They are loud and sticky and noisy and like dirt and frogs and trucks, and Oh, Lord, what were You thinking?

Can I just tell you what He was thinking? He was thinking He would bless me in spite of myself, that's what He was thinking.

Let me tell you a little about my boy.

My boy is intelligent. Not only book smart, but common sense smart. He doesn't always use the common sense portion of our program, but it's there. I have seen it. He gets honor roll grades, has a 98% in spelling for the year, and is a voracious reader. He has written about four books that are actually very good. Mom just needs to find a publisher now. He also did about 38 illustrated books about an alien named...well, Alien...before he could even write. The stories chronicle Alien's adventures with his friends and cousins. And draw? This kid can draw like nobody's business. A talent he did not get from his mother.

My boy is funny. His sense of humor and dry wit are far beyond his years. He can make adults laugh with his jokes, and that is saying something. (Not that he doesn't enjoy the usual fart/burp/vomit variety of humor that most boys his age are into, mind you. He's all over that too.) While watching the Sugar Bowl with the whole family, he quips during a commercial for chips, "Oh yeah, it's Tostitos that brings us all together. Because no way would we be spending time with each other if not for chips!" You have to admit, that's funny.

My boy is sweet. A few weeks ago, I was having a very rough day. We are talking run away from home and return when the kids are 18 kind of day. I told Zach, "Look, Bub. I am feeling really stressed right now. I am trying to control my temper and my words, but just know that if I snap at you or sound mad, I am not. I am just really tired and need a time out myself." He goes into his room and returns a few minutes later with his wallet. "Mom, how much are the drinks at Starbucks that you like so much?" So I told him. "Mom, here's five dollars. I want you to go there tomorrow while I am at school and get yourself whatever you want. You need a little treat." (I am tearing up while typing this.) He does stuff like that all the time.

He takes care of his sister for me when I need to do something around the house. He plays with her and can make her laugh like no one else can. Even though he calls her Hobbit or The Little Stench, his love for her shines through his irritation. He's a good boy.

My boy is a goober. This kid is so goofy sometimes. It is so fun to watch him and his friends just be boys. And he and his dad? The biggest set of goobers ever to roam free on the planet. They've watched Napoleon Dynamite about 57.2 times and quote the lines back and forth to each other. They wrestle on the floor and tickle fight and make funny guy noises. They play GameCube and go to thrift stores and target shooting and hiking and generally have a lot of fun together. They can sing the SpongeBob Goofy Goober song so realistically that you think the yellow guy is standing in the living room.

But my boy is so much more than what I have listed here. He is my light, my heart, my world. He is the second best thing that has ever happened to me. His existence gives me a purpose I was lacking and a joy that is all-encompassing. I had no idea that it was possible to love another human being that much, to have that little person's happiness be my number one priority, to have his pain rip my heart clean out of my chest. I worried when I was pregnant with Alison that maybe I wouldn't love her as much as I did Zachary, because seriously? Can one heart produce that much love? Um, yeah. It can. And after seeing Zachary interact with her? The crazy love I had for him multiplied about a billion times over and combined with my love for her and my love for my husband and now I am just one big gushy heart full of mushy mommy love. (Except for when they tick me off.)

So, happy birthday, Maynard. Or Bub. Or Mister. Or SB or Zman or Zachmeister or Zachary Scissors or Zaccheus or any of the other fifty bajillion nicknames we've given you over the last eleven years. But the one name I will always be so thankful to call you by is Mine. I love you, little dude.

Shout Out, Peeps!

Did you guys know that it is National Delurking Week? Huh, huh, didya? Stop by, say hi, and just let us know you are out there.

Because we like you. And we want you to like us. And invite us over for playdates and let us come to your birthday parties and hang out at recess with you and stuff.

This is my daughter, showing you how we say "What up, homies?" in Idaho. Which would be in a pretty dress with clashing bracelets and bare feet. Because we're all street like that.

If you don't leave a comment....

I will be forced to scrunch my face up even further in the next picture. And it won't be pretty.

I'm not playing here.


Comment now...

Or else....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Random Meanderings

You ever feel that your best posts are behind you? Especially if you spend most of your time fighting with Blogger and you have no idea how the post is actually going to look until you post it?

Sometimes I think I should write about writing, but so many people do that better than I. Or I should wax poetic about spiritual issues, but I don't want to get pedantic on a mostly humorous blog. I've got plenty of Mommy material, but do you have any idea how many Mommy bloggers there are on the internet? About 12 parsecs. (Geeky Star Wars in-joke. Groan or snort through your braces if you got it.) And romance review sites are growing like ticks at a Cub Scout camp.

Of course, there's always cover snark.

If you can't write a good joke about John DeSalvo's radioactive pants, there's something wrong.

And just when I think I should pen a thoughtful piece on the state of the world, I realize I'd much rather ask Which Discovery Channel Host Would You Snog?

Butch Brit Bear Grylles from Man Vs. Wild
Adorable supergeeks Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters
It Takes A Thief's dashing burglars Matt Johnston and Jon Rainey
Hunky-hunky-but-must-smell-funky Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs

I could do celebrity snark:

"Why exactly am I up here, again?"

But as I said, it's being done better.

At times I think I must be captivating, charming, and witty. At other times I find myself a victim of terminally arrested development. Do you ever feel like a living dichotomy, someone who can appreciate impressionist art and Verdi but still giggles at the poor schmucks who get whacked in the golden globes by their kids aiming for the pinata on America's Funniest Home Videos? Who am I?

Wow, that was slightly introspective. One might even say, kind of deep. I'm impressed. And totally sure that most of the pithy comments from my intelligent friends will include the votes for Most Shaggable Discovery Host. Which is why I like you all so much. You're like me. Flexible enough to appreciate both sides of life. We get serious when we need to, but most of the time we're Easy Like Sunday Morning.

Did you hear that, Mike? I'm eaaaaasy. Mee-oww. But take a shower first.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dear Me

The first cover of 2007. The cover isn't necessarily that bad, although shades of Christopher Walken's Continental come to mind (can't you just hear him offering you some sham-pan-yay?) But the title simply begs for it:
Tame Me

Robyn: Rescue me.
Missie: Spare me.
Robyn: Hide me.
Missie: Gag me.
Robyn: Save me.
Missie: Shoot me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Day of Grace

That girl, in the foreground? In the black and green dress with the green ribbon sash? That, my friends, is the most beautiful girl in the world. My daughter, Beth.

This Proud Mommy Moment is brought to you courtesy of a little annual school shindig called Hanging of the Green. She and the other well-dressed kids are waiting to perform their green-hanging duties, which consist of choirs and bands and cute boys in ties holding said greens escorting gorgeously gowned girls carrying candles. It's a very pretty little ceremony, and participation only comes through fierce competition.

Essays. Usually the bane of any kid's life, this essay posed a (gasp!) interesting question: If you could declare another national holiday, what would it be? Beth's idea- The Day of Grace.

On that day, you could talk to, have lunch with, or hang with anyone you wanted to without fear of reprisals from your usual peer group. A goth could talk to a preppy. A geek could hang with a jock. A rich kid could laugh with a poor one. Anyone, from any race, religion, class, or social status could make friends from a different clique without losing the ones they already had.

A beautiful idea from a beautiful girl. Honestly, sometimes I just have to pick my jaw up off the floor as I ponder the fact that I actually gave birth to this amazing kid. To pick up on the frustration of Junior High social structure is easy.

You belong in Slot A. Do not go to Slot B, or your former Slot A friends will shun you. And don't even consider Slot C. They will not accept you without a lengthy application process.

But to come up with such an intelligent, innovative solution? That takes a big brain and a big heart.

That's my girl.