my heart going boom boom boom

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At this point I think it’s obvious, but Fictional Crushes Week is actually going to be Fictional Crushes Two Weeks, because I quit blogging halfway through last week for no reason at all.  Literally no reason – it’s not like I do anything with my time these days besides absolutely nothing.

Today is going to be Fictional Crushes: BOOKS.

Book crushes are tricky, because I want to share images of these guys but it turns out that none of them will be from picture books so I find myself with a problem.  I’ve decided the solution is to use a mix of fan art (YES THAT’S RIGHT! Gird yourselves for some serious manga-inspired drawings, friends) and where that doesn’t work, pictures of celebrities culled from my imaginary casting couch.

Also fair warning – probably most or all of these will be teenagers.  Maybe you will think that is weird of me, but at least some of the crushes come from when I was a teenager and anyway, I don’t read books with characters older than 20 so…yeah.

My Biggest Literary Character Crushes!!!

  • Atreyu, The Neverending Story – The hugeness of the 13-year-old me’s crush on Atreyu (and I tell you it was HUGE) sort of freaks me out – it probably bordered on genuine insanity, but at I guess if it helped me cope with the torment that was middle school it’s okay?   Atreyu is still a very appealing figure to me (aged in my mind to 28, since we were the same age in 1997 after all) – stoic, brave, loyal, tough, nature-oriented, into saving the environment.  The movie did not do him justice, because he is supposed to be green.  Literally, green.

This fan art-er gets it.

  • Cornelius “Neely” Nolan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – This book is set in early 20th century Brooklyn, and Neely is attired according to the times.  I will be frank: this is how I pictured Neely Nolan and this is why I had a giant crush on him when I read this book even though he’s not a hugely developed character:

Santa Fe, are you there?

  • Nathaniel Eaton, The Witch of Blackbird Pond – First of all, he is described as tall, wiry and blond which was about all it took for me to have a crush on someone when I was 13.  Plus he is funny and friendly and incredibly dependable, and I love how, as a sailor, he exists outside the Puritanical social structures that sometimes make young adult love stories set in pre-Revolutionary New England so unsatisfying (I’m talking to you, Bridie of the Wild Rose Inn by Jennifer Armstrong).  Also he is hard to find a picture of, since there are no fan arts and googling “cute blond colonial man” gave me nothing (I genuinely tried that).  You must therefore picture him as some combination of Heath Ledger in The Patriot and Ryan Gosling as Young Hercules.

Mostly Gosling, with the outfit on Ledger

  • Peeta Mellark, The Hunger Games – I love how he retained such a genuine sweetness in the midst of such a brutal world, but he did it without seeming like a naive fool.  That is a difficult line to walk and the boy with the bread does it perfectly.

hehehe. so cute, the boy with the bread.

  • Captain Wentworth, Persuasion – An adult at last and another sea-faring man!  I quote for you: “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.”  I mean, sigh, am I right?

Even after Anne lost her bloom…

Also, it bears mentioning that I designed that Captain Wentworth using THIS REGENCY HERO DRESS UP DOLL interactive thing and it was the single funnest ten minutes I’ve spent in awhile.  (Sad life?)

  • Ron Weasley, Harry Potter – I cannot really put why I love Ron so much into words.  He uses inappropriate humor to try to diffuse tense situations and he’s always eating, which are things I like.  He’s funny and for the most part he is incredibly loyal and I love a ginger and I dunno what it is, but my collection of homemade Ron Weasley t-shirts are certainly a testament to the fact that this crush is for real.  (p.s. SO MANY Ron Weasley fan arts to choose from!!!)

I picked this because it’s one of my favorite small moments!

  • Sean Kendrick, The Scorpio Races – Sean Kendrick is 19, which feels very significantly less weird than having a crush on someone who is 16 especially since he is frequently described as “the oldest 19 year old” anyone in the story seems to have ever met.  He cuts a very romantic figure – all sharp features, strong and silent, with “one foot on land and another in the sea” (I seem to really have a thing for sea-faring men, yeah?) and he is very talented at riding the horse-monsters, which is what this book is about.  READ IT because it is totally good.  Also, I cannot help but picture Sean Kendrick in an Irish fisherman’s sweater, which is one of my favorite ways to picture men.

This is a fair-ish representation of the Sean Kendrick in my head, but for the preternaturally long neck.

  • Eugenides (“Gen”) – The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, etc. – Gen is a mix of humor, intensity, and cleverness.  He is deeply flawed and yet completely winsome.  He is written and developed BRILLIANTLY by Megan Whalen Turner throughout the series of books that may just be my favorite books of all time.  There are things I want to say about Gen that would be too spoiler-y, so just trust me that he’s the greatest and then go on and read those books yourself because did I mention that they are possibly my favorite books of all time?

Favorite. Books. Ever. Maybe.

You know when you’re like, wait, it’s after 2:00 PM right now?!?  And you realize that literally all you’ve done today is write this ridiculous blog post, brew and drink a cup of coffee and try on all your clothes?

That’s when you know it’s time for a burrito.  And also maybe a shower.

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Pressing Questions About the Future

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Two things inspired this week’s theme, which is Conversations With My Younger Self.

1. I read this young adult book called The Future of Us.  It was about two teenagers in 1996 who log onto AOL for the first time and are magically made privy to their 32-year-old Facebook profiles.  I mostly enjoyed the book for its 1996 references; can I get a hand up if you ever danced your last slow dance at a middle school dance to “End of the Road” by BoyzIIMen?  I bet you did!!!

2. This video, which is entirely brilliant.  I wish this guy had been my BFF when we were twelve and also still now:

So since I read that book/watched that video, I have been imagining conversations with my imaginary 17-year-old self (who is, I guess, not exactly imaginary but you know…) on all topics from dating to my job to where I live to how I live.

This is my favorite faux-conversation I’ve had, and one which I genuinely believe 17-year-old me would have brought up very early on in our exchange.

To preface this conversation, you need to know that in the year 2000 for about five weeks Burger King had this special called the X-treme Double Cheese Burger.  Described in a press release I just found online as “monstrously huge and obscenely loaded with cheese,” the X-treme Double Cheeseburger featured, “1/2 pound of juicy, flame-broiled beef; two slices of Monterey Jack cheese; two slices of Cheddar; and a zesty cheese sauce topped with tomatoes, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.” I am just now learning it contained over a thousand calories and about 60% of those calories came from fat.

I ate like three X-treme Double Cheeseburgers a week for the duration of their existence, is something you need to know before this starts.  Yeah.

Yeah.

The conversation goes something like this:

17-Year-Old-Me: Does Burger King ever bring back the X-treme Double Cheeseburger?

Me: Nope, pretty sure not.

17-Year-Old-Me: Man, that sucks!

Me: I guess.

17-Year-Old-Me: You “guess”?!?!  X-treme Double Cheeseburgers were, like, SO delicious!  I miss them.  I miss them SO MUCH.

Me: Wow, you really do don’t you?  They were pretty disgusting and really bad for you, you know.

17-Year-Old-Me: Whatever.  At least Burger King still sells jalepeno poppers.

Me: Well, they actually discontinued those too. That’ll happen soon – like within the next year or so.

17-Year-Old-Me: WHAT!?!?!  How could they?  Jalepeno poppers are the BEST THING EVER!

Me: It seems bad now, I know, but I have some encouraging news.

17-Year-Old-Me: Yeah?

Me: You don’t eat fast food any more.

17-Year-Old-Me: What does that mean?

Me: You quit going to fast food restaurants.

17-Year-Old-Me: I don’t understand.

Me: You haven’t had fast food more than a small handful of times in the past two years, and even then you only have fries and milkshakes, never meat.

17-Year-Old-Me: But….why?

Me: Well, you try pretty hard to eat healthy and you don’t believe in eating meat that comes from unethical sources.

17-Year-Old-Me: …..

Me: You know, like, factory farms.  Meat that’s not raised in humane and sustainable conditions.  You try to only eat meat of known provenance, because you believe it is better for the world that way.

17-Year-Old-Me: But….but…Burger King is delicious.  So is McDonald’s.

Me: Yeah, and in about a year you’ll discover how delicious Taco Bell is, too.  But it doesn’t matter, because you have PRINCIPLES now.

17-Year-Old-Me: That sounds pretty stupid.  I want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers and I will always want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers.

Me: And I’m telling you, you will not.  You will someday come to realize that living a way that is commensurate with your values is more important to you than chicken nuggets and other fast food.  You believe that the factory farm system is evil and you are always talking to people about your decision to eat ethically produced meats whenever possible to try to convince them to join the fight!

17-Year-Old-Me: You sound like a huge asshole;  I like chicken nuggets.

Me: Well, I think you sound like an asshole.  Don’t you care where your food comes from?  Some things are more impor-

17-Year-Old-Me: CHICKEN NUGGETS!  CHICKEN NUGGETS! CHICKEN NUGGETS!

aaaand scene.

Jalapeno poppers were so APPETIZING. How could BK ever discontinue them? Also no pictures of the Xtreme Double Cheeseburger seem to exist. Tragic.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

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Happy Pride and Prejudice Week!

I have been trying to make my way through P&P on DVD for the last three nights, but I keep falling asleep.

It’s pretty pathetic, actually, because it isn’t even the kagillion-hour Firth I’m attempting, just the regular-feature-film-length Knightley.  Lately though (and maybe this is symptomatic of adulthood or maybe I have TV-induced narcolepsy) I cannot make it past five minutes of any TV or movie if I am laying down.

I’m hoping to make it all the way tonight.  To “I love…I love…I love you” and beyond.

Since all this Pride and Prejudice has been getting subliminally pumped into my brain right as I have been right on the edge of dreamland, the story has been very seriously on my mind lately.   Hence its place as my theme this week.

Now, on the subject of Pride and Prejudice: is it my favorite Austen?

Officially, no.

Persuasion is so romantic, what with with all its seasides, yearning, and sexy love-letter-writing.  I can relate to Anne Elliot, who’s a bit of an old maid at 27; I live in constant fear of Losing my Bloom.  It also happens to be (I am pretty sure) the shortest Austen.

These factors combine to make it totes my fave.

At the same time, Persuasion has nothing like the cult surrounding Pride and Prejudice.  No satisfactory film versions have been made of it, nor has it been retold in a million modern versions the way P&P has been.

(I mean Prada and Prejudice and Prom and Prejudice are both things that happened, after all)

No other Austen can beat Pride and Prejudice in terms of participation in a fandom, and for that reason it will always remain my sentimental favorite, if not my “I like the book best” favorite.

Now that you know that important bit of information, I better wrap this up.  I will fall asleep before Lady Catherine de Bourgh can utter a single THUS if I do not get this show on the road.  Look forward to more P&P-cult-fandom type nonsense in the days to come though!  I’m EXCITED!