Monday, August 27, 2012

Bad Romance, Part Two

First of all, THANK THE LORD ABOVE that there are only two of these NKOTB romance novels, because I. Can't. Stop. Reading. Them.

The Boys from The Block and at least a hundred wayward apostrophes are back in book number two: "Second Chances." It picks up right where the first book left off, with BFTB fans Shelby and Kaye engaged to Donnie/Dean and Danny/David. Shelby is excited, but Kaye is depressed. Who can blame her? She's the main character in a New Kids on the Block fantasy romance novel, and she ends up with Danny? That's rough.

Kaye breaks up with Danny/David (whew!) and runs off to Cabo San Lucas, unaware that this is where the "sexy, dream-come-true of a man" Jonathan Knight Joshua Hite lives when he's not on tour with BFTB. Kaye  happens to run into Josh/Jon, who invites her to a party at his private villa, where he reveals shocking news: He's not really gay after all!

OK, I don't care how many bad apostrophes this author uses. I am totally on board with her now.

Kaye and non-gay Josh/Jon fall in love, but they know they can never act on their feelings because it will hurt Danny/David and break up the group. Blah blah blah, Kaye hangs out at Joey McIntyre's Jake McKenzie's opulent Beverly Hills mansion for a while, trying to decide which group member she loves more. Blah blah blah, the women end up at the group's hotel while they're on tour. Kaye and non-gay Josh/Jon realize they can no longer control their feelings for each other and give in to a night of very non-gay frenzied passion. David/Danny discovers what they've done and freaks out and threatens to break up the group. Oh my God, no!!

Blah, blah, blah, a bunch of stuff happens at Josh/Jon's stately New England mansion (mostly non-gay passion, but also some sledding with Jared/Jordan), and then ... big drama! Josh/Jon pushes David/Danny out of the way of a crazy stalker fan with a knife, despite the fact that he (Josh/Jon) was right in the middle of an anxiety attack. (Because we all saw the episode of Oprah where Jon Knight talked about his anxiety disorder, right?) The group is saved! David/Danny forgives Josh/Jon and goes back to his ex-wife!

In the end, Shelby marries Donnie/Dean at Josh/Jon's private villa in Cabo San Lucas. Donnie/Dean wears his Red Sox cap and serenades her with a medley of BFTB hits, and she reveals she is pregnant with his baby, for real this time. And Kaye and non-gay Josh/Jon also live happily ever after!

Wow. I am considering e-mailing the author to find out if she's going to write any more of these. I'm not even being sarcastic. In the meantime, I need to check out something intellectual from the library to cleanse my brain.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bad Romance

I don't read trashy romance novels. Really, I don't. I'm not saying that I'm sitting around reading Dickens, but my tastes are usually, say, somewhere below Dickens but above Twilight on the trash-o-meter. Not that I didn't read all of the Twilight books -- because I did. But usually the books I read are generally right around Oprah's-book-club level. Mostly mainstream stuff that you find on the "staff recommendations" shelf at Barnes and Noble. Mostly non-trashy.

All of that changed a few days ago when had a "recommendation" for me. It based this recommendation on some New Kids on the Block merchandise that somebody purchased using my account. I think my account was hacked. By magical elves. So that the elves could pre-order the new NKOTB biography that's going to be released Oct. 2. Or so I'm speculating.

The recommendation was a trashy romance novel called "Second Time Around", but I'm confused as to why Amazon thought I would like it. It was clearly not about The New Kids on the Block in any way. I mean, the name of the band in the book is "The Boys From the Block." And they don't have a hit song called "Hangin' Tough." It's called "Tough Enough." And the bad-boy member is absolutely, most certainly not Donnie Wahlberg. His name is "Dean Waldon."

I have to admit I was horrified and intrigued at the same time. Before I knew it, the magical elves had hacked my account again, and the book was downloaded onto my Kindle for $2.99. The elves forced me to read the entire thing. And now I'm here to tell you all about the book so you don't have to read it yourselves, or even hire elves to read it for you. You're welcome.

The first thing I learned about trashy romance novels is they don't require correct grammar, spelling, or punctuation. The author loved to fling apostrophes around with wild abandon. I tried counting them, but gave up around the 20-ish mark. (The worst offender: "Pilate's") She also liked to use "you're" instead of "your" and talked about the Donnie character's many "movie rolls".  But I quibble. Who cares about grammar when you have a story this good?

The main character is a late-30s-ish single mom named Shelby, who is obsessed with The Boys From The Block. Shelby just got divorced from her husband, Chad. Although we're told that Chad has "blonde hair, chocolate brown eyes, an athletic build and wonderful smile", we also know that Chad is Evil because a) he cheated on Shelby with their dog's veterinarian and b) he haaaaaaates The Boys From the Block and is always saying mean things about them. Boo, Chad!

Shelby's best friend is Kaye, a fancy, sassy lawyer who has been so busy being fancy and sassy all these years that she's never managed to land a husband. Julia Roberts will play Kaye in the movie version, and the women sitting behind me will repeat everything she says. Kaye is also obsessed with The Boys From The Block, but in a fancy, sassy way.

It turns out that Kaye's newest client at the fancy, sassy law firm is, of course, Jordan Knight Jared Hite, a "sinfully handsome" member of BFTB. (Side note: Jordan/Jared is married, but his wife is Evil.) Jordan/Jared gives Kaye two tickets to a concert, plus backstage passes. Backstage, Shelby encounters Donnie Wahlberg Dean Waldon, the BFTB member with whom she's been scarily obsessed in love for 20-some years. Their eyes meet. They go dancing -- dirty dancing, if you will. Some days later, all five members of BFTB suddenly show up at Shelby's house and she cooks them lasagna and reveals how obsessed she is with them. They all find this hilarious and charming, and not the least bit scary. I will remember this the next time the New Kids show up at my house.

It's during the lasagna encounter that Donnie/Dean realizes he's had it with long-legged models and instead is attracted to chunky, boy-band-obsessed stay-at-home moms from the suburbs. (You know this is what the real Donnie Wahlberg is thinking. You know it is.) Shelby and Donnie/Dean begin a dramatic affair, where many, many dramatic things happen: Shelby tells off Donnie/Dean's Evil ex-wife, who is always lurking around. Then the members of BFTB are involved in a dramatic plane crash. It's so upsetting that Shelby rushes to the bathroom and throws up (dramatically), and then begins to wonder if she is pregnant with Donnie/Dean's baby. She's not, and Donnie/Dean recovers from the plane crash injuries and invites Shelby to his opulent mansion in Beverly Hills.

All is well -- and there are many, many more vague sex scenes and long talks about "the relationship" -- until Shelby discovers photos on the Internet of Donnie/Dean dancing  -- dirty dancing, if you will -- at a club with a Playboy model on New Year's Eve. She can't understand that dirty dancing with Playboy models is simply part of his job. You can't tame Dean Walton, Shelby! You can't! No woman can! They break up. Dramatically.

Some time later, Shelby's friends (or, as the author would say, her "friend's") take her to Atlantic City where BFTB are performing. Shelby gets drunk and goes (dirty) dancing at a club with the other four members of the group to make Donnie/Dean jealous. Finally, she ends up dancing (dirtily, of course) drunkenly with Donnie/Dean and confesses her love for him. Blah, blah, blah, more talks about "the relationship", and then Shelby seduces Donnie/Dean by hiding in his cabin on the BFTB cruise ship wearing nothing but a Boston Celtics jersey.

Of course -- of course! -- this prompts Donnie/Dean to propose. And they'll live happily ever after. The end.

I forgot to mention that partway through the book, Kaye (the fancy, sassy lawyer) begins dating BFTB member Danny Wood David Ward, and they also get engaged on the Boys From The Block cruise ship! You just know there is going to be a double-wedding with the other group members serving as groomsmen, and we're going to learn all about it in ... the sequel. Yes. There is an actual sequel to this book. The magical elves are downloading it right now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

When wiener dogs attack

When we were in Rochester last month, my parents took WCK for a walk while Jay and I met with the doctor. They passed by a toy store and ended up purchasing a very realistic-looking stuffed wiener dog that WCK named Hot Dog:

My dad admitted that Hot Dog made him nervous, because when he was a small child he was attacked by a wiener dog. It took me nearly a month to write this on my blog, because I couldn't re-tell the story without breaking down and weeping from laughing so hard. Before you think I'm a cruel daughter, you should know it wasn't a vicious attack. He claimed that he was under an apple tree, jumping up and down trying to get an apple, when the wiener dog started joyfully jumping up and down next to him and ended up scratching him next to his eye. I've known my dad for 37 years, and I never knew that he had a wiener dog trauma in his past. He claims to still have a scar from it, but I couldn't see it. I still believe him, though, because you just can't make that stuff up.

(Sorry. I still have to pause to weep from laughing so hard. It's too soon.)

After he told that story, I suddenly remembered that when I was a kid, our neighbors across the street had a wiener dog named Jimmy. Whenever you'd ring their doorbell, Jimmy would start going "Yip! Yip! Yip!" as viciously as a wiener dog can. I was absolutely terrified of Jimmy. The neighbor girl made fun of me, but now I feel vindicated. I've been carrying the Fear of Wiener Dogs Gene in my blood.

(Sorry. Stopping again to weep.)

WCK, apparently, does not have the Fear of Wiener Dogs Gene, because Hot Dog is her new best friend. For the past month, she's been asking to take him along when we run errands. After careful consideration, Jay and I said no. I mean, look at that dog. It's a very realistic-looking dog. If you saw that dog lying in a car in 106-degree heat, wouldn't you assume that it was a real dog and it was, well, deceased? We pictured people breaking our car windows at Sam's Club, trying to rescue the stuffed dog.

So Hot Dog mostly stays home. The other day, WCK dressed him up and told us his name was Hot D. Word up, Hot D.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Going undercover as a smart person

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman from a web site called Cure Talk who asked me to be a guest panelist in a Serious Medical Discussion about myeloma. Really. Me. In a Serious Medical Discussion. I'm sure that she saw all of the shirtless Bon Jovi photos, and yet she asked me anyway. Maybe she didn't read far enough to see all of the (also shirtless) NKOTB videos. I don't know.

Anyway, the discussion was earlier today. It was a one-hour conference-call-type thing featuring a myeloma specialist named Dr. Ravi Vij of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A group of bloggers on the panel took turns asking questions. I was told there were 25 other people (all myeloma patients, I think) listening in. I was super, super nervous, because I assume the rest of the bloggers on the panel are Serious Medical People who have never theorized that myeloma can be cured through magical Bon Jovi photos. 

Don't worry; I didn't ask the doctor about magical Bon Jovi photos, even though I swear Jon Bon Jovi made my M-spike go down last month. I pretended for a minute that my blog is an Intelligent Blog.

Here is the question I did ask: "I'm a younger myeloma patient -- diagnosed at age 30 -- and I'm wondering if doctors are seeing more young patients, and what is the difference in the treatments they receive, compared to the typical older patient." Or something like that. It's all kind of a blur. 

Here's what I scribbled down in my notes: The doctor said that he does see younger patients more frequently. The youngest he's seen was 18 (!!!!) years old, but he also said that according to "Official Data" the age at diagnosis is actually creeping up. (Really? That is surprising to me.) The biology of the disease in younger patients is not well studied, but younger people tend to do better because they're in better health in the first place and can tolerate the treatments better. He said that the younger you are, the more likely the doctor will bring up the idea of an allogenic (donor) transplant. 

I had another question about whether myeloma will ever be treated without dex, but we ran out of time. Perhaps if nobody discovers the shirtless NKOTB videos, I'll be asked to do it again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Thank you, magical Bon Jovi photo!

My M-spike went back down to 1.5. Everything is perfectly stable and fine. Wow, I'm so glad I didn't spend four weeks completely freaking out about it, because that would have been silly. I should have known that my magical Bon Jovi photo would take care of everything. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Peter Pan: Truly outrageous

The other night we went to a big outdoor theater for a performance of Peter Pan. Technically, the name of the play was not "Peter Pan." It was "Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan! Presented by Beauty Brands: Salon Spa Superstore!" I got a free can of hairspray at the front gate.

The play was great, and WCK really enjoyed it, because Peter Pan is her absolute favorite story/movie/play right now. The woman sitting next to me, however, seemed to be enjoying the play on a whole different level. I couldn't tell if she simply had an obnoxious personality or if she'd visited the margarita cart a few too many times. Maybe both. Every time Peter Pan would say something, Margarita Lady would repeat the line to her friend as though she could not believe Peter Pan just said something so outrageous, and then she'd snort with laughter.

I've witnessed this behavior before, but I thought it was a bizarre phenomenon that only happened during Julia Roberts movies. Every time I see a Julia Roberts movie in the theater, I always end up sitting in front of a group of 50-something women who repeat everything Julia says. Why? Why?!? Is there a curse upon Julia Roberts, and if a 50-something woman does not repeat every word she says, Julia will no longer be sassy and hilarious? Is it sort of like if you say, "I don't believe in fairies" a fairy falls down dead? I think Peter Pan said that. Or maybe it was the woman sitting next to me.

Anyway, WCK and Jay were oblivious to Margarita Lady, but I heard it all. When the crocodile chased Captain Hook across the stage, Margarita Lady exclaimed, "Wow! That guy is good!!" Then she frantically paged through the program, muttering, "Who's playing the crocodile? Who's playing the crocodile?"


Fortunately, Margarita Lady did not return to her seat after intermission. Maybe she couldn't take the excitement anymore, or maybe she was eagerly waiting backstage to meet the actor who played the crocodile. Maybe she was passed out under the inflatable pirate ship in the children's area.

I'll have to imagine where she ended up, because I'm going to write a play based on this incident. I'm planning to call it "The Lady Next to Me is Drunk! Presented by Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix!"