Sunday, February 26, 2012

The School for Dangerous Girls

I haven't written too much about grad school, but I'm currently enrolled in the Library & Information Science program at Dominican University. I've generally liked all my classes so far (except for cataloging, which I hated), but I'm really loving my classes this semester. One of the classes is Reader's Advisory, which is teaching us how to recommend books to people. How do you not love that? Every week we read a book in a different genre and post about it on a class blog. Check it out at RA763 if you want to find something new to read. The stuff posted there is mostly about why the book would appeal to someone looking for a book in that genre, so I figured I would write broader reviews on this blog. Warning: thar be spoilers.

Last week we had to read a suspense novel. Think John Grisham and the like. I'm not a big fan of that genre...I mean, I like suspense, but not the OMG THE CLOCK IS TICKING AND THE BAD GUYS ARE CLOSING IN GO GO GO variety. I asked Trench to lend me something, so he gave me an Elmore Leonard book. I was bored in two chapters. I only had a week to read something, so I decided to look for a YA novel with suspense in it. I found "The School for Dangerous Girls" on Novelist, like a good library student. It was perfect for the assignment and I breezed through it on my Nook in a weekend.

Fifteen year old Angela is troublemaker  and her parents have had enough of it. To get her away from her older boyfriend, she gets sent to Hidden Oak, a school for troubled girls hidden away in the mountains of Colorado. Angela makes two very different friends...Carmen, sweet and quiet, and Juin, loud and brash. After the first month, girls begin getting sorted into different groups. The gold thread is for girls that show hope of changing their dangerous ways, while the purple thread is for the girls the school deems to be lost causes (but don't want to just expel because then they would lose their parents tuition money). Carmen is put into the gold thread and Juin is put into the purple thread. Angela walks the line, but ultimately is thought to be just smart enough to go gold. After finding herself with the "good girls", Angela can't stop asking about what happened to the purple thread, which is a big no no, and she's severely punished for it. This just makes her more curious, until she finds a way to contact Juin and finds out that the purple thread girls have been left to fend for themselves Lord of the Flies-style in an abandoned gym, and are punished harshly for trying to escape. Angela, Juin and Carmen figure out the school's dark past and find a way to stage a rebellion and bring down the school for good.

During Angela's counseling sessions, her psychiatrist tells her that her problem is that she only acts on what she wants that minute rather than what would make her happy the next day. If Present Angela wants to run away with her boyfriend, she will do it without a thought to whether Future Angela will be as happy about it. At the end of the book, Angela has to choose between the quick getaway with Juin, which she knows will end badly because there's nowhere for her to go and Juin is kind of crazy, or staying behind with Carmen and helping to bring down the school (or possibly stay trapped there if things go wrong). Angela's arc is complete when she chooses Carmen.

What goes wrong: (SPOILERS HERE!) The girls are winning! Incriminating tapes have been found! The evil staff is outnumbered! Angela takes off for civilization with her sexy love interest (sigh...there had to be a love interest, even though it was unnecessary and lame), and he warns her that this still might not go well. The authorities rarely listen to girls like her, and they might side with the school no matter what's on the tapes. The final chapter is the epilogue, which takes place two months later. Angela and the dude return to the school, where the rest of the girls are.

Angela: It all totes worked out, just like I knew it would! How do you like my haircut?

Seriously, that was the ending. Everything wrapped up beautifully with a big fluffy bow on it, and no one even mentioned what happened to Juin after she escaped with the teacher she seduced (yup).

If I have to give it a grade, I'll give it a B-. If you like YA novels that are fast paced and suspenseful, give it a read.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day: What I've Learned From Seven Years In the Beauty Industry

  • Everyone knows that February 14th is Valentine's Day...but February 13th is V-Day for the mistress. Good to know that as the wife, you retain all rights to the 14th, but if you're ever feeling suspicious, find out what your husband is doing February 13th.
  • A popular service at the spa on V-Day is a Couples Massage, where you and your partner get massages in the same room together. Massage therapists hate the couples massage because rather than being romantic, it's just a way for control freak couples to make sure their partner isn't getting a happy ending. One partner will keep craning his/her neck to make sure his/her significant other isn't enjoying the massage too much. Also, massage therapists will usually spend the whole time making goofy faces at each other and trying not to crack up. 
  • Also, if the couples massage you are booked cancels at the last minute or doesn't show at all, it's safe to assume that they broke up.
  • As an esthetician, you are almost more likely to work on ladies who are single and decide to treat themselves to a facial or a waxing.
  • (Please, I beg of you, don't snicker at the word "facial". The joke is less funny when it's your profession. How would you like it if I snickered every time you mentioned that you had a "conference call" or "power point"?)
  • V-Day only registers for the newly in love. Those who are married or have been in a relationship for a really long time are all, "Huh? It's Valentines Day? Whatever. I guess we'll order in sushi or something."
  • If you are a gentleman booking a day of spa services for your girlfriend, please spare the staff the embarrassment of booking her name as "Dreamgirl." And then forcing everyone to call her "Dreamgirl" the entire day. Yes, that happened.
  • Tip generously. Your esthetician has had to look at a lot of vagina all day, and your massage therapist's hands are going numb.

Friday, February 3, 2012

magic onions!

So recently I learned through the Power of the Internet that if you put the white parts of green onions into a glass of water, they will magically regenerate and you will always have green onions. I figured it was worth a shot, so the next time I used green onions (for miso soup), I put them into a small glass of water. And lo and behold!
 I took that picture last week so the onions are even taller now and ready to be sliced up the next time I'm peckish. Never ending onions! Thank you, Internet! Now I have to those of you who have green thumbs have any other tips like this? Is there another vegetable that will magically regenerate if I put it in a glass of water? As crafty as I can be, I've never been able to get into gardening because I make plants die.

In other cooking news, I managed not to succumb to the siren song of sushi takeout, and made myself a quick soup. Can of white beans, onions and red bell peppers that were already chopped up and leftover from another dinner, a whole head of garlic (yeah, that's right), can of green chiles, veggie broth. Boil, simmer, eat. I like it when it's simple.