Sunday, July 11, 2010

A new look, and an interactive feature!

You're right: the dramatic title of this post doesn't match the tedious reality.  But as you may have noticed, this half of the Romantoes writing team has been AWOL for awhile, so I needed something to motivate me to get back into the swing of things.

Plus, I was tired of the dark look of the old template, and the annoying sans-serif font.  We'll see how long it takes for me to tire of the "sunshine, lollipops" look of the new template.  It's good for summer, though.

I've also added a couple of new blogs to the blogroll on the right:  my friend Beth recently started a blog, Daily Devil, where she's going to try to post a photograph every day for the next year--a project that Spines over at alt.tedium recently completed (congratulations!).  And I just learned last week that my friend and former student Catherine has been blogging about all things frugal since 1996!  Apparently, she's kept her blogging secret from some of us until just now.  So naturally, I'm going to out her even further by mentioning her blog here, and encouraging you to check it out.  Her blog has advertisers, folks.  Advertisers!

My life over the last few weeks has been consumed by giving four different presentations at three separate teacher institutes in town.  It's the part of my job that's the most exciting, and the most nerve-wracking--working with teachers and trying to encourage them to think about English/Language Arts in new ways.  But because it's the part of my job that I'm most excited and most nervous about, naturally, I overprepared for all four presentations.

The upside is that I learned a lot, too--about Jack tales, Appalachian folk artists, and John Ashbery (the last I could've done without, but--oh well).  The downside is I've gotten very little writing done, either here or on my academic work.  So, consider this also an attempt to push through my writer's block and get the pen back to the paper, virtually speaking.

So, by now you're probably wondering about the interactive feature.  Well, it's this:  last week I bought, on impulse, a miniature Cake Wreck at Kroger's.

It's a doll cake made out of a single cupcake, bathed in icing.  What I found irresistible, besides the seventy-nine cent price tag, was the sultry, sideways glance on the doll's face.  It reminded me of the original Barbie doll, which was much sexier than today's All-American version.

The fact that it had been encased inside an upside-down deli container added to my horrified delight.  How could I resist "Princess Under Glass"?

I think there's a story here, but I'm not feeling clever or inspired enough to come up with one.

So, that's the interactive portion of this post, and the challenge I'd like to put to you, dear readers.  We know you to be a witty and sardonic bunch, so tell me:  what's the story here?  How did this unfortunate creature get trapped inside her plastic dome?  Did she deserve the horrible fate she met when I brought her home?

A postscript...somehow, the doll also reminds me of this book, which I never has as a kid but a neighbor did.  I thought it was just about the creepiest, most perverse thing I'd ever read at the time, but have subsequently met other women my age who read it as girls and loved it.  If you remember it, too, I'd like to know what your thoughts about it were and are.


Jim said...

I hate Ashbery ... I mean I Haight ... oh hell, never mind.

Uncle Wiggily is the archetype of childhood creepiness that haunts my dreams.

Ryan Claycomb said...

1) I can't help but think that you're taking out some Cake-vs.-Pie frustration out on this poor thing. That picture of you and the fork will haunt my dreams tonight.

2) I'm thinking that we've got a real Blanche DuBois thing going on here, with a come hither look at, oh, maybe the Iron Man birthday cake in the next case over. Are you punishing her for her excessive female sexuality by dismantling and devouring her? Or are you trying to garner the talismanic power of her charms? Either way, I'm frankly a little more scared of you than I was before.

Catherine @ Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

Thanks for the mention Rosemary! *shy* (also- since 2006, m'dear- but I was a very frugal teen as well.)

Catheirne @ said...

I just looked at the book, and found it rather terrifying. I used to have this paranoia that all my dolls/stuffed animals came alive when I was not looking, and the book brought it all back. Great. I'll have my therapist forward her bill to you.

Rosemary said...

Jim, I Haight Ashbery, too. And Uncle Wiggly. I thought "Hop on Pop" was your childhood bugaboo?

Ryan: don't tell the pie-man, but I'm more of a cake aficionado, myself (as you can tell by my attack on the poor princess cupcake). Good point about Iron Man, though--I should definitely have looked more closely to see what was in the next case over.

And Catherine, I'm happy to share the trauma of _The Lonely Doll_. Even just looking at those few pictures wigged me out. That Mr. Bear is so, so icky. Probably best if I don't speculate too much about why.

Jane Kokernak said...

Your cupcake maiden is one of a family of princesses -- let's say she has six princess sisters -- and this little one got separated from them on a family outing. She was discovered by a fairy, who loved her so much that placed her in this transparent bell jar to preserve her and protect her from forest animals and leering suitors who were far too old. The hope was that her parents & sisters would retrace their steps and find the beloved girl, called Sunny.

Time unfolded, the world aged, and, although her parents continued to search fruitlessly for her, Sunny stayed the same in her bell jar, waiting. The fairy, who was magical but not perfect, lost interest in the girl and moved away. Before she did, though, she put the girl in a place she thought the parents would find her: A Gallery of Wonders in the local village.

Alas, the parents and princess sisters were not quick enough. Sunny was spotted and grabbed by one of the local creatures who relentlessly prowl, unguarded, through the Gallery of Wonders each day.

The poor girl, but for her beautiful head, were eaten. The head remains as inert as the girl herself was in the bell jar.

Jane Kokernak said...

Not only did I love The Lonely Doll as a kid, I bought it for my children. And then I reread it. The only part that appalls me is the spanking. The rest: I love the miniature world created from toys and other bits and pieces.

I think this book bothers us as adults in ways it would not as children. My kids really liked it, and were not even bothered by the spanking.

P.S. There is also a sequel to this book, but the first is better.

Rosemary said...

Jane, I love your story! Though now I feel guilty: apparently I'm the big bad wolf to the cupcake's Sleeping Beauty/Rapunzel. Fortunately, like the sisters in Bluebeard, she can be put back together again with the addition of another cupcake and some icing!

Re: _The Lonely Doll_--I was *definitely* bothered by the spanking as a kid. I'd even go so far as to say disturbed by it. And I was a kid who got spanked! Still, given current mores, I think it's interesting that *that* page isn't included in the selection at the Google Books link, even though it follows the part that *is* included almost directly, if I remember correctly.

Clearly there's a connection here: maybe I'm using the Yellow Princess to revise _The Lonely Doll_ in order to work out my own psychic dilemmas? ;^)

beth said...

Jane wins in my book! I love the pic of you pulling the torso off of this cake. And thanks for the shout out on Daily Devil. I'm adding you to my blogroll right now (not because I forgot or anything but because I love your blog, and it's new look for summer).

"Princess" Pam said...

Love your new look. And as I've said before, I always wanted one of those doll cakes. I thought they were "dreamy".

Christy said...

I knew you were going to reference 'The Lonely Doll' even before the link took me there! The author was a true nut job. Check out here biography here (it's simplistically written, but worth a read):

Rosemary, I love the new look of the site! Welcome back. As for what got our fair brunette stuck under a clear plastic dome, I've got nothing. I'm just glad you set her free.

Rosemary said...

Christy, thanks for the link. I think I remember hearing about that book when it was first published...may have to check it out. From the info on the Powell's page, it sounds like readers who find the book creepy might be picking up on some weird adult garbage that got stirred into the mix.