PCN Weekend Roundup

Photo: Disney/Pixar

On Friday, I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D (it made $109M over the weekend). You’ve probably seen or heard a lot about it by now so I don’t need to go into detail. I’ll just say, yes, I cried. It reminded me of Christopher Robin telling Pooh he has to leave 100 Acre Wood: “I’m not going to do Nothing any more.” Pooh asks, “Never again?” and Christopher Robin says, “Well, not so much. They don’t let you.” Then he asks, “Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?” And “Action!” on the tears streaming down my face.

That’s pretty much what happens in TS3, as the toys come to terms with Andy going away to college and their losing relevance in his life. Their little CGI faces, especially during a pretty disturbing scene where they hold hands and accept their fate, express more emotional depth than some human actors can muster (*cough, Nicolas Cage, cough*). Saying good-bye to our childhood is hard but if we haven’t done it, we wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate the beauty of this movie. Nerd verdict: Moving Story.

Saturday morning, I finished Cammie McGovern‘s new novel, Neighborhood Watch, after having started it Friday afternoon. It reads like Desperate Housewives, with polite, attractive people living on a bucolic street named after a shrub, hiding secrets in their basements and occasionally committing murder. Betsy Treading, dubbed the Librarian Murderess, is released after being falsely convicted and spending twelve years in prison for killing her neighbor, Linda Sue (not sure about her last name since it says Murphy on the dust jacket but she’s referred to as Linda Sue Nelson in the book). Betsy moves back to Juniper Lane, staying with a friend and looking for the real killer before she can move on.

McGovern has a subtle way of divulging the characters’ secrets that’s quite seductive. Instead of one big revelation, she leaks little tidbits in each chapter, making it seem almost accidental that the information slipped out at all until you realize somewhere near the end you have all the pieces. Many of the characters are flawed but sympathetic and Betsy makes an effective heroine, most touching when she finds a surprisingly tender relationship in an unexpected place. Nerd verdict: Engrossing Watch.

From L: me, Juliet, Sue Ann, Sophie, Travis

My favorite nerd experience this weekend was seeing the dynamic duo of Juliet Blackwell and Sophie Littlefield at their Mystery Bookstore joint signing in Westwood. Blogger extraordinaire le0pard13 also showed up with his lovely daughter and her friend and I had the pleasure of meeting both.

Sophie read from Juliet’s A Cast-Off Coven, the second in her Witchcraft Mystery series about Lily Ivory, while Juliet read from Sophie’s A Bad Day for Pretty, the second adventure featuring the kick-ass Stella Hardesty. (Sophie revealed the tentative titles for the next two Stella books but I’ll await her permission before blabbing.) These are smart books by amazing women so if you haven’t read them yet, you should immediately consider doing so before Stella comes looking for you with her bondage kit and/or Lily throws some black magic your way.

After the signing, which I survived without getting yelled at for climbing on furniture (thank you, Linda!), I got to dine with Sophie, Juliet and three other writers, Paul Levine, Sue Ann Jaffarian and Travis Richardson, all funny, fabulous people. Sophie and Juliet had promised pole dancing but I guess our hunger took precedence (author Stephen Blackmoore, who attended the signing, had also said he’d strip but chickened out last minute).

Dinner conversation included all sorts of interesting topics. Some were X-rated so I can’t recount them here without illustrations but I’m just not good at finger painting. At one point, we did discuss the following question, which I’ll end with, since it’s Monday and you might feel the need to be armed:

If you were a ninja, which weapon would you have?

For the record, I’d carry a sword, throwing stars and a Kenny G CD. Hit the comments and let me know your weapon of choice!



  • Reply
    Sue Ann Jaffarian
    June 21, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I’d carry a tazer – pink with a designer case. Loved, loved, loved getting together with you and the others on Saturday. We must do it more often!

  • Reply
    Juliet Blackwell (Julie)
    June 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thanks so much for a great time! The only thing lacking was Stephen Blackmoore with a chimp and a gun…semi-naked and pole dancing…;-)
    SOOOO good to see you–and thanks for posting the pic. Chao co!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

    You know I’m going to agree fully with your TS3 assessment–best film I’ve seen this summer/year. It was great to see and listen to both Sophie (again) and Juliet (even though I didn’t get a chance to chat with her) at The Mystery Bookstore on Saturday. The two authors made for the best tag team of “amazing women” I’ve seen there–okay, I admit it, I’m attracted to smart women [guess that’s the reason I’m married to one ;-)].

    Both my daughter and her classmate had a splendid time there, too (both love going to book stores). They especially loved meeting you, Elyse (it’s no small feat to engage and light up the eyes of a pair of 10 year old girls like you did). My 14 yr. old son was more than a little jealous after my daughter talked about it all that evening.

    Extraordinaire??? That’s a 14-letter word for Scrabble I have to use now! You’re too kind, Elyse. BTW, I’m partial to the Ninja Shogee.

    Thanks for the fun post, PCN.

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    June 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Sue Ann—We should do it more often! But wait, you have 17 jobs and write 94 series.

    Julie—I want my money back after all the false advertising Stephen did about his act. Don’t know why he suddenly got shy; he looked good with the tassels!

    le0pard13—I loved talking with your daughter and her friend, especially since they already have a twisted sense of humor with those bunny suicides. Definitely my kind of girls. Please tell A. I missed him at the signing. And I want a shogee!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    your description of a certain actor made me guffaw!! 😀 and YAY!! i can’t wait to see TS3!

    and if i were a ninja i’d carry sarah palin (good for distracting), a boomerang, and my iPhone.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Ha ha! While Palin might be a good distraction, having her with you might get you killed!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I watched Toy Story 3 on Friday too! And the last scene’s dialog was overcome by the grownups’ sobbing in the theater.

    I mean, it was amazing how deeply touching the film is (and I agree about toys vs. Cage). I was watching it on 3D and I thought I was getting dizzy but I realized my eyes were full of tears (again!).

    I’m kind-a hating this blogger community ‘couse since I joined my TBR pile is starting to reach the ceiling. But really, thank you for this recommendation!

    Oh! And if I were a ninja I would probably use a sword or some sai. Sai are way cool because you can use them to attack, disarm… or just give the finger!

    Thanks a lot for this post 😀 I’m very glad you enjoyed your weekend.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      “Oh! And if I were a ninja I would probably use a sword or some sai. Sai are way cool because you can use them to attack, disarm… or just give the finger!”

      LOL!!! Now I want to trade my Shogee for a Sai (it’ll be especially useful in case I run into Sarah Palin). Good one, Poncho.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Ha ha! I’ve never thought of using a sai to flip someone off but you’re right, it’d be perfect for that. My ninja sack is getting more crowded with all these cool weapons. Why trade one for the other, le0? Use everything!

      I love how you cry freely and proudly at movies, Poncho. I still remember your Ice Castles comment.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    June 21, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    I’ll wait for Toy Story 3 to come out on DVD, so that I can howl in the comfort and privacy of home. Thank you, PCN ~ I appreciate being able to prepare myself somewhat for it.

    As for the signing/reading, the photographic evidence verifies your story of a good time being had by all {even minus the pole dancing and striptease}. And how lovely to meet up with le0pard13 and his daughter and her friend. No wonder you were a hit with them ~ I’m sure my niece and nephew would want to trade me if they ever met you!! That’s in no small part because I can’t even begin to think of what I’d want in my ninja kit. How about Uma Thurman?

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm

      You should try howling in public sometimes, Shell. It’s quite liberating and people around you suddenly give you more personal space.

      I think the reason I get a long with 10-year-olds is because mentally, I’m about the same age. And how brilliant to have Uma in your kit! Why do the work when you can have a 6-foot badass do it for you?

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I cannot wait to see TS3. I need to borrow my little cousin, so I have an excuse!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 23, 2010 at 11:46 am

      No excuses or borrowing of little children required. Just go and enjoy!

  • Reply
    Sophie Littlefield
    June 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Hey sorry I am weighing in late but I climbed a whole mountain in Yosemite yesterday so I’m now recuperating 🙂 I have to say that Saturday night brou-ha (sp?) was among my favorite LA experiences yet. To think I used to believe that LA was full of shallow dullards – (warning, one of my occasional softie moments about to unfurl) – the people we have gotten to know, everyone you mentioned above, have turned out to be among the most fun and kindest and smartest anywhere. I mean, how ABOUT those darling girls that le0pard13 brought? Doesn’t it just warm you to the bones to see the next generation of readers? And Stephen clearly adores crazy-smart women too, because did you see who was on his arm? I could go on and on, but it was just an all-around happy experience. Oh, and Bobby and Linda always make me feel like I could unroll my sleeping bag in the aisles and just move in. Heyyyyy….

    Only bummer was that our favorite dive was booked. Juliet, can you get us a sort of standing reservation there? You know, kind of like a reserved table at the top restaurants? Maybe if you and I spring for a plaque to put outside the door….”Littlefield and Blackwell slept here…”

    Hmmm, weapon of choice. How about a deadline? ‘Cause mine’s just about to kill me.


    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Aw, Sophie, I’m so glad you don’t think we’re dullards anymore and will hang out with us once in a while. The softie fuzzy feelings are mutual.

      I think it’s so cool how le0pard13 is taking kids to bookstores and encouraging them to read. Without people like him, our country would be overrun by morons in 20 years.

      Don’t let the deadline kill you. Dominate it and make it your bitch!

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    June 24, 2010 at 5:46 am

    I’m late the party, and I’m pissed that I had to miss this party. All the fun folks were there. I hope everyone got hugs on my behalf!

    I could never be a ninja. I’m so clumsy and uncoordinated. Sarah Palin may very well be the only human being I could bring myself to physically harm, though… 😉

  • Reply
    July 13, 2010 at 2:43 am

    OMG, we saw TS3 at the Mommy and Me Movies at the Americana and we were a mess by the time the lights came up. I was sitting next to another Dad and his little girl and try as we might, neither of us could suppress our gut-wrenching sobs during the last half hour of the movie. I swear, I haven’t cried that hard since the first time I saw “E.T.” on the big screen! Wow…

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      July 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      I wonder if it’s a guy thing. I’ve heard from a lot of guy friends who had the same reaction as you. My eyes might have gotten a little moist a couple times (that incinerator scene was toughest for me) but I didn’t openly sob.

      On a happier note, I just found out someone I know voiced Chunk! Can you say, cha-CHING?

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