Saturday, September 30, 2006
Do you think it’s too childish to cling to a treasured, furry friend after a certain age? Or are these beloved, fabricated Americans (sorry, homage to the dearly-departed Greg the Bunny) part of the framework of our own being because they’re the first true, loyal friends we experience?
Not only do I think it’s the latter, but I know for a fact that my stuffed animals are the catalyst behind my creativity, imagination and, yes, my writing.
Meet Donny. Yep, that’s me at age three on Christmas morning with my “teddy twins” – Donny (left) and Bonnie. (And before you ask, yes, he was named after Donny Osmond.) Donny quickly became an integral part of my life. We did everything together, went over to friends’ houses, attended sleepovers and...we slept together. (Not like that! Honestly, people.) He was there for me all the time, through thick and thin, through late night study sessions to crying over boys who broke my heart. Donny was my strength, my touchstone...my friend. And he still is. When I got married, Donny went on the honeymoon to London with us as a joke...because my brother and sister always kidded me that Donny would go on my honeymoon. Well, I showed them, eh? (That’s me and Donny in Kensington Garden.)
Here’s Donny today. He’ll be 37 on Christmas Day. I think in bear-years, that’s like 259 or something. He hasn’t held up well, but you can certainly see he’s been well-loved.
The stuffed animals in my life, though, inspired me. I created dramas and stories about them. I had a “town” newspaper. I held beauty contests (that my brother and sister had to judge), proms and holiday parties. Through the bond with my pals, I enhanced and fed my creative imagination that I believe helped me become the story-teller and writer I am today.
I haven’t slept with Donny in many years, but when life’s stupidity beats me down too much, my husband has been known to bring Donny to me for comfort. (I mean, that’s a guy who understands Donny!) He’s also a symbol of support in my family. When my mother had her 7-way bypass surgery, I brought Donny to her in the hospital. You’d be surprised how much a tattered teddy bear can do in a situation like that.
So, perhaps my good old teddy bear was something positive to hold on to.
Do you have a special stuffed friend who’s been with you like this through the years? Someone you couldn’t possibly live without? Do you want to go through your closet and bring an old comrade out into the open? What kind of inspiration for your writing can you get from that bond you shared?
Please share your story!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Okay, so if you haven't heard the song, Lips of an Angel, you probably don't know who these five guys from Oklahoma City are. But if you live in the United States and own a radio, I'm thinking you've heard it. I'm loving this song so much that I might actually go out and buy the CD, something I haven't done since like the 90's.
If you haven't heard it, the premise is that it is a girl who calls her ex really late crying, she's probably drunk dialing, but nonetheless, he's trying to be quiet so that his girlfriend in the next room doesn't hear him. He is basically saying that when she says his name it's coming from the lips of an angel and makes him weak. He tells her that sometimes he wishes his girlfriend were her and that he guesses they never really moved on. Okay, I'm totally not doing it justice so you better go listen to it.
What's my point? In keeping with Dona's theme of not knowing when to let go of a manuscript, Heather hanging on to her prom dress, Simone being a good girl causing her to hold on to a crush, Marley and her stuffed animals (that one's a guess, we'll find out tomorrow) and Tera, well, Tera just likes some tennis guy's butt, I am wondering if there is someone from your past who you just can't let go of. I'm not encouraging anyone to look up an old crush and go all FATAL ATTRACTION on him and his family or anything.
I'm just wondering if your phone rang right now and it was their voice on the other end saying your name, would it make you weak? Would it make you question every choice you'd made since them? Who are you hanging on to?
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Enter Rafael Nadal. (That’s “Nay-dal” not “Nah-dal”)
Rafa entered my life in the 2005 French Open -- which he won, by the way -- slipping and sliding across that red clay court and wearing the weirdest looking shorts I’d ever seen. They bordered on tight, came to just below his knees, and they were white. But somehow, those crazy shorts hugged his butt so perfectly that I spent the entire tournament waiting for glimpses of his backside.
I desperately wanted him to win every match--not for concern over his career success but so that I might live to drool another day.
And, to top off the whole “phenomenal butt” thing, he also seems to be a nice, humble guy who lives on the breathtaking Spanish island of Mallorca with, like, his entire family in one house. His uncle is even his coach. How cute is that?
Anyway, I’ve promised to make my posts more interactive (okay, really I just want more comments and I want everyone to do more than just drool over the pictures) so here’s my Hottie Question of the Week:
What male feature grabs your attention and holds it? Are you...
...a butt girl?
...an arm girl?
...a hand girl?
...an eye girl?
...a hair girl?
...another kind of girl altogether?
Ponder this question while you peruse Rafael Nadal. By the way, this was the closest I could get to a decent picture of his butt (after countless hours of tireless searching for the sake of blog integrity)... I don’t think the boy realizes his true potential.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Anyway, it was a rocking dress. Strapless, black shiny material all gathered in up and down the sides. A cute little peplum skirt. I wore it with a retro faux-fur jacket with a one-button closure. Super cute.
My prom date was my best guy friend – which means there was no making out involved. So sad. But, I do remember going to a friend’s after party and arguing with some student government kids until the wee hours of the morning. Why and what we argued about ... I have no clue.
But, back to the dress. Get this – a few years ago when I visited my sister’s house, she was having a garage sale and there on the rack – was MY dress! And priced at like, five dollars! How she got the dress, I don’t remember, but we exchanged some choice words. Mostly comprised of me yelling about her being a total closet thief for all of her life. When that line of discussion didn’t work, I grabbed the dress and drove off.
The feeling of dancing in that gown – even with a boy who I knew was not going to kiss me goodnight (though I was secretly hoping) was magic. Magic I wasn’t ready to part with. And magic I still need today.
So, what special things have you kept from high school?
Monday, September 25, 2006
I'm sure most of us have been through this, be it regarding an old boyfriend, a bad job, or even a work-in-progress novel. The question is, when something in your life is going south and fast...do you hold on, or let go?
Let's have some examples:
- You've been working for Company A for 3 years. The first year was great, you loved your projects. you made tons of money on stock options, you got promoted, you got a raise, you got an office, you got Fridays off in the summer...an overall beautiful job. The second year, eh...you didn't get promoted, you work started to feel mundane, you didn't feel as if you were moving anywhere but you love your co-workers and you believe the company can come back. The third year rolls around. You hear this year will be much like the previous. You work won't change, you're probably not going to get a lot of recognization, probably no raise either...what do you do? Stay? Or find a new home elsewhere?
- You've been dating Cute Tom for a year. You're past the lovey-dovey phase and are at the comfortable phase. You've met each other's parents, hang with each other's friends, people are starting to refer to you as the old married couple. Normally this would be great and all, but Cute Tom has seriously started to take you for granted. You never spend any time together alone. If its a choice between just the two of you and you and all your friends, he always chooses the whole crowd. You always do what HE wants to do. If he wants to go shoot pool on a Sunday night till 2 am, you'll do it, even though you need to be awake at 5 am the next day. If you want to plan your evening, he throws a fit and says he wants to go drink with his friends instead of being with you. He is always late, he contradicts you in public and you can't remember the last time just the two of you went out and had a good time without a gang of friends around. It's always him, him, him. Every sensible part of you is saying LEAVE! But Cute Tom used to be an amazing guy. The best relationship you ever had. The one you thought was THE ONE. He was once your best friend and the person you had the best time with. You've tried talking to him, he swears to change, he swears he loves you and wants nothing more than to see this work...but you aren't seeing any change. What do you do? Leave? Stay?
Now, I have not been in these situations, but I have been at a job that was just at a stalemate with no end in sight and similarly a relationship. In the past, I've always been too paralyzed to move on. Fear of the unknown and all that.
I find myself in that position now when it comes to my old novels. I love those plots and ideas. I believe those were good books which just need a bit of work. But re-writing is just so exhausting in this market where women's fiction/teen-lit has to be fresh, fresh, fresh.
So I need to make a decision. Go back and fix the books I love? Or start over again?
Hold on? Or Move on? That is the question.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Since my nose is so often in a book, people tend to think I was a top student. Not true. Especially in high school. The action, as far as I was concerned, was in the halls, bathrooms, and out in the courtyard. The guys, the girls, the break-ups, the make-ups, the tears, the smirks. THIS was my idea of career prep, and I couldn’t get enough, whether I was living it or just watching from the sidelines.
So when my high school daughter handed me my Back-to-School Night schedule, and mentioned I’d have third period “free” because that teacher would be away, the teen in me elbowed the mother aside.
“Cool,” I told her. “That’s like ditching class. So tell me, where do the cool guys go to smoke?”
She rolled her eyes. “What, you want to meet their dads?”
At this, my teenaged son actually looked away from his computer game and deadpanned, “Mom, you’re married, remember?”
Sure I am. Happily. But put me back on a high school campus, and my inner teen is reborn. (Hmmm....would it be too geeky to bring a laptop and take notes?)
With warnings to behave myself, a campus map, and a schedule that dictated me changing teacher presentations every ten minutes, my kids sent me off to Back-to-School Night. Soon I was sitting in my daughter's AP classes, wondering how any kid of mine could be good in math and science. Then third period came, and I was free!
But since I didn’t really want to meet guys (and especially guys who smoked--I quit years ago), I decided to use the time for a bathroom break. Minutes later, I was attempting to find my way downstairs to my fourth period classroom. Only to wind through a labyrinth of hallways, corridors and overpasses, but for the life of me, I could not find a staircase.
Finally--voila. A heavy, unmarked door at the end of the hall. I opened it (thinking if some alarm went off, I was SO blaming the lady leaning by that locker over there) and I instantly heard shrieks. Then I saw the relieved faces of four teen girls.
“Omigod, we were like, locked in here.”
“Forever!” another agreed.
I put on my mental Mom hat and realized that it was an emergency exit stairwell that only opened out, and whisked the girls to safety (realizing they’d actually saved ME from a similar fate). As they scampered down the hallway, I was tempted to yell after them, to say, “Hey, girls, you must GO to this school, you have to know better. What in the world were you doing in the emergency exit stairwell, anyway?”
But I didn’t ask. I might be a generation older, but some things don’t change, do they? They were looking for where the cool guys go to smoke.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Thanks so much to the gals here for letting me in on this fantastic blog opportunity! It’s great to be in such good company.
It’s funny...I started “officially” writing YA in March of 2005, but I realized last weekend when I was cleaning out some of my old writing files (okay, trying to organize and make room for the Bowflex we bought!), I found the first completed manuscript I wrote in 2001. It’s 863 pages (yes, you’re reading that correctly) and it’s called FOOTPRINTS ON MY HEART about a woman reminiscing about her senior year of high school in 1985. My heroine was Rowan Webster (I still love Rowan) and even though she was a senior, she was totally in love with this adorable freshman guy, Sean Layton. However, she surprisingly ends up with his older brother, Joel.
The story was written before I knew any “rules” of writing, before I knew there were writing “genres,” before I understood GMC (goal, motivation, conflict for you non-writers) or POV (point-of-view) or any other three letter acronyms. It was written in first person past tense and was horrendously long. I was writing YA, though, and didn’t even know it. The voice, the tone, the situation, the messages. But I love the story and cherish the manuscript because it’s what got me writing. Sure, it took a year to get it done, but I did it – and I kept writing. Eleven full manuscripts and two partials later, I have a wonderful four-book series coming out in the Spring of 2008.
What fascinated me so much about FOOTPRINTS and Rowan’s struggles is the universality of it. Even back in 1985 (which is literally a lifetime ago for today’s YA readers), the issues of being a teen are the same:
1. Crushes on cute boys
2. Seeking freedom/needing a car
3. Fitting in/popularity
4. Concern over your looks/appearance/weight
5. Looking towards your future/college
7. School activities
8. Hanging with your close friends
9. Drinking/Not to Drink debate
10. Dealing with your parents
Rowan goes through all of these things in her journey, as do most of the heroines I read about in YA books today. It’s all part of growing up, though...of being a teen and that lovely right of passage that’s all about. It’s the memories we form early on in life that mold us in our adulthood and make us the person we are.
One of my favorite scenes in FOOTPRINTS is when Rowan’s on Spring Break in Florida with all of her friends. They’ve been drinking beer (as college seniors on break in Florida do) and she suddenly realizes she’s put all this effort and time and heartache into getting Sean to like her when right there in front of her is Joel, his brother – her age – who totally gets her. When he kisses her for the first time and everything becomes clear to her, it’s a warm fuzzy moment for me as a reader (forget that I even wrote it!) It was that “big scene” I had been writing towards and that scene that made all of my own memories roll into place. Too bad the book will never come out of that writing box again. LOL!!
What are some teen stories that have triggered warm memories for you? Or teen movies? Do you agree that teen problems are universal, no matter the decade? What has left footprints on your heart?
Until next Saturday...
Marley = )
Thursday, September 21, 2006
CRUSH OF THE WEEK: STEPHENIE MEYER
Hey, I never said my crushes were strictly male. Admit it, you've got a little girl crush on her too, don't you? I just finished New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, and it was amazing. I was almost afraid to read it because I adored Twilight so much that if the sequel didn't live up I didn't want to tarnish the original. There wasn't as much Cullen action as I would have liked, but that just gives me something to look forward to in books three, Eclipse, and book four, Midnight Sun. I think it is the fourth book which is written from Edward's POV. I can't wait for that one.
Now I realize that Stephenie doesn't need my bloglicity as she got like a gazillion dollars for her advance, already has a movie option from MTV, and people worship her. Did you know they have I love Edward Cullen parties? I'm so miffed I never got an invite!
She is my crush because her writing is positively addictive to me. Now I've enjoyed books and even loved some, but the way I feel about her writing is just different. Does this make me simple because I'm not pining over the classics? If so, whatev.
I really like Bella's voice, but I am absolutely enthralled with Edward. I long for the passages about him. Why do you think this is? I've analyzed it and I hope you'll agree, if not, skip down to the author pic. I think that for all the descriptions, dialogues, and motivations that an author gives us about a character we still tend to cast someone from our real life in their place. How many times have you pictured a specific actress as the main character? Same idea. Do you agree? I'm hoping yes, or else I'm sadly picturing an ex as Edward because something is very wrong with me. Wait, Edward is a vampire and my ex sucked the life out of me for quite some time. I've made the connection so my projection is totally justified. I love it when that works out.
Well, here it is. It isn't the picture I had imagined, you know, the one we all dream about, the one where we look so fabulous that every ex that fondles your cover gasps and realizes it was the biggest mistake of their life to break up, cheat on you, call you by another girl's name, or any of the other fine things that the Y chromosome do to torture us. But, on the other hand, it isn't my school picture from seventh grade when I had a really bad perm and was briefly nicknamed Dee Synder either. So here it is. If you are wondering why I kept it small, it's because I look better smaller, but mostly because I haven't mastered image compression yet.
I hate to break it to you all, but tis the season of pilots. That heartbreaking time of year when you become emotionally attached to a new program only to be the last person alive to find out they cancelled the show. Last year was especially hard for me. I lost Inconceivable, Sons & Daughters, and Reunion. I spent the summer hardening myself. No way was I falling for the tricks of the Big Three again(abc, nbc, cbs, hello people). Then I watched The Class. The cast blends together perfectly. It is hilarious, sweet, and just good TV. I will, again, be devastated if this one doesn't make it. It stars Jason Ritter, who looks exactly like his dad who I loved, so I even if I didn't love it, which I do, I'd still want it to work for him. Please help me save this one people! :) Happy weekend.
ps- There is serious $$ on the line if anyone knows who killed Samantha on Reunion last year.
pps- check out my cover at www.myspace.com/stephhale
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I first saw Channing in She's the Man, a fun teen take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. He played Duke Orsino, captain of the soccer team and secretly sensitive guy. Who happens to fall for Amanda Bynes--who is pretending to be her own brother so she can play on the soccer team. Bottom line: Channing spent half the movie in body-hugging tank tops and spilling his deep feelings to Amanda because he thinks she's a guy. Confusing? Yes. A thumbs up? Definitely.
Despite some heartbreaking rumors, he apparently prefers girls--thank goodness for small favors... there's still a chance!--and is supposedly dating his co-star from Step Up. In that movie (which I haven't seen, darn it!) he plays a bad boy doing community service at a dance school. He winds up pairing with ballet dancer for her senior showcase. I've seen pics and trailers of Channing doing some crazy hard dance moves, so I'm betting this flick is a good bit of eye candy.
Before he got into movies, Channing did a lot of modelling and several commercials. You can see his very The Fast and the Furious-like Mountain Dew commercial on You-Tube.
Now that I've given my little "Channing Tatum Pep Talk," on to the pics. And no, I don't know why he's holding a chicken... but does it really matter?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I'm trying to understand guys again, which is always a mistake because as you're undoubtedly aware, they are a complete mystery.
And in the space and time between high school and my new so-called single life, there are all these freaking rules. For example, last week, my sister B. said to me, "Davis girls do not chase boys. We are princesses. Boys chase us."
Okay... when did this become the rule? Was there some magical wand waved over me that should make me wear a tiara and not want to crush on guys?
Well, apparently, the crushing isn't the problem. The following up on crushes is. According to my sis, I needn't call boys. I shouldn't wait around for them to call me. I should just not care.
Um, how does that happen? How do I suddenly go from ooh, you're cute and you're smiling in my direction to so, what if you're cute -- you're a peon who must kiss my feet in order to get a date ?
Maybe my sister can do this comfortably. After all, she was voted Miss Photogenic in the Miss Teen Washington pageant. I may be cute, but I'm not sure if this princess rule works for me. How can I just not care if a guy calls me or not?
It has to be something about me imagining I have some kind of control of my destiny. If I talk to a guy, if I approach him, at least I've put myself out there, right? Then again, doesn't that prevent *him* from putting *himself* out there? He should at least make an effort to show some interest. He's got to have at least that tiny shred of confidence, right?
Ack. So, maybe over-confidence attracts guys who prefer to let you drive the relationship the whole time. That's exhausting, peeps! There must be a middle ground I haven't found yet. A place in which I can care and not care at the same time.
I'm doing a lot of things on my own, and maybe being busy means less time doing the does-he-like-me-or-not tango in my brain. But I can't get over the hope.
The hope that keeps me checking my messages...
Monday, September 18, 2006
Most women love the bad boy. Admiring the bad boy from afar, being shocked by the bad boy's obvious advances, rejecting the bad boy because "good girls don't", giving into the bad boy because, we'll we are human after all, and then attempting reformation of the bad boy.
I, for some reason, in my personal life, have NEVER liked the bad boy. I like my guys to be reliable, trustworthy and nice to my friends. And in return, the bad boy has never liked me.
In fiction-land though...all bets are off :)
Good-girl Rory Gilmore, torn between the steadfast boyfriend Dean and the troublemaker Jess. I honestly don't know WHAT Jess saw in Rory, especially since I found Rory to be a bit too whiny and low-selfesteem-y compared to her fabulous mother Lorelai. Now Lorelai and Jess? An awesome couple. I could totally see it in a taboo-no-freaking-way sort of plot twist.
Like the book or hate the book, Edward Cullen is one of the most amazing characters I've read in so long. How can I be so in love with a 17 year old vampire boy? And what the hell does he see in Bella? She seems so wallflowery...
What does Danny see in Sandy?
I'm seeing a pattern here. Is it true? Can it be that the bad boy really does go for the good girl? Why is this?
And what is a good girl to do?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
It was from my editor.
She wants...I don't know if I can finish this. She wants a...a...a...PICTURE of ME for my back cover ASAP! Yes, that was me you could hear screaming. I was totally unprepared for this. I thought that I would have until at least, like, December. She asked if I could email her something immediately. Do you think the myspace profile picture that I took myself would work? Yeah, I didn't think so.
So even if she gives me until Monday (which doesn't seem unreasonable, does it?) That gives me until Saturday to lose fifty pounds, get my unibrow waxed, get the three zits on my neck and the one on my chin to disappear and find something to wear. I'm seriously freaking out.
I know this probably seems kind of vain. But I worked SO hard to get published and I really wanted the picture to be perfect. I'm so freaking out right now. I'll probably give myself a cold sore. Thanks for letting me vent. Now on to my witty movie and book review.
I get a lot of crushes (don't tell my husband) so I figured it would be fun to share them with you. Stephanie's crush of the week is a yummy boy by the name of Steven Straight. Steven is the star of the new movie, The Covenant. If you are in the mood for a dark, loud, action-packed movie chalk full of hotties, check it out. I loved it! Here Steven is calling me and I was all like, "I told you. We can only be friends because I'm married."
If you can't get out to the movies and still want a little weyotch action may I suggest Kelly McClymer's new book, THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS. It really is an adorable little read. I had a pic of her book, but I can't get it to load, sorry.
Have a great weekend and tune in next week for more on the continuing saga about my author pic. :)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
This won’t be an every week kind of thing--I do have more to say than “look at those abs” on occasion--but will repeat whenever I feel the need to post and/or drool over a pretty picture. Feel free to give feedback (critiques on physiques, odes to beautiful eyes, etc) and suggestions. There’s always one more hottie out there waiting to be discovered.
Now you know what the HDH is all about, let’s get started. I have decided to kick off this tradition with Brad Pitt. Not because he is the hottie of all hotties. Not because he’s in the tabloids more than alien babies, vampire actresses, and four-headed goats. Not because he has a smile that could make a girl forget what century it is.... wait, what century is it?
No, I start with BP because we share a close, personal connection. Okay, not a close connection--we were separated by twelve long years. Okay, not a personal connection--more like a coincidence of geography.
Truthfully, we both went to Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri. And we both played tennis for Coach Stan Oliver. But this is my post and I’ll call it a close, personal connection if I want.
So, on to the hottie... try not to drool on your keyboard.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
It's Tuesday and time for my first post on the BBB blog. Such pressure...
I'll go retro on topics today, because I'm in the middle of a break-up, which really sucks. So, if you haven't yet discovered this truth about life -- look away from the screen.
Boys can break your heart!
It wasn't any easier in high school. Usually the guy (or you) just didn't call, and then when you saw him at the dance you pretended not to notice he was even there. (You totally noticed!) Or, there was always the dreaded "It's not you it's me" conversation where you promised to be friends forever -- or at least until you saw him making out with the drill team captain.
I think my worst break-up was in college when I was blindsided by a dumping. I stood there, sipping from the cranberry juice box in my hand, while my annoying, snobbish literature major gnome of a boyfriend listed the things completely wrong about me and my life on the planet. (Uh, thanks for that Gnome Boy. We were sooo not meant for each other.)
So nowadays, what eases the pain besides Nutter Butters and Project Runway marathons?
The same thing as back in high school -- friends. You can never have too many good girlfriends or boy-friends to help you commiserate, plan your future adventures, and choose your new hairstyle. Don't laugh. Sure, adventures are cool, but the right highlights can actually improve your life. They can help you get over anything. (The friends, not the highlights.)
I've made so many wonderful friends, both in my writing and non-writing lives. They keep me sane when the going gets tough, or the jackass gets going...
I may be a little rusty at the break-up game, but I rock at choosing good friends. And the best thing is -- they never want their damn sweater back.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I was a bespectacled, nose-buried-in-a-book lurker as a kid. As a teenager, I was a oversize clothes-wearing, sports-hating, AP nerd. As a collegiate, I spent my Saturday nights at the MU. Could that be some hot new club? No, it's the Media Union, the engineering library at the University of Michigan. As someone in their twenties, I spent my days buried under a pile of softare at Microsoft and have dinners at home with my nice husband in the evenings.
My unscandalous life continues :)
I can't even begin to imagine being a bad girl. Someone who steals other people's boyfriends, drinks and smokes in the middle of the afternoon, wears stilletto heels and a mini-skirt, this person is just such a mystery to me.
This might be why I am SO fascinated with the bad girl. In DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, Marisela is your traditonal kick-ass bad girl, in AIN'T SHE SWEET, Sugar Beth is your high-school bad girl with a smart mouth, in Janet Evanovich novels, Stephanie Plum is your accidental bad-girl.
There are some of the best books I've read in ages.
Yes, I am truly fascinated by the bad girl. Which is why I'm going to try my hand at writing my own bad girl heroine. For once, they will NOT be college-educated. They will NOT be whiny, mopey, or desperate when bad things happen to them. They wil go out, lie, cheat, steal, deceive and anything else that needs to be done to get what they deserve.
And everyone knows that the perfect antidote to a bad girl is either a good boy, or a reformed bad boy....
More to come next week on this. So, what are some books, movies, etc that you guys have come across that have a bad girl that you either love or love to hate?