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Monday, June 02, 2008


So, I had kind of a weird week last week.

Basically, right after I posted last, took a shower and when I stepped out, I happened to see my back in the mirror and it was ENTIRELY COVERED IN WHAT LOOKED LIKE CHICKEN POX. Or what I imagine chicken pox to look like, because I’ve never had them. What it ACTUALLY looks like is like a small child of about three years of age has come along and painted like pink dots and clouds on my back. So for about a day, I was convinced that my lifetime of smugly claiming my natural immunity had come to an end and I was in for a world of pox and that all my blogs for weeks and weeks were going to be about my chicken pox. Seriously. I was already composing them in my head.

Except, um, nothing really happened.

The dots and clouds are still there. They haven’t moved AT ALL. I have clearly reacted to something. This managed to distract me for a short time from my job of observing the English, but I have begun my quest, and have a few answers for you.

katie said...
question: have you had any tea related trauma while in the UK?

See the next question.

charlie said...
"from an American perspective?"

You are unlike any American I know, Maureen. It should be "from the perspective of a hilarious and slightly insane writer who happens to be in England".

Never the less, what do you think of tea? Is it dangerous? Is it dangerous to drink tea and watch TV? Is it dangerous to drink tea and watch TV when people that you know sometimes appear on TV?

(I want you to tell the story)

Charlie likes this story because it is in large part about him, and that is fair enough. You guys know my friend Charlie, right? Of course you do. Charlie is the star of the internet, as well as being a general stand-up guy.

So there I am, sitting down in front of the television not long ago, a hot mug of tea in my hands. I also had a biscuit. (And by biscuit, I mean a cookie. They insist on calling them biscuits here and it is just easier to go along with it or they start to cry.) Just as I am about to take a sip of the hot and delicious, I look up AND THERE IS CHARLIE’S FACE, REALLY HUGE, TALKING AT ME FROM THE TELEVISION. And I said, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” and the tea went everywhere and the biscuit rolled under the sofa and chaos generally reigned for about two minutes.

Because you don’t expect the heads of people you know to come popping out of your TV. And he didn’t come POPPING out—he stayed in there, but you know what I mean. This was what I saw. (And no, it didn’t look like it was being broadcast through ten thousand miles of space . . . this is just the only video of it I could find online. And yes, that is LILY ALLEN asking him a question.)

So, after I sopped up the tea and got a new cup and a new biscuit and sent Charlie an angry text message and he was all “ha ha ha, I wrecked your biscuit and made you spill tea,” I sat back down to try it again and then THIS came on! See that woman driving the car? That’s my friend GRACE DANGEROUS! And that’s not her kid! She doesn’t have kids! That’s some WHINY RENT-A-KID.

I didn’t even change the channel, either! It happened MERE SECONDS later!

Same thing again. Tea, everywhere. Biscuit, under sofa. Because . . . what was going on? Why were all these people I knew on television? Is everyone in England on television? IT WOULDN’T SURPRISE ME.

Anyway, I went back to my computer and watched Charlie’s video on how to drink tea, and that straightened me out a little. But he still feels no shame and snickers about it when the subject comes up.

visualkeipenguin said...
Do the English really over-use words like "rather" and "quite"? They seem to in books and movies... Do the English find American accents half as cool as we find theirs?

Yes, visualkeipenguin, they do. They say “rather” and “quite” quite a lot, rah-thah. And . . . um, no. Not as far as I can tell. Non-American English speaking types, feel free to chime in on this one. Some of you seem annoyed by our accents, some of you seem ambivalent. One or two of you seem quaintly charmed. You need to tell us. What's the story? I can't do all the research around here.

allyb said...
What exactly is the point of tumbling down a hill to get cheese?

I’ll tell you why, allyb . . . because ALL THE SHOPS HERE CLOSE AT ABOUT THREE IN THE AFTERNOON. Even the ones that say they will be open 24 hours are kind of lying about it. So to get everyone out at the end of the day (3 PM), the shopkeeper throws the tastiest piece of cheese out the door and everyone runs after it and they close up the shop. THANKS FOR NOTHING, TESCOS.

rebecca said...
Well, I'm American, but I've never been further north than Colorado, so I know nothing about everywhere.

U.S. question: I was wondering--is it true that people are meaner up north? Every now and then, someone will say something about "southern hospitality," whatever that is. I don't notice anyone being particularly hospitable down here. A lot of people are courteous, and some are even downright nice, but I thought most anyone would do that much.

U.K. Question: Can you tell us about some of the slang they use over there? Like the really really weird stuff?

It’s not that we are meaner up north . . . we’re just a little more brisk, and maybe less likely to say hi to you on the street. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and have lived in New York for a while now, and if you just start randomly speaking to me in public, I’ll smile and talk back, but am likely to think you are insane. (Exception: complaining about the subway. This is always okay.) But I also spent a lot of time in Texas when I was small, because my father worked there, and whenever I visit any of the more southernly states, I remember that people may just say hello for no reason at all and ask me how I am, and that my first reaction shouldn’t be to mace them and run away.

Like when I was staying with Betty Vox in Atlanta, and we went to the grocery store (where we saw Andre 3000 buying vegetables, making that officially the coolest grocery store in the world). And when we checked out, everyone was SO NICE and the staff was offering to help us with the groceries just as an extra act of niceness . . . and I remembered that they used to carry our groceries to the car in Texas. THEY DON’T DO THAT IN NEW YORK.

Now, about the UK and the terminology . . . I DO have a lot to tell you. I have researched this very hard over the last few days, and have much information.

First, one very good thing to know is that the terms “English” and “British” do not mean the same thing. We Americans tend to be a bit of a mess with our geography, so . . . if you are planning to ever come to this part of the world, or if you have friends here, use these terms right and you will instantly seem more aware and cooler.

The UK = consists of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland

Great Britain = the actual island that forms England, Scotland, and Wales

England = just the country containing the English

English = people who live in England

British = people living in any part of the UK—so the Scottish are British but they are NOT English

See? Come to my blog, LEARN STUFF.

But I have more! I have started a comprehensive study of the language here, and have complied the first in what is likely to be a series of lists to help you sound native when you travel. Forget the whole “pants means underwear” thing. Everyone knows that. THIS is the good stuff. You won't hear these terms on TV--this is the stuff you can only get on the street. This is the stuff the English tourism board doesn't want you to know about.


SCROUNCH: to steal porridge or any other hot cereal from a street vendor

SCROUNCHLING: one who steals porridge or any other hot cereal from a street vendor

WEE SCROUNCHLING: a very small Scrouchling

THE SCROONCH: the head of a porridge-stealing syndicate. The Scroonch collects all the porridge from the scrounchlings and normally keeps a 40% cut. Usually can be identified by the stovepipe hat and light-up walking stick so favored by Scroonches. Also they usually have a lot of porridge.


SCRAMPLE: the act of running after one has been caught scrounching

THE JUBBLY: the police

JUBBTUB: a police car

HUBJUBBLY: the police station

RUB-A-JUBB: an annual event in which you can touch a police officer’s hat for one pound. For some reason, this is hugely popular and often causes riots to break out, riots which can’t be stopped because the police are all busy letting the public touch their hats.

WODGER: an undercover scrouchling who is secretly working for the jubbly to stem the tide of porridge-stealing OR a metric portion of cake (i.e. “I will have one wodger of cake for me, and one for the wee scrounchling.”)

BUTTERED WODGER: an undercover scrounchling who is secretly working for the jubbly, but who has actually been found out by the other scrounchlings and is in for a beating, probably from the Scroonch’s walking stick.

GORDON RAMSEY: a famous tap dancer beloved by all of the UK for his mild manners and collection of prize rabbits. Featured on 60% of all UK television shows.

There you go. I will be bringing you more of these in upcoming posts, and look forward to reading and answering other questions.


1. I completely forgot to mention that Girl At Sea is now out in paperback! Now, with jeans!

2. I’ve been on Facebook for a while, but I haven’t really started keeping up with page until recently. One the things I added was an Honesty Box, so if there is something you feel you must tell me but simply can’t say to my face (or blog), you can leave it there TOTALLY ANONYMOUSLY!

3. I’m not the only one on Facebook you might want to know. Scarlett has just joined, and she tells me that she will answer questions not only for herself, but for any other Martins you want to know about, including Spencer. Servicey!

4. In case you haven’t seen it, the second part of the mj and libba bray spectacular is now up on Youtube!


You know, I said I was just going to give things away for the month of May, but I LIKE IT, and I just got a big new box of Scarletts . . . so I’m not stopping for now! Today, I’ll be giving away another book to a random commenter JUST BECAUSE I CAN (though, it is helpful to know if you WANT one, because a bunch of you have copies now).

Today’s winner is ANNA C.

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Anonymous VT Girl said...

COuld I get a book! Thanks!

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

Wow, that shopping thing is really strange. Anyway, I just got Girl at Sea and I loved it! I got out from school, wandered the shops(after 3pm), found the book, went OHMYGOD (because I find it extremely hard to ever find the books that I am looking for), and then went home and finished it.

And! It was awesome!

Although, I was not surprised because I loved Key to the Golden Firebird very much as well.

Anyway, I am not being a ass kisser (although looking back it seems like no matter what i say, I will seem like it) but yeah. I just genuinely wanted to gush. I will go to school tomorrow and do it straight to my friends, but in their absence, you are a good option.

Anyway, it would be great to win a copy of Suite Scarlett. Fingers crossed.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous JK said...

Haha, you seem to be very knowledgeable about all things English.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Love your blog! So glad to finally know the difference between "british" and "english". Very informative. Will make a point of creating a situation where I can show off my new knowledge.

Would love a copy of Scarlett so please keep me in mind! I'm not generally (ok, ever) up early enough to be the first commenter so maybe a different way to win? I'll think about it and come up with something for you...

7:02 PM  
Blogger JJ said...

When I studied abroad in London, I went from NYU which has 24-hour delis to Clerkenwell, which has 4-hour delis. I considered myself lucky to even CATCH my corner deli open.

My favourite British slang word: minger. They have such creative ways to insult people. Whereas we just say "S/he's fat/s/he's ugly," they just refer to them as a minger.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Crypt said...

I am amazed that you have managed to become entirely bilingual in such a short time. Have you considered adding 'Colonial Etymologist' to your resumé?

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Rosianna said...

I've got to say, I catch myself using "quite" and "rather" more often than not and then slap my hand for being such a stereotype/other people slap my hand for me. I think I secretly love being an English stereotype though..
As for American accents, I don't know, it's hard to gauge my opinion them because there are so many. I've got lots of friends on the West Coast who have lovely accents, while the Southern Drawl automatically sends shivers up my spine as a big Dubya jumps to mind. The accents of the people on One Tree Hill seem pretty cool, so that's good to me, and NY-wise, Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple, Vampire Weekend and Born Ruffians all have awesome accents. Depends on the state, really.
Whoah, you must be seriously unlucky if you've been to a Tescos that closes at 3pm! My localest one closes at 7pm, sometimes at 10pm and all the shops around me close at about 6pm, 8/9pm on Late Night Shopping Thursdays. It might be because I live quite close to London though in a relatively touristy area.
Thank you for making the distinction between English and British, the UK and Great Britain etc. I was actually going to make a video about it at some point because it was sort of getting to me. Scottish people practically shoot anyone who calls them English, and give them a look that says "do you have a death wish?".
The Gordon Ramsey bit made me snort, he is such a placid fellow with an exceptional tap dancing talent. I'm surprised you didn't mention his fruitful past as a falsetto singer, though.

As for slang, "butters" is one you'll hear tossed about a lot which has the same connotation as "minger". I'm sure there was some more slang I was going to mention but it's gone. Bah.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Amha said...

I love your posts about english people. Good video as well.
And i wouldn't say no to a copy of Suite Scarlett;)

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Daniel R. said...

Wait. I thought Gordon Ramsey was some sort of tooth fairy. He's not? Dammit, who's been taking my teeth then?
Also, a very random question; have you ever been to Norway? Thoughts?
ps. I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett. Especially after hearing Rosianna going on about it.

8:14 PM  
OpenID edarra said...

OK so about the British/English/UK thing... So you said that Great Britain consists of the island that forms England, Scotland, and Whales and also that British refers to people living in any part of the UK, which you say includes Northern Ireland. This doesn´t quite make sense to me. Does that mean that people from Northern Ireland are "British" even though they aren't from Great Britain?

Also, I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett :)

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Electric Landlady said...

For future reference, chickenpox looks "like dewdrops on a rose petal". Only not as nice. I know this because when I got chickenpox aged 28 I went to the clinic (because AAAAGH I HAVE AN ITCHY RED RASH AND BLISTERS ALL OVER ME, MAKE IT GO AWAY) and the doctor who saw me called in all his med students to take a look. Apparently I was a prize specimen. Then he told me to go home and put soothing anti-itch lotion on and wait until it all went away.

Later on, all the blisters turned into giant scabs, but they were still itchy. So, in summary: keep on keepin' on with your lifelong immunity! Do not get chickenpox. Especially in August. It is no fun at all. Take it from one who knows.

Enjoy your tea.

9:47 PM  
OpenID kuki-skoldpadda said...

I would LOVE a Suite Scarlet please!!
Scones ... I like scones... could you research scones next... What baked goods do the english prefer?...
What are your baked product weaknesses? ... sorry, I am currently in a baking and all things baked stage... summer does that to me... is that a bad combo?
Beginning of extremely hot summer+ tropical island+ unexplainable desire to bake...

10:08 PM  
Blogger Hillary said...

I can't wait to get Girl at Sea in paperback when I go to borders this weekend! I'm so excited! I love Borders and I get to buy my summer reading books! That's like super yay!

Yeah, and I'd like possibly win a copy of Suite Scarlett b/c every time I go to the bookstore they don't have it. They're all like "Sorry, but we just sold the last one. Why don't you buy this book?" And then I'm like "No, I already have it," and then they keep giving me suggestions and I always have to say "No, I already have it," while trying very hard to not attack the lady b/c she won't leave me alone so I can look at the other books.


10:18 PM  
Anonymous Leahr said...

I sat quite and rather when I try to sound British. (or English.) You're telling me it works?

Yes, I'd like a book! This is why I am commenting now instead of doing work. Also your video was funny. And Libba Bray's helmet is interesting. The England you are visiting seems rather Dickens-Oliver Twist like. Quite so.

If I get Suite Scarlet and I like it then I also want to read/buy 13 little blue envelopes, which I haven't read yet.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous liz said...

MJ, I know you have no control over the book covers, but are you allowed to smack the person who downsized Clio??

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Meagan said...

I would love to have a book!

Question for the English (if your're still doing those): When, exactly, does secondary school stop there? Because I know they have forms (?) which are like grades, but then there are also AS and A levels and lots of other lettery things.

11:09 PM  
OpenID trudeau1031 said...

I like your glasses

ps I already got a book, so count me out of the contest

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Katherine said...

I'd like a copy... It would be tres wonderful.

Awesome blog. Your English terms were quite awesome. :)

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Jessica-ca-ca said...

What's up with the addition of jeans to Clio? Crazy stuff.

So, I believe this comment is pretty book-worthy. :D

11:51 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

When I studied abroad in London my sophmore year of college, my English friends always were confused with my accent at first. They could not tell where I was from at all. I have thought some about it and I think that it was bacause most movies about the south feature people speaking southern hick, which is not how I speak at all. I say y'all, but in a more southern belle way (You may think there is no difference, but there really is.).

12:04 AM  
Blogger amy said...

After missxrojas video, in which she mentioned 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I ordered it on Amazon, and I finished it at 3.42 this morning! I really enjoyed it!!
Are English people allowed to participate in the commenting to win a book- if so, I would really like a copy of Suite Scarlett!
(I've just realised all the exclamation marks I have used in this comment, I sound like Knud!)

12:06 AM  
Blogger Elainareads said...

I would love love to have a book!!
You and Libba's video is hilarious.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Haddy-la said...

i want a book

1:17 AM  
Anonymous blissfullydazed said...

LOL awesome post. If it's not too late, I have a question: I read on a website that there is an American TV channel in England called ABC1, but I think it's only, like, one of those "premium" channels, like BBC America is here. My question is, have you ever seen this channel, and if so, what's on it? It would be interesting to know. One thing I DO know - you need a LICENCE in that country for like, every TV you have in your house! But for the record, I would gladly pay for one, just to get all the cool channels, which I'm sure are very shiny.

Be sure and post more slang terms...I hope they're real...lol


1:23 AM  
Anonymous Katie V said...

You obviously are an expert on the english. You should have gone to school and been an england english major.

its good times i have to say

i will remeber this when i go to england for a year next year

1:28 AM  
Blogger Alysa said...

I still want a Scarlett! And thanks for the UK info -- brilliant!

1:36 AM  
OpenID folk said...

Maureen! Despite your otherwise admirable bloggery, you have made an error! An error, I say! I shall fetch the smelling salts, and wonder idly whether there is such a word as blogguard, like blackguard except subtly different.

"Great Britain" refers not to the bit of land that is England, Wales and Scotland, but to E W S and all of the associated little bits of rock like Anglesey and Scilly and Wight and the Western Isles and similar. E W S alone is "Britain".

I say this with some certainty on account of (a) being British, and (c) having taught this to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.*

Also, Cornwall is a separate country to all of the rest of England. KERNOW AGAS DYNNARGH, that's what I say.

PS. Did that minx Cassie ever tell you about the time with the UNLICENSED UNREGISTERED CAR?

* there is no (b).

1:48 AM  
Blogger courtneylynne said...

I never knew what the whole English/British difference thing was.
Thanks for explaining that =]
I've only read about half of Suite Scarlet because I was at my friends house and I was reading it while she was in the shower. I haven't been able to finish it yet, and that makes me sad.

Also, the word verification for this comment is murderpi. that's a great idea, since I should really be doing my geometry homework right now.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Yeah, Scarlett has a facebook!!!

(would love to win a book)

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Haley said...

I'm going to London at the end of this month (my first trip to Europe!) and I must say, if I don't see a scrounchling, a scroonch, and Gordon Ramsey, I shall be rather disappointed. What are your British (I'll be going to Scotland, too, which I just learned is also considered British)traveling tips? The essentials to traveling in a tea-drinking, cheese-rolling society? Also, I would love a copy of Suitte Scarlett!

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Melissa N said...

I would love to win a Suite Scarlett! :)

You and Libba are so funny- I love your videos!

~Melissa N

2:49 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

The throwing the cheese out of the store to get everyone out--a very clever trick. Because people are like mice. We can't resist cheese, especially rolling cheese.

Wow, I learned a lot of stuff about the UK. See, this blog is making everyone smart!

Yay for Suite Scarlett(which I would very much like to have a copy of)

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Bobina said...

Why is the Clio on the paperback edition of Girl at Sea wearing jeans now? Isn't she a bit warm? Did they give her pants for lack of hardcover?

On antoher note:
How's JK Rowling? Since you're in England she must come by more often.

3:25 AM  
Blogger The Story Siren said...

i guess you do learn something new everyday.....

3:27 AM  
OpenID jackiedogs91793 said...

Could you send me a book preeety pleeease with sugar on top and ice cream in the middle!!Any who, i find the british slang completly hilarous, i was crackin up readin. I think i want 2 participate in Rub-a-jubb just cause i can

3:29 AM  
OpenID jackiedogs91793 said...

Kan ich habe ein buch bitte, Ich mag deine buch. Any who, i love english slang, and the ones you find are completly hilarous. I'm reading Girl at Sea right now, and that is good so far. Good luck writing. BYE!

3:32 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Oh good, now I will know exactly which words to use when I go to England. I really want to attend one of those rub-a-jubbs. It sounds like so much fun! The policemen in the states don't do anything like that, which I think is a tragedy. They really need to be more community-friendly.

And I can't wait to go a bakery and order a wodger of cake. Mmmm, cake. :D :D

4:01 AM  
Blogger Renata said...

What an informative blog, indeed. Gosh, if you vlogged obsessively . . . well that could make my YouTube obsession almost legitimate and educational! How fab would that be?

Oh, and yes, I would like a copy of Suite Scarlett.

And thanks for accepting my friend request on Facebook. When I have read Girl at Sea and Suite Scarlett, perhaps I will tell you exactly why I loved each and every one of your books (because while I love them all equally, except for the ones I haven't read yet but only because I can't love them yet, I love them all in very different ways.) Yippee :D

4:03 AM  
Blogger Kyli said...

Aw, and I was looking forward to reading more about your Pox. :)

What about that little guy on the UK caution signs - did he get into anymore misadventures during your absence?

Also, I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett!

Thanks for making me laugh. Reading your blog makes my day.


4:04 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

"I think that it was bacause most movies about the south feature people speaking southern hick, which is not how I speak at all."

Yes, thank you. I'm from Texas. I do not drawl. I don't really know what my accent counts as. I haven't had much opportunity to speak to people with a variety of accents, but I say "I'm," not "Ah'm," and I don't talk slowly. I was never really aware of the southern stereotype until relatively recently. I guess my world is kinda small. But I rarely ever hear anyone with that stereotypical southern accent unless I'm passing through Nowhereville, Texas. Where I'm from, it's WAY more common to hear people with hispanic accents (which are quite beautiful, btw).

4:09 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

These videos are as glorious as math (Libba Bray + Maureen Johnson = hilarious) or perhaps a multi-layered cake (though don't overdo the frosting, ladies).

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Miranda K said...

wow! it sounds like porridge-stealing is a big thing in uk/britian/england!! here is my question:

porridge, as far as i know, is some weird british hot breakfast cereal. Oatmeal is a hot breakfast cereal that I eat because i grew up in Ohio, and most people in the south prefer grits. What is the difference between porridge, oatmeal, and grits?

i'd love a book!

5:15 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Maureen, I am a Martin. I'd like to know what Scarlett has to say about me if she's answering about all Martins...

...for one, I guess, she could say that I am a mooch who wants a free copy of Suite Scarlett!!!

5:26 AM  
Anonymous doodlebug23 said...

I would like a copy.

Oh, and the thing about northern people that you mentioned in your blog: it's true. I was in Oregon and I live in upstate New York, and someone in their car waved and smiled and I felt sorta creeped out, so I jogged back to the place I was staying because, in New York, waving and smiling from a car is something you only do if you're a child molestor or something.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous *allie* said...

wow, those are...interesting words. I'm going to start saying them now when me and my friends go around talking with an english (not british) accent. and everyone will think i'm crazy. YAY
i would love a book!

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Oliva from Canada said...

Yes , you do sometimes fhave strange accents. I'm from Canada (no, I do not say 'eh') and am usually mistaken for someone from Wisconsin. Or occasionally Chicago. Also people are totally more reserved here! I spend a lot of time in San Diego and have to remind myself it's normal for people to randomly wave at you and say hi.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Hillary! said...

I WANT A COPY OF SUITE SCARLETT! Does it get to be signed? Man that would totally be awesome!!!!!!!! Libba Bray is so cute and adorable! I just wanna shrink her and put her in my pocket and take her home with me and make her tap dance! Do you think her family would be ok with that?

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Maureen, you're so funny! I'm sure you're tired of me commenting on every blog post saying how funny and/or awesome you are, but seriously - I wish everyone had as great a sense of humour as yours! Your posts always brighten my day!

Assorted questions for you:

vlog question: How did you and Libba manage to keep straight faces in that vlog? How did you refrain from bursting out laughing? It was fantastic, by the way.

question from your last post: Any recommendations for how to NOT be afraid of turbulence? I am so, so afraid of airplanes, and even reading your blog post from last week gave me nightmares. Strangely, turbulence is one of the parts of flying I hate the most.

England question: what is the best English food that you cannot get here? Can your next secret mission be to sneak said food back in the plane with you and distribute it throughout Canada/the US?

PS - I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett. :)

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Alysson said...

I want one, Maureen! More then I want to participate in cheese rolling! More then I want to free Alan Rickman! and More then I want to save all the hamsters of the world from Zac Efron!.. and THAT is saying something.. because I want all of those things very much.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Raelyn said...

MJ ~ get.a.chicken.pox.vaccine. seriously! the older you are when you get them (unless you get them when you are, say, 2), the worse they are! I do not have such an enviable immune system u see, so i had to, ah, invest :D ps: a book vould be nice 0:)

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I think the reason people living in the north are considered 'meaner' is just that there are larger cities in the north. Buuut, I live in Minnesota and if you've ever heard the term 'Minnesota Nice' I can tell you it's pretty much true. When you go out for walks in Minnesota, people will stop and talk to you like old friends even if you have no idea who they are!! And MN is pretty much very very northern-like. So not ALL the northern states are meanies.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Emanuel said...

So is the Facebook thing for Maureen Johnson friends, or Maureen Johnson fans? I'm more of the latter category, and more a fan of the blog; I've only read Devilish so far, whereas your blog is referenced far and wide by other authors of the YA Author Mansion.

A copy of Suite Scarlett would be cool, but I think my location (New Zealand) makes me exempt from the giveaway (some rule about having to be within throwing distance of your lair or something. I'm sure you've got a pretty mean throwing arm, but you can only get so far before physics says NO).

9:20 AM  
Anonymous katiek said...

I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett!!

9:22 AM  
Anonymous poodle649 said...

I think I can agree with these long-posts-less-often people because if your posts were short they would lose their amazing funness. And you wouldn't have as much space to educate me on all things English, which is really important to me since nobody else is doing a good job of teaching me. Not like I'm going to England or the U.K. or Great Britain whatever it's called, but just in case. Because you never know when you might get kidnapped and brought to a random place. It pays to know what you could be up against!

9:39 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett as they are hard to come by in Australia.

Speaking of which, accents! I am not a fan of the Southern drawl, but other than that I don't really mind them much. They used to get to me a bit, but after visiting the US I got used to them. Particularly all the loud people we stayed with in Boston.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Sarahbear9789 said...

These videos are amazing. I am going to get Girl at Sea in paperback... I love that book.
Also, I love the English Slang.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Suvi said...

You didn't tell me are the stones removed from the cheese rolling hills. I still can't sleep, I'm just thinking about the dangers of stones.

And I do want to get a book! Send one for me, just for pity, they don't have your books here where I live... :(

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Amy fünke said...

Have you seen the telectroscope in London that goes under the atlantic and then you can see people in New York and the people in New York can see you?
You could go to the london end and have the others from the YA mansion visit the USA end and then wave

6:12 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Being from the Midwest, I feel almost obligated to be indignant at the claim that the north isn't as nice. But I can't because I'm pretty sure it's still true.

(I would love a copy of the book. ;])

8:57 PM  
Blogger peacefultruth said...

Have you seen any jubbly get in their jubbtub and ride out of the hubjubbly? :)

One thing: I feel the need to justify the kindness of the North. We may not be as hospitable, but they do offer to carry your groceries at our local grocery store.

I honestly feel a tad bit smarter after this blog, thank you maureen.

However, I would still LOVE a copy of suite scarlett and I shall not give up in this pursuit.

Best Wishes!

11:18 PM  
Anonymous amani said...

Hey Maureen! I love your videos with libba and i really love your glasses in the vid :)
- The Scrounch thing was cool i always wondered why the guy in oliver twist was always roaming around the kids while they were eating for-well now i do know
I havent won a book yet so yes i would like one ... please :)

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Diamond D said...

I love you and Libba.

So much.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous chanel.wa said...

Hi Maureen! Three comments:
1-I love your hair, I think it's quite pretty, and the color looks good on you.
2-Do you have any specific songs you like to play when you write a book or write at all? Any bands?
3-I want a copy of Suite Scarlett please!!Please!!Please!!!!!!!!!
I am done being annoying, byeas!

3:42 AM  
Blogger Heather♥ said...

MJ! What is this?? I know I didn't technically ASK A QUESTION in my last comment on the previous post, but it definitely was worth honorable mention! I can't believe this! (But I still love you)and OF COURSE I want a copy of Suite Scarlett! It wouldn't matter to me having two, or having just one, or having a bookstore's worth! As long as I don't have zero!

Have you ever come to South Carolina? More specifically Myrtle Beach/Charleston area?
It doesn't really matter if you have, because I didn't know about it. I'm really asking this question so that I can tell you that you should come here. Really, really should. (you'd be able to meet not one, but TWO of Scarlett's Eleven!!!!! Isn't that exciting?)

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MJ, I really love your books, they're absolutely funny and quirky but really sweet, too. Oh and also, please come visit Canada! It's honestly not cold! And please bring Libba Bray lol, you guys are an awesome combo.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Heather/the Vespator once again. (I usually do. We have a lot of the same brain waves). Also, I feel I must tell you that the Girl At Sea back(WITH JEANS) has caused us some confusion.

The other day, my friends and I were having a typical evening at the mall(Hide and Seek in Books-A-Million) and I came across Girl At Sea! Since it is now in paperback and it is the only book of yours that I have not read, I was very excited. Until I remembered that I didn't have enough money even for a paperback. So instead of buying Girl at Sea, I stared at it for awhile, which caused my friend to pick up the hardcover version, which caused us to notice other differences besides the jeans which caused us to look at them for a long time. There was something different. We COULD NOT figure it out. We considered
a)different shot
b)different girl
c)different tank top
d)different leg position
But we did not consider
e) shot that was cut off before the hardcover version was. Not for a very long time.

I thought you should know how confusing your books are.
(But, of course, they are still wonderful.)

5:44 AM  
OpenID serafina-zane said...

this puts me at great concern for my own natural immunity to the chicken pox.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Elaine S. said...

Thanks for pointing out the differences between the UK, Britain, and England!!!

I would love to win a book....

9:49 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I think I like the first Girl at Sea cover better -- it makes more sense that she would be wearing a bathing suit, being at sea and all.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Kayli said...

This is a wonderful day, because not only did I get to read your blog, but my copy of Bermudez Triangle that I ordered on Amazon is finally here! So I will go read that now, and it will be like a day of Maureen Johnson. Of course, if I won Suite Scarlett, there could be even more days of Maureen Johnson.

10:19 PM  
OpenID visualkeipenguin said...

*raises hand* Could I have a "Scarlett" please?? I've read it already at the library, but I have 0 money with which to buy one and am even considering selling my soul to the Starbucks Mermaidian Goddess in order to earn cash. This job will most certainly cause me guilt enough to keep from sleeping for a year or three, due to the fact that I'd be giving out cups of what must contain crack-laced coffee in order to keep customers returning lustful for more.

I'm not sure how I feel about giving drug money in exchange for a "Scarlett". It seems cruel to Scarlett, who probably wouldn't do that herself (although, if it wasn't for Mrs. Amberson, she might have eventually sold her soul to the Mermaidian Goddess of Starbucks....).

Please. A "Scarlett" please. I'll cease burning my incense to the Mermaidian Goddess and burn it to you. Or your cat. Whatever you ask.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Jaclyn said...

I would love a copy of Suite Scarlett! I still don't have one...

4:41 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

scarlett!!!!! PLEASE

6:49 AM  
Blogger Gia said...

Thanks for teaching me so much, Maureen! I think I learn more from you than I do from all my teachers combined.

If I had a million dollars I would:
I would be scrounching when all of a sudden I found myself in a scrample (scrampling?) and was chased by a Hubjubbly. When they finally catch me, I'll gget to rub-a-jubb a jubbly... and then I could turn into Gordon Ramsey and have the career I always wished for.

P.S. I wish I knew Charlie.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Kell said...

I completely love the observations of all things English, but I was hoping that you might mentally venture back to New York for one itsy, bitsy second.

I'm going to visit the lovely Big Apple in a couple of weeks and was looking for dining suggestions and was hoping for your (or Scarlett's for that matter) suggestions.

Hope all is well!!! (Now you should totally return to observing the English. Gotta love the local slang)


8:20 PM  
Blogger balexa said...

Your MJ and Libba Bray videos make my life!!!!!!
Do you ever have any transportation issues when you are in England???Do you drive when you are there and if so how good are you at driving on the other side of the road?
How did you pick up all the UK slang?Do you have any secret contacts?!And how did you meet all these people on tv who talk to Lilly Allen?

10:34 PM  
Blogger ambeen said...

I definitely want a copy. ;)

And I didn't know that they were all British. Do the Scottish prefer being called British or is Scottish still okay?

11:14 PM  
Blogger Juanita said...

If the dots and clouds aren't moving, then at least you can still claim natural immunity to the chicken pox. I'm 25 and still haven't caught them, and my 22 year old sister never did either, so I'm hoping I'm immune too.

And I'd like to perhaps win a copy of Suite Scarlett - I'm excited to read it, but my book buying budget has been sadly limited lately, and my library hasn't ordered it yet (although I did request that they do so).

3:10 AM  
Blogger Gia said...

BTW: I suggest you not watch television at 9:00 on Sunday, June 8th, for fear of spilling more tea and dropping more biscuits, because someone you know will be on WABC!
(Which you already know, I'm sure).

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i must say that if you will pass onto libba bray, her head-piece-mask-thing-but-not-really-a-mask was amazing. loved it!!

the video was cool too. the whole retna thing? ... very random :]


12:36 AM  
Anonymous R~A said...

Hey Maureen! Love the vids of you and liba bray! id really like a copy of Suite Scarlett :)

5:03 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

ur glasses are amazing.

and im excited =)
yesterday i got a call that i can go to england next summer to sing in an honors choir.

and. um. i would love a book.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I would like a book please. Thank you.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Chandler said...

Hello! First of all, I adore all of your books that I have read. I would seriously evjoy a copy of Suite Scarlett.

When I was younger, I went to England and I was completely in love with the way everyone spoke. Listening to people's accents made me extremely happy. It surprised me when the waitress at a little cafe gushed, "Oh, I love your American accent. It's just so nice and laid back." Now, it occurs to me that she may have just been trying to please the tourists, but, at the time, it made me extremely happy. So maybe they do like our accents, and maybe not... or maybe they honestly don't care; the world may never know.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meagan, secondary school here in England lasts 5 years. You start at 11, in 'year 7' and finish at 16 in 'year 11.' We don't call them grades, but rather years, and we don't refer to them by names (like 'senior' etc) as you do. And when we finish school, after taking our dreaded final exams (a much bigger deal than your regular 'finals', because pretty much our entire final grade comes from these national exams) we don't have a big production of graduation.

A 'form' isn't the grade, it's the group of people you have homeroom with. You have homeroom with the same class of people for all five years. You generally often have the same teacher taking you for much of that time, your 'form tutor,' unless they leave the school or something.

The exams you take in secondary school are GCSE's, which are national exams set and marked by an external, independent exam board, run by the government. You tend to take the exams in 10 subjects, and these dictate whether you will get into college, which lasts two years, during which you take you AS and A-levels, unless you take a vocational course.

I think that's the jist of it... :D

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

I'm so excited! I'm going to pick up my copy of Suite Scarlett from the library today and finally read it! Now I'll finally know the story -wahoo. Love to your mothers! ~B

8:53 PM  
Blogger Shausto-la said...

Well, i still wouldnt mind a book, MJ, as i might be sort of maybe completely out of money right now.

I plan to go on a major book spree right after school ends for us and buy a good 200 dollars worth of books. Now, I would be really excited about this, if i actually had the money to spend. Right now though, i'm just sort of planning to go to the book store and stare longinly at all the amazing books that i can't buy because nobody will let me steal money from them while the cash register lady stares at me suspiciously and calls security. Le sigh.

so question:: I need a quick way to make 200 dollars to go on my spree..any ideas?

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Bernadette C. said...

Hey Maureen,

I just have to say that I love your video with Libba Bray - and I would so buy one of your books soon...only I need to work for the money and I don't have a job right now.

Anyway, you are hilarious and absolutely amazing.

Just thought you ought to know.

Bernadette C.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is charlie the one who asked his girlyfriend to the prom with 13 little blue envlopes cause if he is he rox if he isn't hi still roxs

4:45 AM  
Blogger Miss Hannah said...

I have a question for you that does not involve the British, but does involve geography. Is Westerville, OH named for Scott Westerfeld? I have friends who live there, but they aren't talking. I suspect a massive cover-up conspiracy. Is that where they hide the YA mansion? Do they tag you with bugged Swarovski crystal eye implants so that you can't run away? I have so many questions, so many theories. If there is one person I know of on the interwebs who always tells the truth, it is you. I know I can trust you to set the record straight on the secrets of Westerville.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

One of my oldest friends is from Manchester, and he constantly says, "Pants!" whenever something goes wrong. This amuses me. I tried saying, "Underwear!" whenever something goes wrong, but people around here just look at me funny.

Oh, and I'd love to have a copy of the book. I tried starving myself to afford it, but I got hungry and couldn't find anyone willing to roll cheese down a hill for me. But I shall get it. I shall. Mwahahahaha!

Er... yeah. I need to cut down on the caffeine. Sorry!

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Chelsea said...

You are quite possibly one of the most amusing people I've ever had the pleasure to hear about.

I've read a few of your books, and I'm definitely planning to read the rest of them this summer (I finally have time).

Good luck with Suite Scarlett 2, by the way.

9:25 AM  
Blogger pixiel87 said...

This entry is officially the reason why I will be reading this blog all the time.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Don't call a Scottish person British unless you want them to beat you about the head while shouting in a wonderfully incomprehensible accent 'I DOONT THENK YEH SHULD BEH CALLIN MEH THAAAT, LASSIE!'
Okay, that was overly stereotyped. But I live in England, so I think it's okay.
In English schools, our year ten and eleven are your freshman and sophomore years. In year ten and eleven we study for and then take big scary exams called GCSEs, which determine whether you get into a college or sixth form to study A Levels. Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth are our equivalent to junior and senior year. A Levels are HARD. Or so I have heard; I'm in year eleven.
I think to be properly English in England you don't necessarily need ALL the slang, you just have to be able to say bloody hell in a VERY English accent. We enjoy saying this very much.
In England, we enjoy attempting to pull off American accents, but are easily irritated by the fact that you call ours British. It's not British. It's an ENGLISH accent. I shouted this at the television in my living room when I mistakenly walked in while my sister was watching an episode of Zoe 101 and Jamie-Lynn Spears exclaimed 'What? You do a GREAT British accent!'
I shouted. A lot.
It's fun living in England, though. It's full of uptight English people who stare at you if you're strange and drink a lot of tea but not all of us because some think it's icky. Including me.
And.. cheese. Don't even get me started. It's the most amazing creation EVER. This is probably the Welsh side of me speaking, because Wales makes the most amazing cheese (along with having the best sheep. Diolch i noswaith dda).

10:37 PM  

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