Monday, March 23, 2015

The Beach Boys made my Full House dreams come true.

Hey guys. It's a beautiful day in middle Tennessee so I am spending the day writing on the patio until the battery in my MacBook craps out. I am even more stoked for these sunshiney days because I spent the evening last night with my mother and the Beach Boys. I could have only enjoyed it more if I was marooned on an island (that I found on a map but turned out to be a potato chip crumb) and came upon a spontaneous luau where they were featured predominantly and I was pulled on stage with my family for a singalong. [Tangent: If you don't get my Full House references...then maybe this isn't the blog post for you...go ahead and X out now.] Of course, our show at the Ryman wasn't the full orignal lineup because would take dark magic and resurrection, but it was Bruce and Mike laced with homages and high tech harmonizing with the Wilson contingent. 
I don't think I'm alone in having only good vibrations (see what I did there?) associated with this band.For anyone in my age bracket, I think there is a definite soft spot for the Beach Boys. The late 80s was their resurgence. Even if it is not regarded as the greatest Beach Boys song, you cannot deny that  a great number of us know most of our Caribbean geography from the song Kokomo. [Tangent: I may not know exactly where Montserrat is on a map, but I can tell you without flinching that it has mystique, even if that is where my knowledge begins and ends on the island. I also cannot hear the nation of Aruba mentioned without in my mind launching into the chorus. This was especially troubling during the Natalie Hollaway disappearence. Yikes, what an inopportune time for an ear worm to strike.] 

 I grew up in a very East Coast/West Coast beach music battle. I remember my North Carolina bred father thinking it complete blasphemy that people only equated beach music with the Beach Boys. If it was up to him, it was Under the Boardwalk and Girl Watcher, or get the hell outta dodge, whereas my mom, who spent the 60s in Hawaii and California had a different opinion. [Tangent: I guess you could say it was like a much tamer and mellower Biggie and Tupac scenario.]

Even so, the Beach Boys were just kind of always around it seems. [Tangent: Not as around as they were for the Tanner family, dropping in periodically to jam with the Rippers or stopping in to save a flailing telethon or helping Uncle Jesse put the harmonies on his wedding song ...but close!] More like they were played on heavy rotation at the skate center and on the Oldie's station.  I feel like at least one of my elementary school plays featured an old Beach Boys hit, and it was before you were old enough to be cynical so you thought having a song that isn't Raffi in school was somehow the coolest thing on the planet. We were so easy to please.  

 
It was so refreshing last night to see all the fans which were decidedly older and more sedentary [Tangent: My Peeps!] mixed in with some people my age and then some children, which all looked so excited to be there. I feel like the Beach Boys are a good intro into Rock and Roll for so many kids and I am glad that they are still doing it and that kids are not too jaded to appreciate songs about cars and surfing and having school spirit. The world could use more of that.

I was a little sad that there was no John Stamos cameo on drums and the Tanner family never bum rushed the stage to garble scream their way through Barabara Ann. A girl can dream. My head might have exploded all over the the shimmying seniors in front of me. I mean check out that pink tank top wearing bongo stud. Have Mercy.


Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol. 8 (March 2015 Edition)

Man, this month has been totally kicking last month's b-hole as far as great doc finds on Netflix. I seriously have so many gems that March 2015 is gonna be the month to beat as far as doc wins! [Tangent: Also, I have to admit that I cheated a bit and am gonna preempt this post to tell everyone who has HBO to watch The Jinx. It pretty well illustrates the power of an explorative documentary series. If you were riveted by the Serial podcast, get on this.  In my opinion, it's even more captivating. Even though I had been following the Robert Durst case and knew a lot of the details, I was immersed from beginning to end. 5 hours well spent!] So instead of preambling too much, I'll get right to it...here are the ones I tried out this month.



An Affair of the Heart
If you look past the fact that this doc has perhaps the most non-descript title on the face of planet earth [Tangent: Truly, my dad used to never be good at remembering names and used to call 99% of romantic comedies "Affairs of the Heart" so yeah...not the most original or telling title.], you will find a hidden gem about the obsessive fandom that surrounds Rick Springfield. This concept was not completely shocking; I had an acquaintance once who worked at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville (a venue locally known for showcasing acts not quite in their prime.), and he told me that the most rowdy show that he ever worked was for Springfield, who the majority of us know as "That guy that sings Jesse's Girl." When I heard that I remember assuming the crowd he drew was all horny women in their 40s, but after watching this doc, I can attest his crowd was surprisingly mixed. [Tangent: Even though there are a bevy of housewives holding onto their childhood crush.] Since my other favorite fanatical docs have been taken off Netflix [Tangent: Seriously, I just got so sad when I realized For the Love of Dolly (about Dolly Parton fanatics) and I Think We're Alone Now (about two fans rabid love of pop star Tiffany) were removed from Netflix. They are both fantastic!], this will hit the spot. Also, I love an unexpected Corey Feldman interview! If any of you watch this, I wanna hear your reaction!

Rich Hill
This is one of those docs that will be slightly upsetting. The filmmakers behind the project were raised in the town of Rich Hill, Missouri and have returned to the now crumbling town to follow a handful of teenage residents in a town of under 2,000. The movie's site says, "Once a thriving mining town, shortly after World War II, the coal was gone – mined out. Stores closed, people moved away, farms were sold." It's kind of a bummer but an important one because many times you never get an inside look on what it's like to live in the lower class, where there is little hope or expectation. Although I initially saw two of the kids Harley and Appachey as asshole punks on the surface [Tangent: Seriously I wanted to smack them on a multitude of occasions in the movie's 90 minute duration], I inevitably sympathized with them and wanted them to succeed.

Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
Remember last month when I professed my love and wish for Bill Cunningham to adopt me as his granddaughter? Well, now I have found another delightful kook who I want to take me under his wing, Tomi Ungerer. If you are like me, that name isn't ringing a bell, but Tomi was a reknowned children's book author/illustrator in the 60s, who basically changed the strict rules of the art form. [Tangent: A lot of this reminded me very much of Beauty is Embarassing. If you haven't seen that doc, check it out! It features lots of love for the art barn at Middle Tennessee State University, where I spent a good chunk of my college years.] He then went on to dabble in controversial societal illustrations as well as pretty graphic erotic art...so I guess you could say he has many layers! I am mad this sat in my queue for so long unwatched, because it was incredibly well done production-wise and because it was laced with his graphic illustration- it was visually gorgeous. I highly recommend this in a delightful kook marathon with Bill Cunningham's New York and Burt's Buzz. 

We Always Lie to Strangers: The Incredible True Story of Branson Missouri
Having never been to Branson, I can only claim my preconceived notion, that it is that Branson is like the knockoff version of Nashville, only with none of the progress and more glitz and ridiculosity. I wish I could say this movie made me lose this stereotype, but it just solidified it, which is OK because it made the movie very enjoyable. Parts of it were so campy that they reminded me of Waiting for Guffman. [Tangent: There is one scene in particular where the one performance troupe is practicing YMCA that I seriously said to myself, "This cannot be real. Who is going to see this?!?] Even though, I thought I lived soundly in the buckle of the Bible belt, it made me realize that Branson takes that title. SO MANY CONSERVATIVE "JOKES." You will also hear a lot of quote gems like, "Grandma and I would pray that Jesus would make me pretty so one day I could perform in Branson."

Closure
Because I am obsessed with race and identity issues and adoption, I expected to enjoy this doc, which was given 5 stars by Netflix, but never did I expect to see someone I kind of knew in it!! [Tangent: Last month, Mr Tiny at Wacky Tacky said he saw someone he recognized in the doc The Institute, and I responded of how bizarre that must be...I guess that was foreshadowing.]  Basically, the girl in this documentary, Angela, was adopted by a white family who adopted several children from different situations and of different races and disabilities. She was born with special needs, but due to intensive physical therapy, she completely rebounded and was even a high school athlete. [Tangent: Before you call me lazy, that is extremely rare.] The movie follows her journey to get to know her birth parents. SPOILER ALERT: Her dad is Sandy the flower man from downtown Chattanooga. [Tangent: Perhaps a lot of people don't know who that is, but if you spend a lot of time in Chattanooga or live there, he is somewhat famous. Sandy is a man who hands out/sells flowers outside the bars on Market street. My sister lives in Chattanooga and my best friend used to work at one of the bars he rides his bike in front of, so I am very familiar with Sandy and have spent a couple karaoke nights singing drunkenly with his flowers in my hair. He is pretty beloved in Chattanooga and even has his own Facebook fan page that has rallied around him when his bike was  stolen and when he was diagnosed with cancer.] I think even without knowing how beloved Sandy is, you will enjoy this documentary. It really was heartwarming and a sweet reminder of the many forms family can take...hokey I know.

Living on One Dollar
Remember a couple months ago when I talked about the beloved by me doc, Andrew Jenks, Room 334 [Tangent: I know...I know! Ya'll are so sick of hearing me reference it.], and I said how awesome it was to see a millenial contributing to society? Well, the same can be said for this movie, which follows a group of young men who challenge themselves by traveling to Guatemala and living at the poverty standard for many countries, which is about a dollar per day. [Tangent: You know those Save the Children commercials which urge you to spare 97 cents a day to sponsor a child and you think to yourself, NO WAY that can be feasible...well, this doc puts it into practice.]

Life Itself
OK. I cheated somewhat. I actually watched this film a couple months ago when it was airing on CNN, but I am very jazzed that it is now offered streaming on Netflix.The movie is a beautiful love letter to Roger Ebert, that covers all aspects of his life. Instead of focusing just on his movie critic career or his childhood or his struggles as a former alcoholic or is beautiful relationship with his wife or his cancer battle [Tangent: All of these aspects fascinating on their own.], it is all encompassing and very well-done. Even though I used to watch "At The Movies" with a fever that most 10 year olds don't possess for film critiques, there was so much I didn't know about Ebert. I had no idea about his screenwriting of campy films like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls or the fact that he met his wife in AA, probably the least glitzy place on earth.  I remember around Oscar nom time hearing a lot of talk about it being snubbed as a pick for bet documentary, and I tend to agree.

Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Warning, the first 15 seconds of this documentary features the filmmaker eviscerating a dead albatross and pulling plastic chunks from his innards; if you can stomach that then the rest is smooth sailing. [Tangent: Not sure if that aquatic pun was intended or not. I can't even tell anymore.] This movie investigates Midway island and basically how it has become the catch all for plastic waste. It was pretty eye-opening, especially the whole piece about plastic fishing nets and how much waste they produce. Although this documentary is under an hour and pretty fascinating, I made the mistake of watching it late at night, so it took me about 4 nights to finish it. It will definitely make you look at plastics in a new way and you'll realize that a Ninja Turtles action figure has an incredibly long life span, which is good and bad depending on your outlook.

SO What's next? 
What should I get on in April? 
Have you been watching The Jinx, too? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Game Galaxy: The Happiest Place on Earth

As a 32-year-old, I would never qualify myself as a gamer. I haven't touched a console in 10 years...likely because I the idea of playing today seems overwhelming. [Tangent: My mom just got a FB page, which is probably a whole blog altogether, but I imagine it's a similar feeling. Even though it's not a new thing, it's new to her, which makes it scary. That's how I feel about modern gaming-everything is a foreign concept, so instead of feeling in over my head...I just pretend video games created beyond the year 2000 don't exist in my world.] This is a huge 180 from my childhood where we owned several consoles and  my parents would drop my off at Cool Springs Galleria with $10, and I would waste all my money at Power Play playing the Simpsons game. Arcade games were a great babysitter and hold a special place in my heart.

the T-Rex would eat your ball! It was awesome!

For this reason, when I found out that my friend Nettie was having her birthday party at an arcade I was intrigued. When I learned it was an old school arcade with vintage pinball, console games and freestanding machines, I was super intrigued. [Tangent: I had heard of Game Galaxy before when another friend had a birthday there, but I had to miss it and kind of assumed it was like a Dave and Busters. Little did I know how magic it is.] Then I learned for $10 you can play use all the machines free all day, and the clouds parted and the angels began singing the theme to Zelda. How can this place be real?!??!?

Although I have heard there is one in Rivergate, the one we went to is the Hickory Hollow location, where it resides in a somewhat abandoned strip mall where the Best Buy used to be. There really isn't a huge sign unless you count the one on the window, so I can understand why it is easily overlooked...which makes me happy because that meant on a Saturday it wasn't busy at all. A WIN for me!

This place is definitely no frills, but I am substance over style generally so I didn't mind that the food served was cans of coke and vending machine snacks or that we had to wait a few minutes for someone to take our $10 because they had to finish up a game they were playing. That's just the nature of the beast. It's also SUPER crowded with machines, so I had to navigate a little differently to fit my chair down the aisles, but I didn't mind because that just meant more pinball options for me! [Tangent: I am so eternally indebted to the seat elevator feature on my wheelchair which allows me to raise up to better see/reach things. It came in such handy at Game Galaxy.]

As soon as Jamie and I entered, we were overwhelmed like children at Disneyland...I wanted to play every game immediately and simultaneously, and we COULD because we paid $10 and that was our prerogative! Also, because we didn't have to pay per play, we could just ditch a game if we were not into it. With this in mind, and to fulfill my The Who's Tommy fantasies [Tangent: Minus the deaf and blind part...], I probably played 20 different pinball machines and engaged in lots of fighting games with Jamie, who I love because he doesn't let me win and vice versa. He eviscerated me numerous times in Mortal Kombat and I unleased my inner Chun-Li on him in Street Fighter. It was so much fun. We also played The Simpsons game, which DOES NOT hold up. I think I used to love it because I was good at it...but as an adult, I realize they give you WAY too many lives/chances to fail miserably. [Tangent: In other words, I wasn't good at it...it just is hard to lose.]

Oh, and don't worry...they have a lot of very niche games too, that I didn't even know existed. Like apparently movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Demolition Man warranted pinball machines. Also, the band Journey had a game where a little 8-Bit Steve Perry bounced on drum heads as an arcade-y version of Wheel in the Sky played on. Watch it here. Dream come true. [Tangent: Here is a full listing of all the games they have at that location.]


I can't wait to go back! 
What was your favorite game growing up?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Oops..I wrote it again. The Hello Giggle saga continues.

As many of you know...because I have not been shy [Read: I have been totally obnoxious.] about the fact that I am now a paid occasional contributor to Hello Giggles and that pleases me to no end. I have loved writing here and there and everywhere over the years, but Hello Giggles is a site that has hundreds of thousands of hits per story, which has its plusses and minuses. It's a lot of pressure and maybe I watch what I say a bit more. In my little corner of the Internet, I guess sometimes I forget that strangers may be reading and judging me on my overuse of adverbs and negligence to proofread...oh and the fact that sometimes I talk about literal poop.  I definitely don't watch what I say much on this URL, and I love that...so I plan on keeping it going for a while. [Tangent: Maybe even after the blogosphere has evaporated into the ether. It is entirely possibly I will be like that one friend you have that updates their Myspace profile.]

When I was filling out the payroll information and filling out an expense report and feeling like a bad ass freelancer [Tangent: As in working for myself and not free for a change!], I began to remember when I first discovered Hello Giggles. I was working at my desk job as an insurance provider bill reviewer several years ago...a good job...just not a good fit for me. Every day when I had fulfilled my bill quota, I would spend my free time on the site reading the essays and articles. I remember telling my coworkers how much I wanted to write for them. At the time, it seemed very far off. I was fairly miserable career wise at the time and not at all where I wanted to be. Thank heavens for corporate restructuring and me getting fired...because it forced me to flounder for a while [Tangent: I refused to heed the advice of those around me and make due in another job I hated. Instead I decided to find something that I loved.] and be miserable and figure stuff out.  Now I have 2 jobs I love....freelance blogger and social media and outreach coordinator for a disability non-profit. Is this real life?

OK, I know that sounded real self congratulatory and I am aware! I would apologize, but I don't wanna. Let me bask in it. Being obnoxious is how I got to this point. [Tangent: Like...I literally Twitter stalked Hello Giggles to get my story pitches in! I am Garth Brooks grade Shameless.] Also if you haven't already, check out my piece for Hello Giggles that ran last week about my favorite new Netflix-housed obsession The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. [Tangent: If you somehow missed my media oversaturation last week where I posed it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If I had semaphore flags, I likely would've used those, too. I was pretty excited.]  Unlike my last post where I was a "guest", now I am a "contributor". CHECK OUT THAT SWEET BYLINE, YA'LL! WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING!?!??!


 READ IT HERE!

Friday, March 13, 2015

It Smells like Updog in Here* (or where I've been lately)

*That title is terrible, I fully recognize that. I was struggling with naming this post to catch everyone up to speed, and resorted back to a joke that no one has used in about 10 years. Oh well. That's how I roll.

OK so I have been absent lately and I suck but life has been crazy. [Tangent: You know how they say "When the shit hits the fan" well the shit didn't just hit like an overhead fan, but then like an oscillating fan and then up through the vents and then maybe bounced off one of those tiny handheld fans that people used to carry around Opryland. Is that too graphic...well good, then you are getting the idea!] That whole things happening in 3's definitely rings true. Here is the long and short of it in emoji form...in case you have a short attention span. 

First off- my car decided to poop out right around the first of February and I really had no real direction on when it would get fixed. When you drive a car that is robot in nature, everyone is afraid to fix it out of fear that they will somehow ruin it! [Tangent: I can only liken it to if you were a Centaur and you get sick...a regular human doctor doesn't want to treat you, nor does a veterinarian so finally you just go to one and demand treatment and hope for the best.] So needless to say a slight steering noise quickly escalated into my car being in the shop for 3 weeks. This is no bueno, [Tangent especially since wheelchair hand control custom rental cars are not a thing.]

Then on Valentine's Day, Jamie took me out to have a hot night on the town to see Shovels & Rope at the Ryman. We were both really excited until we realized we had left the tickets at home...after we had already fought through the Saturday night/Downtown/VDay Nashville traffic. When I called home to ask my mother if they had gotten left behind...I quickly realized that we would have needed to promptly come home anyway. Mom had broken her hip. After driving home the fastest that Jamie's car would carry us, we spent our February 14 calling an ambulance and hanging in the emergency room. Memorable for sure, perhaps not for the best reasons.

Then the ice storm took Nashville by storm. [Tangent: Pun intended...maybe...maybe not. Haven't decided.] If you aren't in a wheelchair, you will never understand how much I loathe ice and snow if I have anywhere to go. [Tangent: Imagine how difficult it is to drive in and then wonder what that would be like if your car only had 2 wheel drive and tiny tires. Yeah, you would be spinning your wheels forever.] If I can be inside drinking cocoa in pajamas, I am all for it- but unfortunately I had to get to a hospital to see my mom and run errands for the family.  [Tangent: Even though I was carless...so the I guess the issue was null and void.]

Luckily the normalcy is starting to return to my world. Weatherbug says that tomorrows high will be 66.  Although my van is in the shop again today [Tangent: Apparently you need functioning brakes and rotors to drive! Who knew?], I am getting it back this afternoon. And most importantly, Mom is doing really good. She is walking almost normally on her bionic hip and despite the fact that I love her hot pink cane, she almost doesn't need it anymore. [Tangent: She had adopted a new life motto: new hip...ready to rip!] I'll try to not go missing for long expanses. I miss blog life too much.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March coming in like a Lion with Glasses: Firmoo Giveaway

Since it's March and I kinda sucked as a blogger and a human being all February, I thought I would start the month off like a lion [Tangent:...or is it a lamb? Oh well.] and run a giveaway. When the good people at Firmoo contacted me a couple weeks ago and offered me EITHER a pair of glasses for me or a pair to giveaway, I opted for the latter. [Tangent: I know...I know. A glasses giveaway, Kimmie? That was a really fresh concept when you did it the first 2x!] I wanted to be selfish, but I always seem to get these offers days after I have gotten a new pair that I paid for in the mail. At this point my glasses hoarding is getting a little outta hand, so I thought the responsible thing was to share the love, lest my obsession get outta control. [Tangent: Even though this pair tempted the hell outta me!!] The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?


As I have rambled on about in many a post, I have tried virtually every online glasses distributor and Firmoo is at the top of the list [Tangent: I mean...not just because they give me free stuff sometimes. I truly love their product and own several pairs! Trust, I wouldn't try to sell you snake oil. I only run giveaways for products that I would try to win myself. That's my barometer.] I even made myself a creepy Saved By the Bell style collage below to illustrate my love of Firmoo. [Tangent: If you don't accept that picture as adding value or insight into the product, you're crazy, but can read about what makes them great read my likes about the product/company HERE.] 

So here is basically the long and short of what you will get if you win:

You can select any pair from their curated blogger collection of frames. Browse the options here.
Glasses include the frames, standard 1.50 index single vision lenses. Upgraded lenses and add-ons will be charged for an extra fee. [Tangent: Add-ons are things like super thin lenses and tint. I have never needed the add-ons and my RX is -3.5...if that gives you any idea.] As long as you are a US resident, shipping will be paid for by Firmoo. 

You have until March 10 to enter! That gives you plenty of time to toil over which pair to choose!

 [Tangent: On a totally shameless, self-serving level, if you don't win but want to make a Firmoo purchase in the future, use THIS LINK or the banner in my sidebar to buy through and I get a small percentage of the sale! No shame.]


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 27, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol. 7 (February 2015 Edition)

February in a word: Unpredictable. Another word: Overwhelming.  Despite being housebound Grey Gardens style by the universe (destined to live out the winter in loungewear and slippers), I haven't been racking in as many Netflix documentaries as I could have. Therefore, as with the days on the February page of the calendar...this month is gonna be pretty skimpy. I promise, you'll survive.

And The Oscar Goes To... A
My intention for this month was to watch all the Oscar nominated documentary features, and that didn't happen...so this is your consolation prize.  [Tangent: I had only watched Finding Vivian Maier, which I loved but intend to watch CitizenFour and Virunga really soon. I just gotta prepare to be in the mood, because I have a feeling neither is as fun as a movie about Irish Dancing children.] I assume all people will love this movie, which discusses the history on a category to category basis of the Oscars,  but then again I also assume all people love awards shows. They don't...and I try to be at peace with that. However, if you are at all interested in film, then I think you will like this one..also it's under an hour and a half, which is good for those with a short attention span.

When Strangers Click- A+
Speaking of short awesome docs...I give to you one of the great movies about insane online love stories. I haven't watched this one in over a year, but I feel like I always want to discuss it with Jamie who has never seen it and never can. A few weeks ago, I decided to finally nip that in the bud. As expected he had the WTF face on for a grand majority of this movie that is basically a montage of Catfish episodes gone right. [Tangent: My brother has been in town from California all week and this morning I learned he had never seen Catfish: The Series before. Long story short, that is basically how I have spent my day...remedying that deficiency in his life, but pulling all the "greatest hits" off Amazon Prime.] My favorite vignette from this film is the man who met his future soulmate in second life. [Tangent: If you are currently scratching your head after hearing that term...do yourself a favor and watch Life 2.0. It's on Netflix and will fill in the blanks.] He is a basically a rock star in second life, but a 50 year old swedish goofball in real life. I dare you not to have his "hit song" in your head for at least 24 hours after watching this movie.

The Institute- A
For the same reason I have a lot of books on my shelf, I initially picked this one because the cover was pretty. I'm a simple kinda gal. But it was icing on the cake that this movie was about something interesting and bizarre. The Institute follows and deconstructs the  Jejune institute, which was a social experiment (and some think a culty one) that grew out of San Francisco (where many a wack job/brilliant idea is born.) The pillar of Jejune is that people randomly get called to go to an innocuous office building then sent on a wild goose chase scavenger hunt to illustrate that life is all about the journey. I love the idea of deliberate nonchalance and actually think there is a lot of merit to the principles. In discussing it with my coworkers the day after I watched it, I realized I sounded like a crazy person...so prepare for that, but watch it anyway. It's good.

Women Aren't Funny- B-
I had really really high hopes for this doc where comedianne Bonnie McFarlane approaches male and female funny people and poses the question "Are women funny?" The concept and bits of it were awesome. On one hand, I was impressed with the cross-section of comedians they talked to from Wanda Sykes to Artie Lange and I think it was an important question to ask [Tangent: I really hate that being a woman and having a sense of humor is still considered a novel concept by so many.], however it just wasn't as funny as I had hoped. Yes, I realize, it's a documentary and meant to inform and enlighten rather than entertain, but I wondered if it was funnier if it would have proved Bonnie's point a little better. 

Bill Cunningham New York A+
Not sure if it is because I am not from NYC or if it's because I'm not the biggest fashionista [Tangent: I love clothes, but designer names mean nada to me. My current outfit is The Limited via Goodwill, so there's that.] , but I had never heard of Bill Cunningham. I'm sure that's a disgrace to a certain demographic. Does it make it any better that immediately after watching the film,  I wanted him adopt me as his granddaughter and allow me to ride around in his pocket while he bikes around the big apple snapping photos of strangers? He is seriously the cutest thing on the planet. Everything about him. His "confirmed bachelor lifestyle." His zany pack of friends [Tangent: Dear god, that Dandy fella is haunting!] His love of fashion, yet his proclivity to wear only disposable suits. I promise, male and female alike, I think everyone will fall in love with this movie and this man.

To Russia with Love- B
Remember a few months ago, I vowed to throw some sports documentaries into the mix. Initially I thought that meant some of those ESPN 30 for 30 docs (because despite being about athletics, I have heard they are really interesting) but then I got distracted by something that seemed more my speed....like this movie helmed by sparkly ice wizard Johnny Weir. The movie is all about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia [Tangent: If you know me, you know that I am far from a sports fantatic, but Olympic events are my one exception.] and how it impacted several athletes who happen to be gay. Although I knew that Russia was not exactly the San Fran of Eastern Europe, I didn't know how stringent their anti gay legislation was. My favorite parts were the early scene transitions where Johnny Weir, winter angel esquire, was dramatically skating. I guess now that I have watched this and The Price of Gold, I have to officially branch into non-skating sports docs.

Jig- B(ish)- C+
If you have ever read any of these Netflix roundups, you know that I love pageantry and competitive children with unorthodox hobbies, so this movie about the inside world of the world Irish Dancing Youth championships seemed like a no brainer [Tangent: Joining the ranks of Magic Camp...] It sat in my queue for a long time because Netflix was classifying it more with twee kiddie movies than it was documentaries, and although I am not above that sort of thing (in any capacity), it gave me pause. Finally, I gave in one night. Although I was mesmerized by all the legs flailing akimbo, I was secretly hoping for more dramatics and terrible stage parents, but on the whole the children all seemed pretty well rounded and dedicated. Darn.

Craigslist Joe- A
If there is one core truth about me, it is that I love a challenge, so I am generally drawn to docs in the vein of SuperSize Me where the filmmaker gives himself a span of time to jump out of his/her comfort zone and adhere to a lifestyle change with very strict parameters. In this movie, the Joe in question gives up his home, money and belongings (except for a cell phone and laptop) for one month to live his life only by things he found on Craigslist on the free/barter section. [Tangent:  I questioned why he took on this challenge in December when it's colder than a penguin foot outside, but I guess he wanted to make it as challenging as possible.] Over the course of the movie he participated in ride shares, volunteer opportunities and day jobs that took him from one end of the country to the other. As someone that has bought and sold on Craigslist many a time, I am glad that this movie reinforced that it is not all closet rapists and murderers- Craigslist can foster a sense of community.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I've Been Keeping Secrets- HELLO GIGGLES!!

So you guys...I have been harboring a pretty big secret for the last few weeks...and unlike Harry Potter, I am not great with chambers of secrets. [Tangent: My boyfriend would be so proud of me making a Harry Potter reference...even tough I am positive it was WAY OFF!] After years of sucking up and submitting articles to Hello Giggles, I have gotten published on their site. Here is my first groundbreaking article about what the Men of Parks and Recreation would look like with the Tiger Beat Treatment! [Tangent: Groundbreaking journalism...I know, but I had a zany idea and ran with it...so I hope it works.]


I'm really excited...probably moreso because the next time I publish with them I will be a regular contributor, and you won't have to flip to page 3 to see my byline! This is such a huge deal for me and I am so so so excited. Thanks to those of you I have told that have been excited and/or pretended to care.  This blog is my first love and you guys have been nothing but supportive as I stretch out to contribute to Nerds and Nomsense and now Hello Giggles. Will I run out of topics?!??!? AGHH!


READ MY HELLO GIGGLES POST HERE!!! 
OH MY STARS! I'M SO EXCITED!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This One Goes Out to the Ones I Love - A Giveaway and Valentine Roundup

Valentine's Day and the period prior to it has in the past inspired some of my favorite posts [Tangent: Like that time I wrote about my favorite pop culture valentines or  the oversized stuffed animal epidemic, the thing where people buy themselves valentine's gifts from their dogs or that creepy singing, dancing Valentine's Ke$ha monster. Seriously so much to write about!] Sincerely, this only brings attention to the fact that this February I am slacking hardcore, and for that I am sorry. Because of this I want to share some of my favorite spins on classic and frankly trite flowers/candy/card that really scream "mister lova lova!" from the rooftops. I also have a surprise Valentine for one of my followers! [Tangent: OK...I know it's a little late in the game, but people procrastinate right? And these things work for all occasions!]

Here are some things I am loving this time of year:
 Pop Culture on Paper from Meet Me in Shermer is probably my favorite card seller on Etsy [Tangent: And this coming from a girl who buys a lot of cards on etsy. Seriously I get absolutely no kickback from this, but I will probably at some point buy every card in her collection]. I found her store while searching for a birthday card for my honey and ended up buying in bulk. They come for all occasions so if you don't want a love card, but instead want a Weekend at Bernie's themed birthday card...they have that too...because who doesn't want that? 



The Bouqs So I am usually pretty anti-ordering flowers for delivery because well...most bouquets never really look like what you ordered and they jack of the prices to the high heavens...oh and I am cheap. However, after seeing The Bouqs on my Friday night institution Shark Tank, I have become a fan. In the last few months, I have ordered twice for people and every time I was impressed. They have a flat rate of $40 a bouquet and you don't have to go through any flower shop- They ship straight from the volcanoes they grow on in 3-4 days [Tangent: yes, you heard that right...volcanoes. I wish I understood horticulture and could explain that, but just the concept seems badass, so I am onboard.]. If you need them sooner, you choose from their California farm and it's a slightly higher price. [Tangent: Full disclosure, these are a sponsor and if you click on the banner to order them (or my links) I will get a kickback, but it's a company I stand by and did cheer on in the Shark Tank....so I believe in them.]

So now, since you have a card and flowers, if you are going for full on cliche- you need Candy...so why not get boozy homemade marshmallows from Wondermade!!??!  Dear god, these are so yummy and they even make these fancy dancy champagne flavored ones capped in actual gold dust. [Tangent: This is a much better way than Goldshlager to get the flavor of alcohol and gold simultaneously...though my 21-year-old former self might disagree!] If you don't want to go for that elite limited edition flavor, try one of the classics.  I have had several, and they are all delightful.



Oh and to REALLY make it up to you that I have been a horrible blogger...I have a giveaway: A Valentine from me made exclusively for V-Day by Nashville arbiter of the fun, cute and creepy:  Olivia Frankenstein [Tangent: Crystal, the lady behind the brand is BFF with my friend Rae.] . See, I'm buying your love!  Olivia Frankenstein is a business that sells things that have a loving nod to all things horror and vintage, and when she came out with this limited batch of valentine pouches, I couldn't decide on just one...so ONE of you will get the cute mini pouch (it could be used as a wallet or for jewelry) with a terrifying clown on it- ONE THAT LOVES PUNS!

I will also throw in some other fun surprises to make you feel loved if your significant other is crappy at gift giving...or so that you won't have to buy yourself a gift and pretend it's from your pet! It'll be a Belated happy Valentine's Day! THIS WILL BE A SHORT GIVEAWAY AND ENDS SATURDAY, FEB 14! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Kids are Alright

Recently a friend texted me and asked if I would like to speak to her son's school about disability. I couldn't say yes fast enough, because frankly...
  1.  I love talking and rarely do people in my actual life want me to do so. [Tangent: If anything, all I hear is, "Ughh...rewind it. Kimmie was talking and I missed that part of the movie!"]
  2.  I think it's important to put disability in front of kiddos and make it accessible and not scary or strange. 
  3. I did it for my friend Amber's school a few years ago and thought it was super fun...mostly because 6th graders have really great questions like "How do you grocery shop?"
[Tangent: Let's face it- no one wants to be the boring adult lecturing them. I was fully am prepared that these kids would not be not listening and just passing notes the whole time....oh wait...do preteens even do that anymore? I bet they text or kik message or tweet or something. Maybe I will be snapchatted with the caption "Adults R Lame. LOL!"  Who knows! When I was in school, at some point I remember listening to one of the members of Lynard Skynard talk to our school about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Brilliant and riveting, right? Well...I was a youth and likely not paying attention, so I cannot even tell you who it was because at that point if it wasn't currently on TRL...I was not interested. I had no sense of history at that moment in time.]

My sister teaches middle school, and from her stories...it is an understatement that I was a little worried that these kids would be rolling their eyes or filing their nails or Kik! messaging or doing something similarly disrespectful while I tried to enlighten them to the wondrous world of disability awareness. [Tangent: My friends on Facebook all urged me to perform a rap...because nothing would make me seem cooler than attempting to get all street in that Catholic school gymnasium!] 

a rendering of what that would look like
Thankfully, this crop of kids was super proper and throughtful and sweet. They also made it easier on me because I had an hour to fill...and only 12 minutes of material to go over. THANK ALL THAT IS SACRED THAT THEY WERE INQUISITIVE!!! 3/4 of the session was spent fielding questions, where only about one third of them had to do with disability. Although, I was asked some really thoughtful questions that seemed way deep for a girl who is not even a teenager yet [Tangent: i.e. "Why do you have a positive attitude and get outta bed everyday?" ....That one floored me a bit.] Here are some of my favorite random questions I was asked.

  1. Do you like Dr. Who? 
  2. Do you keep a garden? 
  3. Are you allowed to keep small pets? 
  4. What do you like to order at Sonic? 
  5. Have you seen American Sniper
I guess preteens are pretty awesome, despite the fact that I got some stink eyes when I admitted to them that I loved Taylor Swift. Oh well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Good Vibes Award goes to...ME!

Today has been one of those days, I got SUPER EXCITING THRILLING NEWS this AM, which I will share soon [Tangent: No, I'm not engaged, pregnant or considering sex change surgery...so that will narrow it down considerably for you.], and then I found out I was gonna be carless for about 5 days because my robot of a mini van likes to be intensely complicated and cost be hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I kinda went from this...

to this...


Thankfully, the deafening sound of money being siphoned from my bank account was suspended for a moment because I got a message from Adi, the lovely lady behind the blog Vegetarian Courtesy, saying that she had nominated me for a "Blogger with Good Vibes" award. [Tangent: Let's call a spade a spade. These things are like the blogger equivalent of a chain letter, but they are a fun prompt and a great way to recognize other blogs that you follow/support.] I very much enjoy her blog, and despite the fact that I started my morning with a sausage crunch wrap from Taco Bell, I am glad Adi doesn't judge me too hard on my enthusiastic carnivorousness.

The requirements of every winner is:
- Respond the 19 questions stated below.
- Nominate 10 other blogs...I did more...but oh well
- Advise them that they've been nominated.

19 questions that Vegetarian Courtesy asked me:

1. When did you begin blogging?
July, 4 2010...I had a massive head cold and was stuck inside and needed something to funnel my Robotussin infused delirium into

2. Why did you decide to start blogging?
At the time, I was working a job processing insurance providers. I wasn't particularly happy then and felt very stifled, I needed a creative outlet so I could say I was doing something I loved.

3. What does your blog teach us?
Most days, probably nothing. Sometimes people tell me they don't know anyone with a disability in real life, so my blog has given them a new perspective they never thought about on some things. So I guess that's something...even though it is unintentional.

4. Did it cost you some time to name the blog?
Kind of. I really like the word "pith" so I remember my original idea was "pith and vinegar" or "gettin pithy" but my sister informed me that when telling people the name, I might just sound lispy. In retrospect, it was good advice. I like that my blog title isn't trying to be clever....it just kinda states the obvious.

5. Is your blog design autodidact or contracted?
Autodidact! I guess I am way too much of a control freak to contract stuff out.. I am real weird with sponsored posts and I will only do them if they are something I love and they will give me something to share with you guys. 

6. How often do you publish a post?
I wish I had a definitive schedule. I really don't. I blog when I feel the need.

7. Do you have solid days where you publish or do you do it whenever you feel like doing it?
See above. Now that I write for work and do social media at work, sometimes it's a little more infrequent, but I think the quality is still there. I HOPE!

8. Do you share your publications on other social media sites so people can recognize you?
Duh.

9. If so, what are the social media sites we can find you on?
Twitter: @kimmiejonesin (mostly for live tweeting awards shows etc)
Instagram: @kimmiejonesin
Facebook: /ThatGirlInTheWheelchair

1O. Do you have different sections of your blog?
Yes and No. I probably should organize it better. I have different tabs along the top and there are key words in the right hand column to give you an idea about some of my topic proclivities.

11. What would you recommend to us on your blog?
Ooooh. No idea. I think the posts I hear the most feedback on are my monthly Netflix documentary posts and my annual sexy Halloween costume posts. Maybe because they are my only real consistent features.

12. How much time from your day do you dedicate to blogging?
Depends on the day. I think about it even if I am not actively blogging, I am reading them.

13. Do you think you're capable of shelving the virtual life right now?
Nah. Blogging has quite literally changed my life. I think about it sometimes, but I like it too much.

14. What positive things has blogging brought to you?
It has introduced me to awesome new people and given me several exciting opportunities to write. It has given me confidence and acted as a kind of therapy and even allowed my boyfriend to get to know me online before we ever really knew each other well in real life.

15. And negatives?
I have no filter, and sometimes that bites me in the ass. People are not always too keen on what I have to say, but the majority of the time they respect my honesty. I also hate writer's block and seeing all my typos. I'm the worst proofreader ever.

16. What is the first thing you look for when visiting a new blog?
A point of view. When I read a blog, I like to know that there is a real person there and not just superficial stuff. I like blogs that aren't cookie cutter and that seem genuine.

17. Would you like the blogs that you visit daily since a long time ago become businesses?
Blogs are a great gateway to starting a business. A lot of the bloggers I follow are illustrators or designers and I enjoy seeing their work and getting to know them along the way.

18. Would you like your blog to be the way you win your life?
Um...not sure what that means. I hope I have bigger things to give humanity than this lil old blog, but I guess it's a good jumping off point.

19. Does it bother you to not receive any visits?
Not anymore. It used to drive me crazy when I worked really hard on something and it go no traffic, but I try not to pay too much attention to numbers anymore.

My nominees for the prize are:

Say it Ain't So
Wacky Tacky
Wordy, Nerdy, Thirty-ish
What Do You Do Dear? 
Lladybird
Old Red Boots
Kittycat Stevens 
Adventures in Aubreyland
Spashionista 
Boo Bobby
Junebugs and Georgia Peaches
In Case of Fire, Use Stairs
Let's Go Ride A Bike
Viva Bang Bang
Clueless Girl's Guide
My Pretty Baby Cried She Was a Bird
Librarian Tells All

Ok, this is an awkward end...here's more Milouse gifs representing my inner feelings.
 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Theory of Everything Did Everything They Needed to Do...Here's Why

Awards season is rushing in, and this year I am way ahead of the current and have seen all but one best picture nominee. [Tangent: The trailer for American Sniper gave me a mini panic attack, so I have yet to take that plunge. I have to mentally prepare to be made to feel like an emotional garbage fire inside....it's the same reason that I saved 12 Years a Slave for last in 2014.] For the most part I have enjoyed all of them, [Tangent: Even though I am a little miffed Gone Girl and Nightcrawler didn't get more attention, because both of those movies were fantastic.] but there are always controversies...and one that I read about last week involving disability really burns my biscuits. [Can I make a credible counterpoint using "burned my biscuits"? Well...I'll try.]

I posted this link about  Eddie Redmayne and his "disappointing depiction of disability" a couple days back on my blog's Facebook page with the sentiment that I disagree 100%. However, I really felt like I could write scrolls on this topic...or at least a blog.

 OK. Let me start off with how I feel about this thesis statement from  the article:

"James Marsh’s movie exists for two purposes: to make able-bodied people feel good about themselves and to win Oscars. "
Here's what I, a woman with a disability,  know about The Theory of Everything. It's a movie I had wanted to see since the trailer came out, and after seeing it and inevitably crying profusely, my boyfriend I left the theater in awe because the nail was hit on the head pretty squarely. [Tangent: That trach scene hit me right in the stomach and induced some  snot crying.] It was a beautiful and honest depiction of what it is like to live with a progressive disease and adapt to new unexpected challenging as well as be someone in love with that person. Did I once say, "No they should have gotten an actor with ALS to play Hawking!" ABSOLUTELY NOT!


Finding an actor at the beginning of his diagnosis with ALS and following him through that huge life transition whilst factoring in the rigors of filming and his ability to emote accordingly...I feel like that is possibly the most impractical request you could make to a casting director. There's a market for that...it's called documentary and I have seen some great ones [Tangent: Get on Netflix and watch Hawking or So Much, So Fast.] . True, I am not an actress. I do not know what it's like to go out for roles of a person with a disability and then lose them to an able-bodied actor.  [Tangent: If you want that perspective, check out this article. ] However, I guarantee you if I was and was up against Eddie Redmayne...I would be A-OK with him getting the job, because his performance was brilliant.

Do I think people that don't have disabilities were leaving the theater saying "DAMN! Sucks for that guy!" No. Well, I mean maybe, but it kinda does...and if that's how they feel...that's OK.  It's OK to see the true story of someone else's life and struggles and feel a renewed sense of self and understanding of others. [Tangent: For example, when I saw The Imitation Game, I cried because his life was a struggle that I can't wrap my head around. It's one that I will never understand firsthand. Never once was I pissed because Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't gay. It's called acting, ya'll!]

Was I butt hurt that the movie also used his wife's perspective quite a bit and how she felt about his disease? NO! That was probably the most realistic element...probably because it came from her autobiography. It wasn't as if this information was all fabricated and pulled from the ether. Additionally, the Hawking family cooperated and signed off on the movie and casting and worked with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones one-on-one, so why are people getting so damned offended. I have seen commentary likening it to a minstrel show, and find that a little unfair because the movie was extremely respectful.

see...everyone is cool with it!

 We all know that I am a pretty laid back person on these matters and don't like to get all up in arms about little nitpicky things [Tangent: Remember I was the minority who thought the hired disability escorts at Disney World weren't offensive, but were rather an interesting employment opportunity. Seriously, perspective, ya'll! So many bigger fish to fry. Let's chat accessibility and then you can start theoretically stripping people of their entertainment awards once that beast has been slayed.] , so I guess I assume most adults with disabilities feel the same. WRONG. A lot of them are mad as hell about it. I have seen several references calling this kind of thing "cripface" or that it was somehow wrong that a disabled filmmaker didn't step up to produce or be involved in the film. This is so sublimely irritating to me. These people showed up to tell the story, that clearly no one in the disabled community was telling...so why are you mad!??!?!? 

The Slate article points a very angry finger at the ending where this brief sequence occurs:
"There is a scene in The Theory of Everything in which Stephen Hawking sits on a stage. He is almost immobile in his wheelchair; Eddie Redmayne, the actor playing him, is at the bottom of his descent into disability. Hawking sees a woman in his audience drop her pen, and the film shifts into a fantasy sequence: Redmayne rises from the wheelchair, straightens the limbs he’s been twisting and twitching in his portrayal of Hawking, and walks over to pick up the pen. He hands it to the woman, smiling flirtatiously, suddenly free of his disability and once again a handsome movie star. Then he returns to the wheelchair and resumes his imitation of the effects of ALS, and the film’s action continues."
For this scene, frankly, I could either take it or leave it. On one hand, it did take me out of the movie a bit. [Tangent: It did remind me a bit of when I used to watch Glee and they gave Artie, the kid in the wheelchair, a dance sequence in his dreams.] I had a moment of "What the hell is happening!?!?", but then I understood the profound subtext. That simple moment portrayed the  times anyone who lives with adverse circumstances catches a glimpse of ways his life may have been different. It's such a simple moment and a peek into how Hawking would be if the chair stripped away. So many times people are distracted by disability, and that moment seemed like a moment of humanity, which kept my eyes from rolling too hard.


What did you guys think? I bet this whole controversy never even crossed your mind, right? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol. 6 (January 2015)

Everybody. Yeaaaah. Watchin' Netflix. Yeaaaah. 
Everybody watch those docs tonight. Kimmie's back. ALRIGHT!

OK. That was weird and lame and inexcusable and let's never speak of it again, deal? I can only guess that delirium is setting in from binge watching too much lately. [Tangent: As if I didn't have enough entertainment to keep me satiated, I recently added Amazon Prime to my repetoire and thus have been spending each available minute watching Six Feet Under because I am always at least 10 years late to trends. Just call me your Aunt Linda, who just joined Facebook.]

So it's January and a new year brings a new crop of docs. [Tangent:..and some old ones that I have just come across because the Netflix algorythms finally deciphered that I wasn't a gay male. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. ] This month was varied to say the least and I love that several of them were recommendations from friends and family members. Appreciate cha! [Tangent: Please keep them coming. I have a document in my phone specifically for all these recommendations.] I also bit off more than I can chew and have about 4 other ones halfway done, but I will get those in February!
 

Andrew Jenks, Room 335- A+
I love this movie. So much so that I wanted to watch it again with someone immediately so I could share in their delight. The movie is about a young 19-year-old filmmaker who on his summer break from school moves into a nursing home to live among the population. It gave me hope to see someone so young create something that was not only watchable but not cloying and full of genuine emotion. [Tangent: See, people under 25 aren't all garbage! There are exceptions.] These men and women kind of adopted Andrew and he formed genuine friendships with people that were quadruple his age. It wasn't only well done for a pack of teens; it was well done. period. Also, if you don't want Tammy to come live in your pocket....you have no soul!

Becoming Chaz- B
This sucker has been staring me in the face every time I log into Netflix. It seemed to be in every possible queue for a long time, so I finally gave in and added it to my watch list, where it has languished for about a year. It under an hour and a half!?!? Why haven't I taken the plunge? Maybe the low star rating, maybe because after seeing him in interviews, I didn't feel like I don't really find Chaz Bono that interesting/likeable. [Tangent: And not because of her gender/sexual identity, more because I just found him smug.] Well, I finally checked it out and found it to be much better than expected. I found his story pretty powerful and the support of his loved ones very refreshing. In case the name isn't top of mind familiar, Chaz Bono (formerly Chastity Bono) is the daughter of Sonny and Cher, who in the last several years has been a major spokesperson for the transgendered community. This doc chronicles her transition from Male to Female. The parts I liked most were the interviews with family who remember his childhood and early signs that he was living in the wrong body.

Playground- A
Why I chose to battle insomnia with a movie about human trafficking? This only draws attention to my poor decision making when sleep deprived. This movie goes in depth into the issue of child sex trafficking...only unlike so many news stories the investigate the issue in Asia or overseas, this story talks about it domestically. Through interviews, true profiles, statistics, investigation and weird eerie cartoons- they tackle this issue, that I naively didn't realize was so prevalent in the US. [Tangent: The investigation into the cold case of a missing girl by the documentary filmmaker, to me, had a very Serial vibe to it, if that's your sort of thing.] This is happening to teens and children from all class levels, not just runaways and despite their parents involvement, their efforts seem futile. Well, needless to say it gave me strange disturbing dreams for a few nights in a row...but gave me some perspective and things to think about.

Blackfish- A
OK. To be honest, I saw this about a year ago...but it's still one I talk about a lot and would absolutely recommend. It is basically about the dirty secrets that hide behind orcas in sea parks and their practice of sweeping under the rug the numerous attacks on trainers. True, it is completely one-sided, but it is extremely persuasive and does a good job of mixing interviews and emotion with inarguable facts. [Tangent: I am always leery of being one of those people that bases their whole ideal system on what one biased documentary tells them, because that kind of thing has reached epidemic proportions. However, this one made me never want to go to SeaWorld.] These trainers are just college kids with very little training, and you kind of feel bad for them. Fair warning, there is a sequence where they show a trainer extracting whale semen from the aggressive papa of legions of killer whales...and no matter your level of maturity,  it is something you can't unsee.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me- A-
This movie reminded me a lot of the Joan Rivers doc that I watched in October, because it featured another sassy legend in her 80s that wlll make you feel completely lazy sack of trash in comparison. She is a spitfire. AT one point a friend calls her a molatav cocktail, and I couldn't agree more. [Tangent: To be honest, I was completely ignorant of her body of work. I knew her only really as Jack's mom on 30 Rock.] She is over the top and brash and for some inexplicable reason only wears oversized white shirts and no pants, but it's all so deliciously kooky. Even though at times she coudl be a little bit harsh, you'll fall in love and maybe cry. [Tangent: I found this doc on this buzzfeed list of movies you probably missed in 2014, and am gonna try to tick off many of the others.] 

Legends of Knight- B+
As soon as this one popped up in my suggestions, I promptly saved it for future watching with Jamie, the Batman enthusiast that I call mine. The movie follows several seemingly normal people, who in some way have been inspired by the actions of Batman. [Full disclosure, I started watching this intending to laugh intermittently at weirdos, because I thought it was gonna be like other superhero wannabe docs like Confessions over a Superhero (the one about the semi-racist Superman impersonator/superfan) or The Reenactors (the doc about the Hollywood Boulevard costumed characters). Although I highly recommend both, I would call them more or less enjoyable trainwrecks.] The stories chronicled in this film ranged from a child with cancer to a cop to a teen from Petaloma, CA who roams his hometown via razor scooter, keeping vigil. All of them really touched me, and I kind of came to understand the allure of Batman. He is just a normal guy, with no supernatural intervention unless you count a bad ass vehicle, who wants justice. His kind of heroism seems attainable. Jamie still argues that he likes Batman for the villains...so not as inspiring.

Darius Goes West- A-
Being that this is about a teen with MD, I have known about it for a long time, and been itching to see it. [Tangent: Learning time- Darius has Duchenne MD, which is one of the 40 types of neuromuscular diseases that fall under the umbrella of Muscular Dystrophy. I have Congenital MD. The type Darius has affects almost exclusively boys and is the number one genetic killer of young men. I know a lot of young men with this disease, so it hit especially close to home.] Through Darius, the film draws attention is a very cruel disease that many know little about, but it also drew attention to accessibility issues in general. The movie was a little rough at times because it was a freshman effort by young men and non filmmakers, but the concept was good- Take Darius from his ome in Georgia, that he has never left, in a cross country journey to experience things in America that he has never seen and at the end, hopefully get his chair pimped by the folks at MTV's Pimp My Ride.  I loved seeing the commradery of the young men who took Darius on this trip. It takes a village and it was fun to watch. Also, extra points that Darius provided original raps along the way. They entertained me to no end.

Nursing: If Florence Could See Us Now- D-/F+
So, a while back- I was at the movies and saw a preview for a nurse documentary and cried profusely. [Tangent: I have a slight reputation for crying during trailers. Last week, we went to see Wild and although I didn't cry during the film, I cried during two seperate movie previews. This is not an isolated incident.]  I thought this was it, so I rallied my mom, a retired nurse of 30 years, to watch it with me. Turns out, it wasn't. About 10 minutes in, I realized that the one I was thinking of was this movie entitled The American Nurse, and it was likely much better.This was so boring that even mom, it's target audience asked if we could find something else to watch. Womp. Womp. I will say though that its intention was great and that nurses deserve all the respect in the world.

The Dark Matter of Love- B+
I'd had this movie in my queue for a while and had contemplated watching it several times, but feared it would A. make me sad or B. Turn me against adoption. I usually want neither of these things to happen, so I just skipped over it. I am glad I finally decided to give it a go, because it was not as upsetting as I had suspected. The doc follows a family from Florida who is adopting 3 older children from a Russian orphanage [Tangent: I say older, but the siblings that were adopted were composed of 6-year-old twin boys and a 10-year-old girl. The age is important because the older the child is, they have found it is harder for a once-institutionalized child to bond and accept love. Sadly, this results in most children over the age of 10 never getting a forever home.] The film chronicles their struggle through the first year as they try to bond and build upon their existing family. It was very interesting to see the struggles with the couple's older biological child as well as the language barriers. The only downfall is the realism, because how often do adoptive families have therapists witnessing all of their interactions and helping them bond?

Zeitgeist: The Movie - C
Over the holidays, I made a deal with my conspiracy theory loving sister...that I would watch a doc of her choice and she would have to watch one of mine [Tangent: I still haven't decided 100% what I am gonna make her and her husband sit through, but I am leaning towards something feel good with little nourishment...maybe The Final Member or Gotta Dance. ] This is the film she selected and it is basically about the many conspiracies that the government is hiding. Frankly I was hoping for more alien stuff, but the concepts they dissected were 1. that all religions were the same and a work of fiction. 2.That 9/11 was partially an inside job. 3. That the banking system is a sham. I honestly can't say how I felt about it. There was a lot of data and I seriously value an interesting theory, but sometimes the theories ran off the rails a bit and kind of made them seem a little wack jobby. The music was so distractingly dramatic that it was clearly trying a little hard. However, I definitely learned a few things, and find it funny that these docs are always telling me how brainwashed America is and then proceeds to attempt brainwash in the opposite direction. I can't decide if I would recommend it or not...I guess I would if you liek this sort of thing and won't take issue with the 5 minute (literally...I clocked it) opening sequence with no narration and just a cavalcade of weird Willy Wonka boat ride style images. [Tangent: I told Jamie that I felt like that episode of Saved By the Bell, where there were subliminal messages in the Beau Riveire tapes to make all the ladies fall in love with Zack Morris. Zeitgeist very well could be the Beau Riveire tape of Netflix docs.]

InRealLife- C+
So if movies like Andrew Jenks, Room 335 restored my faith in millennials, this movie pretty much dashed it all over again. This movie, which (be prepared) opens with a very uncomfortably graphic conversation with two teenage boys about their porn habits, shows the reality of the information age and how it is kind of shaping young people. Although I share my life online, I am generally pretty self- aware of my privacy and my sense of reality remains pretty intact. I found this movie pretty interesting, but it made me pretty sad that for many young people, they are letting the Internet and social media dictate who they are. If you doubt this, go find an instagram account of a teenager. That being said, I still love the Internet and it has allowed me to do what I want to do and given me and audience for it...so I can't hate on it too much. I guess I am just glad I didn't have internet in my home until I was 16.  I know life can be pretty decent without it. 
It's Not Over - B
After watching the other Andrew Jenks documentary and loving it so much, I of course, was immediately on the lookout for more. Luckily Netflx offered me this one about HIV and AIDS and how its physical treatment of the disease and the societal treatment of its patients differs all over the world. Although this movie offered really interesting peeks into the life for people with AIDS in India and Africa, I found the piece about the young American girl with HIV the most interesting. [Tangent: Does that make me a xenophobe?] I think it made me realize that there are a lot of practical things I don't know about the disease and how as long as both parties in a couple are taking a new drug cocktail, they can engage in sexy time. Who knew? I seriously felt like the most ignorant person ever. I still didn't find this one as endearing as his freshman effort, but if I was judging it alone, non comparatively, I would definitely recommend it, especially to young people (Who I think is the intended target audience) as a means of educating them about AIDS.
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