Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am my father's daughter...ugh.

At my soul, I can be a really cynical person. I doubt motives and am have high expectations from those I respect and it takes a lot for me to drink the Kool-aid and believe in something. For that reason, it sometimes even shocks me how politically passionate I have become in my old age. I almost hate myself for it and place this blame squarely on my father. He created a monster.

My dad was the most American man I know [Tangent: And I’m not saying that to suck up…he never read my blog really when he was living, so doubtful that he would be reading it as an amorphous entity. I’m just saying it because those are facts.]. He was the oft clichéd American Dream, grew up on a farm with 7 brothers and sisters and went on to fight in a war and use that money to further his education and become the most obnoxious businessman this side of the Mississippi (even after he retired).

He was insane about politics and the political process. [Tangent: He wrote letters and got irate on a daily basis about voter fraud and disenfranchisement and would go to rallies and stump speeches whether or not they were open to the public.] 
looking super awkward meeting Harold Ford Jr. with my dad.
 Our TV was tuned into news 80% of the day (when it wasn’t on the Western Channel). He would drive 11 hours to vote in North Carolina, his home state, for several elections! He has on multiple occasions gifted me pocket sized constitutions (for emergencies) and when I was in school, would make the 1.5 hour round trip to take me to vote in every local, state and presidential election. [Tangent: Even if I didn't give a shit about who was running for school board in a school system I had graduated from- he forced me into making a decision (even if it was a coin flip) and vote. He told me it was my duty as an American, which was his version of the most parental of guilt trips. ]
Trust, nothing would have pleased me more than to rebel against this extremism. God, what if I dated a republican? How I secretly wanted to just to be difficult and Alex P. Keaton the shit out of him. I wanted to...hard, but damned if I wasn’t genetically and mentally prepared otherwise. When my dad was alive, I dreaded election season because it meant yelling at the TV and fights with strangers in line at the grocery store. [Tangent: Yeah about that…he didn't let comments go, so if you made an ignorant or racist comment in his presence and he just happened to overhear it indirectly, he was gonna tell you about yourself, which is both awesome and terrifying.] Even though I agreed with him on most of his principles, I was so embarrassed by his hyper patriotic liberalism. It was sometimes stifling.

Now he’s gone and this is the first major election that he isn’t present for and it is a surreal experience. Even though I am pretty meh about the options, I find myself more involved than ever as if I need to claim that enthusiastic void in the universe. If there is a news story, I’m reading it. If there’s a campaign issue, I’m researching it. If there is a bat shit crazy convention (for either party), I am watching it while following along on twitter. I couldn’t get more obnoxious and for that I am filled with equal parts self-loathing and pride.  In fact I found myself telling someone yesterday who was feeling blasé about the candidates that it was their civic duty to at least vote. WHO THE HELL AM I?!?! I’m keeping the complete shape shift at bay, and I vow not to hulk out on you and start spewing my politics on social media (too much). No one wants that.  [Tangent: I still thank all that is holy and unholy that my dad wasn’t on social media. The world wasn’t ready.]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

That Other Writing I do that isn't Blogging

When I first started this whole blog 6 years ago, it was to get me writing and creating and to get me some steady writing gigs. It seems like sweet irony that now those gigs, though not completely steady yet, are keeping me from blogging like I used to. [Tangent: remember when I used to write 14 blogs a month?!?! I mean I know a lot of it was dog shit that you had to dig through to get diamonds, but you did it, which boggles my mind.] Writing when I am getting compensation, and have a wider audience and have pro editors [Tangent:...that will call me out on my typos galore and run-on sentence addiction.] is exactly what I always wanted but damn if it isn't an added layer of stress.

I've noticed a lot of my blogging friends have fallen off the bandwagon with writing altogether...many now use their blog as a business site or have transitioned to another medium like instagram or snapchat [Tangent: Did I mention in my hiatus, I finally figured out how to SnapChat properly. I know this is breaking news. Get me around some 19 -year-olds and this old dog gets some new tricks. I'm still figuring it out and at this point it is mostly pictures of my dog being an asshole. I think my handle is kimmiejonesin if you like that sort of thing.]. Photos have never been my strong suit, so you don't have to worry about that.  I totally get it, though.

I have a huge backlog of half-done posts that most days I feel smothered by. Furthermore, my daily hits for some inexplicable reason are the highest they have been in 14 months this month, apropo of absolutely nothing because I wrote exactly one entry in June. It boggles my mind and almost makes me wonder why should I bust my ass? But then I remember it's because I love it.

I need to write. I need to write. Even when I feel like Jack Nicholson staring at that damn typewriter in The Shining, I know the outcome is one I take pride in.

 Murderous rage seem far off, but rest assured I want those who care [Tangent: I know there are at least 7 of you...the very ones who remind me I have things I could be blogging about and give me needed pants kicks.] that there is writing out there that you may not have seen. Feel free to check out my archives of other writing under the very originally named "OTHER WRITING" tab. [Tangent: Do you like this easy Inception style blog within a blog diagram I made for you?]




I try to post them on the That Girl in the Wheelchair Facebook page, but sometimes forget.Was this post dumb and a waste of time? Probably...but I'm writing...so that's all that matters.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Nine Fictitious Characters

Perhaps it was the fact that I was weened on the world of game shows, but I love a challenge. I also love an introspective curve ball, so I was kinda pumped when the site I contribute to occasionally, The Ravishly, posted a challenge on their Instagram page- make a grid of the 9 fictional characters that you most identify with. Media is more or less my life, so one would think this would be a slam dunk. [Tangent: Curve ball? Slam dunk? Who the hell am I with all these sports metaphors? Please keep reading even though I have the creativity today of a middle schooler working the sports beat for their school paper.]

Spoiler: It wasn't as easy as I initially supposed. After a lot of consternation, texting, conversation and focus grouping, I concocted my list. [Tangent: By now, you should in now way be shocked at my clinical approach to this matter.You may recall a similar dumb childhood crush challenge I undertook here.]Why was it such a struggle? I guess as self-aware as I think I am...I'm probably not. I could easily point out characters that reminded me of those in my life, but nailing myself was kinda hard [Tangent: Both literally and figuratively. Zing.] You don't want to be too generous or too hard on yourself...or rather who you think you are. [Tangent: Don't worry my ever-the-softie mom was hard on me for everyone. When I posited the question to her, she picked Lucy from Peanuts (because she's bossy) and Tina Belcher (because of er "hair, glasses and weird boobs". I love ya, mom.] I mean I've never been one who has aligned myself with a particular cast member of Girls or Sex in the City. I mean, at best, I can say that if I was a Golden Girl, that I'm definitely a Sophia. That counts for something, right?

After some hemming and hawing, here are the ones I finally settled on...although I have thought of several since narrowing it down to this top 9. In no particular order...



1. Jimmy Valmer (South Park)- A character with a disability who use humor at is own expense to get people to love him. Umm. yeah. Big time. 

2. Donna Meagle (Parks and Recreation)- I felt the need to include a Parks and Recreation character because there as SO many good ones. I picked Donna because at her heart she is a good person but she can come off as a little harsh. She values her friends and has a low bullshit tolerance. Although I could easily be an April/Tom hybrid (I'm not organized enough to be a Leslie.)

3. Maude (Harold and Maude)- The perfect ray of light and life in a darkly hilarious movie. Sure picking a near octogeneraian as a spirit animal seems bizarre, but I'm an old lady at heart. 

4. Veronica Sawyer (Heathers)- I feel like she is more a kindred spirit when I was in high school and even today.  Veronica has a lot of friends, but still more or less marches a bit to her own drummer and never completely feels at home in one niche. Also, even though Christian Slater in that movie is completely mentally unstable- he can get it. 

5. Daria Morgandorfer (Daria)- Not only is this the only famous person that I have ever been likened to visually [Tangent: You can read more about it here.] , but when I asked my best friend who she identified me with, this was her immediate answer. I love her, and am only jealous I don't pull off combat boots so flawlessly. Trust that I have I've tried.  

6. Liz Lemon (30 Rock)- The patron saint of women writers in glasses.  It's hard not to fill 9 squares with her, but we all now I look awful in a blazer and am not near as successful.

7. Elaine Benis (Seinfeld) Elaine is definitely my id....she is me if I had 50% less filter and 75% more hair. Scary, huh? Not unlike Elaine, I love having male friends who can be somewhat insufferable. 

8. Chandler Bing (Friends)- Again, this could not be any more obvious? Keeping people at a distance and keeping up a sarcasm wall at all times. Yep. I see my faults in Chandler more times than I care to admit.

9. Amelie (Amelie)- I am a bit less of a wallflower than Amelie, but I get the whole watching and living vicariously through those around you.  She is without fail my observant side. 

Well now that I have rounded the bases, I would love to hear who makes up your team. DAMMIT! Sports metaphors!  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses Vol. 19 (June 2016)

Hey ya'll. So I am indeed alive, but just a shitty blogger as of late. I hit an all time low in June with only one blog all month. [Tangent: That's a bit of an embarrassment considering I logged more entries the month in 2010 that I basically spent comatose and hospitalized. I don't have any good excuses like loss of cognition or the like...I'm just a girl interrupted by streaming TV and good weather.] However, with Monday being my 6 year domain-a-versary, I vow to try to not suck so dang hard. With no more preamble, here is my docu-roundup for last month. Spoiler: None of them really blew my skirt up.


The Real Beauty and The Beast- B
Can I be completely transparent and tell you something embarrassing that makes me sound like a heartless monster? No, well too bad!  I started watching this one night when I couldn't sleep and (per usual) fell asleep after 5 minutes...it gave me weird nightmares about hairy faced men being captured. I may have woken up in a cold sweat from a budget reenactment... so I had to take a brief hiatus before take 2. Even though Beauty and the Beast is probably my least favorite of the Disney renaissance (*Bracing for retaliation*), I love all things freak shows and birth defect- hence my being on board with this one from the jump. It clocks in at under an hour, and is completely fascinating and sad. You're not gonna get master class film making...it's basically like a PBS special (Maybe because it's a Smithsonian channel special), but I did find myself wanting to discuss it later. It'll leave you with some good anecdotes as long as you realize that it will ruin a cartoon classic. [Tangent: As if historical accuracy hasn't already ruined Pochahontas for you!!]

Welcome to Leith - B+
Because I have never lived in one, I am completely fascinated with the concept of tiny, one stoplight towns. Not fascinated in an "I want that unencumbered life" kind of way, more like in an "I can't imagine that nightmare" kind of way. So not only was I incredulous that a town existed in North Dakota with a population under 30, but that such a small population can be upended when 1 person [Tangent: Which by my crap math skills is about 5% of it's population] is a white supremacist with a mad chip on his shoulder. I appreciated that the movie seemed to exist in real time, and it documented koo koo Craig Cobb's vigilante escapades leading up to his arrest. I think I tend to tune out awful hatred like that in my day to day so it was jarring at times. Be prepped to see some human darkness.

Enter the Battlefield- C-
This movie about Magic the Gathering and it's superstars was not as great as I had hoped. God, how I love a doc about people who participate in something a little nerdy finding their place in the universe among their peers...Spellbound....Air Guitar Nation...King of Kong...Magic Camp...THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES! [Tangent: They always remind me of the Blind Melon video where the bee girl opens the gate to find the other black and yellow brethren.] Unfortunately, this was not one of them and I can't help but compare and think of how much more entertaining/engaging it could have been.. I couldn't get into it, and got bored. Additionally, I still don't understand how the hell to play Magic!

Winding Stream: An Oral History of The Carter and Cash Family- C
[Tangent/explanation:I may have had some ulterior motives when selecting this doc. After helping Jamie with his ancestry online (trying to decipher what breed of white bread he is), I found he had some Carters in is family and the singing family were from the same mountain area of East Tennessee/Virginia as his people. Throw into the equation that his is aunt owns a home that the Carter Family would sometimes stay in, assuming they were of relation is not a huge stretch.] Basically I was watching this doc to confirm my suspicions, and so I could see if my boyfriend was due some of that sweet Walk The Line royalty money. I found nada and still can't bind those branches together. What I did find was a documentary that was just kinda 'meh'. It had a hard time settling in tonally to what it wanted to be. I dug the cool animation [Tangent: It was very much  stylistically like the Smashing Pumpkins 'Tonight, Tonight' video...but with Johnny and June] interspersed with interviews and archival footage. Honestly, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, and found myself wishing we were watching Orange is The New Black instead. As a native Tennessean, I wanted to like it more, but I would rather just watch Walk the Line for the 1000th time or listen to my dad's copy of Live from Folsom Prison.

Prescription Thugs-  A-
 If you have gotten to your 30s and haven't crossed paths with someone with a painkiller addiction, than I assume you live in a bubble...or in some kind of cloistered nunnery. I'm really glad I listened to my friend Beth and gave this one a go, even though (as expected) it was hard to watch at times and was far from uplifting. What made me more invested was that the narrator was himself close to the issue, given he had struggled (and was struggling) against an addiction. [Tangent: I love to see the voice of a film be immersed in the world it is discussing, even if it is unsavory. It becomes instantly more personal.]  It does a great job of muckraking (Michael Moore Light) on why the epidemic has gotten out of hand. Taking on the issue from multiple angles, the doc points the fingers at the drug companies and the doctors for basically keeping their patients sick and making them dependent on the very thing that is trying to heal them. True, you could probably yield this same info from an episode of 20/20, but still I think it's worth your time. c

Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime- A
Speaking of drugs and birth defects [Tangent: Best introductory clause ever!!], this movie is a doozie. My knowledge of Thalidomide was limited to me hearing about it in the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Fire and doing some googling many years ago. What I learned from that Internet query was reinforced by this doc- Thalidomide was a drug given to pregnant mothers in the late 50s and early 60s to stave off nausea. Mothers-to-be who were prescribed this "miracle drug" gave birth to children with missing body parts...and it happened en masse. It was a time when people who were born different didn't exactly have a leg up in society [Tangent: NOT A BAD JOKE...Just a poor choice of words.] so the sudden appearance of disability was often catastrophic resulting in child abandonment or even death. This was also way before social media paranoia and the information age was way in the distance, so it was a journalist that ultimately fought to bring out the truth and get compensation for families who didn't know what they were getting into with that RX. I'm pretty sure I liked it because a writer basically saved the day! [Tangent: After you watch, read this article about why it was a far superior movie than Spotlight. It's an interesting take.]

So what's next that will not be such a bummer?!?! 
Tell me what to watch, guys!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Chinese takeout waitress was my Jiminy Cricket

 If I had known that owning my robot car was gong to be such a pain in the ass, I might not have done it...so I'm glad I was blissfully ignorant to the challenges (missing out on this independence would have sucked!). [Tangent: I am cognizant of my level of laziness and I'm glad no one told me that I would never be able to go to a Jiffy Lube because my undercarriage is too low or that parking would be a nightmare or that every time I call AAA, I would have to give a driving lesson or get blank stares from service people.] This month has definitely been one where I have had to consistently remind myself that it isn't just a trash bucket...but is my trash bucket to freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm insanely proud of driving, but frankly sometimes that pride is easily swapped out for frustration.

About 3 weeks (and $1800 ago), I got a warning that my engine was overheating on the way to work. [Tangent: Just FYI for someone with a real fear of dying in a fire, getting a loud beeping warning you of overheating while in the center lane on a busy interstate set forth a bit of an anxiety spiral.] After some water added to some dohicky or another, it was fine, but I needed and oil change so I took it to my dealership. [Tangent: This is generally a pretty painless experience. After going there for years, they have always been amazing and helpful and have learned how to drive my car, which is an undertaking, so high fives to them. Even still, when my car is in the shop, it's a bit of a logistical nightmare. I have to leave my power chair with it because I have no access to a ramped vehicle to transport it home conveniently. Uber doesn't exactly have those readily available; renting a car with my specified adaptations isn't an option, and I live outside of the metro area so all the access ride options become divisible by 0.].

However with even the best of mechanics, sometimes their knowledge of transformer vans falters. [Tangent: I guess it's like having a vet work on a unicorn.] When I picked it up 5 days later, it had new gaskets, but a host of new problems that rendered me insane. [Tangent: A shrill incessant beeping, a rear door that wouldn't close (or open really) no radio/air/speedometer/gas indicator.] The whole vehicle was on crazy pills.

This meant I had to call for reinforcements from my mobility dealers, who deal with all the specialized equipment stuff. After an afternoon there and taking a chunk out of bank account, I had fixed all these new problems. Yet I still needed an oil change [Tangent: Hello square one, nice to see you again!], which isn't their jurisdiction so they don't have the materials readily available.

As I was driving home, I was mentally and emotionally spent and mad at myself for allowing my vehicle and its many quirks to get the best of me. I needed to feed my pain with Chinese food. I pulled in to pick up food from a place my dad used go all the time. As I was checking out the sweet lady taking my order asked me a question (unrelated to the enormous amount of food) I was buying that shook me out of my blergh-ness.
Cute little lady: "You drive here?"
Me: "Yep."
Her:"You so independent"
Me:"...or stubborn?"
Her: "stubborn is good." 
Somehow this weird exchange over a pickup of some wonton soup was just the pep talk I needed to basically let me know "you got this" after fighting car issues that no one seemed to understand for 8 days. Usually I'm really bad with awkward conversation and don't know how to act in the pressense of compliments (I'm a deflector, not an acceptor) but I took her words in, I felt better. [Tangent: I feel like if someone I knew really well said the exact same sentences, the effect wouldn't have been the same. Plus, I was too mentally exhausted to be cynical.] I know zero about cars but had handled this whole ballyhoo pretty well. Rerouting my week and solving the logistical and mechanical issues along the way. I was doing okay at adulting and it kind of just hit me.

Thanks Chinese restauranteur, you shook me from that piece of crap feeling.  You're just the kitty "Hang in There!" poster I needed that day, reminding me encouragement comes in weird soy-sauce scented places.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

What if the Bachelorette was in a wheelchair?

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Hmmm...how how do I say this confidently without coming off as  “that girl”? Oh well,  here goes.... The Bachelorette is back and I am really excited about it. [Tangent: I have had a very hot/cold relationship with this reality show. When it first hit the air, I was on board. I cried at Trista and Ryan’s wedding, and not so quietly lusted after Andrew Firestone. Then after a few seasons, my passport to #BachelorNation definitely got unstamped for years (I know nothing of Juan Pablo or Prince Farming). I got really sick of watching the franchise exploit women (and some men), making us as a sex (and really a human species as a whole) look not so great. Catty love-hungry size 2’s for miles and miles…it got tiresome. Then with the dawn of Kaitlyn Bristowe, I got shaken from my pretension, and decided to say "F#*k it" and jump back into that oversexed hot tub with both feet…and I’ve never looked back. It's the best! Why did I try to fight my love for those years.] After watching the shit show that was premiere, aka the dawn of Jojo, I had a random thought. [Tangent: Besides wondering how it is possible for one woman to look so stunning in champagne tones. It's just not fair.] Why has there never been a dating show contestant in a wheelchair?

 Truly, this would be a great curve ball for such a tenured series [Tangent: So much better than bringing Jake Pavelka back as a surprise guest. Ugh. Him again?] and the perfect way to prove that a chick in a wheelchair chair is super dateable.  However, there are definitely some kinks in the premise.

If you put out a casting call for potential suitors for a wheelchair Bachelorette, you're get a slurry of weird fetishists [Tangent: You know...the kinds that are finding this blog for some ungodly reason by searching "sexy girl in wheelchair diaper." Hi weirdos! ]. As intiguingly cringeworthy one gal vs 20 creeps sounds theoretically, the element of surprise is going to be way more enticing to producers. They just wouldn't tell them beforehand, because we all know springing disability on someone is ALWAYS a good idea. 


Can you imagine the limo pulling up...a ramp flipping down and out rolling me? Twitter would likely combust with equal parts shock and misplaced pity? I'm sure the letters W-T-F would be so overused that those buttons may cease to work on keyboards across the nation. 

Better yet the initial reactions from the suitors seeing their future fiancee for the first time would be worth it. Awkwardly figuring out how to maneuver a hug and realizing their line "Are your legs tired? Because you've been running through my mind all day." might not work best in this particular scenario. Here's my best approximation of their faces- trying to stifle confusion while trying to come off open-minded and camera ready.


As much as I hate to admit it- the dates may not be exactly what you are used to seeing in the prime time dating reality universe. Even though I am semi-pro at wistfully staring off into the distance, navigating a sandy beach to do so is probably not the greatest idea, and I'll wager that those rugged cliffs they always seem to be jumping off of (whilst holding hands) are not exactly ADA compliant. [Tangent: It would be nice for me to point out now that these things are insanely cheesy and unrealistic for uprights as well.] There would likely be a lot of dates consisting of eating tacos and watching Netflix, which honestly seems more easy to recreate once the show is over.

Just thinking about the various "what if's" in this hypothetical only further draws attention to the extremely cookie cutter nature of the show. I mean they have yet to have a black bachelor or bachelorette or a plus-sized one...hell they haven't even had a red head make it very far in the competition, so I guess I shouldn't hold my breath until my awkward dream becomes a reality. [Tangent: And we all know a similar show will probably show up on the TLC fall schedule...because as we who watch trash TV know, they have no shame.] Thankfully I didn't wait on Chris Harrison to come calling to find my other half.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Netflix (and Amazon) Documentary Hits and Misses Vol. 18 (May 2016)

Recently Netflix and Amazon added a crap ton of new docs and seriously it has been a spoils of riches. Instead of giving in and watching something that has been gathering dust bunnies in my queue, I have been voraciously hoarding new titles: Some great...some not. Plus, I'm in between binge series, so tell me what I need to watch next! [Tangent: I just finished Difficult People on Hulu last night, so will take suggestions on my next must-see.]

Miss Representation (Netflix)- B+/A-
This is a movie that I probably watched some version of in my media studies classes in college. It focuses a lot on how skewed portrayals of women are in TV Music and Movies and how that can skew our perceptions and carry them into our own lives. It also shows how underrepresented women truly are. I know that sounds generic, and not maybe "new info", but I consider myself pretty educated on these matters and was still taken aback by a lot of the statistics. The whole doc is well-constructed and compelling for men and women. [Tangent: I really can't stand when things hide under the guise of feminism and are just anti-men propaganda, but this film states that we are all somewhat to blame for stereotyping.]

Nintendo Quest (Amazon Prime Streaming)- A
Okay. This movie is definitely not for everyone. However, I have a superhuman sense of nostalgia and I enjoy any doc based on a challenge [Tangent: Some of my favorites are My Date with Drew and Craigslist Joe.], so a movie about some nerdy  Canadians trying to compile all 676 original Nintendo games in 30 days with no Internet help is a perfect fit.  I watched it with my collector and completist boyfriend and enjoyed it. Maybe it's because I could see Jamie doing something life this. Sure, my family only had maybe 4 NES games in the late 80's, but I still loved seeing all the titles and learning about them. I truly started to root for this guy and get mad at the adversaries he met along the way!
 
I am Road Comic (Netflix)- C+
My problem with this one is the same issue I have with a lot of docs featuring comics, they just aren't as funny as you hope.  [Tangent: I know that's not completely fair to hold them to a different standard than you would the Lisa Lings and Morgan Spurlocks of the world..but it happens!] If they have a lot of heart or are informative or compelling, you trade that element for the belly laughs [Tangent: You see that in amazing nonfiction like Tig or Sleepwalk with Me.] The concept was a good one: follow the everyday life of a touring comedian, but unfortunately it has been done...and done better. I would recommend you watch The Comedians of Comedy or SuperHigh Me instead and get that feel in a more entertaining package. I will give it kudos though for getting some funny insights from Nikki Glaser, TJ Miller, Pete Holmes, Judah Friedlander and Doug Benson...but it needed more focus.

Addicted to Sexting (Netflix)- D-
This one was the worst. I thought it would go one of two routes: funny and light or like a 20/20 expose. Either of these options I am 100% down for.  It was neither. It was like they assembled this mishmash of sexting pundints and talking heads, and they were all awful- from the "comedians" to the porns. [Tangent: There was an older woman in a floppy hat that I can only assume wandered in off the street because she was offered free coffee and donuts in exchange for her commentary about nudie text messages.]  It was somewhere between a Cinemax after 11 PM series and something they would show in a health class. Like trying really hard to be informative, sexy and funny and succeeding in none of these arenas. I couldn't even finish it.

A Ballerina Tale (Netflix)- A

My only complaint with this documentary is that I wish I went into it knowing nothing about Misty Copeland, but I have seen her profiled and interviewed on several programs; so it was less new info and more just broadening the scope. Even if you are not hugely interested in ballet [Tangent: I mean...I have seen Center Stage 42x, but that hardly makes me an expert.], I think it's fascinating. Misty is the first black ballet principle dancer for a major company (not only in the US...but anywhere in the world). It seems baffling that so many niche past times take so long to be fully inclusive. It's a very easy watch and Misty is so damned likeable that you will be overjoyed that she is broadening the white WASP-y world of ballet. 

That Gal Who Was in that Thing (Netflix)- C

 After I just discussed a great woman-centric doc in Miss Representation, I am gonna make a controversial statement- this documentary was not as good as the male equivalent That Guy Who Was in that Thing. [Tangent: That's not sexism...those are the facts.] I'm not sure if it's because I saw the other first (and the idea was novel) or because half of the women featured in this movie about character actors have played a TV role (on a popular show) for over 5 years. Paget Brewster was a lead character on Criminal Minds for years and the mom from 7th Heaven was one of the other women profiled. In the original doc, it focused more, or at least it seemed, on actors who played bit roles in movie and TV and had for years, to the point where they looked familiar, yet hard to place.

So what next? 

I love the messages I get at all hours with your thoughts and recommendations! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wild West Comedy Fest and how not to act during a comedy show

In the past, I have been extremely excited about the Wild West Comedy Fest, which has been rolling through Nashville  during May for the last couple years. Maybe it's my early 20s crush on founder Vince Vaughn [Tangent: DO NOT JUDGE ME!] or the fact that I really enjoy live comedy- but it's definitely something I look forward to year after year. [Tangent: You can read my enthusiastic post from last year here.] This year was weird. I felt like there wasn't as much publicity around the event, which was apparent because the tickets I did get were either half price or completely free through last minute online promotions. Shows that were amazing, and rightfully should have sold out simply didn't...which makes me fear for the future of this event.

We ended getting $10 tickets for Trump vs. Bernie (a faux debate between the James Adomian as Bernie Sanders and Anthony Atamanuik as Donald Trump). This was highly entertaining and hilarious if you have any vested interest in the election and watching the bat shit crazy of it all unfold. If it is coming to your city the go see it, or you can watch a version of it online here. Bonus, the guys were super nice and came out to meet and greet after.


 We also got free tix to TJ Miller [Tangent: Erlich is basically my favorite part of Silicon Valley and I love anytime he is on any podcast, so it was something I didn't want to miss.] He was awesomely weird and dark and nihilist, and I laughed incredibly hard throughout...despite the fact that the audience around us clearly had never been out in public before. [As is the norm when I go to any public gathering, I spend the majority of the time getting distracted by peers in the audience acting a fool, so thus most of this post is going to be dedicated to the details of their behavior. Apologies in advance to TJ Miller, who is now forever partially obscured with the distractions I witnessed.]

Sometimes, disability seating means you sit pressed against the stage and lose sight of what everyone else is doing so you can immerse yourself in a performance. At TPAC, that is generally not the case. I am usually seated in the back by the ushers, but the view of the stage raised above tall people, so no complaints on that end. It just generally means I am directly behind people who are unaware that they have witnesses to their awfulness. Such was the case Saturday night.

The following events unfolded in the row in front of us in the span of an hour, whilst a person was displaying a talent, which they were paid for, onstage.

  1. The group of four played musical chairs and got up every 5-10 minutes in varied pairs of two to get more drinks (or use the rest room or go smoke or do cross fit....or whatever the hell was happening in the lobby that seemed to keep beckoning them!) Though the were on the end of the row, it still often involved multiple people in their group standing up to accommodate and an usher flashing a flashlight to the doorway.
  2. When new drinks were brought into the mix, there was a coordinated celebration [EVERY TIME!!] and shout whisper of "cheers" across the group. One would think, "How many overpriced theater drinks does one go through in such a short period?" My guess is at least 3-4 apiece and their enthusiasm for this ritual did not wane.
  3. The gent on the aisle texted for at least half of the show.  When not reading or sending texts, he was scrolling through old messages or checking his Facebook page. [Tangent: He must run the social media for a Fortune 500 company or have a sick family member in the hospital on life support.]
  4. At one point, the mystery texter on the other end sent a video and the considerate gent played it....volume on. He then realized that this might be declasse, so he instead lowered the volume and enlarged the video.   [Tangent: I think this is not really an improvement and more just a lateral move on the "dick move" scale, but I commend him for trying to modify his behavior in some capacity.]
I was so irritated. I can't comprehend why people would go to the trouble of parking downtown on a Saturday night or even just putting pants on for that matter...if you were going to not give a shit. Am I just old and crotchety now? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I've got a new dumb tumblr .... Yelp to the Max

"I'll tumblr for ya....I'll tumblr for ya...I'll tumblr for ya...I'll tumblr for yaaaaaa"

Much to the annoyance of everyone around me, the above is pretty much what always came to mind when people mentioned tumblr [Tangent: For a person who does social media for a living, I am more or less a moron when it comes to so many sites and apps. Ex: Last week I was schooled by a group of middle schoolers during my career week presentation for my friend Kristine. Apparently I am going about social media all wrong. Snapchat is where it's at and Facebook is for lame old people (like me apparently).]  I never understood it..or how you used it...or why the site itself felt the need to exclude necessary vowels a la a vanity license plate.

I mean I do have a tumblr account and my neglect of it seemed wasteful so I thought: Surely, I should fill it with something either incredible or incredibly dumb. I thought there was no time like the present to manifest destiny that pocket of URL space. The idea came to me while listening to an old episode of the Go Bayside podcast. After a phone call to my friend Ryan, we decided to go halfsies on Yelp to the Max, which is exactly what it sounds like: fake yelp reviews for the fictitious and horribly- run technicolor dining establishment from Saved By the Bell. See...clearly we decided to go incredibly dumb rather than incredible...but we are excited none the less about our completely brilliant/stupid concept.


I picked Ryan to help me write them because his knowledge of SBTB is as pathetic as mine...plus he has a lot of social media experience and he has minor celebrity on tumblr. [Tangent: Lest we forget that time a gay porn tumblr payed homage to his  Halloween costume. That story will never get old. Or that time he took a picture of a bear dog and it confused the internet for at least 24 hours.] It's such a new fun hobby! 

There are just way too many times The Max has proved to be a terrible restaurant for anyone not a part of the Zack Morris posse. Ex: Can you imagine trying to enjoy a milkshake while a telethon or a dance contest is taking place? What if yelp existed back then and people used it to share their distaste with a magician run teen hangout? 

 We've only posted about 6 but we are enjoying it so far. If dumb wastes of time are your bread and butter, check us out on tumblr, follow us on twitter and instagram (where we are @yelptothemax). And if you have ideas, send them to me on FB or twitter.

Oh and don't worry...I am still doing actual blogging and writing, too...but everyone needs a dumb distraction! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Center for Puppetry Arts: My Muppet Dreams Come True

Because I suck at getting to the point efficiently, I'm still catching up on Atlanta posts, so just in case you are bored to tears- look on the bright side- this blog is filled with puppets and better yet...MUPPETS! So unless you suffer from pupaphobia, I don't see how you couldn't be interested. [Tangent: Rest assured this is my last ATL post, so then we will move on to something else.]

As soon as we picked Atlanta as our last minute road trip destination, The Center for Puppetry Arts was immediately on our radar. [Tangent: I remembered reading about it in this post on my friend Rae's blog, and I was intrigued.] THIS. PLACE. WAS. AMAZING! The website seriously doesn't do it, or the new Jim Henson installation justice. [Tangent: I guess it's good that our expectations were minimal, but seriously this place blew us away! We loved it, and were smiling like jerks from the moment we opened the door. It's now in the lead for the hotly contested title of : Kimmie's happy place! Exhibit A: Look at my face when I "met" Rolf.]

As we entered the place, a busload of children was leaving. Thank god. I really didn't need a gaggle of kindergartners harshing my puppet buzz. The museum has a ton of fanciful daily shows and lectures, but to be real, marionettes in action make me a wee bit uncomfortable, so we opted to just check out the exhibits on our own. [Tangent: And if you've watched too many episodes of Twilight Zone or read too many Goosebumps books, and you have an irrational fear of being murdered in your sleep by a ventriloquist's dummy- some of the items in the "Puppets of the world exhibit" might be a little unsettling. But you'll love it, just be forewarned!]

Because we went on a weekday morning when there was basically no one else there, we could feel comfortable posing ridiculously with the features we felt moved to do so with. [Example: If there is a giant puppet of Scar from the Lion King Musical, you're not gonna pass by nonchalantly...you're gonna cower in fear alongside it, right? Same goes for seeing Madame in person, you're gonna impersonate her.]  

We were also allowed to completely monopolize the nice tour guide volunteer, aka the "puppet master," who was a repository of puppet facts and the history behind a lot of the pieces. His day is the epitome of Life goals.[Tangent: I now realize I was probably really obnoxious. Based on the fact that I have seen the docs I Am Big Bird and Being Elmo, I've obviously deluded myself into thinking I am an expert, so I was sharing facts with the guide with far too much authority. Clearly I should have stayed in my lane. Hindsight is 20/20.]

I guess in my mind I expected the non-Henson portion to be a little ho-hum, but the unexpected diversity blew me away. Sure, they had ancient puppets that looked like horrifying burn victims and cool marionettes from the Howdy Doody days of TV, but there were also claymation and shadow puppetry. [Tangent: Little known fact, my boyfriend is a big fan of shadow puppets, and not a sunny patch on the wall goes unvisited by a barking dog or Abe Lincoln head in his presence.]
I will admit though that going through the entry to The World of Jim Henson was one of the most exciting thing I've done in years (sad as that may be); I felt like Charlie Bucket going through the gate to Wonka's factory. [Tangent: Also, it's forever astounding how much Jamie resembles Henson...so of course I had to get a side by side of them...in addition to a shot of me losing my damn mind, while Miss Piggy looks on at me judgmentally. ] We also got to get within inches of pieces of our childhood. I was the world's biggest Sesame Street fan (I had the lunch box and stayed home from Pre-School to watch Maria get married.) so seeing one of the actual big birds was surreal!


They had various rooms: One devoted to the Muppet Show, one for Sesame Street, one with interactive exhibit of how episodes are shot, a room for Dark Crystal/Labyrinth and a room set up as a mock-up of Henson's studio. I literally giggled with delight when I went into a room filled with Fraggles and artifacts from Emmett Otter's Jug Band- two staples of my youth.
the muppet posing with the "9" is the only existing Roosevelt Franklin- one of the rarest and most controversial muppets

Then as we left and bid adieu to our muppet friends, we had the option to leave a post-it note on the wall...as you can see 99% of them are Bowie tributes. 
If you were a Muppet, what Muppet would you be? 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Last Week I was no different than Kurt Russell leaving a Walgreens

I have gotten super delinquent in my blogging. Life has been crazed. [Tangent: To put this into a early 90's country music metaphor, this blog is the devoted trucker's wife left behind by me, a guy off driving an 18 wheeler for weeks at a time.]  Luckily two things that begged to be delved into in my life perfectly dovetailed together in their utter randomness. Now to explain the bizarre title of this post:

Last week, something happened that threw me for a loop. I was waiting at a crosswalk near downtown with my boss who happens also in a chair. It's a high traffic area and a hot day so we were lamenting how long it was taking for the little "walk" man to change from orange to white. Across the street, there was a woman holding an armful of takeout food and a drink. At one point she set it down, and my boss and I kinda made a comment that she was making herself comfortable because the light was taking so long. WRONG! She then pulled out her phone and as we crossed the street filmed us....and not even hiding it...like brazenly, two-handed eye-level paparazzi-style filming us rolling right towards her. SO AWKWARD. Here is me using my dusty art minor to reenact it via half-assed stick figure drawings:
As we brushed past her, she rubber necked to catch us going past her and uttered, "You girls make me feel strong." Um...cool...I guess.  [Tangent: Now I may write a mean streak of "what I should have said theater" style articles and blogs. This one even became syndicated. But in reality, when put on the spot, I panic and all that intellect inside me devolves into panic and maybe a stink eye at the very most. My boss felt the same...she leads lectures on disability etiquette and even she was so caught off guard that she felt confused on how to react so just rolled past her. ] Will we go viral for crossing the street to head back to our office?  

This incident made me realize that I am no different than Kurt Russell at a Walgreen's.. And that woman breaking her neck to take unauthorized video is me. OK, that's a weird sentence without any context so let me rewind. 

While we were in Atlanta last month for a mini road trip, we hopped into a Walgreen's near downtown to pick up a few things we forgot to pack. As we were starting up the car to depart, a man walked right next to the handicapped space and Jamie nonchalantly said, "That guy kinda looks like Kurt Russell." Because he is one of my mature gentleman crushes, and his likeness is ingrained on my consciousness, I immediately squealed, "That IS Kurt Russell!!!' 

We couldn't leave.  I had to be sure. The Internet is my best friend, so I immediately googled "Kurt Russell + Atlanta" and verified that he was in town filming the sequel to Guardians of The Galaxy!  We considered going in and attempting to brush hands while reaching for TP or a bag of Nice! gummy snacks [Tangent: Even though I know Mr. Russell would spring for the Haribo. He can afford that luxury.], but we just stayed in the car like pansies and hypothesized about his purchases and pretended everyone else entering and exiting was also a celebrity, based on who they kinda looked like. As he emerged like a butterfly from a drugstore chrysalis, I snapped this picture of him. 


 I felt a shred of guilt staking him out and posting a picture to social media (and now to this blog) without his consent. Then after that run-in with the lookie-lou on 21st Avenue when I was with my boss, I felt even worse. I tried to tell myself that he is friggin' Kurt Russell and getting his photo taken at a Walgreen's is an regular as the Sunday paper, but it temporarily made me feel heaps of guilt. 

My only consolation was considering the context behind the actions. Mine was "AHHHH! Kurt Russell...I love him!! No one will believe me! How cool is this!??!" and this lady was likely more like "AHHH!!! Look at this cuteness. Wheelchair people out in the wild!!" Life is weird.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eating our Way Across Atlanta- Restaurants where we overate


"We're going to Atlanta for a few days?"

"Why? Do you know someone there?"

"Probably. But no, we are just going." 

"Is there a concert?"

"Nah. We are just getting away for a couple days becase we both have time off." 

Why do people think it's so weird to go to a place with zero motivating factors other then you want to relax and explore in an environment where there is an increased liklihood you will cross paths with someone from the Real Housewives? OK. To be fair this was more my rational in choosing Atlanta for a last minute road trip destination; [Tangent: The pull of a possible run in with Phaedra Parks was too great. Spoiler: I did not run into her, but I am 87% sure that Kim Zolciak-Biermann's father referred to me as a "gentleman" when I let him enter a doorway in front of me at a store. And we had a much cooler sighting that I will discuss later.] however, we  are both fat kids in small bodies, we wanted to cram our face holes with as much good food as humanly possible. 

Because we lucked out with our AirBnb in the Old Fourth Ward area,  we were super close to everything we wanted to get into. [Tangent: Seriously, If you are going to ATL, I highly recommend staying at this place. Our hosts were the nicest possible humans, and the place was functional and super cute. I feel like I like to stay at aspirational places, where I can pretend for a minute that I live in a tidy and chic space. My home will likely never be spotlessly lean and feature Keith Haring wallpaper...but for a couple days I can pretend. Because for me travel arrangements can be a crap shoot, I was pleased that this place was actually mostly wheelchair-friendly. While doing the seach for a place to stay, I had looked into a loft that was listed as "accessible" but the bed was up on a raised platform up a flight of stairs. FAILURE!] I had asked a bunch of people on FB beforehand and hit up our hosts for insights before setting out to go on our food quests. Unfortunately, we both felt like hell multiple days and wanted nothing more than to lay on the couch and watch Purple Rain, so we didn't get to eat as much as we had hoped...but here were some of our favorites:

King of Pops: 
After stalking their cart through the streets of Bristol a few years ago at Rhythm and Roots, I have been a fan. I know Nashville has recently been getting carts, but I have yet to see them. Anyway, since they originated in Atlanta, I thought they seemed the perfect thing to curb the heat.  I needed to hydrate and a sweet tea and lemonade flavored $3 pop seemed preferable to a bottle of boring water. Their walk-up window is in a little neighborhood , which reminded me a lot of Nashville's 12South, and is located adjacent to a park...so their stream of foot traffic is steady.

Noni's Bar and Deli:
We kind of lucked out with this one because our sweet Airbnb host also owned this restaurant and it was less than a block from where we were staying. Convenience aside, it was just really damn good. They specialize in traditional Italian pastas, sandwiches etc. We each had a giant bowl of pasta (The panchetta cream was DELIGHTFUL!), Parmesan fries and delicious cocktails. [Tangent: Cream sauce + cocktails + sun = midday naps for all!] Jamie of course, fulfilled his expectation of getting the most feminine beverage on the menu. I stuck to the Brooks, which is potent and refreshing at the same time. It's also doggie friendly, which is great for a lady like me who is down with OPP [Tangent: Other People's Pooches...you sickos.]. Prices were reasonable, which I found surprising for the quality. They could seriously be charging twice the price, but I am glad they weren't. When we got home, we stalked their yelp and saw that they really pop off post midnight. Maybe next time we go, we will check out the dance parties. I was bummed that they were doing a Prince tribute our last night in town, but we didn't know about it until we were already pooped on the couch and watching Purple Rain. 
 
Savage Pizza:
 This was really Jamie's only must because it is his traditional stop before going to shows in Atlanta. It has been much hyped to me by the pizza-loving ginger. The pizza was  yummy and similar in flavor to Pie in the Sky, and  I liked that you could personalize your pie with lots of six different sauce options. [Tangent: I love having a crap ton of choices!] Probably the best parts of the dining experience were their proximity to Atlanta's Little Five Points (which has a similar vibe to Nashville's Five Points) and the fact that I could eat my dinner under an army of suspended action figures. Example: I ate my chicken florentine personal pizza under a Bee-Bop and Rocksteady.

 Sublime Doughnuts:
I am very glad I woke up one morning craving a donut and decided to google "best doughnut in Atlanta" or else I would never have tasted the glory of having a sublime orange dream star bursting all over my taste buds. Note my look of euphoria above. So. DAMN. GOOD. This place is incredibly unassuming as it is in a strip mall by Georgia Tech. Not fancy and not expensive...thus pretty much being perfect for me. [Tangent: My mother craved nothing but Dunkin Donuts while pregnant with me, so I am guessing that has some carryover into my current adult addiction.] We loved this place so much that we got a dozen on the way out of town to bring home with us. 

 The Vortex 
If a place has a skull as an entryway, of course we are going to eat there. We had both heard lots of good things about The Vortex in Little Five Points and they claim ownership on "Atlanta's Best Burger" so it was a gimme. Even though they have a crazy long beer list, we both drank mules  (mine with vodka...his with whiskey) and ate food bigger than our faces. Although I'm bummed we didn't get their famed "Coronary Bypass" (a cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches in lieu of buns), we both had happy tummies when we left. I had some kind of concoction topped with blue cheese spread, mushrooms and bacon aka all the things I hold dear. Jamie got the "Fat Elvis" which had peanut butter, plantains and bacon on it. Both were big hits!

What did we miss out on? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I'm Gonna be a Supermodel: The Fashion is for Every Body Fashion Show

AGH! I am really excited to finally be able to share a little bit of insider dish about this really cool thing I get to be a part of! Is that vague? Yep. Sorry. Here goes...

As I have mentioned many a time, blogging has brought many cool people and opportunities into my life, and one of them is my friendship with Alicia Searcy aka the lady that is Spashionista. Unlike me, [...who is currently rocking a dress from the Target little girls department that I have convinced myself is "mature enough" even though it has pom pom trim], Alicia is extremely into the Nashville Fashion scene, Nashville Fashion Week and the Nashville Fashion Alliance. So no duh, she is fashionable. While attending her vow renewal last year, Alicia (ever the networker) asked me if I wanted to model in/help out with a fashion show that she was dreaming up. The concept was that the models would have a variety of disabilities as well as body types and cover a broad spectrum of ages to prove that everyone has the right to awesome style. It is titled, Fashion is for Every Body.

 Of course, I had the initial flutter of a thought that a disability fashion show could easily skew corny and come off extremely hokey, but I knew Alicia wouldn't let that happen. [Tangent: When anything with disabilities is ever done, I always get ultra protective. I want it to empower and not be the makings of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I want people to say "of course!" and not "awww!" Does that make sense?] My friend, the Spashionista, is the perfect person to champion this project and make people take notice and take it seriously! I  mean IT'S DAVID BOWIE THEMED, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!  Watch and learn:


There are also some legit local designers on board: Catland Forever Couture, Amanda ValentineEric Adler. Also models, like me, will be rocking clothing from Pura Vida Vintage and Opium Vintage. Andrés Bustamante is presenting is debut collection alongside my friend, John Thielman, who will also be showing for the first time. I sincerely cannot wait to wear all the pretty clothes and use all the knowledge I have gleaned from years of watching Top Model and the like.[Tangent: Reality TV wasn't rotting my brain...it was teaching me to SMIZE!] 
 The event is set for September 10th, and of course I will be giving updates when the event gets closer. For the moment, we are working to raise the needed funds to make sure it is taken seriously in this space. It is our hope that this will resonate with those in the fashion world and make our presence known! In order to make it possible, there is an indiegogo set up, were you can throw a few dollars or get your advance tickets! [Tangent: I hope you'll be there or at least spread the word! I mean...how could you miss an opportunity to see me make an ass of myself?]
  

Get excited.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Netflix (and Amazon) Hits & Misses Vol 17: March/April 2016

Maybe it's because I decided to binge on Netfix's Love and watch every season of Curb Your Enthusiasm last month...or maybe it's because the pickins are getting slimmer in my unwatched docs queue, but I didn't watch as many documentaries on Netflix as usual in March...therefore my reviews definitely carried over into April. I would just say, "Screw it!" but truthfully, I need things to keep me consistent and these reviews are the things people seem to get the most excited about. I love hearing that people bookmark the posts for their next seemingly endless browse session.



How To Survive a Plague (Netflix)- B
Let's start off with discussing the most heavy thing imaginable: the AIDS crisis in the early 80s. As expected this movie, comprised mostly of actual footage from that time period, is a lot to take it.  I was turned on to its existence by one of my favorite podcasts, Throwing Shade, and I figured since I was just a toddler in that era, an educational refresher was likely in order. Sadly, to be honest, my knowledge of the fight for proper healthcare among people living with AIDS in the early years is based almost wholely on Dallas Buyers Club. The themes and content were very interesting and upsetting, but I did zone out a couple times due to the presentation. [Tangent: Similar happens to me when I watch the history channel sometimes.] Even so, I still think it is worth watching especially if you are not well versed in the early gay rights movement or about the outbreak of AIDS in the US.  It is a must watch for those that are ignorant (like me) about all that the era entailed in regards to this disease.

Brave Miss World (Netflix)- B
Now to a much lighter topic- cases of rape injustice on a worldwide level. Just kidding...not at all lighter...equally upsetting, but still eye-opening and worth exploring. The stunning subject of this film is former Miss Israel (and then Miss World) who was raped as an adult, and then went on a global crusade to whistle blow situations where accusers were being swept under the rug. Some of the stories are BRUTAL and will make you wince, but they deserve to be heard. This one had been sitting in my queue for a long time and I'm really glad I finally gave it a watch. Unfortunately, this month I also watched The Hunting Ground (see below), which featured some of the same themes and footage..so it's really hard for me not to compare the two. I watched the other first, so I think that's why I didn't give Brave Miss World a higher score.

Crafted (Amazon Prime Streaming) - B
I chose this movie for two reasons...it was by Morgan Spurlock [Tangent: He made everyone scared of Big Macs in Super Size Me and created docu-series 30 Days...I also wrote about his doc Mansome in this post.] and it was about 30 minutes, which is a good length when I am feeling non-committal. Since I know a lot of crafters for hire and small business owners, I was a little more invested in this than some might be. The whole thing had a very "made for instagram" vibe as if the whole movie was shot through the crema filter,  but it seemed to make sense given the etsy-centric subject matter. It lacked a lot of the humor that you come to expect from Spurlock docs, but it also featured a profile on artisan knife-makers, so you can't have it all!

Autism in Love (Netflix)- A
April is autism awareness month, so it seems Netflix has several to choose from. [Tangent: It was a toss-up for me between this one and The United States of Autism, which I will likely get to next month. ] I really liked this doc a lot. It is sad and happy at the same time, and really gives you a glimpse inside people on the spectrum and their struggles with emotion and connection to others romantically. Because I work for a disability organization, I, of course, view it through that lens and can be a little critical in some areas. Example: Although the cover a spectrum of cases, they are all fairly high functioning and independent for the most part. They may not drive or live with a parent, but the majority hold jobs. [Tangent: In docs and reality programming, its pretty common for those profiled to be of higher ability levels. Some with autism are non-verbal or have additional behavioral issues. Dual diagnoses are very common.]  I really liked it and think if you love a disability love story like Monica and David, which I reviewed here, then you will like this. Also, you're gonna fall in love with the people in the doc. I am obsessed with Leonard's mom and couldn't stop staring at her large heat miser tattoo.

The Barkley Marathons (Netflix)- A
Oh. Dear. God. This one is a doozie. Generally a documentary about an outdoor endurance test wouldn't appeal to me at all, but it features my home state and lovable kooks, so I was on board immediately. [Tangent: Plus my friend Rae gave it her thumbs up, so I knew I was in for a good time..and not just your average sports doc.] To preface, I don't even like to go out to my car if it's raining outside, so I cannot fathom why someone would like to do a non-stop all-weather 100 mile race through rough terrain. The race itself is bananas and a complete fever dream, which is exactly what you would expect from two dudes named Lazarus Lake and Raw Dog...probably not his Christian Name.  These men, who my dad would've referred to as "characters," are the ones who conceived of the bat shit human sacrifice known as The Barkley Marathons. I think you'll like it.

Plastic Galaxy (Amazon Prime Streaming)-C
My boyfriend loves a good toy and amassed an impressive Star Wars collection as any boy would in the early 80s and I love docs about obsessive fandom...so this movie, found on Amazon streaming, seemed like a safe bet for entertainment we could agree on.  On a whole, I dug it. There were parts, as a very casual Star Wars fan (as in hasn't even seen all the movies) that I didn't care about, but I enjoyed the story of how these toys were kind of the unlikely beginning to crazy movie merchandising. It was interested to see how many companies passed on the rights. Again, I think if I actually played with these toys as a kid, I might have been more into it. [Tangent: My brothers did have the death star and all its inhabitants, but I was off having my barbies and his WWF figures kissing and putting on productions of Cinderella to be bothered.]

Finding Vivian Maier (Netflix)- A+
I love this movie. I love anything that is a big of an unraveling mystery. The movie profiles a young man who bought a Storage Wars style lot at an auction, which included boxes and boxes of undeveloped film and slides from an unknown photographer, Vivian Maier. In development, he found her art to be ahead of its time, but could find nothing about the enigmatic woman behind the camera. Through this documentary, he is working to uncover who she is/was through travel, research and mostly interview. It was so perfect that I almost wondered if it was a setup, as I do with most things that are too good to be true. I now am following Vivian Maier on Facebook and want to go see her work in a gallery.

The Hunting Ground (Netflix)- A+
Like a lot of folks, I became acquainted with this doc after crying disgusting amounts of saline during Lady Gaga's performance at the 2016 Oscars of "Til It Happens to You." My major mistake was watching this movie when I was going to sleep, because it took me 6 days to watch it in segments (and likely caused me to have some awful dreams), but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. The movie, about the rape culture on college campuses will piss you off. It definitely is well put together and hopefully will make some waves in universities so that they will be pushed for change. It was great to see many of these women (and men) find strength after being ignored by administration. The sheer volume of stories that all end in a faculty member victim blaming them was astounding!!  
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