Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Hello Giggles Post- TV Musicals We Wish Were on Broadway

It's been a couple months since I've turned up on Hello Giggles, but not for lack of trying. Not all my ideas are winners, guys, and that's certainly not news to you [Tangent: You readers have stuck with me through a three part relistening to Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill and a two part expose on Disabled Christian Romance novels. Seriously, why are you still here?!?!] Fortunately, some of my ideas are decent...at least according to a small panel of editors.

Anyway, here's my latest piece all about my elaborate fantasies revolving around minute moments from TV being made into stage productions. That's just how my mind works. [Tangent: I just learned that IRL was "in real life" a year or so ago and never use it because I fear I am using it incorrectly, so clearly that was added in post. Just in case you are wondering what has taken over my being.] Not surprisingly, Saved By The Bell and Full House slipped in. Also mentioned, Nickelback's interpretation of Con Air. Intrigued? I thought so. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Of Course I watched the Unauthorized Full House Story on Lifetime

I realize I have not been the greatest blogger lately, but trust I have been writing my ass off - there is just bupkus to show for it. Sometimes being a writer is an exercise in futility. Anyway, I had to break the inadvertent blog silence and give my official reaction to the Lifetime Unauthorized Full House Story....just what the public is chomping at the bit to read about: someone's opinions on a cable movie based LOOSELY on a terrible (but lovable) show from 20 years ago. [Tangent: You may remember the impromptu theme party I threw for the Unauthorized Saved By the Bell film last year, so it should not be a major news story that I was totally on board for this one.]

Although I only watched this one with Jamie and our friend Ryan, I daresay it was better than the other installment of highly dramatized nostalgia. [Tangent: I realize that is kind of like comparing baby's diapers....like saying, "don't worry this diaper is not as horrific and diarrea-filled!"]. There really was no real drama or scandal or infighting to speak of; [Tangent:...aside from a very bizarre scene where Danny and the boys did whippits and had a whipped cream fight in the prop room as a weird lifesized stuffed penguin looked on in the corner.] if anything it just showed how much they all got along.

 Aside from that the most highly scandalous thing was the Olson twins getting rich and famous and John Stamos drowning in groupies, which is not a major shock to anyone. You all have seen Stamos, right? [Tangent: Better and better each year like a fancy cheese.]

I was dreading the casting, but in all honesty- it wasn't bad and the wigs were slightly more subtle than I was suspecting. Even the guy playing Dave Coulier nailed it. There were many times I wondered if he was somehow related to the man of 1000 terrible impressions. And the guy cast as Bob Sagat may have looked nothing like him, but he sounded very similar, which is saying something, right. [Tangent: I like to imagine the actor pouring over old episodes of America's Funniest Home Videos to get the pitch just perfect.] I will give kudos where kudos are due, because trust- there were A LOT of issues I had. Buckle up- here are my top 3.

1. "Uncle Joey"

I feel like I have hopped aboard this soapbox [Tangent: For the record, the lamest soapbox ever built.] hundreds of times. JOEY WASN'T ANYONE'S UNCLE! He was Danny's frat bro. Sure, people lovingly refer to non-relatives as "uncle" all  the time, but the Tanner girls never did. Why do so many people misremember that. Included in this group, are the people who made this "unauthorized production" because several times, they slipped up and referred to him as such. I seriously almost threw the remote through the TV! [Tangent: I'm glad I refrained as that would be hard to explain...not completely out of character or a surprising reaction from me given the circumstances, but hard to explain nonetheless.]

2. Nothing was authentic to the 80s or early 90s. 

Perhaps Lifetime is working under an extremely stringent budget, or they are just lazy and think that their viewers would be too betwitched by the drama to even notice. You can't have a title card that says 1985, and then place bobo Dave Coulier in a modern kitchen outfitted with stainless appliances talking on a cordless phone.

The 80s is only 30 years ago, surely they could find a kitchen in LA that wasn't updated that they could use as a set, but even if they didn't- they don't have to make tons of clumsy references that prove they did zero research. Example: When Dave Coulier is talking to his agent on the phone (presumably in 1985), they talk about seeing his name on caller ID. HOW MANY HOMES HAD CALLER ID IN 1985! WHY EVEN PUT THAT FACT IN!?!??!

That's not at all an isolated incident. If you were new to this country and had no concept of Full House before watching this production, you might have no idea based on the costume choices by the ancillary characters or the sets that it was indeed supposed to take place in another decade.

3. Where's Mr. Woodchuck or anything original to the set?

I'm not sure  how being "unauthorized" plays into the equasion, but if you can get access to character names and plot lines, why couldn't the people at Lifetime make any attempt to make the Tanner family home look like the original. It appears they just borrowed an existing TV set (maybe from something recently cancelled).

And what the hell is this dog puppet!??!? That's not Mr. Woodchuck! Again, why include it at all if it is going to be such a blaring distraction.

I really could go on and on, but will cap it at my top 3 grievances before I get turned over to the authorities for having no life whatsoever. One would think after all this nitpickiness that I would have thrown in the towel on Lifetime and their cinematic escapades. Maybe that would be, but it seems they are reading my dream journal because next on the docket is 90210 and Melrose Place. That's gonna be one hell of a shit show!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Williamson County Fair-ly Insane

Fairs and festivals bring together all of my favorite aspects of life: People watching, gaudy things, over-the-top junk food and adorable animals. Every summer I get an itch in my britch to go to one of the county fairs around Middle Tennessee, but they're always in August/September when Tennessee is at peak humid and gross. [Tangent: Usually, I start to think about the mixture of heat and fried food and crowds and the smell of cow poop and the questions of accessibility, and I opt out of fair times...deciding instead to stay in AC and watch an Undercover Boss marathon and judge the wigs.] Because of the gloriously superb night weather we have been seeing lately [Tangent: 68 degrees in August!?! Thanks El Nino!] ,  Jamie and I decided to check out the Williamson County on a weeknight, where no "special free nights" were happening so no obnoxiously large groups to contend with. We also didn't plan on spending an ungodly amount of money. We had budgeted $35 for the evening [Tangent: Don't be so Dave Ramsey impressed...in reality we just didn't want to go ATM and incur fees], but that was more than enough to cram tons of ridiculous into a couple hours. 

Although I never really play carnival type games, [Tangent: For a myriad of reasons really... I don't have the upper body to throw a ball a great distance (basket, base, skee...et al) and I find carnies somewhat intimidating, I don't love being shouted at. and I just don't NEED a 3 foot minion.] I'm very intrigued with giant stuffed prizes because they are so awesomely terrible. Why are they always neon or wearing rasta wigs? Were they all manufactured in 1996? [Tangent: I guess I secretly always wanted to win a 6 foot monkey as a child, but as an adult, I am really glad my parents realized that they didn't have the car space or the finance to appease me.]  Here were two of my favorites: Stoned Rastafarian Cigar (which kind of looked like poop but the cigar band/bandana informed me otherwise) and the Camo print mallard, which I'm guessing is Duck Dynasty related by the beard and 'Murica do rag.
Because we are toddlers, our main goal for the fair was to pet/feed a cute animal, eat something deep fried and see a mini horse up close. It's the simple things in life, guys. We accomplished all these goals and more! On our way to the livestock tent, we happened upon the Great American Duck Race, which was just as magical as you would expect. They basically raced 4 little ducks in a giant rubbermaid pool whilst blasting "Disco Duck" and dispensing duck facts. [Tangent: As the duck emcee informed, duck racing is huge in Arizona. I kind of doubt this, but if anyone is reading from Arizona, PLEASE weigh in on this pressing matter. ]  I kept trying to talk Jamie into volunteering so he would get a crack at a duck whistle or a duck visor! He settled for feeding one, even though I'm pretty sure that creature was just doing it to be nice...none of them seemed at all hungry. I'm sure children had pumped them full of pellet food all day.
Maybe I have watched a few too many Final Destination films, but I am not super sold on carnival rides. The whole idea that they are routinely broken down and reassembled (along with the absence of seat belts) makes me a little leery that at any moment the pirate ship ride could fling off it's fulcrum and spill us all onto the nearby interstate. I realize that it's just my overactive (and slightly morbid) imagination at play, so I wanted to at least try my hand at the Ferris wheel. [Tangent: I was really glad that it was pretty accessible because everything was ramped (though very narrowly) and the attendants were super helpful. They clearly knew how to maneuver a power chair. Total pros!] I was not prepared that it would go so fast. This ride didn't eff around! I risked dropping my cell phone and possibly maiming someone from impact just to take this picture of Jamie and I being terrified.
We based our entire evening around an event called "Horses! Horses! Horses!" True- I am not a horse nut, but we had seen a mini horse in a blanket embroidered with "Stormy" when poking around, and we knew it was our destiny to meet Stormy....even if we had no idea what the show entailed. [Tangent: I'm not sure Horses! Horses! Horses! knew what the show was supposed to entail either. At times it was a bit of a shit show, (literally- a horse with bangs came over to the fence to drop turds by me during his showcase) but I just squealed with delight because a gaggle of Lil' Sebastians were frollicking around! It was magical.] Seeing a tiny horse prance around to Mambo Number 5 made my year, though. 
After that, we pretty much decided we had nearly had too much, so we decided to grab a snack and go. Only as we were headed to funnel dipped mecca, we happened to catch the human cannonball dude climbing into his chamber...and then be shot over the crowd, a big top, the possibly inhumane tiger exhibit and a ride!!! I can't be certain, but I think that was the point where my head exploded like one of Gallagher's watermelons! [Tangent:...I know...way to be current with a Gallagher reference!] Now all that was left was to eat some deep fried Reese's cups whilst listening to some girls really give Carly Rae Jepson their damndest at the Kareaoke tent!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jean Kelley Deserves your Bucks (And is Here to Offer Tips for Independent Artists)

Reality competition shows are a dime a dozen these days, and have become a viable way to become a household name. [Tangent: Let's be honest...to me, everyone on a reality show is a name known and freely spoken in my homestead.  I am the girl that jumped aboard the My Giant Life TLC marathon this weekend for hours at a time.] However, it takes a lot of hard work and hustle to expand upon your 15 minutes of fame, and become a Kelly Clarkson and not a Honey Boo Boo. The aftermath of that surreal experience is one that I’ve always been curious about.

Enter Jean Kelley [Tangent: not to be confused with Gene Kelly…although they both have crazy amounts of charisma and flawless hair], the big-voiced sassafrass who bounced between Team Gwen and Team Pharrell in season 7 of The Voice. I took a vested interested in Jean, because although she now resides in the ATL, she went to my high school and I grew up and attended college with her big sis, Anne. [Tangent: Random memory that proves the family knows their shit regarding music….Jean’s sister Anne sang Shadowboxer by Fiona Apple in the Middle School talent show, which probably took some kind of award for the most un-lame song choice by a 7th grader.] She's also a blog reader, and I show so much love to those that take two minutes occasionally to check out my blathering.

She may not have made it to the finals, but her chart-toppingversion of Sia’s Chandelier stuck with a lot of viewers, and after wrapping production Miss Jean is taking all that priceless knowledge gleaned from a virtual boot camp with music legends and making an album. [Tangent: I mean who do you know that has gotten music words of wisdom from T. Swift and Gwen Stefani in the span of a month.] She's actually in the final stretch of Kickstarting it into existance, so you can help make her dream come true by dropping some change in her proverbial busking bucket.

After you watch her cover Amy Winehouse, you will pretty much at be musically bewitched into donation. Her voice is soulful and rich like hot fudge cake!

She also has a little advice from other independent artists trying to get their hustle on. [Tangent: I have zero musical talent, but like to think with Miss Jean’s tenants that I could be Janet Jackson…although we all know I am but a jazzy top away from being William Hung (but with less breath control). I mean, I know that I could just use these tips to reach my blog's fullest potential, but I like to have faith in their transformative mystical powers.]
  1.  Get out there and work- build an audience and a brand ..."I started as an independent artist after college, when I moved to Atlanta to pursue R&B. That first year was by all accounts pretty unpleasant, but the second year, I met some talented new friends, wrote angsty Pop/Rock songs, formed a band and played at venues around the city (to the same 30 people haha!). I knew I hadn't quite settled into my sound, so I took some time to write and do a couple solo recording projects. I also started taking improv classes, hosting local shows and writing comedy sketches 'cause, why not?. I guess you could say I was unintentionally building my brand, but I was really just doing stuff I loved."
  2. Don’t worry about fitting into a box ..."I think to stand apart in this business you just have to be honest and not worry about what box you fit into. It's unnatural to force it and it rarely works because fans know when you're faking. I mean, sure, it's harder to promote positivity and empowerment in an industry that earns money selling sex, but I was lucky enough to grow up on the "girl power" music of the 90's, so singing about my milkshake is not really an option. Haha! But seriously, my hope is that by writing my songs with intention and creating music that I love, fans will be able to really connect to it and find something for themselves. And if not, the songs will also be catchy as hell. ;)"
  3. Social Media is your friend..."It is pretty much a necessity for Independent Artists to build their fan base and stay connected to their fans. Each platform has its own way of communicating and some, like Facebook, have made it possible for me to have really meaningful interactions with my supporters. Youtube is more of a one-way conversation, but it allows me to share different aspects of myself as both an artist and as a truly ridiculous human being."
Seriously, keep your eye on this girl! Right now Brentwood High's biggest pop star alumnus is Ke$ha, but that could all change. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back to School Glasses Giveaway from Firmoo

For some reason (that I am quite happy about), the good people at Firmoo have decided to give me more glasses to giveaway! [Tangent: They said in an email that I am "pleasantly cooperative" which I just wanted to have in print somewhere...so there it is...right there...see Mom!] This should be awesome news for you guys; you love free stuff, right? 

You should know by now that I love Firmoo and have three pairs and counting. I even made you a montage to prove my adoration. [Tangent: Just pretend you asked for it.]

I feel like I am at the tipping point hoarder-wise to amassing a bit of an obscene collection, but I find new styles I like all the time. Not only are their glasses super cute and affordable, but they have been a pretty rad company to work with. [Tangent: No, this is not me being "pleasantly cooperative", this is realness. They've been really cool and run several giveaways through my blog (and even discounts to give out on  Instagram!) - a blogger's dream! I'm not a big deal blog, but I've somehow mind-freaked them into thinking I am...so that's fun!] If you want to read more of my Firmoo love, you can read my storied history with them in these posts:

If you wear glasses and haven't ordered at least one pair online, GET ON IT [Tangent/Shameless plug:...and when you do use my affiliate link!]. If you get the RX from an eye doctor, the world is your oyster and you can order cute frames at a fraction of the price. If you are still a little leery of not having the tangible experience of try-on, at the very least enter this giveaway so you get a shot at this free of charge! Seriously, you have nothing to lose! 

Here's what you could win:
 One pair of Firmoo glasses with free shipping to US from this page of Firmoo blogger collection specs [Tangent: There's an abundance of styles in different materials and shapes for all sexes! I wish I could enter because I WANT THESE!!!] Glasses include the frames, standard 1.50 index single vision lenses. Upgraded lenses and add-ons will be charged for an extra fee.
Use the handy widget below to enter !

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until 8/20 at Midnight! Good luck! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Netflix Documentary Roundup

This summer I have gotten mildly off course with my power-watching of non-fiction films, because...well...summer. Despite being somewhat of an indoor kid, I am trying to veer out and get more melanin in my skin and vitamin D and all that good stuff [Tangent: Ugh. Who am I kidding? I have been watching a lot of Scandal and The League and then OITNB and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp came around. Too much to watch...not enough ME! I just learned about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and I am definitely afflicted.]. By the end of June, I had only knocked out 2 Netflix docs, so I figured I would just do a summer roundup instead. [Tangent: Thanks to all those that checked in to see if  I was slipping or if you had missed it. Now I know you all actually are as into binging on docs as I am. Thanks for staying engaged and being awesome! ] Lots of these are fairly new, so I felt (for once) that I was in on the ground floor with the cool kids. 

Winnebago Man- B
This one is the exception to the cavalcade of newer docs; this one is an oldie [Tangent: I know I know, 2009 is not exactly vintage. I was working my 2nd post collegiate job by then...but realistically this documentary is now kindergarten age.], and truthfully I had seen it before. The first time around, I remembered really liking this film about a man named Jack Rebney, who is best known for freaking his freak out and being a real dick hole when making a Winnebago company sales video. His meltdown became viral and then became a bit of a cult classic. The subject matter seemed worth a revisit and I wanted to share it with Jamie,  so I watched it again. It's not the most fantastic doc, but I think it's always fascinating to watch someone who is dealing with being a celebrity, very much against their will. It reminded me a lot of Burt's Buzz, a film I reviewed here a few months back, because both men are old lovable grumps who don't want the spotlight, but are thrust into it. It made Rebney definitely more three dimensional and less of a caricature, which is the goal of most profile-style documentaries. I'm not sure if I would have liked it more or less if I had been super familiar with the Winnebago Man viral video before I seen this.

Tig- A+
Ah, Tig! Such a goodie! This one had been recommended to me by many people [Tangent: Thumbs up to the people who heeded my Facebook plea for viewing material.], and it didn't take much to talk me into it. Let me just get out of the way that I love Tig Notaro. Documentaries and biographies of famous funny people always intrigue me because the general unifying factor is that great comedy isn't possible without tragedy. Being an avid comedy podcast listener, I have heard all about her infamous "I have cancer" comedy set, so I was immediately on board and was eager to learn more about her.  Sometimes I watch a documentary and it's so perfect and riveting and the plot has so many twists that you'd swear it's scripted...this is one of them. I never once wished I was watching anything else. I loved it. Recommend 100% and I am a little jealous that she has this period in her life fully documented.

Bridegroom- A+
I have not cried this hard at a documentary since Dear Zachary. This one is a doozie and a must-see given this summer's supreme court ruling on gay marriage!  I almost wish all those people that are waving their anti gay marriage flags on social media were made to watch this movie.  I don't want to give too many plots points away, but I will tell you what you glean in the first 5 minutes. The story is told from the point of view of a gay man named Shane, who's partner, Tom, dies tragically well into their relationship...and aside from the grief anyone feels, Shane deals with some unimaginable fallout. The majority of the movie follows their middle-America backgrounds and their courtship in LA through interviews and recorded footage. As they were both filmmakers/actors, there is lots of material in the archieves. Bridegroom does a near perfect job of showing how normal love is, no matter who participates. I feel like it should be required viewing for bigots. Once again, I dehydrated myself with tears on this one, so stock up on Smart water prior.

Backstreet Boys: Show Them What You're Made Of- C-
Let me preface by saying I was never a huge Backstreet fan, so my thoughts are a bit skewed. [Tangent: By the time boy bands made their grand resurgence in the late 90's, I was well into high school and liked to pretend I was too cool/mature for them...though let's be honest- I know all the words to more than one song by O-Town, so clearly not that cool.] I watched it because I have a soft spot in my ventricles for a pop music doc. I was hoping this would join the ranks of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and One Direction documentaries, which were excellent. I am not too proud to admit that. It didn't; I got bored. Even though most of the band members are not that far off from me age-wise, I couldn't relate to anyone, even though I think that was the movie's intent.  I was interested in the idea that they were finally getting some artistic freedom to record the kind of album that they never got the chance to make while under the thumb of their label. Unfortunately, I thought all their songs were cornier than the ones written for them in the 90s. No one is more disappointed in that then I am. 

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau - A

I first heard about this bat shit documentary (centered around an even more bat shit movie, the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau) on an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, How Did This Get Made? [Tangent: You can listen to the episode here.] The podcasters several times cited this documentary saying the behind the scenes goings on were so wildly out there that they made the on-camera work seem tame comparatively. [Tangent:...and just to be clear, the film itself is about an island of genetically modified beast people who are controlled by Marlon Brando in peak crazy and inexplicably in white face.] I remember the movie very well from being a teen with cable, but had no idea about all the twists and turns it took to get made. There was witchcraft involved, you guys!  I would absolutely recommend it, especially if you have seen the movie that it's based on. [Tangent: Although Jamie hadn't seen it, and he still sat fascinated watching the doc.] Heads up though... if you want to hold Val Kilmer in any kind of esteem, I might recommend you skip it...because he comes off less than savory.

Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey- B+
Who doesn't love Journey? OK, probably a lot of people, but I am not one of them. I cannot get enough of the dulcet sounds of Steve Perry and was impressed when in the late 90s, they found a Steve Perry sound-alike [Tangent: ...and first name-alike] in Steve Augeri. However, I wasn't aware until this movie...that they had done it again...but with a fun-sized Filipino named Arnel Pineda. Be prepared that this movie is heavily subtitled because English is not Pineda's first language, but you will quickly fall in love with him. His rags to riches story is basically what docum-profiles were made for. It's also kind of fun to see a non-original band lineup selling out stadiums and having those stadiums half filled with Filipino fans. Also, LOTS of Journey jams, so buckle up!

The Queen of Versailles-A
A few years ago, Bravo was airing this doc on a never-ending loop because it appealed to the network's sensibilities i.e. "rich people problems."  Because Andy Cohen and co are my bedtime white noise, I remembered watching bits and pieces, but I was never intrigued enough to watch it from soup to nuts...even once it came on Netflix. [Tangent: I learned the term "from soup to nuts" recently and I love it...so don't be surprised if I use it a lot and you get really tired of it. It sounded like someone a grandfather might say, which is basically right up my alley.] I'm so glad I finally gave this film the viewing it deserved; it's fantastic. Because I am intrigued by conspicuous consumption, I was sitting with mouth agape for 90 minutes. The movie is about the very eccentric Siegel family, who owns Westgate resorts. The A-story is about their attempt to build the largest inhabited single family home in the US, an over-the-top homage to the palace of Versailles. Spoiler alert: Their attempt is unsuccessful, and it's almost a little sad how in over their heads they become. The B-Story is the crazy day to day of the family; it's kind of like if Grey Garden's was inhabited by one one of the more clueless Real Housewives [Tangent: I'd almost venture to say a Sonja Morgan or Theresa Guidice type...yeah that's a nugget for all you RHONY/RHONJ fans!]. It's so interesting to see how delusional you can become when you have been extremely wealthy for so long; there is one scene where Jackie Siegel goes to rent a car at the airport and asks who her driver will be. There's a lot of that. It's one I would recommend, and would like to watch again. 

Little White Lie- B+
Maybe because one of my favorite courses in college was about Race, Class and Gender, but I am always intrigued by racial identity. The story is told from the point of view of a woman who was raised in a traditional Jewish family in a predominately white neighborhood, Woodstock, NY. The Shamylan twist in her life story is that as she gets into high school, she starts to realize she doesn't look like a white woman. Her traits have been explained away by her family as "a jew fro" or the result of having an olive-skinned Italian grandfather. It's the elephant in the room no one discusses, even after she is gets a minority scholarship to college based on admissions picture alone. I won't spoil the ending, but it definitely makes you consider how important it is to know your roots.

The Search for General Tso- A
It's my belief that I watched this doc the way it was meant to be viewed, after consuming 2 plate fulls of lo mein from Peking Palace and watching an episode of Fresh of the Boat. Although I don't really consider myself a "foodie", I know cheap Chinese food [Tangent: The kind that has been bastardized by Americans.....the kind that I eat voraciously even though I am slightly allergic to the spices and MSG.] This movie follows the origins of Chinese cuisine in the US and how dishes like the titular  chicken dish (and others previous fads like Chop Suey) came en vogue. I know it's hard to wrap your brain around watching a doc about chinese takeout for 90 minutes, but it was also a rivoting look at the struggles of immigrants coming to the US in the last 100 years. Oh, you also do find out who the eff General Tso actually is, and why he deserves a gooey dish in his honor. My mom, who watched this with me, thought she would hate it and grumbled throughout the whole beginning only to get deeply invested at the five minute mark. Her one word review at the end: "Fascinating!" [Tangent: Clearly she is much more succinct than her daughter.]

What Happened, Miss Simone?- A
This movie has been bleeping all over my radar since it premiered on Netflix last month. It seems it's on every must-list lately, so I had to give it a go. I'm ashamed to say although I knew the name Nina Simone, I only really knew one song she sang and beyond that - not much. Now I feel like I'm a legitimate fan and will be on the lookout for her albums. [Tangent: Gross. I know. I'm one of those tragically unhip people. I'm no better than all those kids under 25, who didn't know who Paul McCartney was until he did that song with Rhianna and Kanye.] I hate to use the word pioneer, because I think it's dreadfully overused, but I think Simone, who broke a lot racial and genre barriers,  definitely qualifies. She came from poverty to become an acclaimed pianist to discover she was a singer. Soon after,  she became a huge sensation, started hanging out with Malcolm X and became an activist for civil rights. Not to be a total spoiler, but she then basically gave it all up, fled the country and disappeareded from the spotlight for her own sanity. If you enjoy musical documentaries or even documentaries about mental health and fame, I would absolutely check it out. 

So what did I miss? 
What have you been watching this summer? 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fat Kid Review: Lays 'Do Us a Flavor' Chips

The other day I had a really good day [Tangent: Like if it was within the confines of my personality, I would have been hashtagging things #blessed at every damn turn.]. What defines a "good day?" For once things weren't chaotic, and everything seemed to come to me WAY too easily. The icing on the already delicious cake of day was popping by Walgreens to pick up a couple necessities and spying a huge display overspilling with limited edition gluttony: The Lay's Do Us A Flavor potato chips. [Tangent: Can I make a sad confession? Not two days prior to viewing this potato Valhalla, I had been searching for the chip contenders on Amazon because my lazy and impatient had set in, and I felt like I couldn't wait any longer to get them into my mouth. I found them, but the dilemma was that I would basically have to a Pack of 20, which seemed excessive and like a crapshoot. What if one was vomit-inducing? What then? The sensible angel on my shoulder stepped in and told me to hold out. I really hate that bitch sometimes. Therefore, I'm really stoked I found them all in one place and didn't have to exploit my Prime member status for first dibs.]

Because you know I'm a bit of a foodie [Tangent: More specifically garbage junk food!] and love any excuse to do a "fat kid review," I was immediately filling Jamie's arms with every last flavor. [Tangent: If you want to judge my dietary habits further (at least as hard as the checkout boy was), you can read my other Lays reviews here and check out my monster cereal recap here or read about that time I put nutella on samoas here.

 I wish I could say that any of them blew my top off, but they really didn't. On the other hand, I wasn't revolted by any either, which is huge! [Tangent: This is not gonna be the year when I dedicate a whole blog entry to the candidate that I believe in most. Not all chip innovations can stir my emotions like Wasabi Ginger kettle chips did.] Below I have the chip-i-dates [get it...like candidates. OK...I know it's dumb.] ranked and reviewed, but really #2 and #3 are pretty interchangable, so don't send me hate mail if you are on 'Team Biscuit!'

First Place: West Coast Truffle Fries
I am a little disappointed in myself for liking this one most, [Tangent: I mean making a greasy potato product taste like another greasy potato product is not exactly witchcraft.] but it was legitimately the most delicious and the one that I would be the most likely to purchase again. At first I thought it tasted too similar to other chips out there, but I kept going back for more. My mom said they tasted "earthy" so take that for what it is. Also points for being wavy. Wavy chips are always better than not not wavy. [Tangent/added note for my vegetarian pals: My friend Eartha Kitsch found out that they are not within her dietary restrictions and have duck fat in them. So...sorry herbivores.]

Second Place: Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyros
Like I said, this was a tough call. Greek food is one of my favorite things on earth, but my friends in social media had me terrified to try these. This rating could be a case of low expectations being slightly exceeded. I had heard that they tasted like everything from dog food to old yogurt to fish, but to me they tasted like straight up gyro meat. That mix of lamb and beef is one of life's greatest gifts, and I would eat straight off the cooking rotisserie if the people at Greek Cafe didn't frown upon it. The only downside was the aftertaste, which almost got it bumped to #3 because it lingered a little longer than I would have liked. It's also entirely possible that I was a bit swayed because it was a kettle chip. They could make a  day old tuna and hotdog water flavored kettle chip and I would be all over it. [Tangent: So please don't, because it seems like an awful idea. There is probably a reason that I don't work in a chip factory.]

Third Place: Southern Biscuits and Gravy
I realize ranking this within the bottom half of the list takes my Sooutherner card and tears it into shreds.  [Tangent: Oh well....being a democrat probably did that years ago.] This was a tough call and I did really enjoy it (as I do the dish they were based on), however biscuits and gravy are a pretty mild taste comparatively, so it didn't get my taste buds in a tizzy. It did taste like sausage gravy, so if you are looking for a breakfast chip [Tangent: Come on...we've all been there.] this is your pick. 

 Fourth Place: New York Reuben
Let me preface by saying that I don't like Reubens. I don't like Sauerkraut. I don't like corned beef or pastrami or rye bread. [Tangent: I'm so glad my Polish relatives in Buffalo don't know about my blog so they won't know the shame my taste buds bring upon the family.] I do like mustard though, and thankfully that was most of the flavor profile so I actually ate more chips than I thought I could. Let it be known, my mother who is a legitimate New York Pollack loved these, so take that for what it is. Her opinion on the matter is likely more reliable.

So what do you think? 
Have you tried them yet?  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Weekend at the Franklin Theatre: Wizard of Oz and Back to the Future Part II

Downtown Franklin, aka the cutest little movie set of a town, is roughly 15 minutes from my home, so I try to get out there and soak up the Pleasantville of it all as often as I possibly can. [Trivia fact: Jamie and I went to the grand re-opening of the Franklin Theatre (a super-cute historic one-theater cinema, which puts on a lot of events and second-run movies) on one of our first dates, so one would think we would go there more often, but rarely do. We went there to see The Dark Knight and Psycho, but both of those were years ago.] Last week I decided I needed to be a better patron, so I planned to attend 2 fun events that they were putting on.

The first was a Wizard of Oz See and Sing, which I went to with my mom and my friend-tendant Kate. [Tangent: Kate, as I've mentioned before, is responsible for getting me out of bed 5 days a week and picking my clothes out when I would rather go naked and reminds me to brush my hair...which is important. Everyone, disability or none, needs a Kate.]  I am always on board to showcase my terrible breathless singing voice in a public air space, and I come by it honestly because my mother has the same affliction- so this seemed perfect. [Tangent: If we go to Goodwill together, I generally ditch her early in the housewares aisle because she thinks they have "the best music" and will jam out down the aisles. If stores were dance clubs, she would frequent Goodwill partially because they have the best DJ.]

 I didn't really know what to expect...and kind of thought it would be just like a "follow the bouncing ball" kinda thing, but NO- this was legit! There were vocal warm ups from the Nashville Opera and audience participation [Tangent: Like yelling "Run Toto! Run!" when Toto ran (obviously) and wearing crowns and blowing up and releasing a balloon at the end when Dorothy gets to go home.] and props! PROPS!?!?!? You guys know I was in heaven, so I sincerely cannot wait to go to the next one. [Tangent: Although giving a bunch of children open access to noisemakers was a bit frightening and resulted in an incessant hum of squawks prior to the showing...I got used to it.]

Oh, and naturally there was dressing up and a costume contest so downtown Franklin was scattered with lions and Dorothy's (of every age and race) and even people dressed like houses with witch legs hanging out. I know it's atrocious that I had nothing on theme in my Rubbermaid under bed costume storage [Tangent: I know...I know...I am a functional 32-year-old adult human. The mind reels.], so red shoes it was!
totally casual.
As if I hadn't had enough retro cinema, the next day I went with a group of friends to see Back to The Future Part II. [Full disclosure: I realize I am aledgedly a pop culture connoisseur, but I went into the movie pretty sure I had never seen it before. Being that I was 7 when it was released in theaters, I was sure it was something I watched bits and pieces of on cable as a child.  Frankly time travel can be a heady concept for a first grader. Although bits of it rang a bell, I mostly remember the fist one and the fact that Part II had a Pizza Hut tie-in and you could get a free pair of retro-futuristic sunglasses free with purchase. I recall that I had some, and they made me look more like Hollywood Montrose from the movie Mannequin and less like a person of the future. As always, Youtube confirmed this hazy recollection. ] My friend, Ryan,  is perhaps the biggest Marty McFly fanatic I know [Tangent: Second place goes to my blogger pal, Lladybird Lauren.] so I mostly went to bear witness  to his fanaticism and see him dressed in his head-to-to replica look (complete with hover board that his bank assumed was a fraudulent purchase.)
 It was super fun because the Franklin Theatre employees dressed the part and they even had a drink called the Flux Capacitator, which Jamie had 2 of and they were just delightful! Watching the movie beginning to end as an adult (pretty much for the first time) made me realize I would have never been able to follow this as a child. I could barely keep the timelines straight as is, but I loved it nonetheless. [Tangent: Even though I wish we had flying cars and more 80's theme cafes in the actual 2015!]  It was also fun to see my friend nerd out on such tremendous levels. We sat up front at a table and allowed Ryan to reenact the plot for us before showtime. Here is a visual of how that went...not well.

I wish I could have gotten a photo of all these little kids (one of which in an incredible homemade Doc Brown costume) who flocked around him and wanted to survey his costume. It was hysterical. Be careful ladies, he's single!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Clean Pioneer Disability Romance deserved a "to be continued"

Can I tell you guys a secret? Ya'll are freaks and I love you for it. Let me explain; a lot of times I think I am a weirdo because I get easily intrigued by things that are completely ridiculous. Then I see you all share my enthusiasm, and I feel very excited because it means you're just as mentally skewed as I am. Such was the case with my last blog about Emma Morgan's series of clean Christian pioneer disability romance novellas. In the hours following its posting, I got several texts and messages from interested parties who wanted me to read these straight-to-kindle stories and investigate this weird subgenre further. So I did...I downloaded several Emma Morgan free previews to the Kindle app on my phone [Tangent: So I realize these books are a steal at 99 cents, and I will without second thought spend that much to beat a particularly heinous level of Bubble Witch on my iPhone, but I didn't want to buy into something that I wouldn't care about.]

While milling around on my Kindle app, hemming and hawing over which hypothetical mail-order bride to choose, Amazon recommended another two series that have to be seen to be fully processed. [Tangent: Otherwise, one might think they are the work of some photoshopping with stock images.]. I give you three more names [Tangent: Yes, THREE!]  you need to know in the clean, christian pioneer disability mail-order-bride romance genre- prepare to fall head over heels for Terri Grace's Destined for Love series and the various works co-penned by Belle Fiffer and Indiana Wake. Brace yourselves, guys, because these are doozies.
 As much as these newly discovered mail-order-bride titles tempted the snot out of me [Tangent: Especially that first one! I had to find out where that fell on the offensive meter. Are they saying a man has to be half blind to accept someone who is over weight or that his blindness was coincidental? There are no words for how befuddled it makes me. I do, however, like that this author diversifies and allows her cowboys to have a disability, too! What a brave choice!], I had to stick to my original mission. I first checked out Morgan's book Crippled Mail Order Bride for the Unexpected Horse Whisperer...I had to find out if his love of her was unexpected...or is ability to whisper horses unexpected. THESE. TITLES. RAISE. SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.  

As a gal with a disability, I guess I probably should have been up in arms about the use of the word "cripple", but I use it lovingly quite often and I hoped that since this book took place during the 1800's that they were striving for authenticity in the vocabulary used.  For whatever reason, I was giving Ms. Morgan the benefit of the doubt, and truthfully,  I was more nervous about how disability was going to handled ...and i got  my answer to that on page one of Chapter one. That answer is - HEAVY HANDEDLY! 

On every page, there was some eye roll inducing mention of her disability. [Tangent: I mean we get it...you've emblazoned crippled on the cover...I get it...she has a limp.] It definitely deserves a mention, but it was tacked in SO AWKWARDLY onto every page that I couldn't handle reading the next 50 pages of the novella. I relied on my literate friend, Laura, who within minutes of reading my last post had downloaded the one I thought sounded like a Waffle House menu option- Barren and Scarred. Her review was that it was an easy read that didn't need her attention too closely...Also, spoiler alert: she wasn't barren after all and love makes scars invisible. How lovely.

While I am in the space of tying up loose ends from my last post, I wanted to say I'm sorry/You're welcome to those that fell down the succubus that is gay dino erotica on amazon thanks to it's mention in the last blog. I can't explain to you the conversations I have had now that people know of the illustrious career of Chuck Tingle. You can't go back once you know this literary world exists of "romance" with random objects and mythical creatures exists. I'm sorry for the hours you lost, because I was right there with you- I spent the other night reading about a man having an illicit affair with his boss...a six foot tall mug of coffee named Morcho.  Spoiler alert: It got really steamy and is not for the faint of heart [Tangent: Pun totally intended.] , but it featured the line "Everyone's gay for coffee." [Tangent: ...which is my new mantra.]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

So, this exists: "Clean, Christian Frontier Romance Novels About Disabilities"

The other night in the paid-programming only hours of the evening, I was scrolling through Facebook and something that a friend off-handedly posted on FB made me take pause. My inner "This would be a great blog" radar was beeping like a mother trucker.

Apparently amazon.com [Tangent: Our lovely sponsors who you can easily access by clicking on their banner on the right hand side of this page for all your everyday needs thus throwing a few dimes my way. So so shameless.] had directed her to some book recommendations catering to a very niche market of female readers (a niche I have yet to meet anyone in.)- the readers of Clean christian historical western romances with a disabled female protagonist. Yep, let that simmer. That exists. That's an actual literary genre...at least on Amazon. [Tangent: If you think that's kookoo, don't even get me started on those people making huge cash writing gay dinosaur erotica. Seriously, I dare you not to be obsessed with that bizarro concept from now until Labor Day. It's as if someone put 50 Shades and Jurassic Park in a blender...to the point that many of the dinosaurs are depicted as rich, mysterious businessmen. Picture it. A T-Rexes in a suit and tie. Adorable- yes. Seductive- not really. ]

Of course, within miliseconds, I was looking into the titles. I give you Emma Morgan, potentially my newest curious obsession.

Mail order brides with disabilities and their brushes with love on the western frontier- this is next level insanity in the best way possible. I guess I have conflicted feelings about this whole thing....I'm stoked to see anytime people with disabilities are "gettin' some" if you will...but seriously, could we make them anymore sad and dejected and needing of saving. [Tangent: Because I am not always the best police on people-first language, I don't want to nitpick, but come on, those titles are a little cringe-worthy even for people that are not PC.]  Since I have never really cracked the spine on anything romance-y or endorsed by a bare-chested Fabio,  I decided to check out some of the user reviews on Amazon to see if this was a 99 cent kindle download I needed to make. Here is what some of Morgan's biggest fans had to say.

 So, what do you think? Should I check them out...for research's sake?  And do I want my mail-order bride blind or barren and scarred?  [Tangent: Is it gross or weird that I feel like "barren and scarred" is a potential way to order your hashbrowns at Waffle House?]

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'm nominated for Toast of Music City!

Ten minutes ago I was trying to wrap up a blog about clean christian romance novels all about disabled ladies [Tangent: Don't worry, I haven't foresaken that very pressing topic.] when I  happened to take a mini break to vote in the Toast of Music City awards. Because I am a true patriot, I try to vote in most elections, especially these because I feel more educated on who serves the best burger around town than I do about the economy or foreign affairs. In the midst of my scrolling, I happened upon the best local blog category, expecting to see some of the awesome sassy local bloggers I voraciously read, when I saw something surreal...I saw myself. What. The. Crap.

For those that aren't familiar with these elections, it's kind of a big deal. This annual event is a reader's choice event put on by The Tennesssean. It covers everything from "Best place to buy a mattress" to "Best Steak." This is the kind of accolades you frame and put in the front of your establishment [Tangent: Or in my case will likely just brag about obnoxiously or airbrush on a t-shirt.] I'm completely humbled and confused why I am am even nominated in the category of best local blog, mostly because I am horribly unprofessional and use run-on sentences and unretouched photos that I take with my iPhone and use the word "poop" in every other post. I AM STOKED, even though it's crystal clear that I am the Ross Perot of this election. [Tangent: Clearly, cutting edge and timely political commentary is what keeps ya'll coming back.]

My campaign record is not great, but that doesn't stop my competitive nature. I'm the "also ran" queen of Middle Tennessee.  I may have lost my bids for Brentwood High Freshman class co-president and my bid for 3rd grade class mayor and even came in 2nd in a two person race for Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee 2000, but I wanna go down swinging. Let's see how far we can take this, shall we? 

So here goes, vote That Girl in the Wheelchair for Best Local Blog in The Toast  of Music City and take a few minutes, and vote for all the other categories, too!  Wouldn't it be insane if I won? 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

App Happy Review: YouCam Makeup

I know it has been eons (or maybe a year) since I have posted an App Happy review [Tangent: You can read some of my greatest hits here.], but stumbling across YouCam Makeup seemed like the worthiest reason to return to blog reviews. Let's start by being frank- I am not always fully made up. I try to wear makeup (at least) to work, and despite owning hypothetical caboodles worth of glamourizing products, I usually get by on wearing the bare minimum. This apathy towards makeup application as of late unfortunately coincides with the fading of my beach tan, my hair needing a trim and the sprouting of a colony of cluster zits on my forehead. [Tangent: Thank God for bangs, but even those can't keep these little assholes under cover. They have apparently gotten really pissed at me for my skincare regime keeping them at bay and adopted "go big or go home" as their motto. More than once they have peeked out from underneath my carefully placed bangs and people have said with a mix of shock and concern, "what is happening with your face!?!"] It's some real sexy stuff, ya'll. Anyway, my point is not to horrify you by my 32 going on 13 face, it's to show you that YouCam Makeup can make your dreams come true!  I can look like a total garbage person and come out looking amazing.

OK, I should probably post some kind of disclaimer like "Beauty is only skin deep" and "find power in your flaws", but we all know that if given the chance to see what we looked like with a dewy glow, perfectly coiffed hair and a bold lipcolor (without having to worry about getting it on the teeth), you'd at least give it a go, right? [Tangent: Seriously, beyond being a fun diversion, this app is kind of screaming for people to use it for Catfish bait.]

Anyway, when my friend Laura sent me a text urging me to download it ASAP, I heeded her suggestion. She has never steered me wrong in the arena of frivolous time wasters...and has seen it as an activity that she can share with her family.

At first, it took me a while to get anything that halfway resembled a realistic looking makeup look. Instead of taking advantage of the predetermined and curated "looks" or using this as a chance to check my eye baggage, I was going full shock and awe- face paint! long blonde hair! Complete facial trimming! Colored contacts! The effect was not exactly "come hither", it was more "oh hell no, kill that thing!"

Slowly I adapted and gave myself some looks that were slightly more reasonable and subtle. [Tangent: ...and of course my "more reasonable and subtle" includes pinky lavender hair...which I now want. After seeing this, I thought I looked dang hot- definitely channeling a perkier St. Vincent , but Jamie definitely thought I was giving off a decidedly more TBN vibe. Touche. I would have settled for Dame Edna I suppose.]

Oh, and that reminds me, the best part is you can turn your male friends into pretty pretty princesses! Jamie and Ryan were my guinea pigs, per usual. 

All in all the point of this whole blog is a disclaimer that if I post a picture with the hashtag #flawless #IWokeUPLikeThis and I'm sporting full face of airbrushed tan and eyelashes that smack you in the sternum, chances are I am in reality rocking some fierce chin acne and eye baggage. The mirage of "giving a damn" will  all be brought to you by YouCam Makeup...until they can recreate the magic in 3-D as my friend Laura envisions.
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