Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kick Ass Costumes for Wheelchair Users

You guys! Halloween is less than t a week away and I am running out of ways to beat the dead horse that is writing about my favorite holiday. [Tangent: Not only have I written about it here, but I have two upcoming "spooky" posts coming out this week on Nerds and Nomsense. One of them is already posted here and you get to see me looking really unsavory. ] Hmmm, I had already written about women making tools of themselves dressing us like sexy lobsters. What's left? I was about to just scrap a blog, but then I noticed that my most read blog post was about costumes for people with a disability [Tangent: You can see it here if you are missing it staring you dead in the face on the right hand side of the page.], so I thought once again, I would scour the internet for genius ideas for folks who make shoddy ghosts, because well, bedsheets get caught up n their wheel spokes and become a safety hazard. [Tangent: Except for this kid who pretty much found the only loophole and nails it.]

[Tangent: To be fair, I don't think all these people in the post below necessarily have physical disabilities. The wheelchairs could very well be borrowed. However, I have never been one to get overly up in arms about appropriating a culture as a costume (if being in a wheelchair can even be considered a "culture"). If someone wants to be like the cool kids and be in a chair for a night, go about it!]

I apologize that I couldn't get photo credit for all these brilliant costumes, but if they are you, contact me and I will give your genius the kudos that it deserves. THEY ARE ALL SO WELL EXECUTED! Consider it only the highest of flattery, because only in my wildest daydreams do I wish I were as crafty.

I mean...look at this sweet little bluebird! I bet she was pulling those sticks out of the crevices of her chair for months, but it was totally worth it!

Although this isn't the route I'll venture down this year, I loved the folks that focused on a famous character with a disability. Dr. Strangelove and Lt. Dan are really good examples. [Tangent: The latter has been a costume possibility for me for many years. I have all the logistics worked out in my head.]

It's always impressive to see obstacles lead to ingenuity. Sometimes being mobile and walking around makes a costume impractical. Do these folks have that issue? NOPE! Score one for those that don't walk!

You may remember this lady as Pee Wee Herman from last year's post, but seriously her costume hits she shares on her blog are really impressive.

So, I gues the best way to end this parade of awesome is to do a "Who Wore it Best: Hector Salamanca from Breaking Bad" edition. Random guy on the internet vs ME! [Tangent: Let's call a spade a spade...this was really just a gratuitous excuse for me to show off this costume again because I may never top it!]

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Potato Chip Politics

my hastily photoshopped attempt at a chip flag

As a dem living in the reddest of red states, sometimes I feel overlooked in the voting  process, but the other morning as I was getting ready for work and watching the second hour of the Today Show, my hope in democracy was restored. Before Tamron Hall and Willie Geist began discussing crucial things Renee Zellwegger's face, they announced the winner of a hotly contested battle:  Wasabi Ginger Kettle Chips won the Lay's Do Us a Flavor Contest.

The fat kid lurking inside my being could not be more excited about this turn of events. [Tangent: This is about to devolve into a rant that will immediately make you ashamed to know me/read this blog/live on a planet where potato chip elections have a high turnout.] For the past two years, I have happily traipsed all over town amassing all the Lays limited edition flavors, so I can truly say that I made an educated selection. Still feeling the burn from last years Sriacha loss to the kind of meh Cheesy Garlic Bread, I was really going to be upset it I was 0-2.

This year, I knew from the first bite of the wasabi ginger, that I would be pissed if these were just fleetingly available. Over about a week, I shared a bag of each with my fella [Tangent: Even the cappuccino which everyone seemed all enraged about which I say, "what did you expect them to taste like? I mean they tasted exactly like that international delights powdered cappuccino mix encrusting a potato I would say it hit the nail on the head for that flavor profile."] He was on team bacon mac and cheese, because well that is the basis for his diet, but I only had eyes for that blaring green bag of kettley goodness. [Tangent: In the world of potato chips, can we all agree that kettle chips are the classiest option in the potato chip community? So what can make them more classy? THEY TASTE LIKE SUSHI!] I believed in my candidate and campaigned...and what happened the Wasabi Ginger chips won!

So why does this matter. Democracy works. Early voting on mid-term elections are underway. [Tangent: See, it's topical.] If a kettle chip with Asian ties can beat the Goliath that is a bacon-themed crisp, then maybe Tennessee can get wine in grocery stores!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monkey Shines is my New Favorite Film about an Evil Helper Monkey

As I mentioned in my last post, I am on and off helping Jamie reach his super crucial self-imposed goal of watching 31 horror films this month. Luckily, I love a scary movie so I don't mind. A lot of the movies he likes are not my cup of tea, so I let him watch the real terrible 70s low budge foreign ones on his own time. However, we recently found one on Netflix that perfectly blended all of my interests with his month-long a perfect little primate filled package called Monkey Shines.

There are not a whole lot of consistencies in my life...but these are steadfast truths in the tao of Kimmie. I like bad movies. I have always wanted a pet monkey. I am in a wheelchair [Tangent: Grab that slacked jaw. I know you're shocked!]. I steal my sister's have a Netflix account.  [Tangent: I know you all are probably real sick and tired of me blathering on and on about Netflix, but that place is a succubus....I swear most days I spend more time scrolling aimlessly through titles than I do actually watching anything on there. I like to cut to the chase, and let you know when there is something worthy of your eyeballs' time and attention.] Monkey Shines, which is conveniently streaming on Netflix,  perfectly covers all those bases as it is about a quadriplegic with an adorable (albeit genetically enhanced and possibly evil)  helper monkey. 

Within the first 3 minutes of the opening scene, you see the lady from Northern Exposure's butt and a man doing toe touches in the nude, so you're pretty much aware of the terribly fantastic vision quest ahead of you. Other things that await you are an unintentionally hilarious injury scene and some scenes where the guy from Mad About You (No, not Paul Reiser...other guy) is a bumbling monkey chemist...yeah that's a job. [Tangent: I know...Mad About You....Northern's like a cavalcade of shows aimed at people in their thirties that I watched in my preteens.] Oh and Stanley Tucci is in it...and he's not playing a flambouyant stereotype! 

I won't give anything away although my I want to. I will just leave you with the trailer and urge you to listen to what the crew at  the podcast How Did This Get Made  deconstruct it later this week. My only regret I didn't see this movie earlier in life. Please watch it and tell me if it is not your new favorite character driven narrative involving characters in wheelchairs and deadly primates.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol 3 (October 2014 Edition)

So it's only midway through October, and I know you guys are foaming at the mouth or chomping at the bit (or doing whatever colloquialism seems fitting) as you await my pick and shuns for your Netflix viewing pleasure. [Tangent: To be quite honest, my mind is saturated with film this month. In addition to trying to meet my self-imposed doc watching quota, I have been helping Jamie meet his goal of 31 horror movies in the month of October. It's been a little overwhelming, but good overwhelming since we know there are absolutely no repercussions for these pointless goals we have set for ourselves.] I know you probably are getting sick of my obsession, but maybe you will find something interesting. [Tangent: Also this monthly feature has had some cool perks. I got to interview Jason DaSilva and now the makers of Magic Camp are my BFF on Twitter!]

Katy Perry: Part of Me- B+/A-
Let me preface this by saying : I promise  I am not a dumb girl. However, I love popular culture and because I don't listen to pop radio very often, these movies are my window into that world. [Tangent: I have also seen the One Direction doc. It was directed my Morgan Spurlock, ya'll and it is really good. I am bracing for judgement on that one...but sometimes you just need mindless fun and KP dancing around with a spinning starlight mint bra top and a gaggle of hunky backup dancers.] I am also not ashamed to say that my friend Amber and I saw this movie in theaters when it was out [Tangent: You can read the review here.] but I have watched it since on Netlfix. If you don't wanna like KP, I wouldn't recommend this movie...because it makes here considerably more down to earth and likeable.

I am Divine- A+
Here is what I knew about Divine prior to seeing this film- he was a drag performer and muse of John Waters who ate dog poo in Pink Flamingos and was in the OG Hairspray. That was about it. After watching this doc,  I am in complete awe of his career and am now on high alert for all of the albums he produced. [Tangent: I mean I am sure these disco drag records are terrible, but probably amazing terrible, right?] I had no idea what an icon he was, and how much of an impact he had on underground film and drag culture. Sometimes biographical docs can get really boring, but the cast of characters that were interviewed had such amazing stories that I stayed entertained.  Like really entertained...I would watch this again.

Monica and David- A
Everything about this movie made me happy and cry all at once. I loved it. In fact I have watched it a couple times since it has been up on Netflix. The titular Monica and David are two young adults with Down syndrome who met at a day program and fell in love. This is the story about their marrying and planning their lives together. I urged my best friend to watch it, because her 1 year old has DS, and she said she cried and cried. So good. It's very well done and doesn't pander or talk down to you (or them).

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work- A
I think I saw this after it first came out, but decided to watch it again since she passed away, because I am a sucker for honoring dead celebrities and I had heard since several well known comedians praising it in the media [Tangent: Basically Bill Hader said it was good on Watch What Happens Live, so since I trust his judgement- I decided to give it another go!]. The main takeway is that I am a lazy sack of goo, because Joan Rivers at 75 was jet setting to every part of America, and meanwhile at nearly 32, I can't convince myself to go pick up takeout because it means putting on pants. I watched it while babysitting my nephew, so on his 3rd day on the planet- I made sure he was familiarized with lots of 4 letter expletives. BEST. AUNT. EVER. 

Following Sean- D
I really really wanted to love this. The premise was right up my alley. A filmmaker catches up with a 4 year-old child he filmed in Haight-Ashbury during the 60s as an adult. He was the child of hippie drug addicts and it set it up to be full of intrigue and mystery...and it wasn't. Even the cover looked kind of vague like he had become something completely out of left field [Tangent: I guess I am cursed by the movie Catfish and now expect every "documentary" to have a Shamylan twist.]  It was anti-climactic as hell. Sorry Sean. 

I Know That Voice- B+
My boyfriend's roommate is a voice actor, so I have some sort of vested interest in this career path and know a little more about it than I ever thought I would (still far from an expert). I've always thought it seemed like a pretty easy job [Tangent: Not for me of course...I have an intolerable speaking voice. That's why this is a blog and not a vlog. ] but the amount of work and character development that goes into it makes it seem much more artistic than most expect. It was also kind of fun to see the faces behind cartoon voices you're really familiar with, too.

The Gallopagos Affiar: Satan Comes to Eden - D+
Sometimes I watch a documentary because it is on a subject I am completely ignorant the Galapagos islands. All I know of that area is all the Darwin studies and giant turtles. That's it.  It had never occurred to me that people might actually reside there or that it might have a rich history. This doc is mostly about the free spirits (read: European weirdos)  that went there to build a life and their own private Utopia. The name makes it seem much more scandalous and crazy, but I was an hour and 30 minutes in before I got to anything befitting of the tag line "Satan comes to Eden." [Tangent: To be 100% truthful, I fell asleep during this movie every time I tried to start watching it at bed time. Cat Blanchett's narrator voice is much too soothing.]

How to Die in Oregon- A
This movie about Oregon's  Right to Die laws is one that I have been wanting to watch and dreading for a really long time. Watching my dad suffer from Cancer and die on hospice was really hard and when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, it was a death sentence. I have always been not sure how I felt about the whole physician assisted suicide thing. On one hand it seemed like a giving up move, while on the other it felt empowering. I'm usually a big fan of HBO documentaries and thought this one did a good job of putting humans behind the issue. It's heavy for sure (much heavier than say a Katy Perry doc) but worth watching once you are in the head space to soak it in.

Room 237- C+
Being a horror based documentary, this one perfectly dovetailed both Jamie and my film goals for the month. This movie is basically a culling of different crackpot theories proposed by fans of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Since we just watched that film earlier in the week, I thought it would be a good time to watch while it was fresh on my mind. Overall, I thought it was weird and it lost me more than once. [Tangent I am all for crazy film theory, but it reminded me of when I took a folk and fairy tale class in college and every single seemingly innocuous children's story we read was somehow about sex, periods or incest.] True, some theories were intriguing and there is no denying that Kubrick is a mad scientist and is capable of anything, like I now want to watch the movie forward and backward simultaneously for secret messages, but a lot of the other things were completely nonsensical. Spoiler Alert: That skiing poster is NOT a minotaur. End of story.

Call Me Kuchu- B
I'm not completely ignorant to world events, so I knew that Uganda has A LOT of issues and are not exactly "with the times" on most things...however it never really occurred to me how hard it might be on a gay person in that part of the world. There it's a crime to be gay and has huge consequences. The movie tells the story of people in Uganda who are out of the closet and striving towards equality. It baffled my mind how the media there handled the outting of people and how it was pretty much like witch hunt mentality. Overall I really liked it [Tangent: The movie...not the inequality.]. You have to be in the mood to read subtitles, though, which let's face it is not always the case...especially for a multi-tasker like myself. [Tangent: This is pretty much the reason I have never made it 100% through Jiro Dreams of Sushi despite hearing how wonderful it is.]

 HH Holmes: America's First Serial Killer- C
Jamie had recommended I watch this one, because he knows my proclivity toward Criminal Minds type entertainment. Basically Holmes was a bit of a playboy doctor in Chicago who built himself a house of horrors and killed A LOT of people right under everyone's noses. [Tangent: His house reminded me of the doctor's home in season 2 of American Horror Story]. Overall, I think his story is interesting and one I didn't know much about but the movie was kinda meh. It was very akin to a History Channel movie, and I thought it could have been a little flashier and engrossing given the subject matter. I think I will probably just read Devil in A White City since it has been sitting on my bookshelf for 2 years after my friend Beth gave it to me. Sorry Beth, I'll read it!!!   

Please Subscribe- A
I'm kind of obsessed with the idea that people are YouTube celebrities, even  though I don't follow any of them and don't really see myself doing so in the near future. [Tangent: I am not belittling this at all, because I follow podcasters and bloggers religiously. Frankly, I just don't have the time for anymore internet time sucks.] I didn't realize it was such "a thing" and that so many people made their living this way. Since seeing this movie, I have seen one of the featured YouTubers, Grace Helbig, on @Midnight and The Soup so I guess she is kind of a big deal. Overall I was pretty impressed with their marketing and craftiness...including the guy that gets paid big bucks to play video games and talk about it online. [Tangent: If the movie Big has taught me anything, it is that playing with "a toy" (and giving your 2 cents on it) for a living is pretty much the dream gig.  

Have any of you guys watched these? What did you think? What should I watch next month? 

If you want more suggestions, check out my September roundup and August collection.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back to Basics...and Perusing Oriental Trading

Have you ever been run down and creatively completely drained. That is me. Human wasteland- Population: 1. I have been working consistently on pulling out of my butt design and writing projects and I was getting kinda in a place where all I wanted to do lately was sit around and watch The Voice and not interact with humans or really do anything productive whatsoever. Promised blogs were piling up and mustering that energy was hard. I was spent.

Then on Sunday, I spent the afternoon with some of my favorite lady bloggers [Tangent: Among them are the brilliant minds behind Lladybird, Old Red Boots, The Fiercest Lilliputian, My Pretty Baby Cried She was a Bird, Kittycat Stevens and Junebugs and Georgia Peaches.] and I felt the need to kick my ass in hyperdrive and was reminded how much joy I find in blogging. 

In order to make it easy on me, I thought I would get back to basics and blog about something that brings me great joy: awkward modeling in Oriental Trading Catalogs. [Tangent: OK. Pause. Rewind. About 15 years ago, I ordered a gross of some random doohickey for an event and so every since I get Oriental Trading monthly barraging me with catalogs and bi-weekly via email. A sane individual would hastily unsubscribe, but even though I never order anything, I look forward to the junk mail. (I mean who needs a dozen inflatable microphones or a gross of Christian pumpkin temporary tattoos?) They are so inadvertently funny. When I worked at the insurance company, I would bring these in from time to time and my work friends and I would add appropriate (or inappropriate) subtitles on our break. Yeah, I know...but when your job is SUPER boring, the stupidest things are wildly entertaining.]

I often wonder about child models and wonder if they will one day have a sense of humor about the ridiculous things they showcased in print. [Tangent: I for example as an adult, I now find it weird that I modeled with a bottle of lotion and a box of tissues as a preteen.] Oriental trading is rich fodder for this kind of strange prop modeling. Will the little boy above wonder as an adult what on earth he is dressed as... Hawaiian pimp? Steve Harvey at a luau? Help me out. What is he?

Given that Halloween is approaching quick, I thought I would offer you a few options for half-assed flimsy costumes that can carry you through the winter of the child modeling team at Oriental Trading. I know most of them are Christmassy, but they terrify me to the core [Tangent: Yay for versatility.] You're welcome in advance.


I missed the charming holiday tale that this was a part of. dear sweet god.
these in no way even look like mustaches.
The term "disguise" is used super loosely, right?  Perhaps it should be in quotes...and not "beak."

Sorry if only like 2% of you found this amusing...but that 2%- you are my people. What do you think these chidren will think of their modelling debuts as adults?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rock the Vote

Hey guys...I have 3 half-written blogs on the docket, but can't seem to get my shizz together enough to hit that publish button. While, I am scrambling and chasing my tail, some people I know are carpe diem'ing and putting themselves in the running for really cool competitions...further drawing attention to the fact that I clearly am not.

You may remember the review and giveaway I did for The River Garden earlier this year. In case you missed and are too lazy to click on that link, it is an organic farm and product line helmed by my friend Garrett and his wife out of Sparta, TN.

A couple weeks ago, Garrett entered a competition from the National Disability institute for people living their American Dream. His entry is below.

I believe in his vision and I have known him since we were wee babes so of course, I want him to win. If you haven't already guessed, this is me pestering you all to vote for him. It takes two seconds. Just click the bottom right hand corner of the page on the link below- JOSEPH SUMNERS (fourth name down). See, I made it super easy for you.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Profiles on Wheels: Jason DaSilva

 Last month in my Netflix roundup, I mentioned the  2013 Jason DaSilva documentary When I Walk. As you may remember by its Kimmie-imposed A grade, I really enjoyed it and found it to be a very compelling story of how the course of a life was altered with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. If you haven't had a chance to watch the movie yet, I highly recommend it.  

When I Walk is now streaming on Netflix and if you haven't yet succumbed to the allure of that subscription service, fear not- it is free on PBS POV by clicking here.

Of course, not unlike most things I really enjoy, I wanted to know more about Jason and his projects almost immediately after credits rolled.  I had a lot of questions, and since we are very loose acquaintances bound by the governing body of social media, I thought I should reach out for an interview...and gladly, he obliged.

As ya'll know, I watch a lot of documentaries just for fun and knowledge and have always wondered how it feels to make a movie all about yourself? Is that weird? Does it feel self-indulgent? When would I get the chance to find out, so of course I asked.  Jason, who seems like a fairly humble gent agreed with me that it was an odd feeling to be both the film maker and the subject. "I think I felt a little self-involved, but on the flip side, the thing that made me feel better about it was that I was making something people could identify with. There was the added layer of MS, so it wasn't just about me."

He also got to use the camera to capture things that most people would love to have on for example Jason can forever watch over and over his first date with his now wife, Alice.  He told me that moment is probably the thing he is happiest to have in the movie. There are other moments that were harder to make, like before he met his wife, when he was first coming to terms with life with a disability. Jason also concluded that having the cameras around made him face some of those honest and hard to have conversations with Alice early in their courtship. "Oh, especially those early conversations on film."

Another portion of the film that stuck with me was his pilgrimage to Lourdes after diagnosis. Being semi-Catholic, I have heard about this holy place since first communion, so I wanted to know the impact it had. "I guess the takeaway was that a lot of people are given their own challenges. There may not be a cure, but there can be hope." I asked him if he had any fun faith healing stories, but he said in NYC, that it is clearly not as big an epidemic as it is in the Bible belt.

Another thing you should know about Jason, that you'd know if you'd watched the film (GET ON IT!), is that he is behind an amazing service online called AXS Maps where you can type in your own city (or one you are visiting) to find out if the place you want to go serves your accessibility needs. It's all user based content, so the more people that use it- the better it is.

In our brief conversation I learned that in all about the new changes to AXS Maps, which include the incredibly clever Mapathon feature, which allows a group of people to divide and conquer to check in accessible and inaccessible places in their neighborhood. The feature makes it a competition and it can even be a way to fund raise for charity of your choosing. What a brilliant way to do good while...umm...doing good.

Of course while I had him on the phone, I asked him for any good movie recommendations. [Tangent: Isn't "seen any good films lately?" what you ask filmmakers? I never claimed to be an ace interviewer.]  He volunteered, "a great documentary not a lot of people have seen is called Tarnation and centers around a man and his relationship with his mother who has mental illness." I definitely have now added this to my to-see list along with Jason's latest project which will similarly focus on the father/son relationship, when the son has a disability.

Thanks Jason for allowing me to pick your brain!

Monday, October 6, 2014

olllie g in da house!

Hey everyone...sorry it has been a smidge of radio silence over here, but I have been busy birthing babies. Wait, no...nothing came out of my nether regions...and no I didn't deliver a baby in an elevator shaft...but rather I was visiting my sister and her hubby who were having my new nephew Oliver James. I love him and the general consensus is that he is really cute. [Tangent: Everyone seems to think so...judging from this.]

Since all new babies kinda look the little puffy old people [Tangent: I mean adorable ones at that...but frankly, I think it will be a few months before I decide who he looks like.] ,  I thought I would show you the many faces of Ollie thusfar....and really showcase his extensive hat collection. I hope he is more of a hat person than his aunt Kimmie

I am surrounded by cute children, and hopefully I will not corrupt him too terribly! Now back to my regularly scheduled blogging.
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