Monday, March 23, 2015

The Beach Boys made my Full House dreams come true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Game Galaxy: The Happiest Place on Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

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

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

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

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


Friday, March 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March coming in like a Lion with Glasses: Firmoo Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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