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'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 [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 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 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.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I don't like minons...there, I said it.

You know when you have an unpopular opinion and you almost feel uncomfortable sharing it because you know people will look at you like you're some kind of monster. Here goes: I don't like minions. In fact, I find them kind of annoying. [Tangent: By admitting that I do not think these little yellow boogers are fun or funny, one would think  I was performing some sort of hate crime or ripping the arms off a Kermit the Frog and handing them to Animal to use as drumsticks.] I have been seeing a lot of movies in theaters, because it's summer and that's what one does, and every time I see the the Minions preview, the crowd erupts with laughter...ADULTS LAUGHING LIKE CRAZY TO A MINION IN A THONG!...and I kind of feel bad because I just don't get it. Sorry guys, I just don't enjoy their indecipherable brand of humor and that's OK. I'm a monster.

Let me be honest, I have never seen the Despicable Me franchise films and am basing my opinion solely on the commercials and those aforementioned trailers that they inhabit. So, no I'm not an expert (and I'm okay with 32 and not being a Minion aficionado.) I'm not exactly sure why they bother me so.

Perhaps my shift from apathy to full-blown distaste is due to over saturation. They're freakin' everywhere! Aside from being the patron saint of Facebook memes, as I type this- they are peppering the chyron graphics that haunt my Bravo programming! UGH. Not to mention their little goggled faces are on everything from Tic Tacs to Tampons

 Nothing is sacred. I swear their marketing guy must be overworked.  [Tangent: Before you call me completely humorless, please know that I laugh at a lot of dumb things on a daily basis. Even seeing the name "Dick Wolf" appear at the end of a Law & Order episode makes me giggle...EVERYTIME.]

Today, this all changed and I finally thought a Minion related news item that I found engaging. I even laughed, more than once [Tangent: ...And no, it's not the implicated profanity that I found funny. It was the absurdity and the mislabled "concerned mother" captioning and the interviews. That's apparently my kind of funny.]

Monday, July 6, 2015

Celebrating freedom/ my blog's 5th birthday!

Despite the flood waters that literally tried to rain on Nashville's parade, July 4th is always exciting to me.  I'd like to pretend that all the fireworks and grilling and stars and stripes string bikinis are all for me because- July 4th is not only America's birthday- it's my BLOGAVERSARY!  I have had this blog for exactly 5 sometimes glorious and sometimes terrible years.

The popularity and time I put into this blog ebbs and flows, but it is one of the things I am most proud of in my life. Writing pretty much saved me during a very uncreative rut in my life. These five years have been some of the best and worst in my life and this blog has seen me through 2 deaths in my immediate family (my father and my brother), the addition of a niece and a nephew, the loss of a job I didn't love and the start of one that is a perfect fit, a year of being a sad hopeless unemployed gypsy, a brush with death and month long hospital stay, the removal of an organ, the meeting of the love of my life, and many many concerts, movies and dips into the weird rabbit hole of my thought processes. The subject matter was sometimes light and trivial and other times I apologize for the heaviness, which came out of nowhere like a rogue mack truck. There are many times I didn't wanna write, but I did and that connection was my therapy.

Thanks to those that have read this corner of the net or supported me or proofread it and  pointed out to me my typos and lack of commas. [Tangent: SERIOUSLY! I love you guys! I'm not even being facetious.]

Thanks to that random acquaintance I ran into a few months before I started this blog who looked disappointed when I told them I worked in insurance and said very boldly "Why? I thought you would be writing by now." [Tangent: Yes, it was kind of a dickish comment, but clearly I needed that.]

Thanks to that weird summer cold in 2010 and that bottle of Wal-tussin I chugged to fend it off, which gave me the blind courage to think I could start a website that people would want to read.

Trust that I don't live under grand illusions that this blog is a super huge deal to anyone else, but it has meant a lot to me. I am most thankful for the friendships that have sprouted with perfect strangers, locally and all over the country,  because of it and the opportunities I have gotten in the last 5 years! Without That Girl in the Wheelchair, there's no way I would have gained the trial and error style social media savvy to hold that as my paid job title today. It also have me the balls to be a published contributor on Hello Giggles ! I guess the lovely people who make generic Robitussin deserve a thank you note.

Oh yeah, and this isn't some sort of goodbye post, you all are stuck with me for at least another year!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Magic Mike XXL: the perfect date movie?

Sorry for the jarring penis gummy header; it just seemed too perfect not to create.

OK. So, the answer to this question is probably not...because well, thrusting oiled men don't scream unisex, but when the opportunity to see Magic Mike XXL on opening night with two of my lady friends and their respective beaus presented itself, I couldn't resist the social experiment. [Tangent: OK, hey pot- the name is kettle, I'm black. I realize that I have often written here how insane it is that women drag their hubbys or boyfriends or baby daddies to go see movies they have zero interest in. In fact, I have rolled my eyes at those women and thought, "dang! Get some friends or wait till it comes to Redbox." I mean if Jamie wants to see The Expendables, he'll have to do that on his own time. Couples don't have to do  EVERYTHING together, am I right?  Now I am that woman, although it didn't exactly play out so simply. It was going to be all girls but then slowly the men got interested in what sounded to them like a ridiculous evening.] I went and saw the first one with my friend Courtney, my partner in embarrassing movie choices, the week it opened and was overcome with how completely over the top ridiculous it was, but I wished they had just run with that aspect and given the ladies more opulent crotch-thrusting and less tortured story line. [Tangent: No. I don't find it sexy. I find male stripping, as I do lady stripping,  real weird and uncomfortable, but I LOVE to see anyone acting a fool in a public space...and we all know these screenings are hot beds of estrogen fueled ballyhoo.]  After seeing it, I remember recommending it to my friend Rae on a purely ridiculous level. We later discussed it and loved/were baffled by the same parts, so we decided as soon as we heard about the second one that we would see it together opening night. This time I was prepared to get in the "woo" spirit with the rest of the girls-night-outters. Then my friend Bethany joined in and slowly the boys got on board. It soon turned into a triple date night. 

Nathan, Jamie and Travis pose!
Travis waiting with anticipation and saving seats.
 I'm not sure the boys knew quite what to expect, and I'm sure they felt mildly uncomfortable at times. As we filed into the theater, it was clear that it was all women (and a smattering of same sex inclined fellas), who were ready for some Channing Tatum. They were like starved wolves. There were cheers when the screen went black and the studio logo flashed by. [Tangent: Who knew Warner Brothers pictures was so exciting!??!] The first image on the screen was Mr. Magic Mike fully clothed- shot just from the shoulders up doing absolutely nothing and the amount of Woo was deafening. [Tangent: I then felt bad for the schlumpy Hispanic gent who came on screen next, so I wooped for him. I was alone, but he deserved a woo.] I won't give too many spoilers as I am sure it is the dynamic plotlines that everyone is interested in, but it was  if this movie took my advice. There was more dancing, more pandering to women [Tangent: i.e. references to Twilight, Backstreet Boys and the assertion that women are queens to be worshipped and God is female.], less drama, no real plot, dialogue that seemed improvised and throw in a road trip for good measure. So I would say it hit the nail on the head [Tangent: Pun intended? No not really. But it stays.]. This movie knew what it was...I only wish McCaughnahey had returned. [Tangent: I was okay with it because Donald Glover was inexplicably thrown in the mix!]

After the movie, I asked Jamie if he liked it, and he said, "I wouldn't say I loved the movie, but I liked the experience." [Tangent: I mean pre-game margaritas, audience participation and smuggled in penis gummies make evertyhing better.]  To him, it was like seeing The Room or Rocky Horror Picture Show, only at those movies, a lone theater goer usually doesn't yell out "Take your shirt off already!!!"  midway through. Oh, and when asked they all picked Joe Mangianello as their favorite. In case you were wondering.

Oh, and my ginger wasn't the only red-head crashing a showing- watch this video from Team Coco of my other love, Conan O'Brien going on a GNO [Tangent: That's a "Girl's Night Out" so I learned on the news the other day.]
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