Friday, September 25, 2015

Kacey Musgraves: Pink Light-Up Sparkly Fun!

Because I don't love songs about getting drunk on boats, I don't listen to current country radio [Tangent: Before you get all up in my biz about it...don't. I love country music. I listened almost exclusively to it in the early 90s. The first CD I owned was Reba. I think Dolly and Loretta are queens. I want to own a mandolin at some point in my life. I went to one of the post-Flood Garth Brooks shows. Even though I'm not proud, I even sing all the words to Toby Keith's "Wanna Talk About Me" every time they play it at trivia. I'm not above anything. I just don't love the current state of country music.] Alt country- sure. Americana- absolutely. But not what they generally play and give awards to. The only way I usually hear about a  song or an artist is when they appear on a talk show or are eating chicken fingers in a Zaxby's ad. Even then I am usually not into it, except for Kacey Musgraves. She is one of the only exceptions to this constant.

Last night I got to see her at The Ryman and I'm so glad my one little glimmer or hope for the future of country music didn't let me down. The crowd was a mixed one: kids in crowns and sashes (an homage to her album/song title "Pageant Material"), older couples and an astonishing number of single ticket men, [Tangent: They were on either side of us! That surprised me.]. Every last one was eating up the opulence of it all! I mean disco balls and tinsel and covers of No Scrubs speak to us all as a people, right? [Tangent: It was a two night sold out performance at the Ryman and on night one, Sheryl Crow had made a surprise appearance. So, naturally when the opening bars to the TLC song started, I looked at Jamie and mouthed "Lisa Left Eye Lopes hologram?" It didn't happen...but that might have just been too much for my weak heart.]
Sure- Kacey is gorgeous and petite and wears a lot of pink and sparkle...which normally would make me just assume she's terrible. [Tangent: I know that's not an OK assumption to make about a person...but come on...we all know we do it all the time. I'm being honest. ] but her songs are so damn good [Tangent: aka she doesn't just sing about trucks and tequila.] Some are catchy and fun...some will break your heart, but all are freakishly spot on. Anyway, it's nice that she has crazy talent but doesn't take herself very seriously...I assume she's living by the code of Dolly. You can be cute and talented and fun; You don't have to choose! I mean you guys: She dresses her band in hot pink Manuel style suits with lights in lieu of beading. [Tangent: This is not to mention the fact that she was dressed like my favorite childhood Barbie.]

And just when the show concluded, and we awaited the encore, shit got real! She danced out onto the stage armed with a tambourine in light up cowboy boots to The Boots are Made For Walkin'. Naturally everyone lost their damn minds...including the single ticket men in the audience. Clearly I wasn't the only one falling more in love with Kacey Musgraves! So there was no Left Eye hologram, but the show had just about every other thing a girl could dream up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's Ridiculous Sexy Halloween Costume Time Again (2015 Edition)

I own a calendar,  so granted I know that it is not yet October, but abandoned storefronts are starting to shape-shift into Halloween emporiums and pumpkin spice is flowing freely in the streets. I guess these signals mean it's time to showcase the completely ridiculous hyper sexy costumes that are only a click away. [Tangent: This is not a novel concept, I have been doing these posts for a while and you can see some of my prior installments here, here, here,  and here. Again this is not some sort of slut shaming exercise, it is more me marveling at the utter hilariousness of many of these looks. If you wanna be a sexy carrot for Halloween, woo-hoo- go be the best sexy carrot you can be...just realize that I can't even type the phrase "sexy carrot" without giggling. I used to say they were completely devoid of creativity, but then again...being able to make a carrot sexy is the epitome of creativity. Lesson learned.] Since I have written a few of these posts, I was starting to think that my one-stop-shop for scandalized characters,, was running out of material for me [Tangent: Much like how the seamstresses felt when making the outfits themselves! ZING!] but they keep the hits coming year after year. Sure, they have added differently skin-bearing pirates and mermaids, but they have also gone in some new directions...and trust me, their reinvention and constant pursuit of 100% crazytown does not go unnoticed or under least by me.

I wanted to save this for last, but because it is topical, I thought I would use it first. You know how there have been a lot of blogs and news stories about current events costumes like the Caitlin Jenner or the Poacher Dentist, why has no one addressed the fact that there is a Sexy Donald Trump costume!??!?! Oh, I'm sorry- I mean Sexy Donna T. Rumpshaker. [Tangent: These strange zeitgeisty looks are nothing new.  I went to a party in 2005, and the winning costume at the bar was Hurricane Katrina. Cut to 2012, there was a Butt Chugging college frat boy and a doping Lance Armstrong at the party I attended. I guess it can be assessed that I hang in very classy circles. The only difference is you can now buy them pre-fab and don't have to concoct your own.]
 I mean honestly, who among us haven't pictured Trump and fantasized about seeing him with boobs and a hot pant business suit. [Tangent: Part of me thinks this is what Trump makes Milania wear during sexy time. Gross.] I wish that this was the strangest pic of the year, but of course I have others...

Fast Food
 I'll start off slow with a all Hallow's eve classic: Behold Sexy Grapes! When you were younger, there was always that kid in your class that would dress like a bunch of grapes for Halloween by adhering 20 or so purple balloons to some sort of sweatsuit. Weren't you always thinking how impractical and unsexy it was?  Well, Yandy found the solution to that age-old problem: Omit balloon and bare some midriff (and potentially some vag) and you're good to go.
Then there's these food items. Sexy Taco and Sexy Sririacha bottle are almost demure comparatively, but t still follow the tried and true yandy formula of gluing shit on a bodycon dress and calling it a festive costume. I would argue that the sriaracha is almost cute with its little askew cap, but I can't keep a straight face around Sexy Ronald McDonald. I guess there's the subgroup of people that are terrified of clowns and than there's the group of people who would prefer their clowns be outfitted in a booby and camel toe-baring spandex catsuit with a zipper down to the chacha!

The Sexy Force Awakens
I know a lot of people are very excited for the new episode of the beloved Star Wars excited that they want to flash their cleavage in a group appears so! OK, to be fair, the Sexy Boba Fett is fairly conservative (even for a bodysuit) so on the site it as listed as being associated with Star Wars (It is listed as Boba Fett on Yandy's site). Apparently the other two didn't fit the standards of the Disney company (who now owns Lucas Studios) so the Sexy Darth Vader is described as Sexy Ruthless Galactic Warrior and Sexy Yoda is defined as Sexy Galaxy Gremlin...yep that's a phrase you never thought you'd read, right?  [Tangent: I will give it up to the model bringing to life seductive Yoda as she is smizing her literal pants off! I'm not sure I would be able to remain composed and alluring while wearing a stuffed alien face perched atop my head. That's why I am not a professional.]

I Tat I Taw A Puddy Tat
What the hell is even happening here?!??! Sure I love Sylvester and Tweety Bird just as much as the next person [Tangent: ...and potentially more because in 5th grade I was the proud owner of multiple airbrushed shirts emblazoned with their likeness.] but as an adult- I have never thought to dress up as a skimpy version of them. Do you think it's a brilliant or poor design choice that the mouths of Sexy Tweety Bird (aka Canary Cutie) and Sexy Sylvester (aka Playful Pussycat) are basically crotches?  Your vagina now theoretically has a lisp.

More Bastardized Versions of Timeless Childhood Treasures
First off, I think it is important to note that the above treasured icons of our diapered days are traditionally male, so kudos to Yandy and their progressive non-gender specific costuming. [Tangent: I love to spot feminism and forward thinking in unexpected places.] I also give it up to sexy Kermit for being demure, but the sex pot that is donning both the weird pin-up Charlie Brown and bikini rave Mickey Mouse is taking us to some new ridiculous horizons. We should not be surprised that the model is once again our Yandy spokesmodel MVP! WHEN DID MICKEY START WEARING FINGERLESS GLOVES!?!? Tres edgy! 
 Career Gals! 
Anyone can be a come-hither nurse or a firefighter in thigh-high boots, but it takes some ingenuity to explore risque career paths less it a sexy mime, sexy barista or apple picker? [Tangent: OK, the mime is actually somewhat adorable, I pulled it from the wasteland only because it made me giggle.] The other two rattle my brain ...maybe it's because they are so...subtle. After showing the non-protocol starbucks apron to my boo, his main criticism was that they really could have squeezed more coffee sex puns into this look! XXX-Presso? Fine Grind? That's all you got, Yandy? Surely you could have worked in a steaming hot or even a Fapachino. [Tangent: You can thank my classy boyfriend for that last gross coffee sex pun.]

OK, now we have reached the end of my 2015 review of provocatively unsettling ways to showcase your creativity and/or daddy issues! Happy Halloween everyone! What are you gonna be? Sexy Minon? too! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I Now Own an Al Carbee.

Blogging and social media in general takes a bunch of shit. People are always speaking out against it as some sort of evil empire. [Tangent: Dang the child predators and catfishes of the world for ruining the medium for the rest of us.] However, maybe because my jobs and hobbies are pretty reliant on it, I am decidedly pro. I have seen so much good in people because of it and have connected with some truly unique fun people and experiences.

My latest example came in the mail today care of Jeremy Workman, the filmmaker behind Magical Universe. [Tangent: You may remember my glowingly enthusiastic review of this film as part of May's Netflix Documentary Roundup. If you haven't seen it, it is about the "is he brilliant or is he just a weird hermit" world that is Al Carbee and his outsider art devoted mostly to Barbie portraiture and collage. Seriously, go watch it now. ] Through Twitter, I had shot him a copy of that blog and then later I tagged the doc when I found that weird Hamlet Barbie Death Metal photo at the Nashville Flea Market. Day's later, I had an email from Jeremy asking for my address because he wanted to send me a print of one of Carbee's original collages. WHAT!??!? Without hesitation and with about 10 exclamation points, I replied with my address and today I got it in the mail.  [Tangent: It was later pointed out to me that this could be a stranger danger situation and I was likely going to be appearing on an episode of Dateline NBC in the near future for being murdered, raped, murder-raped, or sent some sort of severed body part in a box. I promise I more or less vow to be more careful in the future. But guys, there was an Al Carbee at stake.] 
 So I guess talking to strangers has it's merits. I mean otherwise, I wouldn't be one of the few to own a little piece of Carbee. Also, now I am accepting suggestions on where one should display one of his amazingly bizarro Barbie mash ups.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Volume 12 (September 2015 Edition)

I am finally getting over the summer city-wide wanderlust and getting back to what I know best- being an indoor kid. This means slowly but ever surely and in addition to gulping down 22 minute chunks of The League one by one,  I am knocking back some documentaries. This month, I had it pretty easy because the suggestions I have been getting from from friends, blog readers and online messages boards were pretty incredible. Ya'll done good- keep em coming!

Casting By- A
Full disclosure- I am an immense movie nerd and I love watching anything that somehow denotes "making of" or "behind the scenes." This had "Kimmie's Wheelhouse" encrypted on every square inch....especially because it turns out that women casting directors have seen the hidden potential and made stars out of the hugest names of our time- Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro et al. Basically anyone that has made 100 great movies is "a thing" because of the work of amazing casting directors. This movie really made me realize that casting directors are the unsung heroes and arguably the most pivotal part of a production. By the end you will be upset that there is no Oscar given specifically for casting. It's a travesty. I loved this movie! 

Remote Area Medical- B+
Because for my day job, I work more or less in the medical field...helping people all over Tennessee get the help they need- I had a bit of a vested interest in this little doc. Also, it's set in East Tennessee very close to where my boyfriend was born and raised. [Tangent: I have been to Bristol a few times, so naturally, I queued it instantly.] Health care is something that many of us take as a given, but this little doc is about how many people, especially in Appalachia have let their doctor visits slack (for various reasons  but usually financial) and therefore have a laundry list of ailments that need monitoring. This film shares the work of the Remote Area Medical Volunteer corp and their work one weekend when they set up a makeshift clinic in Bristol Motor Speedway.

The True Cost- B+
Until recently, I have been a little blind to fast fashion, and I am most likely its biggest offender, so I really needed to see this movie. I impulse buy and hoard clothes and will purchase anything if it's a good deal.  [Tangent: I honestly didn't know that fast fashion was even a thing until I met my blogger buddy Lladybird Lauren and heard her talk about it. She touches on it in this post.] If you're a person that has a closet full of clothes they found on the H&M and Target clearance racks, then don't watch this movie unless you want to be overwhelmed with guilt. It's going to happen. It's also going to explain why if you go to Old Navy, you can buy 2 pairs of the same exact pants in the same exact size and they will fit drastically different.  Basically the way consumers shop has changed a lot in the last 50 years and stores are competing for who can crank out the most clothes for the cheapest prices. This means the clothes are mostly made under terrible conditions. This movie exposes who suffers so we can have a closet of cheap pieces. I wouldn't say I will never hit a clearance rack ever again, but I'm definitely thinking harder about acquiring pieces.

Chronic Con: Episode 420 A New Dope- B (but I'm very biased!)

This is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but even though I'm not so much a pot head I love Doug Benson and will watch anything he dispenses. Basically Doug has made it his mission to rip off Morgan Spurlock at every turn [Tangent: Super High Me is his take on SuperSize Me and The Greatest Story Ever Rolled is his riff the life of a comic on the road the same way The Greatest Story Ever Sold, is Spurlock's take on the world of marketing and advertisng.], so this is his blatant ripoff homage to Spurlock's most recent doc on Comic Con. Having met Doug after his shows and witnessing in person the way he interacts with fans, I love that that really comes through in the doc. This doc is not where you go for scandalous Shamylan twists [Tangent: See An Honest Liar for that.] but it's fun and light and easy to digest...which is not always the case for these doc blocks. It's pretty much like getting to hang out with your stoner buddy and walk around Comic-Con for 80 Minutes. You also get to see a portions of his Doug Loves Movies Podcast! [Tangent: You can read my eyewitness reviews of those here,  here and here.]

Dogs on the Inside- A-
If you like rescue dogs and having your heart warmed, then this needs to happen in your world immediately. This movie is about how dogs in terrible situations are rescued and then used in prisons as a type of prisoner rehabilitation. I'm not saying dogs have curative powers...wait that's exactly what I am saying! I worried it would be too gritty (because let's face it- the cover photo looks a little haunting), but to be honest the movie was almost entirely positive. I am a HUGE proponent of prison reform and love when prisons implement rehab programs like this. Most of the prisoners said that being the caretaker for another being gave them purpose and broke down the caste system in the jail. So,  basically the moral is- doggies are magic. 

Exporting Raymond- A
Truth- I ave never seen a full episode of Everybody Loves Raymond [Tangent: In fact, I kinda couldn't stand Ray Romano or his voice (and this is coming from someone with an EXTREMELY grating vocal range) until he showed up on Parenthood and he gave me now choice to love him. The fact that I have never really gotten into his titular show is not a shocker.] yet as soon as this doc trespassed into my suggested viewings, I immediately jumped on it. OK- here's the premise after all that hullabaloo- The showrunner at Raymond goes over to Russia because the Ruskies are interested in making an adapted version in their country. It's the ultimate culture shock doc, and it really made me realize how terribly the minutiae of American middle class culture translates in other cultures.  Ex: the costume designers in Russia cannot comprehend why the wife character doesn't doll herself up more. Also, look out for hilariously bizarro adaptations of Married With Children and The Nanny turn up. They are jarring. 
Race to Nowhere - B-
When I see a doc has four stars on Netflix, generally I will watch it regardless of premise. This one was about how kids that are pushed to be overachievers can become severely damaged, so I thought I would be totally on board...and I was to a degree. [Tangent: I went to a high achieving high school. Everyone was smart. I realized this especially when I went to college. Suddenly I went from being the dumb honors kid to being kind of a badass collegiately. I figured this was perfectly relatable subject matter because I have known kids that were overscheduled and pushed in my youth.]  If you are a teacher or parent, I would absolutely recommend giving this a watch,  because you will see parallels in your own life. I have a sister and friends who teach so I had some basis of what kids go through now in school, but if you don't have the same basis for comparison and contrast- good luck staying interested. [Tangent: There were slow parts where I found myself playing Frozen Freefall on my phone instead of watching...which was basically my feelings when I watched Waiting For Superman (another education muckraking doc) a few years ago.] I definitely think it's got a heap of important points...just not for me. I now that's a bit selfish and shortsighted...but oh well.

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot - B
If you are like me and like hilarity, then you probably powered through Wet, Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix. When Jamie and I were finished, we were almost depressed about it. To fill the void we watched this doc that chronicled the making of the original 2001 feature film. I loved seeing all the stars hang out (before they were stars) and soak up the summer camp experience. It rained for 80% of the shoot and they all stayed in the cabins they used as set pieces so much of the footage is of them playing games and drinking heavily. It's basically found footage, so don't expect twists and turns and social commentary- it's more or less just allowing you to be a fly on the wall of a party where early 00's Paul Rudd is drunkenly dancing with Bradley Cooper...but that sounds like an ideal viewing scenario to me. 

An Honest Liar- A+
Dang! This was a good little doc chocked full of unexpected Shamylan twists. [Tangent: I promised my friend Beth that I would give her full credit for this pick- so THANKS BETH!]  I'll try to give my run down without spoilers, but basically this movie is about a older magician who has made it his life's journey to disprove people who use illusions and magic tricks to lie to people and swindle them out of money. Examples include: TV faith healers and new age guru types. Not only is his work interesting, but he is a intriguing elderly kook who has some secrets of his own. It has been gathering dust in my queue forever because to be quite honest- the description on Netflix doesn't do it justice. Go watch this today.

This Ain't No Mouse Music - C-/D+
How could something that seemed so on-the-nose suited to my interests leave me feeling so 'meh'? This movie promised to explore how a German count, forced out of his country during WWII is working to harness and keep alive roots music. It had five stars. Here's what I was expecting: A delightful kook who is in some kind of fish out of water situation and falls into the world of Americana music (WHICH I LOVE!) and fills the 90 minutes with fun anecdotes. I didn't get that. Perhaps it was wrong to set up expectations. Perhaps even worse that I kept comparing it to another doc currently streaming on Netflix Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, which I LOVED! Although this movie was interesting (I think Jamie liked it more than I did), I just wasn't captivated enough by Chris, the subject of the film. I felt like what I was interested in wasn't being talked about enough. I think if you are a record collector or lover of roots music, you will find it a little interesting, but I definitely think there are better music docs out there.

Also in case you are interested: Here is a backlog of the previous ten recaps! Maybe you will find some viewing options for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

OMG- Tom + Chee Comes to Nashville

Have you ever been enjoying the warm hug of a meal that is a grilled cheese sandwich and thought , "Dang! This needs more carbs!" So you fill it with macaroni and cheese...and then think, "Nah, I still still don't have diabetes and wore a dress without a waistband for a reason" so you add crumbled up parmasean potato chips [Tangent: ...because, let's be honest with ourselves,  all sandwiches are kicked up a few notches when you add a layer of crushed chips!] Perhaps I'm alone in this conversation with my inner fat kid and you're probabnly wondering how I got to this Valhalla of flavor? Well, move over Grilled Cheeserie because there's a new bitch in town and it's Tom + Chee

First a little back story. To say I have been excited about this would be an understatement. Jamie and I have been tracking Tom + Chee since we saw them on Shark Tank a couple years ago. [Tangent: Judge away but I love Shark Tank with a fervor that is usually reserved to sporting events. A sure sign that I'm an old lady is that most friday nights, I would be more than content to stay in and watch a marathon of it followed by 20/20.  It could be my not so hidden crush on Robert Herjavec, but I can't get enough.]  As soon as we heard that there was a restaurant in Louisville that specialized in grilled cheese and tomato soup, we were intrigued. Then when they mentioned that they carried a whole menu of sweet and savory sandwiches on grilled donuts, we were mapquesting how far away Louisville was. A few months later, the show gave an update about Tom + Chee and made the offhanded remark that they were opening a franchise location somewhere in Nashville. [!!!!!!] Thus began the 2 year long Tom + Chee watch!

Our wait was finally over when the restaurant opened last weekend in the Nashville West area off Charlotte. I rarely get over to this side of town, but by God, I wasn't gonna let it's geographically undesirable distance let it keep us apart! I was going to make it my lunch spot and it seemed the perfect way to celebrate Jamie's last day off before he starts his new job! [Tangent: Jamie is finally out of retail after 15 years!! Grilled cheese seemed like an apropo celebration method.]  We worried that the foot traffic inside would be obnoxious given the novelty and newness of the eatery, but it wasn't bad for lunchtime on a weekday. I'm not sure if it was because it was Labor Day, but there were only a couple people in front of us in line.

We went with our friends Rae and Travis [Tangent: They are both Vegan (and you can read her veg-centric and other blog entries here), so rest assured there are lots of good vegan options there. Not everything is filled with animal byproduct deliciousness!] and I'm not 100% sure what they got, but it looked delightful. I was too busy making them pose with the signage to inquire about their purchases. 
Jamie, of course, is the opposite of Vegan [Tangent: He exists on beige food groups.] so he ordered the build your own with roast beef and cheddar on pumpernickel rye..and creamy tomato basil soup. I got the above crazy concoction of a mac + chee sandwich with an added potato chip crunch and a soup dipper. [Tangent: A little ramekin of soup for $1 upcharge is the most brilliant thing I have ever heard of. It's the perfect amount for dipping!] We couldn't leave without getting some kind of donut craziness, so Jamie ordered a to-go donut sandwich that featured mozzerella, peanut butter, chocolate pieces and marscapone cheese. I know it sounds disgusting, but it was so good that it didn't make it to the car, and I stole more than one bite. [Tangent: Also let's not draw attention to the fact that this was the second time in a week that my boyfriend has ingested a hearty sandwich with a donut as a bun. I mentioned it in my last blog. I have faced the fact that we are garbage people long ago. ]  If you can't make it out there today, at least go salivate over their menu here.
 You don't have to trust me, their yelp reviews are killin it! I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Post Labor Day Post- What I did this summer (with instagram help!)

This weekend I went into Dunkin Donuts and emblazoned on every non-human surface (and some of those, too!) were ads for their pumpkin spice infused EVERYTHING. [Tangent: As much as I love fall, this is one aspect I don't care a thing about. It's a LOT of white girl hype for something that isn't that unusual. Ya'll know you can buy All-Spice and pumpkin pie seasoning anytime of year, right? You can put it in anything...whenever you want. ANYTIME! You don't have to go full crazy pants around labor day because of dumb pumpkin spice season. If you can dream it, you can be it...and it can "be" pumpkin spice season whenever. I know that's a divisive stance to take and for that I am sorry, pumpkin spice lovers.] I guess this is the advertising world's signifier that summer (or summah as I like to call it) is over. As much as I love fall, I am sad so today in honor of yesterday being Labor Day and being free of work or responsibility- I thought I would pull the lazy blogger card and show you some fun things I did around town on my summer vacation that I never got around to writing about. [Tangent: This would be like my version of show and tell on my first day of Kindergarten. It's the Internet's version of a "Marvelous Me" poster board....only I left off all the unphotophenic things I did like binge-watching Scandal and finding my first comfortable and flattering pair of shorts as an adult. These were memorable moments, for certain though.] To even further show my sloth card, I culled all these photos from my instagram

First and probably most boring to everyone else, I got to see a lot of my nephew. Ollie is a mega-baby topping out at 27 lbs at 11 months. He is my little meatball and this was our solution to hanging out in a pool on the deck. [Tangent: Don't sister was out of shot, they didn't leave the girl with a disability (and unable to lift 30 pounds)to have full jurisdiction over a baby in a pool of water.]
Last week we went to play Simpson's trivia at The Stone Fox. My goal was to know one question that my friend Ryan didn't, and I met that goal, so even though we didn't win- I felt victorious. [Tangent: You may remember Ryan from when he dressed up as Milhouse and was put on a gay tumblr without his knowledge resulting in my favorite story ever.] I hope the Stone Fox puts on more events like this because I had so much fun. I only regret not getting the daily special which was a bacon cheeseburger on a strawberry frosted sprinkled donut. Ryan and Jamie ate it and didn't die.
 Obviously these are in no order, because I took these at Porter Flea, an amazing craft market that has gotten way out of hand since I first went 4 years ago. This year they had basically a bouncer at the door to keep the event below capacity. This was kind of a godsend because it meant it wasn't nose to b-hole traffic while you are browsing through an endless cavalcade of prints and hand hewn knickknacks, but it also meant long ass lines. Luckily we got there early and they had fun photo ops in the entry way. Treat yo self? But of course!

 This year I really made an effort to check out events around town that I had never seen before. My friend Nettie works with Nashville Shakespeare Fest, so we went to Shakespeare in the Park when we had that perfect weather in mid August. Their play this year is Henry V, which I knew nothing about prior and Nettie gave me the Drunk History synopsis by saying, "This dude Henry is a real ass hole and no one expects much from him." Although a lot of it flew way over my head [Tangent: Apparently I am the biggest dullard ever when it comes to symbolism because I didn't get until the last 5 minutes that the colors they were wearing denoted the country they were fighting for.] I really enjoyed the production and would love to go back and see another show that I had more prior experience with.
 I also took my first stroll down the pedestrian bridge at night, which was awesome. I know that seems like such a gimme for someone that resides in Nashville, but seriously, I avoid the heart of downtown like the Herp. From this view though, I may give it another go! From up here, I don't have to deal with drunk girls at bachelorette parties.
 Another in the line of summer firsts was going to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Before you guys are all like, "Woah, when did you become highly cultured and fancy?"- fear not it was to see a 90's cover band. I love My So Called Band, so was excited to see a double bill with featuring them and Guilty Pleasures, another Nashville band paying tribute to the awful yet magical music of the past. I enjoyed the show tremendously because I'm fairly certain that's the first time the Symphony has played the Jurassic Park score leading into "Tonight Tonight" by Smashing Pumpkins.
 I love Zanies and am always so shocked that their shows don't sell out...especially when they get big name comedians. Michael Ian Black, who I have loved since his days on Best Week Ever and Ed, is in a bunch of big shows now, Another Period and Wet, Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, yet tickets to this went on BOGO week of the show! That's insanity! Go out and support your local comedy clubs, people!
I know I wrote about sweating my ass off and finding gold at the August Flea in this post but I didn't show you these kitschy and creepy teacher valentines. I mean giving a child in a bathtub card to your teacher is likely frowned upon.
I wish I had taken more photos at East Nashville Tomato Arts Fest because it's one of my favorite events of the year, but again I was too busy melting into a pile of swamp ass to worry about capturing memories, so I just got a couple! This year it fell on the fifth anniversary of Kimmie's Almost Dying adventure of 2k10, so it seemed apropo that this photo features prominently my trach scar. [Tangent: I thought I would explain because my friend Courtney says she always forgets about it and she thought it was my belly button, so looking at this picture and trying to make sense of it was a bit of a mind freak for her.] It also features the super cute event merch made by my friends at Olivia Frankenstein.
For a summer, it has been surprisingly slow wedding wise [Tangent: I feel like most of my friends are married off. Being over 30 is weird. ], but I did get to see these two lovebirds renew their vows on their 25th anniversary. Alicia is a friend that I met through blogging [Tangent: You can read her blog here!] and have fallen in love with her and her hubby, Clint. I was super excited to share in their day, lavishly Nashville styled, and loved more seeing the evolution of Clint's curly metal hair in the slide show!
The Belcourt puts on so many amazing events, [Tangent:...and maybe one of these days I will suck it up and become a member.] but my favorite are the outdoor movie series. It combines everything I love: summer evening weather, bringing our own food to an event and other people's dogs! This is a snapshot I took when we went to go watch one of my all-time favorite movies, Beetlejuice! The shrunken head dude always frightened me to the point of terrified incontinence as a kid, but damned if I don't love some Tim Burton/Harry Belafonte movie magic.
 How did I not write an entire post about my week at A.R.E Camp? [Tangent: It seriously deserves 100 posts! Maybe I will write one even though it's over 2 months late at this point.] Anyway, I got to spend a week on the lake with some of my favorite people...most of which I have known since either I (or they) were in elementary school. This year I was in charge of the gossip page and the daily newsletter, which of course is like asking me to breathe! This is probably one of my favorite pictures I took, though. I love a candid/not entirely candid action shot!
 Because I started with an adorable baby, I thought I should end on one, too. This summer marked me spending some much needed quality time with this puddin pop! Claire is my best friend's daughter and since she was born, she hasn't really had a lot of time when she wasn't in the hospital. She had open heart surgery at 5 months and then was diagnosed with leukemia just shy of her first birthday. She then spent the next six months doing inpatient chemo. She was a sick little muffin, so I love to see her untethered from wires and out having fun and being a full on ridiculous toddler. We had a big party for her in June to celebrate her kicking cancer's ass!
What did you do fun this summer!?!?

Friday, September 4, 2015

TOGITW: Kristine Does Portlandia Part 2

Yeah I told you that TOGITW isn't gonna catch on as an acronym for That Other Girl in the Wheelchair, but I'm clearly giving my all to make it happen anyway. As promised and alluded to yesterday in this awesome guest post from my buddy Kristine, today's blog is the 'to be continued' portion. As you might have read, she got the gig on Portlandia and has already filmed her part for a season 6 episode. Here is her spoiler-free account of that surreal experience, which I have hastily photoshopped into existence.
Kristine Does Portlandia Part 2  
by: Kristine Napper
As the filming day approached, I was full of questions about how to prepare, and by the night before, nerves had completely taken over, and I’d decided this was the worst idea I’d ever had. It was the last weekend of summer vacation, which meant I was working-for-free, getting my classroom set up, feeling the annual anxiety attacks set in, and then on top of that, I had to film a TV show that the entire country would be watching?? No. Too much. My insides were saying “retreat!” but of course it was too late for that.
I’d been told to bring four or five wardrobe options—casual or business casual, not too bright, no logos, no tight patterns, whatever that means. I spent forever going through my closet, and finally packed several options, and wore my favorite one. I forgot to selfie that outfit, but I went with a chambray shirt, black pants, and the hipster shoes I’d worn to the audition. I was also told that I should come with my hair and makeup “camera ready,” but they’d have their people do any necessary adjustments. 
The night before filming, I was given the address and call time. There was an attached call sheet, which is apparently a thing, and it seemed to have waaaaaay more information than I needed. There was a weather report, and the name of everyone involved in making the show, and all these notes about filming and locations and things that were in secret codes with acronyms and numbers that meant nothing to me. Staring at the page made me feel illiterate.

I had to get up at 5am to allow plenty of time for getting ready and to the set. But my body decided to wake up at 4, because it doesn’t value sleep nearly enough. On arrival, I was greeted by a nice person who led me to a room of other people looking about as fish-out-of-water as I felt. But we had handlers being nice to us and getting us where we needed to be. More paperwork, where I feel like I filled out the same information ten different times. This time I was confident I got my social security number right! Small victories.

The wardrobe people gave me a once-over, told me my outfit was perfect, “very Carrie,” and they loved my shoes. The hair people said my hair looked great. The makeup person complimented my makeup and did some minor touch-ups, while sharing fun facts about how some people are allergic to the color red in makeup because of the crushed up beetle that it comes from. (#TheMoreYouKnow) So I figured that if I accomplished nothing else in my one-day acting career, at least I seemed to successfully meet the fashion requirements.

As they got us in our places on the set, I chatted with the other actor-for-a-day-in-a-wheelchair, and it turns out she’s also a teacher, in the same district where I work. She’s a substitute, has actually subbed in my school before, and the kids who hadn’t met me yet thought she was me! Small world. I got kinda excited. “You’re the other me! I’ve been wanting to meet you!” Guys, your friends in wheelchairs will tell you that no, we don’t all know each other. But, I’ll let you in on a secret… We kinda do.

Just being on the set was cool. I got excited about one of the props, and asked if I could play with it. Permission was granted. All these people were arranging lights, microphones, cameras. I don’t actually know what half the people in that room were doing, but there sure felt like a lot of them. The sound people hid a mic in my shirt. I told them, “I feel like I’m being bugged by the FBI… Are you guys going to send me on a secret mission?” The guy was quick to respond, “Sure, if you want!” You actually have a secret mission ready? “Well, yeah, we all do.” I’m only 85% sure he was joking.

When Fred and Carrie came in the room, I’m only human, and I couldn’t help staring… Then I noticed every extra’s head was turned to stare at them too, so I had to laugh at our collective star-struckedness. (Yeah, it’s a word.) They were very nice! Thanked us several times for coming out and doing this… as if we were doing them a favor!

Fred warned us that “We won’t really follow the script. We’ll hit the points, but we’re going to jump around, go out of order. Just let it flow naturally.” Fred Armisen—Fred Armisen!—was asking me to do this crazy thing I’d never done before. I mean, I knew that’s what my job was for the day. But, Fred Armisen, you guys! No pressure….
After running through the blocking really quick, we were all quiet and in our places. They started calling out directions about sound and whatever; somebody clicked the clapperboard (Just like in the movies! And yes, I had to google to know it’s called a clapperboard.), and they called “Action!” It was happening!
We were in the scene, and watching Fred and Carrie work was fascinating. A few times I had to remind myself, “You’re not watching the scene; you’re in the scene. You should probably say something.” They’re so funny! One could just start going off on a crazy tangent, and the other was right there with them, like they somehow knew where this was going. (And somehow, I was also supposed to know what was happening…) You knew there had been a really golden line when people would laugh, and the director would have to ask for it again, to get a cleaner recording. Some of the unscripted physical comedy had us completely cracking up.

I enjoyed having the makeup lady constantly freshening our faces. I just want to take her with me everywhere, keeping me pretty every moment of the day.

I can’t wait to see how this is all edited together into a final product. I’m sure it’ll only be a couple minutes long. But each time we ran the scene, it was pretty long, just giving lots of material to pull from. After a few times through, I found myself getting a little confused. We were repeating the same basic scene, but it was different each time, so it got hard to keep track of what I’d already said, or should still say, or whatever. Then at the end, they focused in on different groups of us, getting repeats of various lines or reaction shots. “React to when they said this line… Look over there… Say this line again… Now say it a little flatter… Do the part where you talked about this, but explain it more…” I’m sure you get used to that when you actually do this for a living, but I found that out-of-context stuff difficult to do.

Now I have to brag about one of my greatest life accomplishments: On one of the run-throughs, I came up with a brilliant line that made everyone break character and laugh out loud…. I made Fred and Carrie laugh!! I sure hope that makes it in the final cut, because I’m very proud of it! (They had me repeat it a couple times, so I’m hopeful.)

And… that was basically it. They decided they had what they needed, and we cleared out. At that point, I badly wanted to be the geeky fangirl and ask for a photo with Fred and Carrie… but I got shy. So it didn’t happen. I’ll try to capture a good screenshot when the episode airs, and save it forever.

Overall, it was a ton of fun! Playing make-believe with famous people isn’t a bad way to spend a day. And, bonus, I should be getting a handsome little check for doing this… Is it weird that it caught me by surprise when they mentioned payment? I understand this is people’s job and they get paid for it, but to me, this was just a surreal, crazy adventure!

I don’t even know the air date yet. It’ll be a few months. And I don’t even know if I’m looking forward to it or not… It was a crazy cool experience, and I’ve been having fun getting attention for it ever since. But do I really want people to see this? A couple people have told me I should have a viewing party, and that sounds fun, but… What if I look stupid? And/or sound stupid? What if it’s that sitcommy moment, where I discover they edited me out entirely, or dubbed over me? What if this was the worst idea I’ve ever had?

How is this my real life? But no time to worry about any of that now; I have classes to teach. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Other Girl in the Wheelchair: Kristine does Portlandia Part I

Hello friends! I am so excited to present the first in what I hope to be a regular feature called un-creatively enough - That Other Girl in the Wheelchair. [Tangent: True the name kinda sucks,  but I want to make sure people know being rad and being sedentary are not mutually exclusive traits. There are literally dozens of us girls that are doing both. I have unofficially been doing this feature for years lest we forget the guest posts from Chloe, Beth, Alicia and Sarah, but now it has an official title. ] Aside from my opportunity to be lazy, these posts are my little reminder that despite my delusions of grandeur, there are ladies with disabilities out there that are WAY more interesting than I am and this platform is worth sharing once in a while. Luckily my lazy arse didn't have to work too hard to find my first official "TOGITW" [Tangent: Trust me, I know that acronym will never catch on.]. Kristine, a middle school teacher (yikes!) from Portland (yay!) is one of my favorite blog readers, who has since become a Facebook friend who I consider a real life friend even though we have never met. I read about her crazy Portlandia adventure on social media and told her to share the inside dirt. I decided this blog was so good that I should approch it's release any good episodic TV show- as a two parter! [Tangent: Americans love a cliffhanger more than Sly Stallone!]  Take it away Kristine...
Hello, internet! I’m thrilled about being “another girl in a wheelchair” on Kimmie’s blog. This corner of the internet has been making me smile for a long time, and Kimmie’s just the greatest of gals. But I have to admit, it’s only the second most exciting thing to happen to me this week…

My gotta-get-as-much-mileage-as-I-can-from-the-story Life Event started while I was fully immersed in my summer binge of Gilmore Girls. Somewhere around “copper boom,” I got a text from an unfamiliar phone number.

My brain slowed down for a bit, trying to figure this out. Let me be clear: I’m not an actor, nor do I play one on TV. I’m a middle school teacher. It’s a crazy job full of stories to share, but not a lot of connections to the entertainment industry. Was this a scam? A joke? They mentioned wheelchair accessibility, so apparently they knew who I was. 

They weren’t asking for my credit card or mother’s maiden name or anything suspicious. So after Google confirmed that SMH Casting was a real thing, I answered the text. And I said yes, of course! I had no idea what I was getting into, but auditioning for a major TV show seems like one of those life experiences that comes along .00000000001 times in a lifetime, especially if you’re not an actor, so you don’t say no.
A vague memory eventually came back to me of filling out some form online, saying I’d like to be an extra in the background sometime. But that was years ago. Apparently when they needed a character with a disability, they went through the extras list. Does that mean Portland has no legit actors with disabilities? I don’t know. But I give Portlandia major props and a Napper nod (just legit as the Colbert bump) for seeking out people with real disabilities, instead of putting someone in a probably-stolen-from-the-airport wheelchair like the industry tends to do.

I quickly started worrying about what to wear. How do you dress for a Portlandia audition?? I crowd-sourced, and my Facebook friends were full of advice, most of which was “something with a bird on it.” There were a couple “dream of the 90s” references, and the suggestion that “naked” would best embody the spirit of Portland—probably true. But I synthesized all the advice, and came up with this:
Notice-me-bright-yellow shirt, I-love-Portland umbrella print skirt, and no-but-really-I-REALLY-love-Portland hipster oxfords. I was ready!

I kept saying I was ready, anyway. I told people I wasn’t nervous, because what did I have to lose? Worst case scenario, I’d continue to be a person who’s never been on TV—so what? There were no stakes. Nothing to be afraid of. It would just be a good story to tell later.

The paratransit bus driver wished me luck and told me I looked great when he dropped me off. (Thanks, Trimet Lift guy!) I went in the blocked-off entrance that I’d been told to use, and was greeted by a bunch of naked mannequins. Scary! Then I was greeted by actual humans, who led me into a little room and handed me some paperwork. A guy in a wheelchair came in about the same time, and we seemed to be in the same boat. He’d filled out the extras form online years ago, and taken the morning off from his job in a construction office to try out for Portlandia, cuz why not?

I realized I was more nervous than I thought when I tackled the paperwork, and couldn’t remember my social security number. After stalling for a minute, I remembered the last four digits, then the middle two, and I finally wrote down three digits at the beginning that may or may not have been correct. I wouldn’t swear to it. I froze again when I had to list my clothing sizes. I was fine with shirt size, pant size, dress size, shoe size, but “Hat size??” My new friend from the construction office told me that most people are 7 or 7/12. “I have a big head.” He told me to put 7 ½ and a question mark. Thanks, construction guy in a wheelchair! I finished signing the nondisclosure form, so no spoilers, and I may have signed away my soul or my firstborn child. I’m really not sure.

At this point, we were both handed a script, and I had a few minutes to review it while the other guy met first with the casting director. I memorized the best I could, but remember how clunkily my brain was working? Stuff wasn’t sticking so great.

It was only 10-ish minutes later that I was called in, and met Simon. Simon took away my script and explained that you don’t need to memorize anything exactly for this show; they do more of an improv style. And even though the page ends here, we’d like to extend it a little further, so at the end we’re going to take it kind of in this direction, ok? Cool. Awesome. Because I’ve never acted in my life (other than the 7th grade renaissance faire—Juliet in the balcony scene), and I’ve definitely never done improv! So why not try it out for the very first time, on camera, in front of a big deal casting director?

Simon explained the premise for my scene, and how my character would have to deal with Fred and Carrie disrupting and derailing normal life. (That’s basically every sketch in every episode, so I’m not giving spoilers, right?) Suddenly, the scene started feeling very familiar. Guys, I’m a teacher. Dealing with disruptive kids trying to derail everything I do—that’s my daily life! I’ve been practicing this for years! I was born for this role.

Deciding to just go into teacher mode and see what happens, I was as ready as I’d ever be. After learning that “getting slated” is a thing (You hold up a number, mugshot style, and say your name for the camera.), I started the scene, with Simon playing the other characters. We hit the major points of the script, but like he’d warned me, it wasn’t what was written. He’d make up stuff, and I’d make up stuff in response. It was nerve-wracking, but I was kind of settling into my familiar Ms. Napper mode. By the end, I was getting a little snarky, because when you spend your time around middle schoolers, it becomes natural.

We finished the scene, and Simon told me I was hilarious. Woo! Then we did it again, and this time he told me to try being a little colder, a little meaner. Less teacher-in-September, more teacher-in-May. Got it. We did it again, and I smiled less and snarked more. I felt like I was saying “um” every other word, which is so annoying when other people do it, so I wanted to kick myself each time another one slipped out. At the end again, Simon laughed loudly, told me I was fantastic, and sent me on my way.

I felt good that I’d made him laugh, and hadn’t totally embarrassed myself. But I figured that was the end of the story. I didn’t feel like I rocked it either, or maybe I just had no idea how to judge. Anyway, I’m not an actor! So I wasn’t counting on ever hearing from them again. Actually, I marked “yes” in the box that asked if I’d also be willing to be an extra, so I thought I might get called in to be a silent person in the background. That would be cool.

Three days later, I got an email saying, “Please make yourself available to work in a speaking role on Saturday August 29th, 2015 for Portlandia S6.” What?? Seriously?? I had to read it several times over. My favorite line was at the end, when it named the actors union that covered the project, and told me that if I had any issues with that union, I’d need to work them out. Nope, not a problem, I haven’t made any enemies in the actors unions. Yet. :)

...To Be Continued...

Click here for part deaux!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cliche (but Vital) Blog Post Alert: Summer Game Changing Products to Carry You Into Fall

You know how bloggers are forever telling you about their favorite products. It's a cliche, right? Well, too damn bad...because I am about to tell you about mine. [Tangent:I always feel mildly awkward writing these kinds of posts, but then I remember that I get so many product tips from blogs I read, so why not pay it forward and share my discoveries?] These things I've discovered over the summer and they have been total game changers. To be 100% frank, they saved my ass and made me feel not disgusting on multiple occasions. I love them so much that I am willing to start drafting legislation so I can legally wed them. It's. That. Intense.

1. Mario Badescu Acne Products
A few years ago, my skin just decided to crap out on me. Somehow I made it through my teens with fairly decent skin, [Tangent: Perhaps some sentient being knew that I had a lot on my plate with braces, glasses and a back brace...they knew I had to be spared some mortifying they gave me a pass on pimples.] but that just meant I got the delayed blessing of adult acne. I know...I know...this oily skin is keeping me young and I will love it when I am low on wrinkles, but in the meantime I am dealing with massive quarter sized assholes living under my skin's surface. On multiple occasions, I had taken to wearing a bandaid on my face like I was Nelly (or a lesser St. Lunatic.) It's out of control.

Over the years, I have probably purchased every product (at least once...if not twice) and finally after a particularly gross outbreak in mid-summer and years of urging by my sister, I splurged on Mario Badescu and I swear I will never look back. Everyday after removing my makeup, I use the Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion, aka the magic potion, and put the  Buffering Lotion  on any sign of possible zittiness. I've also picked up the drying cream [Tangent: It's like magic, you pat it on your zits to cover them up and they heal them and allow you to wear makeup without feeling like you're being counterproductive. The fact that it works makes the weird smell totally worth it. ] and the Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser. After seeing improved skin, spending $20 on a product isn't such a big deal. They're also fairly natural and they don't test on animals and are paraben free and all that good stuff. [Tangent: I am aware their hyper-generic packaging makes these products look like you bought them from a guy at the Farmer's Market that makes tonics brewed in his bath tub, but they are the best I've tried. I choose to think they spend all their money on science and making it work and less on marketing. ] If you don't know exactly what you need, they have an Acne Starter Kit to help you figure it out.

2. Dazzle and Daze headbands
I'm 32, which means all of my friends have babies and many of them with girl babies put them in ridiculous yet adorable headbands. As a joke one day, I told my friend Alex that I was really jealous of her 8 month old daughter sassy topknots and turbans. She then linked me to Dazzle and Daze telling me, "Oh they make them for adults, too."  Dammit. The power of suggestion and getting what I wished for. Beacause they were a good deal, I bought a grab bag of 10 with every intention of taking them to A.R.E camp and giving them to all the teen and tween girls [Tangent: Because I felt like tweens could pull off a hair accessory more effectively than I ever could.] , only the package came late so I kept them all. EEPS!  I really didn't need 10 headbands, or did I? For several weeks I didn't wear them because I had the internal monologue:
"Can I pull this off? Do I want to be that woman unironically wearing an adult bow? Is this an adult bow? How does one determine when something leaves 'knot' status and becomes a bow? How do I feel about this? I already look 12, do I want to push that to 11? OH THE HUMANITY!"
Then I put one on as a way of disguising the fact that I needed a haircut, and you guys, IT LOOKED REALLY CUTE! Here's proof via instagram. In fact I now wear one nearly everyday. It even passed the test with my most brutally honest friend who actually complimented me on it. I'm officially no better than a toddler, but I am A-OK with it...because toddlers are fuggin' adorable.

3. Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter
My skin is awful, which I think has been addressed by #1. As gross as my face tends to get, my body is meanwhile sluffing off like a snakeskin at zoo's reptile exhibit. [Tangent: It would not be in the last bit shocking if one day I find a human shaped skin sheath left behind in my bed sheets. Too graphic? I can't decide. My internal TMI compass is forever wonky.] Even knowing my skin's predilection to dryness, I still take hot showers and forgo lotion most days [Tangent: I am always trying to cut steps out of my morning routine, and unfortunately this is one that always gets left on the chopping block. I never said I make smart decisions.]  Skipping lotion is usually fine until I get to work and feel my flesh shrinking up on my body making me feel tight and itchy, then I slather on some nonsense that I got in a gift basket or free with purchase that smells like funfetti cake or a french prostitute's fruit drawer or something similar. It's a vicious cycle, and Ulta must have known when they sent me the Righteous Butter as a gift with my last order [Tangent: It's as if Mr. Ulta himself was like, "Kimmie, get your shit together. Your skin is upsetting us all."]. It is perfect and soaks in fairly immediately without leaving my feeling like a glazed Krispy Kreme. I keep it in my purse so I can lube down when I start to feel parched throughout the day. I can't tell you how great it is and how it smells like dryer sheets [Tangent: My smell of choice.] and NOT like a tropical bordello. [Tangent: And not to judge a book by its cover, but the packaging is adorable and makes up for the fact that the other two beauty products I'm currently obsessed with are lacking in that area.]

4. Dickinson's Daily Refreshing Clean Cleansing Cloths
I have a hoarding problem when it comes to face wipes. I can't sleep with any makeup on my face so that proves I am not a complete garbage person, and to meet this goal I keep some kind of face wipe conveniently stowed around my house.  I always went through them so quickly that I tended to stock up because I wasn't brand loyal, and they're all the same, right? WRONG! Some leave a film. Others dry out. Some smell like baby urine. They all have some fatal flaw that I can't quite get past. I got these Dickinson's witch hazel wipes as part of an Influenster voxbox [Tangent: Yeah, I got them free which I have to disclose, but in no way had to write about it...I just feel compelled to.] and loved the way they made my face feel as soon as I got done using them. The smell was not completely ideal, but I got over it quickly because dammit, they worked so good and made my face tingle in the best possible way. The whole antiseptic natural qualities in witch hazel helped my blemish-ridden face get its act together. I just ordered more of these bad boys on Amazon yesterday because I have a hard time finding them except at Walgreen's. 

Ok. Those are the things which have rocked my world for the better. 
What have you been forever changed by?  

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