Sunday, November 29, 2015

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses: Vol. 14 (November 2015)

October was busy...potentially too busy [Tangent: I mean I haven't even written about going to see the insanity that was Dirty Dancing the musical. That needs to be remedied!], so in November, I have tried to reclaim my shut-in title to restore some sense of balance to my personal universe. This has resulted in me watching Netflix....A LOT! Unfortunately, I have spent more time on shows and less time on docs [Tangent: I mean Master of None, With Bob and David and Jane the Virgin aren't gonna watch themselves!] but I managed to squeeze in eight!! 





Back in Time- A+
This movie was the perfect fan film and I loved every minute. I sat riveted even though the week prior to watching it was Back to The Future Day (so thus social media and TV had inundated me with all things related to the franchise). One would have thought, as a very casual fan [Tangent: As in, I have only seen the first two movies and only a couple times. See! total poser!], that I would have hit my ceiling. Sometimes when movies don't target one angle of something, I get frustrated because I think that they'll shortchange me in at least one area, but this movie covered all things Marty McFly and left me feeling complete. They interviewed fans and the cast and crew, which made it very well-rounded. For some reason the part that stuck out most was how the choice of a Delorean was a fluke decision that really paid off. When the producers chose it, how were they to know that AMC wouldn't make cars after the mid 80s and that Deloreans would be like unicorns one day, thus making them WAY MORE iconic.

Parrot Confidential- B+
Seriously who has taken over my body and mind that  I would opt to watch a nature documentary about parrots on my own free will? I hate parrots.  To me, they are the creeps of the animal kingdom [Tangent: Every time I hear a feathered friend talk, I find it jarring. It is a trick that I will never get used to.] , so it might even alarm you more to know that I watched this short doc long before it hit Netflix and that I found it really interesting and found myself talking about to anyone that would listen for the days following. A lot of the special (and the part that made me kinda feel for parrots) was about people not being fully aware of the responsibility that is taking in one of these birds as a pet...because they live FOREVER. One bird rescue was overrun with strays that they took just so their owners could get some peace and quiet.  It's short and frankly better than one might think...and this coming from a gal who usually despises those creepy winged monsters.

The Wolfpack- A
I've been obsessed with this story since it first came about and I know I wanted to see it like hell when it was showing at The Belcourt in Nashville. I liked it, but definitely think a problem that kept me from loving it was that I was already too familiar with the story. I had already read numerous online articles and watched an hour long 20/20 which interviewed everyone involved, therefore the element of discovery and surprise was a little gone.  The movie revolved around 6 brothers who were basically held captive in their own low income NY apartment by a father who was distrusting of the outside. This led to the family bonding in a very unique way over a love of film and reenacting film. The way they went about it was insanely resourceful and I almost hesitate to reveal too much about their process, because it's incredibly entertaining to watch (even though they are being held prisoner). I think it's a must watch for film lovers because it raises a lot of interesting thoughts on how movies can be the ultimate escape.

Twinsters -A
This movie is about twin sisters adopted from Korea into two separate families across the ocean from one another. When the American sister puts out a viral YouTube video, she gets recognized by friends of her long lost twin, and the two siblinds connect over social media and then Facetime and then ultimately meet face to face. Sometimes, I'm a little cynical about stories like this, especially when they are positioned in such a way that wreaks of Inside Edition, but this one seemed very organic. Because she was a bit of a YouTube star, it seemed only natural for her to tell her own story and to be very comfortable doing so. I found it crazy how alike the two girls acted and how immediately they bonded even though they have not been together since birth. You will have to sit through a lot of giggling and inside jokes and girl bonding, so if that is not you scene- be prepared.

Famous Nathan- B-
I've made no secret that if a movie features old kooks that I will be first in line. I also love hot dogs (way more than your average bear!) so when I discovered there was a movie about Nathan, of Nathan's hot dog fame, that featured delightfully eccentric elderly people, I was ecstatic.  Although the movie lost me a little around the end, I still enjoyed hearing about how the Coney Island institution , that is now the site of yearly mass eating (and likely mass vomiting) on July 4th weekend. I think it was both was helpful and hurtful to the narrative that it was made by a member of the family because sometimes an outside perspective is more balanced. One more thing, did I mention the hysterical interviews with all the crazy old friends and family from the hot dog dynasty? I'm pretty sure I did, but seriously- it's the main selling point!

Capital C- A-
I don't think this film's  description does it justice, but I knew I generally like movies about businesses and how they came to be. [Tangent: To name a few of my favorites: Burt's Buzz, Time Zero and last weekend I went to go see All Things Must Pass about Tower Records. I can't wait to tell you about that one. ] Naturally I thought when you factor in the idea of crowd sourcing and social media, this movie, which profiles kickstarter companies, was a can't lose for me...and it was. My only criticism was that the businesses in question were really random- a video game, a customizable koozie and playing cards inspired by US currency. I mean, I liked that the filmmaker went after projects that were different than the typical films and albums...but I just couldn't relate to any of the passions. [Tangent: ...especially the playing cards...that one was a head scratcher...but it got funded in record time...so I am clearly alone.  I really liked the designer behind that concept, so I tried to put my head scratching to rest.] Also I love any programming that gives you some insight, from a small business standpoint, of what it's like to be on Shark Tank! [Tangent: Be still my heart.]

Do I sound Gay?- A-
Thanks to my dear friend, Rae, for knowing me so well to immediately bring this documentary to my attention.  I had heard about it when it was released in theaters and have been wanting to see it since. The filmmaker, David, is on a quest to find out if there is such a thing as a gay manner of speaking. He talks to speech pathologists and voice coaches to find out if the dialect is indeed a thing, and what steps he could take to curb his dialect. Is it nature or nurture that causes the inflection? I don't now that they solidly answer it...but on the way to his answer he gets feedback from many other gay men...including Tm Gunn!

Just About Famous- D
There's something about celebrity impersonators that make me intrigued...just the idea that someone gets paid to pretend to be another person is otherworldly. I wish that I liked this more, but I found it underwhelming and truthfully, didn't even finish it. I know...I know I should have given it more of a chance, but the people being profiled just couldn't keep my attention. [Tangent: I would skip it and watch The Reinactors instead, which is about the people on Hollywood Blvd who dress up to take pictures with tourists. Their lives were way more entertaining, and although it is no longer streaming on Netflix, you can find the movie free online here.] 

What should I watch in December? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TOGITW: Good Beer is a short film you need to see NOW!

Today I was scrolling through Facebook [Tangent: What a shocking turn of events and completely uncharacteristic of me! I know...I know!!] and saw several awesome ladies in wheelchairs with whom I am acquainted posting about Good Beer, a short film that was released to the public today via social media and on YouTube starring Shannon Devido [Tangent: Hence the TOGITW because this post is all about "That other girl in the wheelchair"] the film's FB page boils it down to to the following summary:
'Good Beer' is a new short film about a blind date that transcends disability and is a universally relatable love story for the 21st century.


After 7 minutes of awesome yet painfully awkward truth bombs, I knew I had to share it with you immediately to show the genius in honesty and talking about things that are hard to broach. It's so good, right? As tired as I am of the weird stereotypical assumption that I know everyone else in a wheelchair, I'm sorry to say it's kind of true because I actually kind of know the sassy dame in Good Beer.  Her name is Shannon Devido.

Throughout my first couple years at Middle Tennessee State University, I had an apparent lookalike..and it just so happened to be Shannon. [Tangent: When you're in a chair, one would think your chances of having a doppleganger would be lessened because that's just math and statistics, right?   (I was never skilled at either subject (hence why I do this.) so I could be way off with that assessment!) According to the general populus , at MTSU at least, there couldn't be two petite girls in wheelchairs with glasses and dark hair at the same time. [Tangent: Surely a miraculous event such as that meant the Armageddon was upon us.] She was a year or two my senior and because she was a cute gal, I chose to take it as completely complimentary. [Tangent: Can you imagine the moment of self-actualization that would have occurred had she been completely unfortunate looking!]

 Although, I only really had cursory interaction with her, I learned a lot about her from strangers on campus who thought I was her and wouldn't accept my words to the contrary. 

Stranger on Campus: You were so good in Fiddler on the Roof! 
Me: What? Oh, wait...no. That wasn't me. But, thanks.
Stranger: Are you sure? You were great!
Me: Yes. I'm sure I wasn't in a play without remembering it. 
Stranger: Well, we miss you in choir class...bye!

I am now very proud to see the person I was mistaken for on the regular circa 2002 is going on to do really bad ass things! [Tangent: Although those mixups are not really happening anymore, when meeting my boyfriend's bandmate the other day,  he did say "Oh wow! Did you go to MTSU...you were in Fiddler on the Roof! You were great!" I almost hated to let him down and to admit I can't sing or act worth a damn... I'm a huge disappointment.] In addition to the amazing Good Beer short, she is on Hulu's Difficult People. I know I am plugging hard with absolutely no prompting on her end...but now I'm just hoping to be confused with the star of an awesome short film...because this time I may just take credit.

Follow Good Beer on FB

Monday, November 16, 2015

Doug Loves Movies- 4peat!

 I try not to be overly repetitive, but I am more or less the most predictable creature of habit that you will ever meet [Tangent: Only creature implies fangs or fins so I want my habitual creature to be non-traumatizing...like an Ewok or Gizmo.] so I'm gonna be writing about going to a Doug Loves Movies taping again, and you guys are gonna deal with it or GTFO! [Tangent: Woah...not sure where that repressed anger erupted from. I got up at 6:30 today like a normal capable human should... so I will blame that.] Last week, Doug Benson was in town...so of course, I was at Zanies! I feel like at this point, after a fourth podcast taping...it just gets more and more fun! [Tangent/Fun sub-story that seems like name  dropping but totally isn't: A couple months ago I was cleaning out my inbox  on FB and for some reason checked my "other" folder where messages get cached when they are from people you aren't friends with. Anyway the message was from Graham Elwood, who is a funny comedian/podcaster and frequent guest on Doug Loves Movies. It said "I'm finishing up Ear buds and Doug Benson mentions you as a fan who is also a medical marijuana patient. Would you be willing to send a photo of you and Doug and sign a photo release?" My reaction was: Wait....DOUG AND GRAHAM WERE TALKING ABOUT ME!?...followed by compulsive laughing because I am the squarest peg and have never smoked pot...not even in high school when all my friends were. Dang these crap lungs and this hyper-sensitive bod! They were keeping me from being in a documentary. Also, without even trying and in very fleeting in person and on twitter interactions, I had somehow bamboozled a man who is reknowned for his "Marijana-logues" into thinking I was a pot user. Unfortunately I have no substance to blame, these junky dietary proclivities and this general demeanor is 100% Kimmie.]

Anyway back to the subject at hand...I don't really feel like rehashing the format of the podcast, because really listening to it is the only way to understand what the hell it's all about. [Tangent: Trust me...it will make the most sense that way and I've made it easy by posting links at the bottom of this post...Or you can read about it here or here.] At it's core, it's a comedy/movie podcast that encourages audience participation, which are three concepts I enjoy a great deal. The prep for it is almost as fun as the event itself because each audience member is encouraged to bring a movie-themed name tag that will make them eligible of the grand prize bag. My printer is a piece of garbage, so this year I couldn't work my photoshoppery magic as I have in the past. I had to get crafty. Here was Jamie modeling his sign and mine that we worked on in the midst of a Fargo binge.
 [Tangent: I have a feeling all the servers and fellow attendees were giving me mass stink eye for my giant prop...but I was hard up for a name tag. And bonus! I passed it along to Doug after the show (because naturally I always have a backup donut float at home...who doesn't?) and after sticking his head through it and deflating it, he added it to the next episode's prize bag. Therefore some stranger now has my donut raft with my boyfriend's DNA (saliva, heads outta gutters) all over the valve from blowing it up multiple times. It's like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants...but with $5 novelty pool toys.] Speaking of Traveling Pants, my table had some amazing signs as well. The one that Rae made for her husband Travis still makes me laugh especially hard...Travising Pants...so good.



 This year, my goal was to twitter-stalk DB prior to the show and get him to call on me to choose a name for his "Last Man Stanton" game where the panel tries to name as many movies as they can from an the filmography of an actor/actress. I hemmed and hawed, consulted the show's wiki and discussed with my friend Ryan potential names. Doug ended up picking me so if you listen to the podcast at the link below, you will hear by grating voice bellow out "Susan Sarandon!" Spoiler Alert: No one seemed to know many Susan Sarandon movies... which is odd because she's been in 220+ films. 

I'm so glad our annual trip to see Doug is still going strong! It's seriously one of my favorite events of the year! Here's a family picture with brother Doug. 
Things to Listen For: discussion of my obscenely huge donut name tag; my shouting Susan Sarandon and everyone grumbling about it; my friend Ryan yelling Curly Sue repeatedly after the Steve Carrell round; Doug mocking the voice of Ryan's friend when he asked where Geoff Tate's comedy special could be found. 


Things to Listen For: At about the 4 minute mark you hear about my giant donut (not a euphemism!) in the prize bag

PS. When I was waiting outside for Doug, a nice dude in a Nirvana T-shirt that actually had Hanson on it said "Hey! That Girl in the Wheelchair!" [Tangent: I assumed he had read this blog before and not just someone stating the obvious.] This threw me for a loop because I sometimes forget people read this blog...especially that aren't connected to me in real life.  So I'm very hopeful I came off nice and appreciative (which I am!) and not creeped out (which is likely the vibe I gave off!) If you are reading this, THANKS! I am weird and awkward and don't know how to act in public. Also, nice shirt!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I wrote about Overboard for Hello Giggles

Preface: I am more than aware that I have been completely MIA from this site in November. I'm trying ya'll, but every time I think about it- I get pulled into something very crucial (that is not at all crucial) like getting overly transfixed with season 2 of Fargo or today's discovery/binge Master of None on Netflix. Also I know the following post is complete and utter nonsense in the face of the unfolding world events of last week, but anything I have to say was likely said more eloquently by more skilled writers. I've read some doozies that have brought me to tears and really made real things that seem so completely unreal. I implore you to do the same. The following will likely seem trivial in comparison...

One of the things that I love about writing and doing stuff like Hello Giggles is that I completely never know which pitches they are gonna go for. The way it generally goes is I pitch them a story idea, and when I get the green light- I press on and make it a story (if it isn't already). I can't even imagine the inner thought processes that go on inside the  the lovely human's mind that reads my pitches ! I also (if we are going with the whole pitch/baseball analogy) swing for the fences and go all in with each idea...even if they're half-baked and generally sent in via iPhone at 2 AM when I am trying to go to sleep. [Tangent: I would not be 100% surprised if they think I have some sort of multiple personality disorder by the frequent pitch bouts that occur on any and all topics in the midnight hour.]

One such night while wrestling with insomnia, I started watching one of my childhood faves on premium cable: Overboard! [Tangent: Yes I have premium cable and Netflix/Amazon Prime and I still chose Overboard as my best cinematic option....but who wouldn't?] It is a movie I remember so fondly (and vividly) even though I hadn't seen it in 15+ years. This was my love letter to Overboard. You can be magically transformed to the site by clicking here or on the obnoxiously large link below. After reading the piece, please leave me comments below and defend your perfect 80's movie. I wanna know...because I probably have opinions.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

How I made the ultimate wheelchair costume: Lt. Dan

It's been nearly a week since Halloween, so I am sure you are on pins and needles to hear about my most favoritist of holidays [Tangent: ...or not....let's face it...I know you all are placating me and couldn't care less as to how my costume went or what I dressed up as etc....but I CARE, DAMMIT and this is my blog!]. Let it be known that 2015 was the year that I finally made my childhood dream of being Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump a reality. [Tangent: Is it weird that being a 'tute lovin', hard drinkin' surly vet was the costume dream of a seemingly normal little girl (ha!)? Well, let's face it, the pickins' are indeed slim in the wheelchair character market!] This year I was fairly hell-bent on being Aladdin (street rat version...not Prince Ali version), but Jamie didn't want to be Abu or Jasmine...he wanted to be Jafar but didn't have the time or energy to make that happen. Luckily Lt. Dan has always been my default plan B! This year was the year! And Jamie's beard was approaching the perfect length to play Forrest...only running across America Forrest not sitting on a park bench Forrest. [Tangent: My man will get much more wear out of shortie running shorts than he would a white suit...don't make it weird.]  




This was also after our original idea of me being Lt. Dan and Jamie being an ice cream cone [Tangent: "Lt. Dan...ICE CREAM!!!..get it!??! Click here for visual.] was vetoed by my sis who told us what we already knew...that only 5 people would get it. C'est la vie. Since I didn't get to see it in 3-D, you are getting a 2-D photoshop approximation.

What We Were:

What We Considered (a lazy photoshop rendering): 
As always, because we LOVE doing things the hard way, we made our costumes basically from scratch...or thrift store scratch at least. Which for me was super easy, but for Jamie proved traumatic. Apparently I had a really positive goodwill day where I bought the perfect Hawaiian shirt and army green pants [Tangent: Both White Stag brand...ThankYouVeryMuch! Oh la la.] and even a smiley face t-shirt, but the simplest elements like striped socks and shortie shorts were apparently, as told to us by the very apathetic Sports Authority employee, "Out of style". [Tangent: It was a very unlikely source for harsh fashion criticism!] At that point, we had a light bulb moment. Where does one go to find things that are a little out of style? WAL-MART!! This was not an easy decision, I haven't been inside the walls of a Sam Walton facility in years and neither has Jamie [Tangent: You can read my reasons in a vintage blog here. I wish they were purely political, but honestly I'm just shallow and prone to shopper's anxiety!]. We were breaking our streak...but it was for the greater good- HALLOWEEN! Of course immediately we found a myriad of striped sock options. [Tangent: In your face, Sports Authority!]

It was there that we also also found a genius solution to our wig problem in the form of $3 Duck Dynasty beards. [Tangent: If you don't know, Halloween wigs are generally of the overly styled or silky persuasion and that wasn't exactly the aesthetic of we needed. A man who had spent years traversing the country on foot or a homeless war veteran wouldn't have the hair of a Craigslist call girl. It just wasn't going to happen.] So we took the wigs and turned them backwards and concealed the moustache portion under our headgear. Look how natural mine looks! It was kind of shocking! 
This year, I also enjoyed crafting...so much so that I felt like I should become a cosplayer [Tangent: Only I'm not into Sci-fi or Comics or Harry Potter...so I would likely be shunned by the community.] Because Jamie is a slave to authenticity, he wanted that yellow shirt to be perfect, so I gussied up a thifted polo with some green binding. Then, when all of the Bubba Gump shrimp hats were on back order [Tangent: ...at least those on Amazon because I am a card carrying prime member! Jealous?] I simply made Jamie one out of a $3 hat and a cut up canvas tote bag and paint! I am fairly certain this is how my art minor is paying off. 
Then the most fun part was absolutely making myself look like an amputee [Tangent: Which my friend pointed out would likely offend the amputee community...but I guess it's not Halloween until you have appropriated a culture. I just liked the visual trickery!] I approached it kinda like how they did The Lion King stage show, just black out everything you don't want the audience to see. [Tangent: I was the Julie Taymor of Lt. Dan costumes.] Apparently I wasn't far off, because my strategy was how they did the green screen in the movie. 
The night of, we had an amazing time and went to my friends Kate and Trey's annual Halloween fest. I was stoked to be in my probably my most comfortable and least expensive costume to date. All of the costumes we saw in person and in social media were amazing, [Tangent: I saw a Wedding Lydia and Beetlejuice that was so perfectly executed that I couldn't stand it!] and I was happy that our looks were so well received. A couple people confessed that initially they were picking up a Tom Cruise in  Born on the Fourth of July vibe...at least that gives me an idea to add to the list for next year...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dear Julianna



Because I am friends with several other adults with Muscular Dystrophy, in the last week, "Dear Julianna" has become a trending topic on my FB page. It occurred to me today that other people outside those disability circles may not be aware of what that phrase meant. I first became aware of Dear Julianna about a week ago when I read the news story behind it all, about a 4-year-old named Julianna Snow. The little girl was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth, a type of MD, in a very severe form, [Tangent: a disease I know well from years of attending summer camp with other kids with Muscular Dystrophy.]. After having significant complications, her family decided to give Julianna a proposition "Heaven or hospital?" [Tangent: You can read the full story on the matter here.]

I usually try to stay neutral on right to die matters because to me it's an incredibly personal and complex issue that is all shades of gray, but on this I could not stay quiet. Julianna is 4 years-old and in no way equipped to make arguably the most difficult and mature decision one could ever make. [Tangent: When I was that age, I would want Kids Cuisine for dinner and immediately change my mind when it was placed in front of me and want ramen noodles.]  Many other adults felt the same way and started Dear Julianna, where people with different types of Neuromuscular disease give her and other children like her a glimpse into the future and make them see that in the trite words of Belinda Carlisle, heaven is a place on earth. I hemmed and hawed over it for a while because I try really hard to be respectful of other peoples decisions, but today something clicked and I felt the need to write my own letter...not only for Julianna, but for little kids struggling against an illness who feel like no one understands.  Here is what I had to say:

Dear Juliana-

Hi! My name is Kimmie. I am 32-years-old, and will be 33 later this month. I know I am a lot older than you, but I think we have a lot in common. Like you, I have a type of MD, have a lot of trouble breathing and love my family and laughing in general. When I was 2, my mom noticed I wasn't walking like I should and was floppy like a LaLaLoopsy Doll. After doing lots of tests, the doctor's found out that I had Congenital MD.  No one in my family had ever had this disease and I'm sure my mom and dad and 3 siblings were scared. MD can be very scary. I know that.

Since I was 4, I have spent a lot of time in the hospital and going to see different doctors, but those doctors have always been able to help me and make me feel better. I have had lots of surgeries: to straighten out my back and fix my feet and legs. I have spent many years with hot pink casts, which I secretly loved...because who doesn't love hot pink? I've also spent a lot of time being sick in the hopsital. Just like you, my lungs aren't very strong and I have to be very careful to stay away from germs. More than once, I have gotten so sick that I have had to have a tube put into my throat to get me well. For about a week when I was 27, I had a small hole cut in my neck to help me get over an illness. I thought I may have to keep it, but my doctors and therapists worked very hard to get me well again and now I breathe on my own and don't even use oxygen.

There are some parts of having bad lungs that are not so fun. At night I use a breathing mask so that I can take deep breaths and keep my lungs healthy. I also use a little mouthpiece to help me take deep breaths when I feel like I need a rest. (I'm little and sometimes when I eat too much, it's hard to breathe!) By doing this, it helps me have enough energy to be active, which makes me happy because I love to stay busy.

I get to do things that some people think people in wheelchairs can't do, and I love to prove people wrong. I went to college and lived on my own (with a lot of help from some assistants that were there to help get me out of bed and take showers). I have worked several jobs and now I work at a job where I can help other people with disabilities. I even drive my own car, which I like to tell people is just like a Transformer. I drive it from my wheelchair and can do it all with my hands. It's kind of like a video game. I also have a lot of really great friends that don't mind helping me once in a while and an amazing boyfriend who I love very much. I love to write so started my own blog 5 years ago called That Girl in The Wheelchair, where I get to talk about anything I want! How cool is that?!?

I know things are rough and that living with MD is not easy. Some days it's really really hard, and it's frustrating because you see your friends and family worrying about you and not being able to help. Please know that there is hope and there is no way to know what the future holds. It could hold some really great things if you are really stubborn.

Much love from Nashville,

Kimmie Jones


 If you want to write your own letter, send to dearjulianna2015@gmail.com or you can find more information about Dear Julianna on their Facebook page.
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