Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am my father's daughter...ugh.

At my soul, I can be a really cynical person. I doubt motives and am have high expectations from those I respect and it takes a lot for me to drink the Kool-aid and believe in something. For that reason, it sometimes even shocks me how politically passionate I have become in my old age. I almost hate myself for it and place this blame squarely on my father. He created a monster.

My dad was the most American man I know [Tangent: And I’m not saying that to suck up…he never read my blog really when he was living, so doubtful that he would be reading it as an amorphous entity. I’m just saying it because those are facts.]. He was the oft clichéd American Dream, grew up on a farm with 7 brothers and sisters and went on to fight in a war and use that money to further his education and become the most obnoxious businessman this side of the Mississippi (even after he retired).

He was insane about politics and the political process. [Tangent: He wrote letters and got irate on a daily basis about voter fraud and disenfranchisement and would go to rallies and stump speeches whether or not they were open to the public.] 
looking super awkward meeting Harold Ford Jr. with my dad.
 Our TV was tuned into news 80% of the day (when it wasn’t on the Western Channel). He would drive 11 hours to vote in North Carolina, his home state, for several elections! He has on multiple occasions gifted me pocket sized constitutions (for emergencies) and when I was in school, would make the 1.5 hour round trip to take me to vote in every local, state and presidential election. [Tangent: Even if I didn't give a shit about who was running for school board in a school system I had graduated from- he forced me into making a decision (even if it was a coin flip) and vote. He told me it was my duty as an American, which was his version of the most parental of guilt trips. ]
Trust, nothing would have pleased me more than to rebel against this extremism. God, what if I dated a republican? How I secretly wanted to just to be difficult and Alex P. Keaton the shit out of him. I wanted to...hard, but damned if I wasn’t genetically and mentally prepared otherwise. When my dad was alive, I dreaded election season because it meant yelling at the TV and fights with strangers in line at the grocery store. [Tangent: Yeah about that…he didn't let comments go, so if you made an ignorant or racist comment in his presence and he just happened to overhear it indirectly, he was gonna tell you about yourself, which is both awesome and terrifying.] Even though I agreed with him on most of his principles, I was so embarrassed by his hyper patriotic liberalism. It was sometimes stifling.

Now he’s gone and this is the first major election that he isn’t present for and it is a surreal experience. Even though I am pretty meh about the options, I find myself more involved than ever as if I need to claim that enthusiastic void in the universe. If there is a news story, I’m reading it. If there’s a campaign issue, I’m researching it. If there is a bat shit crazy convention (for either party), I am watching it while following along on twitter. I couldn’t get more obnoxious and for that I am filled with equal parts self-loathing and pride.  In fact I found myself telling someone yesterday who was feeling blasé about the candidates that it was their civic duty to at least vote. WHO THE HELL AM I?!?! I’m keeping the complete shape shift at bay, and I vow not to hulk out on you and start spewing my politics on social media (too much). No one wants that.  [Tangent: I still thank all that is holy and unholy that my dad wasn’t on social media. The world wasn’t ready.]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

That Other Writing I do that isn't Blogging

When I first started this whole blog 6 years ago, it was to get me writing and creating and to get me some steady writing gigs. It seems like sweet irony that now those gigs, though not completely steady yet, are keeping me from blogging like I used to. [Tangent: remember when I used to write 14 blogs a month?!?! I mean I know a lot of it was dog shit that you had to dig through to get diamonds, but you did it, which boggles my mind.] Writing when I am getting compensation, and have a wider audience and have pro editors [Tangent:...that will call me out on my typos galore and run-on sentence addiction.] is exactly what I always wanted but damn if it isn't an added layer of stress.

I've noticed a lot of my blogging friends have fallen off the bandwagon with writing altogether...many now use their blog as a business site or have transitioned to another medium like instagram or snapchat [Tangent: Did I mention in my hiatus, I finally figured out how to SnapChat properly. I know this is breaking news. Get me around some 19 -year-olds and this old dog gets some new tricks. I'm still figuring it out and at this point it is mostly pictures of my dog being an asshole. I think my handle is kimmiejonesin if you like that sort of thing.]. Photos have never been my strong suit, so you don't have to worry about that.  I totally get it, though.

I have a huge backlog of half-done posts that most days I feel smothered by. Furthermore, my daily hits for some inexplicable reason are the highest they have been in 14 months this month, apropo of absolutely nothing because I wrote exactly one entry in June. It boggles my mind and almost makes me wonder why should I bust my ass? But then I remember it's because I love it.

I need to write. I need to write. Even when I feel like Jack Nicholson staring at that damn typewriter in The Shining, I know the outcome is one I take pride in.

 Murderous rage seem far off, but rest assured I want those who care [Tangent: I know there are at least 7 of you...the very ones who remind me I have things I could be blogging about and give me needed pants kicks.] that there is writing out there that you may not have seen. Feel free to check out my archives of other writing under the very originally named "OTHER WRITING" tab. [Tangent: Do you like this easy Inception style blog within a blog diagram I made for you?]

I try to post them on the That Girl in the Wheelchair Facebook page, but sometimes forget.Was this post dumb and a waste of time? Probably...but I'm that's all that matters.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Nine Fictitious Characters

Perhaps it was the fact that I was weened on the world of game shows, but I love a challenge. I also love an introspective curve ball, so I was kinda pumped when the site I contribute to occasionally, The Ravishly, posted a challenge on their Instagram page- make a grid of the 9 fictional characters that you most identify with. Media is more or less my life, so one would think this would be a slam dunk. [Tangent: Curve ball? Slam dunk? Who the hell am I with all these sports metaphors? Please keep reading even though I have the creativity today of a middle schooler working the sports beat for their school paper.]

Spoiler: It wasn't as easy as I initially supposed. After a lot of consternation, texting, conversation and focus grouping, I concocted my list. [Tangent: By now, you should in now way be shocked at my clinical approach to this matter.You may recall a similar dumb childhood crush challenge I undertook here.]Why was it such a struggle? I guess as self-aware as I think I am...I'm probably not. I could easily point out characters that reminded me of those in my life, but nailing myself was kinda hard [Tangent: Both literally and figuratively. Zing.] You don't want to be too generous or too hard on yourself...or rather who you think you are. [Tangent: Don't worry my ever-the-softie mom was hard on me for everyone. When I posited the question to her, she picked Lucy from Peanuts (because she's bossy) and Tina Belcher (because of er "hair, glasses and weird boobs". I love ya, mom.] I mean I've never been one who has aligned myself with a particular cast member of Girls or Sex in the City. I mean, at best, I can say that if I was a Golden Girl, that I'm definitely a Sophia. That counts for something, right?

After some hemming and hawing, here are the ones I finally settled on...although I have thought of several since narrowing it down to this top 9. In no particular order...

1. Jimmy Valmer (South Park)- A character with a disability who use humor at is own expense to get people to love him. Umm. yeah. Big time. 

2. Donna Meagle (Parks and Recreation)- I felt the need to include a Parks and Recreation character because there as SO many good ones. I picked Donna because at her heart she is a good person but she can come off as a little harsh. She values her friends and has a low bullshit tolerance. Although I could easily be an April/Tom hybrid (I'm not organized enough to be a Leslie.)

3. Maude (Harold and Maude)- The perfect ray of light and life in a darkly hilarious movie. Sure picking a near octogeneraian as a spirit animal seems bizarre, but I'm an old lady at heart. 

4. Veronica Sawyer (Heathers)- I feel like she is more a kindred spirit when I was in high school and even today.  Veronica has a lot of friends, but still more or less marches a bit to her own drummer and never completely feels at home in one niche. Also, even though Christian Slater in that movie is completely mentally unstable- he can get it. 

5. Daria Morgandorfer (Daria)- Not only is this the only famous person that I have ever been likened to visually [Tangent: You can read more about it here.] , but when I asked my best friend who she identified me with, this was her immediate answer. I love her, and am only jealous I don't pull off combat boots so flawlessly. Trust that I have I've tried.  

6. Liz Lemon (30 Rock)- The patron saint of women writers in glasses.  It's hard not to fill 9 squares with her, but we all now I look awful in a blazer and am not near as successful.

7. Elaine Benis (Seinfeld) Elaine is definitely my id....she is me if I had 50% less filter and 75% more hair. Scary, huh? Not unlike Elaine, I love having male friends who can be somewhat insufferable. 

8. Chandler Bing (Friends)- Again, this could not be any more obvious? Keeping people at a distance and keeping up a sarcasm wall at all times. Yep. I see my faults in Chandler more times than I care to admit.

9. Amelie (Amelie)- I am a bit less of a wallflower than Amelie, but I get the whole watching and living vicariously through those around you.  She is without fail my observant side. 

Well now that I have rounded the bases, I would love to hear who makes up your team. DAMMIT! Sports metaphors!  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses Vol. 19 (June 2016)

Hey ya'll. So I am indeed alive, but just a shitty blogger as of late. I hit an all time low in June with only one blog all month. [Tangent: That's a bit of an embarrassment considering I logged more entries the month in 2010 that I basically spent comatose and hospitalized. I don't have any good excuses like loss of cognition or the like...I'm just a girl interrupted by streaming TV and good weather.] However, with Monday being my 6 year domain-a-versary, I vow to try to not suck so dang hard. With no more preamble, here is my docu-roundup for last month. Spoiler: None of them really blew my skirt up.

The Real Beauty and The Beast- B
Can I be completely transparent and tell you something embarrassing that makes me sound like a heartless monster? No, well too bad!  I started watching this one night when I couldn't sleep and (per usual) fell asleep after 5 gave me weird nightmares about hairy faced men being captured. I may have woken up in a cold sweat from a budget reenactment... so I had to take a brief hiatus before take 2. Even though Beauty and the Beast is probably my least favorite of the Disney renaissance (*Bracing for retaliation*), I love all things freak shows and birth defect- hence my being on board with this one from the jump. It clocks in at under an hour, and is completely fascinating and sad. You're not gonna get master class film's basically like a PBS special (Maybe because it's a Smithsonian channel special), but I did find myself wanting to discuss it later. It'll leave you with some good anecdotes as long as you realize that it will ruin a cartoon classic. [Tangent: As if historical accuracy hasn't already ruined Pochahontas for you!!]

Welcome to Leith - B+
Because I have never lived in one, I am completely fascinated with the concept of tiny, one stoplight towns. Not fascinated in an "I want that unencumbered life" kind of way, more like in an "I can't imagine that nightmare" kind of way. So not only was I incredulous that a town existed in North Dakota with a population under 30, but that such a small population can be upended when 1 person [Tangent: Which by my crap math skills is about 5% of it's population] is a white supremacist with a mad chip on his shoulder. I appreciated that the movie seemed to exist in real time, and it documented koo koo Craig Cobb's vigilante escapades leading up to his arrest. I think I tend to tune out awful hatred like that in my day to day so it was jarring at times. Be prepped to see some human darkness.

Enter the Battlefield- C-
This movie about Magic the Gathering and it's superstars was not as great as I had hoped. God, how I love a doc about people who participate in something a little nerdy finding their place in the universe among their peers...Spellbound....Air Guitar Nation...King of Kong...Magic Camp...THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES! [Tangent: They always remind me of the Blind Melon video where the bee girl opens the gate to find the other black and yellow brethren.] Unfortunately, this was not one of them and I can't help but compare and think of how much more entertaining/engaging it could have been.. I couldn't get into it, and got bored. Additionally, I still don't understand how the hell to play Magic!

Winding Stream: An Oral History of The Carter and Cash Family- C
[Tangent/explanation:I may have had some ulterior motives when selecting this doc. After helping Jamie with his ancestry online (trying to decipher what breed of white bread he is), I found he had some Carters in is family and the singing family were from the same mountain area of East Tennessee/Virginia as his people. Throw into the equation that his is aunt owns a home that the Carter Family would sometimes stay in, assuming they were of relation is not a huge stretch.] Basically I was watching this doc to confirm my suspicions, and so I could see if my boyfriend was due some of that sweet Walk The Line royalty money. I found nada and still can't bind those branches together. What I did find was a documentary that was just kinda 'meh'. It had a hard time settling in tonally to what it wanted to be. I dug the cool animation [Tangent: It was very much  stylistically like the Smashing Pumpkins 'Tonight, Tonight' video...but with Johnny and June] interspersed with interviews and archival footage. Honestly, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, and found myself wishing we were watching Orange is The New Black instead. As a native Tennessean, I wanted to like it more, but I would rather just watch Walk the Line for the 1000th time or listen to my dad's copy of Live from Folsom Prison.

Prescription Thugs-  A-
 If you have gotten to your 30s and haven't crossed paths with someone with a painkiller addiction, than I assume you live in a bubble...or in some kind of cloistered nunnery. I'm really glad I listened to my friend Beth and gave this one a go, even though (as expected) it was hard to watch at times and was far from uplifting. What made me more invested was that the narrator was himself close to the issue, given he had struggled (and was struggling) against an addiction. [Tangent: I love to see the voice of a film be immersed in the world it is discussing, even if it is unsavory. It becomes instantly more personal.]  It does a great job of muckraking (Michael Moore Light) on why the epidemic has gotten out of hand. Taking on the issue from multiple angles, the doc points the fingers at the drug companies and the doctors for basically keeping their patients sick and making them dependent on the very thing that is trying to heal them. True, you could probably yield this same info from an episode of 20/20, but still I think it's worth your time. c

Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime- A
Speaking of drugs and birth defects [Tangent: Best introductory clause ever!!], this movie is a doozie. My knowledge of Thalidomide was limited to me hearing about it in the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Fire and doing some googling many years ago. What I learned from that Internet query was reinforced by this doc- Thalidomide was a drug given to pregnant mothers in the late 50s and early 60s to stave off nausea. Mothers-to-be who were prescribed this "miracle drug" gave birth to children with missing body parts...and it happened en masse. It was a time when people who were born different didn't exactly have a leg up in society [Tangent: NOT A BAD JOKE...Just a poor choice of words.] so the sudden appearance of disability was often catastrophic resulting in child abandonment or even death. This was also way before social media paranoia and the information age was way in the distance, so it was a journalist that ultimately fought to bring out the truth and get compensation for families who didn't know what they were getting into with that RX. I'm pretty sure I liked it because a writer basically saved the day! [Tangent: After you watch, read this article about why it was a far superior movie than Spotlight. It's an interesting take.]

So what's next that will not be such a bummer?!?! 
Tell me what to watch, guys!
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