Friday, August 26, 2016

When the Real World was the Real World.

Unsolicited foreword: This week was a 9.75 on the scale of writing weeks [Tangent: A 10 is near impossible to achieve.]. I got awesome feedback, virtual high fives and an unreasonable amount of shares from my last post for Ravishly about Body Acceptance with a Disability and I transcended my self-imposed goal of getting 1000 followers on the That Girl in the Wheelchair FB page. I'm not sharing this embarrassment of goodwill to be at all self-congratulatory, but to prove that I am not changing my overall dynamic. You can put lipstick on a sack of garbage, and it's still a sack of garbage, ya know?  I'm about to take all that respect I have acquired and potentially flush it down the shitter like a dead goldfish. Please remember that I can be respected and  real down and dirty on reality TV programming from 20 years ago. See. Same ol me (janky photoshop skills and all,)

 In Tennessee, we had a bit of a rainy swampy Saturday, which meant it gave me the perfect excuse to laze around in an omelette induced fugue state and do absolutely nothing. I was a shut-in and I loved it. As if I had an omnipresent entity reading my yet- to- be- transcribed dream journal, I flipped on my TV and discovered my new happy place, MTV classic. They were airing a Real World Venice Beach marathon from the early 90s and at that moment I checked my pulse to see if I was still among the living. [Tangent: If that Real World season, situated directly between the premiere cast and the Pedro/Puck San Francisco madness, doesn't sound familiar, then maybe you had a hobbies or a social life as a child...or maybe you just weren't alive yet..or maybe you didn't use a TV as a babysitter. (By the way, all of these options depress me terribly). If the mention is not ringing any bells, allow me to engage your synapses: David is accused of rape. Irish Dominic is ridiculous. New roommate Beth tells everyone she is gay with a joke t-shirt from Gadzooks. Tami gets an abortion and her jaw wired shut (not on the same episode). Seriously, this is as real as it gets.]

I immediately called my best friend with a second-coming-of-Christ excitement level (I mean I'm guessing)... and told her to immediately turn it on and fall down the nostalgia vortex with me. She happily obliged. Motherhood hasn't rearranged her priorities so much that she doesn't understand what truly watching strangers from over 20 years ago do everyday things like read paper maps and have fights over who left dishes in the sink. [Tangent: As you can note from this textchange, we were both pretty bummed we had forgotten about Glen, who looks as if he was straight peeled out of an Airwalk ad circa 1994, thus making him a real dreamboat to my middle school sensibilities.]

Shirking all responsibility, I sat there through about 4 hours of delightfully unpolished un-steadicammed action [Tangent: Seriously the LIGHTING was terrible. You saw every blemish and everything looked like your eyes hadn't quite adjusted to light yet and were being viewed through an odd dimness. It was low budget magic and the most true representation of #nofilter.] The crap quality and true looseness was refreshing and stood so apart from anything you would see on reality TV today. It felt authentic.

There were scenes where no one was wearing any semblance of makeup and the people cast were not all stunningly gorgeous, and there were moments on screen when they were doing literally nothing. They didn't have job assignments to give the series direction. They all had their own lives, they just happened to be all living in some random condo in Venice Beach.  [Tangent: I mean one housemate, Irene, was planning a wedding and left the show when she got married and Aaron, the surfer, was studying for his business school finals. This is before people left their day jobs to pursue the then unheard of career path of "reality star".] Regardless, I was riveted, and not just because it was a beloved relic from my past, but also because I found it so otherworldly.

They were actual people, I mean people in velvet chokers and duck head shorts, so 90s people, but regular people nonetheless. The arguments seemed organic and not contrived. The medium was so new that there was no focus on "having a house romance" for a storyline or attempting to have "shock value". Everyone of the house members was fully formed because they weren't trying to achieve predetermined archetypes or go on to get a spin-off series or a place in some sort of Challenge scenario. 

As you know, because I have shamelessly shouted my love and appreciation for trashy reality from the highest mountain [Tangent: Picture me spinning Sound of Music style reveling in the meticulously editted Bachelor and the batshit crazy that is the Duggar family.], I get how it works and I know today's reality is far too self-aware, so it was nice to take a mini stay-cation with my first love, the Real World. [Tangent: Before two timing it with season one of Road Rules the next day. Ahhhh...bliss.]

Have you been watching MTV classic? Seriously, its the best reason to have cable.  If you don't, here is your dose of humor and nostalgia to tide you over until you can scam off a friend's cable or until MTV releases every season on streaming, it's Buzzfeed's rank of the first 10 seasons of the Real World's housemates. It's fantastic. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses Vol. 20: August 2016 Edition

I have been incredibly busy or otherwise occupied this summer, so my Netflix has become a stranger to my aimless scrolling and viewing [Tangent: That's not entirely true. I gorged myself on Orange is The New Back and Stranger Things because I am human, after all. And when I say "busy"- I'm not off hiking to Maccu Piccu (you're shocked), it's more like I'm hindered by Bachelor in Paradise, The Olympics and Political conventions, three things that are more alike than one might think. ]. Ironically enough, I have seen two documentaries in theaters, so that sort of balances out my negligence to this self-imposed viewing challenge I remain hell-bent on adhering to since August 2014. Luckily I have an influx of  suggestions from like-minded souls to lengthen my queue and expand my mind. [Tangent:...and even made me cry and lose sleep in one particular case...but you'll read about that below.] 

 The Champions- A-
This film documents the current lives of the pit bulls rescued from Micheal Vick's dog fighting ring [Tangent: See I watch sports documentaries some times.] and it was equal parts smiles and tears. I first heard about this one on an episode of Doug Loves Movies, and all I need to hear is "dogs" and "doc" and consider it added to my watch list. My favorite aspect was learning how and why the perception of pit bulls has changed over time considering they were not so long ago considered fantastic dogs for children. I mean, Petey on The Little Rascals was a Pit mix. Considering most of the most aggressive dog breeds are under 20 pounds (or reside on a pillow at the end of my bed.), this movie is must watch for fierce Pitt bull defenders as well as those who are on the fence about the breed. Also, its happy endings abound...which let's face it- is generally not the case in documentaries.

In the Shadow of the Moon- A
Generally this would not be on my radar. On the surface it looks like History channel fodder and not offering anything additional or different to the dinner party. Luckily, my stuck up self was wrong and I surround myself with valuable and opinionated persons that steer me in the right infinity and beyond. This movie had all the things I love, archival footage, adorable older people and good stories. I guess prior to viewing this film, I had never fully wrapped my mind around the fact that only 12 men have seen the surface of the moon live in person and at close range. I probably knew that, but had not fully flipped it over and digested it in my mind. I loved the interviews with the surviving members of the Apollo missions and did not expect to be so touched by the magic of being in that situation. You just don't expect engineers to be so poetic.

Top Spin- B-
Because I have a tinge of Olympic fever, I thought it apropo that I throw in a sports doc. One would think I would use that as an excuse to finally break the seal on 30 for 30 docs. Nope, I opted to watch one about Olympic ping-pong hopefuls trying to prepare for the 2012 London games. [Tangent: I actually have a vested interest in table tennis, because growing up, it was basically the only sport I played in gym class. They let me play that while my peers were running the mile and doing their presidential fitness challenges.] Because I LOVED the aptly titled senior table tennis doc, Ping Pong, I figured I would be on board for this. Unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as the geriatric edition I had previously viewed. [Tangent: In my book, sassy old folks will always win over teens...and I don't think I'm alone in that judgement.] Because I am a former ping pong athlete, one would think I understand the rigorous training, but apparently my HS gym class wasn't prepping me for gold. It was very unexpected to see all the weight and endurance training that went into this basement sport. I definitely take it more seriously...and have a favorite to watch in Rio.

TransFatty Lives- A+
Sometimes I can't sleep, and twas maybe not the most brilliant idea to begin watching this at midnight one night...because it's about a creative gent my age who gets diagnosed with ALS. I have reviewed documentaries about ALS before and have known people who lived with it live in 3D, but something about this movie hit me square in the gut [Tangent: By an abstract force wearing spiked brass knuckles who was juicing.] It's definitely a raw emotional roller coaster. You will laugh and cry and question the fairness of life. I won't promise that it won't turn you into a nihilist. The subject is "Trans Fatty", a DJ/multimedia artist/Internet sensation who turns his diagnosis into a film project. I loved the utter fearlessness and honesty behind the film. He bared his insecurities, family life, vulnerabilities and his penis for the sake of art. It wasn't inspirational for the sake of inspiration....he was honest and his attitude and humor was amazing in the face of the shitstorm that comes with ALS. Despite having to resort to a self-induced benedryl coma after the 2 AM feelings it brought to the surface, I'm so glad Rae suggested this one to me.

Ghost Heads - C+/B-
Having just seen the Paul Feig directed Ghostbusters reboot a week or two before, this doc about obsessive GhostBusters fanatics was the perfect companion piece.  I really love a spotlight on a fanatical niche group [Example: I am counting down the minutes until Mom Jovi is available for me to stream.]. They included interviews with all of the original cast as well as delved into the fanatics. Some of them were amazing...some irritated me a little. It was definitley a heaping helping of nostalgia and the fans were not mocked, but treated with respect, whcih isn't always the case with similar stories. It was short and sweet. Nothing profound or earth shattering and it probably won't be a rewatch at any point, but it did lead me to google "Nashville area ghostbusters" so there's that. 

Call Me Lucky- A
This movie made me completely intrigued with Barry Crimmins and embarrassed that I was not familiar with him prior. [Tangent: It's a similar experience to how I felt following What Happened,  Miss Simone?, which I didn't love as much as some did, but I appreciated because it fully introduced me to someone impactful that I wasn't previously acquainted with. By the end, both of these films made their subjects feel fully formed and authentic.] To put Crimmins into one category would be difficult, he goes from being a bombastic comedian to a curmudgeon to a victim advocate. You go from being not sure how to take him to wanting to give him an extended, uncomfortable bear hug.The movie is a journey where you unpeel layers of a man and hear perspectives from those he has basically saved to those he has impacted like comics Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt and David Cross. It's also refreshing to see his fearlessness and brutal honesty in comedy. He dipped his foot (or rather his entire body) into getting political to the point of marginalization. His successors in this world like John Stewart and Louis Black are merely following in his legacy. I hesitate to say too much about his personal history and upbringing, because that reveal is important and heart-wrenching.  [Tangent: I started this thing a few months ago where I put phrases I find compelling into my phones notepad. I did that thrice during this movie.]

I can't believe I have done 20 of these posts and did my first one 2 years ago. [Tangent: See mom....I can stick to things!] , but I have had a hell of a time curating them! It excites me to no end when I get a comment or a message from someone whose brain has just been busted wide open by one that I have written about and they want to have a postmortem about it. If you ever want to catch up on my docu-archives. Check out this link and go to town on non-fiction programming.  Now what should I watch next? 

Monday, August 8, 2016

IZ Adaptive review: What took me so long? (A pants hater comes around)

 If you know me at all, you know I wear a lot of skirts and dresses. It's not because I'm exorbitantly ladylike or sophisticated [Tangent: Surely that's not breaking news. You know my last blog was about eating 4 bags of potato chips in the name of investigative journalism...or rather being a garbage person.] Pants have always been distressing. Skinny jeans are even worse. As they say in more rural areas,  It's a little like fitting 10  lbs of flour in a 5 lb bag. So when I wear jeans it's usually with them unbuttoned or sized up (sometimes even multiple number sizes) to accommodate the ass that won't quit (as in quit making it difficult to fit into pants). [Tangent: I realize I'm seemingly small, but I'm decidedly not off the rack sized.]  Considering this has been a lifelong struggle, it's utter nonsense that it's taken me so many years to try out adaptive jeans. Enter IZ adaptive.

I've heard good things and even modeled one of their "fashion IZ freedom" shirts for a social media campaign last year [Tangent: If you are seeking more photos of me looking awkward, you can see that photo here. Legitimately, though, it's an amazing program. 100% of the sale of this shirt goes towards initiatives to install colorful ramps across the country to make communities more accessible] as well as stalked their inventory, but still- I had trouble biting. I loved that they offered modified apparel with features like more butt room, added stretch, and vented backs- all things that are crucial for someone that spends all day in a seated position.  Even still, I worried they would look hella "disabled" in person and consistently talked myself out of it. I was haunted by the premonition of ortho garments. Function seemed boring. [Tangent: I talked myself out of ease and happiness by continuing to improvise and do things the hard way. Such is a recurring theme in my life. Suck on that psych majors.]

However, a couple weeks ago, I saw they were having a massive sale, so I threw caution to the wind and picked up a pair of jeggings. I have gone through several pairs over the years and am always "making do" with the fit. The IZ box sat on my dresser for 10 days. Trying on jeans has been such an Achilles heel for me and I'm conditioned to believe they won't work. Doomed to fail before I try. Well, yesterday was the day I tried them on and now I never want to take them off.

They're incredible! Can I be really honest for a minute!? Although it would be awkward and difficult to accomplish without looking like I had just suffered a fall from my chair, I wish y'all could see how well they fit in the butt [Tangent: Or lack there of rather because for once its not sticking out 2 inches.] Like that 10 lbs of flour is in an adequately sized bag which has never happened before. Hell. They're might even be more room to eat potato chips.

I'm not a fashion blogger, so when I write about something you know it's a legit product I love. [Tangent: You also can tell I'm not a fashion blogger because in lieu of constructing a fashionable ensemble to showcase said new pants, I went full Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA with my look. Oh well, I WAS born in the at least I am being true to myself, right? I guess the look worked for Newman because he couldn't have been more in the way when I was taking these pictures.]

I immediately took to social media and informed the company that I was a fan of their pants and would surely be a return customer and told them without provocation that I would be writing a review. They then asked me if I wouldn't mind being an affiliate on their site and offered me a sneak peak of their fall collection, which offers staples like bathrobes, leather jackets and sailor jeans. [Tangent: I'm intrigued by the logistics of this bathrobe. Because I worked at a lingerie store for 3 years, I own a couple, but they are far from practical. Imagine staying completely seated and wiggling in and out of those suckers. Nightmare! It excites me that they have reinvented that wheel for us wheeled ones.]

Because I apparently am fearless in asking for favors, I asked in return that they give me some kind of discount to offer you fine folks [Tangent: At least the ones of you that use wheelchairs.] so maybe the ones of you that were on the fence could jump aboard the train to more butt room. They kindly obliged.

The Promo code to get 20% off your next purchase on their website is:  IZFIRST20 

Oh and while we are semi on the topic of clothes and wheelchairs and that may not come up for many moons, I would like to tell ya'll about two topical and amazing things which may rock your world.

1. Tickets are now on sale  here for the Fashion is For Every Body show that I have been working on for over a year under the fierce tutilage of Alicia the Spashionista. She selected me more based on my ability to be inappropriate along side her and less for my fierce modeling that will definitely be something to witness in person. It's Sept 10th in Nashville. Be there.

2. Last week I got in the mail a sweet "disabled" enamel pin [Tangent: Or a "lapel label" as it got pointed out to me.] You can see me rocking it quite proudly on my purse in the pics above or here on instagram. It's one of my new favorite things because it is hilarious to state the obvious and I like to support creative peeps like the lady behind Normal Land Designs go support her, dammit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fat Kid Reviews: Lay's Passport to Flavor 2016 Reviews

If you're new to my blog, then you may not know that I am a full time garbage person. For the sake of my vanity, pretend to be shocked. Like the more ridiculously decadent something sounds, I will inevitably want it in my haste. I'm not really above anything culinarily speaking, which is both a blessing and a curse. I'm only thankful my small torso has a low capacity or else I know for a fact that I would be vying for a TLC special dedicated to my adipose. 

With this in mind,  it seemed like full-on serendipity [Tangent: happenstance...not the John Cusack vehicle.] that I should stumble upon all 4 Lays limited edition flavors at Target the same day this blog showed up in my time hop and the same day that my Hello Giggles article about having shitty skin issues got published. [Tangent: OK, so the last one about my greasy t-zone is not exactly a ringing endorsement for my occasional fat kid diet, but it seemed disturbingly apropo. Also, many apologies if that just made you puke everywhere, you will hopefully regain your composure/appetite by the end of this blog.] Regardless of these factors, I was excited! FLAVORS OF THE WORLD... NO LESS! 4 tickets to paradise, coming right up. 

Tasting potato chips encrusted with flavor profiles from the four corners of the globe is the perfect pre-cursor to my falling head over b-hole into my Olympic euphoria [Tangent: I give a damn about sports for 2 weeks every couple years. My uninhibited fervor can only take it that often.] Given my penchant for ethnic food, to say my hopes were high would be an understatement; there wasn't one I wasn't strangely intrigued by.  Who will come out the Wasabi Soy Kettle Chips and who will be the Cappaucino of 2016?  [Spoiler Alert: There were no big losers this year I was pretty happy with all of the contenders. It's not like the year I nearly gagged in that bag of mango salsa potato crisps.]

First Place: Indian Tikka Masala Kettle chips
 [Warning: This big win comes with extreme bias because I submitted this exact chip flavor to the contest last year.  Although I haven't been notified of some huge cash prize, I rest easy in the fact that it exists and I can eat it. That's prize enough for me. This fight was also unfair because I happen to think kettle chips are better than any other chip regardless of flavor. Texture is key. When I read Gulp by Mary Roach, she explained that we generally base our enjoyment of potato chips largely on crunch-ability. That's just science, ya'll! ]  These chips are intense and not unlike their inspiration, they will stay with you. Aftertaste for days. Luckily I love Indian spices like tumeric, so I have no problem that they linger in my mouth longer than anticipated. Whoever applied spice did so with a heavy hand, though, so refrain from putting in contact lenses for a while after eating, unless you scrub down with surgical precision or want to know what it feels like to have your retina get flavor blasted. I'm definitely a fan because it's like eating my favorite takeout dish without getting super terrible gas afterwards [Tangent: TMI? Probably, but we all know Indian food is notorious for butt burps. This is not new info ]  I like that shortcut to delicious. 

Second Place: Greek Tzatziki Wavy Chips
 Again, I am a huge fan of the source material as I could easily drink tzatziki sauce straight from the ladle at my favorite Greek restaurant [Tangent: The one where the meat slicer looks like Oscar Issac, which is completely inconsequential but begs to be mentioned.] I doubted that a sauce that is cucumber and yogurt based would really blow my skirt up because I suspected it would be too mild. However, as soon as I opened the bag, I immediately smelled that familiar smell and was on board. I will admit I tried this one first in the rotation and I liked it more when my tongue wasn't muddied with 3rd world spice [Tangent: Probably the least effective of the Spice Girls.] They would be a good option when you wanted a less intense Sour Cream and Onion. 

Tied for Third: Brazilian Picanha and Chinese Szechuan Chicken chips
 I couldn't pick a clear loser because both of these had heavy pros and cons. One was delightful at first and then awful aftertaste-wise and the other was underwhelming while I was eating them, but had a pleasant kick in the pants at the end. 
Having never had Brazilian food and hearing nothing but unsavory things about Rio in prep for the Olympics, [Tangent: Raw sewage poop water, dead bodies washing up on shore on the beach volleyball court...etc.  None of these make we want to take a bite of their delicacies. That's not's just honesty. ] my expectations were not insanely high. Because I'm guessing the fine folks at Lay's assumed there were others out there like me that may be dubious, they were also the only chips of the bunch that had a little subtitle : steak and chimichurri. That changed my expectation slightly and damned if they really didnt taste like actual steak. Some would find a meaty chip offputting, but I dug it. The trouble with this snack food resided in the problematic aftertaste, which made me feel like I had been gnawing on cardboard. Where did that peppercorny magic go? Not awful...just not great.

The Chinese contingent had the opposite issue. I was completely bored with them when I first started eating them, which was surprising because I consider Chinese (or Asian food in general) to never be lacking in the flavor department. The after burn seconds later was intense and made up for the lack luster initial meeting. If you don't mind something slightly hot, then I think you will enjoy it. I only wish I didn't have to wait for it. I'm hella impatient.  
 So that's my 2 cents on how I spent 10 dollars. 
Which have you tried? 
Which are you most excited about? I gotta know. 
Tell me I am not fat kidding out alone!
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