I'm So Great: The Rantings of a Jaded Youth

When I grow up, I want to be just like me.

Kim Boekbinder is awesome and you should check out her Impossible Tour August 27, 2011

Filed under: Half-Assed Product Reviews — Stephanie Fantastic @ 11:47 am
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For serious. She’s so great I could die. Check out her blog for more details on her tour. If you haven’t heard her music or the music of Vermilion Lies, which is also on that page, you should definitely check her out and then be as enthused as I am.

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Just a Quickey Today May 15, 2011

Hey guys! I just wanted to mention that Hell on Heels is doing another show at the Brick By Brick in San Diego on Saturday, June 25th. No pasties from me this time, but I’ll definitely be there in my retro best because, as you’ll recall, Tatas Through Time was a joy. (Not sure what era they want us to dress in yet but there’s time!)

 

Rocktopus by The Dread Crew of Oddwood. April 27, 2011

Did I say Period? That’s right. No more needs to be said because that name is pretty much as awesome as a CD name gets, but I’ll indulge your curiosity because I love to talk.

I’ve been mysteriously absent from the internet because I have had several things clumsily hidden under my hat and I didn’t want them all to spill out in a moment of unsure-footed exuberance. The lesser of those things was making five costumes for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Irwindale, Ca in a single week, totaling about 90 hours of work when combined with my day job. But just look at how awesome we looked as swashbuckling pirate brigands!

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But enough about me. (Sorry, I love me.) While perusing the many fine attractions of the RenFaire with my ever-fluctuating gigantic group, we stopped in a smoking section. What should we hear while standing amongst smoking monks and knights, but pirate shanties, my favorite type of shanty! I wandered away to watch a truly metal performance of Cities Burning, complete with hair-banging. “Rape! Burn! Kill! SLAUGHTER!” We had been on the way to lunch, but I couldn’t leave. The Dread Crew of Oddwood had sucked me in. They are amazing, and incredibly mobile onstage for guys lugging around a cello and a toy piano, not to mention the most visually appealing drum set I’ve ever seen. They sing some of the filthiest songs I’ve ever heard and you know how I relish face-contorting smut. I was bummed as hell when their set was over because even their grossest verses were hilarious. I went right over to buy their CDs and was delighted again by Rocktopus and Reign the Helm.

The bawdy drinking songs they performed on stage were much better live than recorded (as usual), but they also have a great selection of epic ballads that I can’t stop listening to. Seriously, Kraken Skulls? God yes. So give these guys a listen. They’re insanely awesome. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, just look at this CD cover.

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And as an end thought, I keep trying to embed the link to The Dread Crew’s web site, but apparently WordPress will only let me put in one link per post and I wasted it on the RenFaire site so here’s the address: http://www.thedreadcrewofoddwood.com/

 

Spoiler Alert: Everything About the Movie Brothers is Infuriating March 20, 2011

I don’t usually write movie reviews because I don’t watch a lot of movies and when I do, I’m generally never impressed or angry enough to want to tell people about it. Brothers, however… Okay, I knew it wasn’t going to be an incestuous Brokeback Mountain with Toby Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal, but I had hoped for at least a few lingering brotherly hugs. Whatever, you knew I was a perv. The commercials painted this movie to be almost a horror movie, with the suspicious husband coming back from Afghanistan and terrorizing his wife and brother for the affair he suspects. I did not expect a long, rambling drama with petty, unlikeable characters and no fucking end.

The movie kicks off with Toby Maguire, playing Captain Sam Cahill, writing a letter to his wife Natalie Portman (Grace). He is distracted and distant because this is the letter that will be sent out if he dies on his mission in Afghanistan. Okay, strong start. It gets progressively worse from here though. Flash back to Sam and Grace and their happy family. Their younger daughter, Maggie, is a cute and rambunctious five-year-old who loves her daddy. She wants nothing but hugs and playtime. The older daughter, Isabelle, who also looks about five but is apparently old enough to read a giant novel in bed while giving her dad the cold shoulder, is a little darker and remains so throughout the movie. The flashback centers around Sam going to pick up his older brother Tommy, Jake Gyllenhaal, from jail, where he’s been for a number of years, and Sam’s family asking why HE needs to go pick up his screw-up brother. Sam brings Tommy home for the first of several birthdays. This movie has more birthdays that a goddamn Bubba Gump’s. It’s like the writers were looking for an excuse to get the whole family together when really, if the grandparents had been over for dinner, I would not have questioned it at all. So older daughter Isabelle starts off the night by telling Tommy that Mommy doesn’t like him, leaving Grace to sputter and not ever actually say anything because she has the personality of a door knob the whole movie. Then Granddad shows up and scowls at Tommy. This exchange in particular pissed me off.

Tommy (in an attempt to get his dad to stop harping on him for not being Sam): The food’s good.
Granddad: Compared to what?
At this point, if I were Natalie Portman, I would have asked Granddad what his fucking problem with my food was, but like I said, she has the personality of a houseplant.
Tommy: Compared…to…other food…?
Granddad: Prison food?

Tommy then slams his hand on the table, furious, and scares the shit out of older daughter Isabelle, who is sitting next to him. Grandma takes Grandpa into the kitchen to scold him. At some point in the movie, it is revealed that Tommy and Sam’s real mom is dead, which is completely useless in furthering the plot because no mention is ever made about their real mom, who the new woman is or how they feel about her, or any life-altering things that happened because their mom is dead. Good job, you wasted a scene to make the movie more confusing and slow.

Blah blah blah, Sam is back in Afghanistan and suddenly some Marines are at Grace’s door to tell her he’s been killed in a helicopter crash. Tommy comes to Grace’s house later that night to drunkenly return their car which he insists Sam said he could borrow any time he wanted, tell her that the broken tail light was some other ass hole’s fault, and then yell at her for not liking him. She tells him that Sam is dead and he yells at her some more, making himself into an even more unlikeable character.

There IS a surprisingly touching moment when Grace walks into her daughters’ room before the funeral to see that older daughter Isabelle is no longer in her funeral dress. She falls into mother mode and asks the little girl to put it back on. The older daughter replies, face down from the bed, that the dress is uncomfortable and she doesn’t like it. Younger daughter Maggie complains in the half-hearted way of a child who is very, very sad that her dress is itchy and she also doesn’t want to wear it, and Grace has a moment where she is clearly torn between convention and the fact that her two very young daughters have just lost their dad and probably shouldn’t be made to wear itchy, uncomfortable dresses at his funeral. Cut to them in dark, but sensible, sweaters and jeans.

Of course, Granddad is back for the funeral and, while there was no booze at the cemetery and he had to have driven there, Tommy is asking for his keys and telling him he is not fit to drive. This results in a blaming war about who was responsible for Sam’s death in Afghanistan even though there is no way either of them could ever be responsible for him dying in a helicopter crash. Granddad gets a few more jabs in about Tommy being a jobless bum and then walks home. Are you starting to see how long this fucking movie is? The whole movie is set up for Sam to come home and be pissed when the set up should have been quick and the repercussions should have been the long bit.

Cut to Sam, alive. Unfortunately, this is not a big surprise because the commercials already told us that the movie would be about his return after everyone thought he was dead. It’s like when you read the synopsis of a Chuck Palahniuk book and they tell you things that are revealed on the last fucking page. Some people need to learn to tell stories. If I had just thought this movie was about the possible affair between widow and brother, I would have been delighted by the twist of Sam being alive, although not enough that this movie would be good by any stretch of the imagination. Anyways, he’s captured by Afghans and put in a hole with a private he saved from the crash and then video-taped being tortured and later beating the private to death at gunpoint.

While Sam is going through POW hell in Afghanistan, Tommy slowly becomes a part of Grace and the kids’ lives. He starts out as a nuisance, calling Grace up at three in the morning to pay a bar tab that he was going to walk out on and then sleeping at her house because he’s got nowhere else to go. Wanting to do something nice for her, he calls some of his friends to help him redecorate her hideous kitchen. I’m kind of bummed that Ethan Suplee lost about a million pounds and he still always plays the fat dumb guy, but I’d like to think that he refused to be the fat dumb guy who wore brand new pants to paint a kitchen with two little girls in the single-digit age group and for that I salute him. Seriously, who does that? Also, did Natalie Portman write this movie? Every person who comes into her house has to comment about how pretty she is. I know she’s pretty. It’s not like in Drive Angry where they had to set up that in this alternate universe ladies totally dig Nicolas Cage. So Tommy and Grace start off rocky but eventually get to talking and drinking and share a kiss. Grace immediately leaves and nothing more is said, a surprisingly smart move on both their parts. Tommy stays around though and becomes a second father to the girls, becoming very close with older daughter Isabelle, who feels like she is loved less than younger daughter Maggie, but nothing else ever happens between him and Grace.

Suddenly, Sam is back. There is no talk about how he got rescued or what happened. The last third of the movie (the interesting part) happens in a rushed blur. Sam’s back and he’s eerie and he’s cooly asking Tommy if he fucked Grace while Sam was officially dead. At dinner, he is confused about a joke the youngest daughter makes and he won’t let it go, which is evidence that he’s disturbed because little kids never make any fucking sense anyhow.

Then at younger daughter Maggie’s birthday, Tommy shows up with a random girl he met an hour before who completely dominates the conversation (“OMG, Grace is SO pretty.”). Isabelle, who is already pissed that this woman is here taking Uncle Tommy away from her, begins to make a lot of annoying noise while glaring daggers at New Broad. Finally, Sam can’t take it anymore and he lunges across the table and pops the balloon Isabelle is making noise with. Isabelle bursts into tears and rails at her dad for being in Afghanistan for her birthday but coming home for Maggie’s. Everyone is taken aback but she’s a little girl and couldn’t possibly understand how hurtful what she said was, right? Then she yells, “Couldn’t you just stay dead? You’re just mad cause Mom would rather sleep with Uncle Tommy! Mom and Uncle Tommy had sex all the time!” What? This kid is 8 at the oldest. This is just bad writing. What the hell kind of 8-year-old would know that that was the most painful button to push? I’m not saying that 8-year-olds don’t know that sex is around but I’ve never met an 8-year-old who was perceptive enough to know the role that sex plays in adult relationships. If anyone should have planted the seed of doubt into Sam’s head about Tommy and Grace, it should have been Granddad, who had come over early one morning and saw that Tommy had slept over. Isabelle is relatively dark and hurtful for a kid, but Granddad is just the kind of ass hole to draw his own conclusions about Tommy sleeping over and make a snide comment to Sam about it.

Anyhow, little Maggie in her party hat with her untouched birthday cake in front of her asks to leave and Sam takes his family home in furious silence. Back at Granddad’s, Tommy’s lady has split and Tommy says he’s headed to Sam and Grace’s to sort this mess out. Granddad yells at Tommy’s back that it’s none of Tommy’s business and (step-?)Grandma suggests that they should immediately call the police. Impending shit-storm tripled!

Grace tucks the girls in and asks Isabelle why she would say what she said, especially since she knows it’s not true. Isabelle says she doesn’t like Daddy and wishes that Uncle Tommy was her new dad and Maggie agrees. Grace goes downstairs to stare at Sam and not say anything while he completely freaks out and destroys the kitchen Tommy redid, smashing pretty much everything and pulling cabinets off the wall. I love a good destruction scene, so even though I was worried that Sam would eventually turn his rage on Grace and beat her to death with a coffee-maker, I enjoyed the tornado of rage. Of course, just as Sam calms down enough to stop screaming and throwing crap, Tommy walks in cautiously and with his hands where everyone can see them. He very slowly walks up to Sam and very slowly hugs him. Then the police sirens sound.

Sam flips out again and pulls a gun, shrieking at Tommy for calling the police and leaving a barrel impression in Tommy’s cheek. Grace books it up to the girls’ room screaming and tells them to lock their door. Sam ends up outside screaming at the police, nearly kills himself with the gun, and is taken to jail. His one phone call goes to Tommy to say, “You’re my brother.” I guess that was supposed to be a truce moment, but it really could have meant anything the way he deadpanned it.

Cut to Grace visiting Sam in a veteran’s mental hospital. She tells him she’ll leave him if he doesn’t tell her what happened to him in Afghanistan, he spills, movie over. That quickly. No aftermath, no epilogue, nothing. I feel like I could have been at least okay with the movie if there had been some kind of wrap up. I mean, Isabelle just listened to her dad almost kill her mom and then himself because of a lie she told. That’s going to fuck a little kid up, probably for life. And now neither the grandparents nor Sam is sure what went on with Grace and Tommy so even if Sam does get help and get out of the mental hospital, that’ll always be looming over their marriage and their family life. And Tommy never did get a job as far as the movie was concerned so how has he even been surviving? The whole movie was frustrating and then nothing was solved. Don’t watch this movie. Honestly, I’m sorry if you read this whole review.

 

A Weekend in Review: Long Beach Mardi Gras and 80s Night at the Hully Gully March 7, 2011

My calves are a-sore from walking and dancing the weekend away. I was super jazzed about a night of debauchery and booze at the 2nd Annual Long Beach Mardi Gras, which promised costumes, music, and New Orleans flavor. They had a parade at 3, but I missed it because I’m a layabout and I just couldn’t get out of the house in time despite a relatively early start. I heard later from some Canadian adventurers that the parade was joyous and colorful and completely confusing because they did not remember Compton being so friendly-looking.

We arrived in Long Beach around 3:30 and the parking was plentiful, but kind of a pain in the ass. If you plan on going next year, bring cash so you don’t have to wander around looking for an ATM and also free parking so you can use said ATM. I didn’t have to do that because I somehow had cash on me, a rare occurrence, but Ernie was totally screwed. Whoops. When we got there, the children’s section was only mildly bustling despite the opportunity to jump in one of several bounce-houses, make masks, and play in a giant balloon floating in a pool of water. I really wanted to play in a giant balloon in a pool of water but the sign told me I had to ask about the weight limit and I figured if I had to ask, I was too heavy.

We wandered away from the kids section and people attempted to sell me beads from stalls even though I obviously didn’t need them.

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See that yellow and pink bag? It’s chock full of nothing but beads and glitter. Ernie and I wandered away from the kids’ section in search of some debauchery but everywhere we looked were strollers and toddlers. Where was I supposed to throw my beads?! Past the art for sale and the puppet animal stalls, past the bead stalls and picnickers we went in search of the fabled Party Gras. We headed toward the press of people on the pier, but when we got there, that’s all there was really. Just lots of people, milling about. There were costumes a-plenty, more than a few pirates, and an Elvis on stilts who sweet-talked all the ladies.

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Interspersed in the crowd were more children, being sticky and preventing any boobs. I still gave out a lot of beads though, because I believe in fun.

We wandered around the various shops, which were eerily reminiscent of Seattle’s Pike Place. All the buildings on the pier were super brightly painted, so of course I wanted to live in all of them. There were a couple of jazz bands and we accidentally went into a fenced-off area where our bags needed to be checked for whatever reason, but there really wasn’t anything going on. When we were satisfied that we’d seen everything that was happening, we joined a friend for dinner and drinks in the hopes that when we left, there would be less kids and more drunk, promiscuous women showing off their tits. By the time we got out of Bubba Gumps, where everyone in the damn restaurant is celebrating their 21st birthday until the end of time, there were pretty much no people on the streets. It was unfortunate because we had dragged old Lames Foreman out to Mardi Gras with the promise of boobs, but I had another engagement to rush off to so, disappointed though I was, I had to dash anyway.

I was off to 80s Night at the Hully Gully with the lovely Sara and her friend Maria. I had never been, but it was lots of fun. Basically, there are two rooms with bars and a dance floor inside and a DJ blasts 80s music at everyone and they 80s dance all night. I generally don’t dance so 80s dancing, which from what I observed mainly consists of shuffling from foot to foot, was an easy way to get into it. I was apparently good enough at shuffling because I garnered the attention of a relatively cute guy who had apparently been told that 80s dancing consisted of two-handed grabbing ladies butts and then rubbing your junk on them.

When we parted company with him and made for the much cooler smoking patio, we happened upon the aforementioned Canadian adventurers and told them many tales of dildos and lube accidentally left where everyone could see. It was still Mardi Gras for me so I gave all three of them beads and FINALLY got to see some exposed chests.

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All around a fun weekend, although yesterday I came about as close to death as I’ve ever been. Ernie and I were driving home after midnight on the 241-S, the toll road that is the only freeway into Rancho Santa Margarita. It wasn’t raining so much as maliciously misting. Ernie drives a lot slower than I do, but we hit a puddle of water or something and our car was suddenly spinning out of control. We spun at least twice, then unintentionally Tokyo drifted across the wide, grassy median, and ended up across two lanes on the 241-N, completely unscathed. It was the glass lamps falling on me at Tuesday Morning but on a much grander scale. Something’s watching out for me. Once we’d gotten the engine back on, Ernie got off the freeway and got back on going the way we needed instead of just driving back over the median like I wanted to. It was probably for the best. It looks like our car got out miraculously unharmed too, although it is completely filthy and there is a lot of plant matter all up in the rims. I pulled out a dandelion before work today.

Back on topic though, the Hully Gully was a much better time than I could have expected, not being fanatical about 80s music or dancing where people can see me. Our friends from the North helped a lot with that though. And the Long Beach Mardi Gras had potential but was unorganized and lacked the type of shameless people who would really make it shine. I’ve never actually been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans however, so I really have no basis for comparison.

 

Tatas Through Time was a joy! February 14, 2011

I know I haven’t been able to shut up about Hell on Heels for the last week, but I went to their Tatas Through Time show on Saturday at the Brick by Brick and it was such a blast!

The Brick by Brick, in case you’ve never been there but plan on going (for example, to Hell on Heels’ next show ;D), is tucked inconspicuously away behind the Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ and Saloon, which is also pretty awesome. Tatas Through Time was retro dress optional for the audience and, as you know, I fucking love dressing up. I called up my ex-hairdresser mom and my fabulous grandma and they gave me the most ridiculous beehive for the show. This thing was obscenely big and full when they first teased it onto my head, but my hair is notorious for not doing what hairspray wants. Check out that progression:

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My grandma’s only warnings about the beehive were to stay away from open flames and to avoid humidity because it would make my hair frizz. Well, I did pretty well avoiding open flames, but the Brick by Brick was so packed for the show that every single person was intimately acquainted with every person around them so frizz I did. No room for a stray boner in there. Good thing we weren’t seeing anything sexy–oh wait…

When we first walked in, there was a girl laid out on a table in nothing but pasties, nude panties, and a garnish of strawberries in whipped cream. This is about the only thing I got a picture of because once we packed in for the show, there was no room or energy for dicking around with a camera.

The show was an absolute delight though. The girls were sparkly and energetic and even their scantily clad clean-up dame was showy and bubbly as she tidied up the glittering, discarded gloves and bras and assorted costume bits and brought out the next act.

I of course had an interest in Miss Ginger N. Whiskey because she was wearing my pistol pasties in her Bonnie Parker act and my sheriff stars in her Calamity Jane act, but I would have had to give her a mention even if she hadn’t been because she was absolutely adorable in every way. Her act was very classy and she had such an innocent energy. I was immediately smitten. Check out the pasties! I worked so hard on them and I was bummed that I couldn’t get any good pictures of them on stage. Nothing makes you feel like a pervert quite like attempting to take a picture of something that is nipple-mounted.

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All the girls were amazing. The Betty Boop act knocked us dead, and I almost swooned when Rosie the Riveter took off her jumpsuit to reveal a red, white, and blue glitter corset, then again when she removed the striped corset to reveal a glitter blue bra with a giant star in the middle. And while each girl rocked, my entire group fell madly in love with the Amazon woman Bibi Bordeaux. Pictures are great, but seeing this woman in action is a treat. She was graceful and coy and her act really played into the glorious burlesque tradition of showing just the right amount of skin at any given moment but always keeping the audience straining to see more.

The Hell on Heels troupe is already hard at work on their next show, Dangerous Curves Ahead, which will be on April 1st also at the Brick By Brick. Plan ahead and see them! They’re better and cheaper than a movie. If you missed Tatas Through Time, you missed out on the most entertainment you could possibly get for $10!

 

Flossing December 13, 2010

So I’ve recently taken up flossing. Recently as in a couple months ago when my bee eff came home from the dentist and told me he had to go back for a sort-of painful procedure called root planing because his gums were full of plaque. My sister Ashley also recently had to have this procedure done because of a bout of trench mouth that gave her early-onset gingivitis and she wasn’t raving about it either. Ashley’s terrible medical problems are weird and unlikely enough to fill their own post though. (“When they put me under to take out my gall-bladder, it was like ice-water going through my veins and I was so cold but I couldn’t get a blanket inside me.”) The point is, root planing does not sound like something I want to go through so I began to floss.

I had never quite understood the point of flossing until I started doing it with adult eyes. I was morbidly fascinated as I watched the floss pull out bits that my toothbrush couldn’t hope to touch in its most satisfying toothbrush dreams. When I get around to finding a dentist on my new insurance, he’s not going to be able to CONTAIN his erection upon seeing my clean, clean teeth! Now I can feel when I need to floss and I feel better for doing it. All around, flossing wasn’t too bad or too time-consuming.

That is, until I cheaped out at Target and bought their Target brand floss because it was 10 cents less than the brand I had originally gotten. “Only 79 cents for the same amount of floss? What a deal!” I WON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN. This floss is the worst thing ever invented. It’s advertised as Mintastic!, which was part of the reason why I thought it would be funny to buy it. Buying things because they’re vaguely amusing to me has proved to be a terrible idea in the past and now, but I continue to do it because I don’t learn. “Mintastic!” apparently means covered in grainy sugar-crystal-esque sweetness. In addition to the unsavory texture problem, when I attempt to run the floss between my teeth, it splinters and breaks, leaving behind impossible-to-extricate floss bits. Now a normal person would throw this shitty floss away, but I DID pay 79 cents for it, so I feel like I need to use it up before I buy another reel of floss. I also kept that Neutrogena facial scrub that I hated so much. It’s just sitting in my linen closet like a ticking time bomb.

I guess the point reiterated is that I don’t learn. Also, if you have a choice between Oral B and Target brand, for God’s sake get the Oral B.