Thursday, August 20, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Rockstar BOOM!

LOOK WHO STILL HAS A BLOG. It's me. I still have this blog. Now that I'm on my new meds (Zoloft) and I know I don't have to be a mortgage receptionist forever (temp job end date TBA), I am feeling a lot less terrible about life and maybe I will write things again. So I'm here today to give you all a heartfelt update about something deeply personal to me... new energy drink flavors, obvs! Isaac picked up a couple of these new Rockstar BOOM! drinks for me somewheres and I'm trying the "whipped strawberry" flavor first.

FLAVOR: Oh wow. It kind of tastes like a smoothie. And like actual strawberries may have been involved in the manufacture of this product. It is pretty damn tasty. Like no other energy drink. Not chemical-y at all. This is some good shit, y'all. It's a little sweet to drink too fast, but I like it.

EFFECTIVENESS: I am less than completely exhausted today, just regular damn tired, but afternoons are long in this lobby and the alarm at 7:01 a.m.* comes REAL early. I think it is working but I just had to do a bunch of work stuff and it was stupid. FACT: uppers can't make you not hate your job. Definitely a perk-up. Standard for Rockstar caffeination levels. I drank it over the course of about an hour and a half and TBH, I'm already coming back down and getting tired again. I do not blame the Rockstar, however, I'm just a tired, tired lady.

OVERALL: Try it! I recommend it!      (!!)

Trying the orange one tomorrow probs. Will update.

*I do not set alarms for even numbers. That's just... wrong. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Comedy, Not Energy Drinks!*

Friends, it has been a rough patch here in Laurendale. I went off my meds a few months ago when we were uninsured/for the same stupid experimental reasons mentally ill people decide to go off their meds every once in awhile. My anxiety has not been too, too terrible, but I am working full time as a receptionist, so that is grinding my soul into tiny pieces every passing moment.

ANYWAY, after a performing hiatus, I have a few comedy things happening again. Would you like to come see my face doing comedy at you in person (in Minneapolis)? HERE'S WHERE YOU CAN DO THAT:

I made this. I feel a lot of pride about that.
Pantsuit Comedy Showcase
Friday, July 10th, 10:00 p.m.
Phoenix Theater in Uptown--$5 advance/$7 door
My friends Lauren and Kristen and I are putting this together with the hopes that it will become a regular monthly thing showcasing Twin Cities lady-type comedy acts. I'll be hosting this on Friday, and in addition to a standup and two great improv duos, I'll be running a trivia game with our performers as a panel (still not quite sure what this will look like but I'M WORKING ON IT, YOU GUYS.). Come support female comedians it will be funny and also cheap.

Big Time Horse
Saturday, July 11th, 10:00 p.m.
Phoenix Theater in Uptown--$5
My group Useful Knots (2nd Place Troika Madness, 2015) is getting back together for some more shows, the first of which is Big Time Horse! There will be improv, standup, an open mic, and various shenanigans! Come one, come all!

Fresh Air Improv
Wednesday, July 15th, 7:00 p.m.
Loring Park Bandstand--FREE
Do you love live performances but don't want to go inside because it's SUMMER, DUH? BOTH. DO BOTH! My crew Snack Time is performing with two other improv groups in the outside, in a park, for FREE. Take your allergy meds and come join us!

Brave New Workshop Sketch Lab Table Read
(tentative) Friday, July 17th, after the main stage show
Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre
Come see the BNW main stage cast in their awesome (probably, I haven't seen it yet, but they are literally pros) sketch show, Mad Vax: Beyond Measledome. Afterwards, my sketch writing class (which happens to be all ladies, HOLLA!) will be doing readings of some of our best sketches of the session. I might be singing a song about space tigers, but this is still mostly TBD.

*I reserve the right to drink energy drinks before doing comedy, I'm just pointing out that this is actually not an energy drink review, but a shameless self promotion post. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Mossy Oaks Pursuit Energy

Good, extremely good, will probably also be good when I drink it later this week.
This weekend, sometime between our detour into Fergus Falls, Minnesota to take photos with Otto the Otter (worth it) and making it back to St. Paul, we stopped at a convenience store full of bros with boats in the parking lot and spotted a line of hunting-themed energy drinks. Mossy Oak Pursuit Energy drinks feature pictures of tree bark on their cans, though I think it would be more legit if the cans were actually tiny oaken kegs. Unfortunately, their marketing department did not consult me first despite the fact that I am a noted energy drink scholar. Anyway, I hadn't seen these before, and because Science and also the Internet dictate it so, I had to try them all. I used the citrus berry flavor the other night as a mixer and it was fucking delicious. Let's see what the original flavor is like, shall we?

FLAVOR: Pretty tasty. It's citrus, but still with some sweetness. I like it.

EFFECTIVENESS: This drink is supposed to be "A LASTING SHOT OF ENERGY WHETHER HUNTING, FISHING OR DOING ANYTHING IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS." I am inside an office lobby in the suburbs, but whatever. Same thing. I've consumed most of it and I'm definitely feeling more energetic. I have this problem where "caffeinated" can pretty quickly morph into "anxious for no fucking reason" and I think I'm a bit on the edge of that here but that is not Mossy Oak's fault! Perhaps if I were in the Great Outdoors instead of trying to pass the time at this front desk, I would be filled with joy instead. Nonetheless, I'd say it's working.

OVERALL: Recommended. Illinois' finest animal-shooting-themed beverage.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Red Rain

You thought that was Greenland over there, didn't you?
This past weekend, the Beard and I took our snark show on the road to Canada where we played to sold out crowds of the two of us and a spherical stuffed elephant in motel rooms of middling quality. Also, we went and watched a women's World Cup double header in Winnipeg and checked every single store we went to for new, strange energy drinks. I brought this one back from our bros in the Great North: Red Rain. According to, there are several flavors, but I only saw this classic one for sale. I appreciate that there are no flashy graphics or can copy trying to claim it will turn you into a moose (or whatever it is alert Canadians strive to be). It's just like, "I'm an energy drink." Let's see if tastes like socialized medicine (mmm).

FLAVOR: Okay, as I was concerned might be the case, Red Rain has a vaguely cough syrup-y "red" flavor to it. Not too bad, though. Pretty generic "energy drink"/Red Bull wannabe-type flavor. It's fine. Not delicious, but it will do.

EFFECTIVENESS: I'm pretty sleepy today. This has only been mitigated by the walk I went on at lunch, not because I'm healthy, but because I have to take an entire hour and was falling asleep on a park bench while doing a crossword. I really need Canada to come through for me on this one because I've got to revise a sketch before my class tonight and also stay awake at my job. I'm about 63% of the way through this can, and it is working pretty good. I feel less like death and more like a human who doesn't hate everything (still most things--that's kind of my whole deal).

A dude just came in to drop off some payments and I said, "Okay, great" so I think you could say this is working. Legs shaking? CHECK. Vague sense of enthusiasm? CHECK. Too much tweeting? CHECK and CHECK. Damn, Red Rain, you're working.

OVERALL: Recommended. If you are in Canada and are like, "Where are the Monsters and Red Bulls?" (You will not say this because they have them everywhere, even rural Manitoba where our motel was.) you will still be okay as long as you can track down a Red Rain.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Amp Energy Zero Watermelon

Okay, pretty good, haven't tried it yet, okay.
According to the coolers at the giant Circle K by my new job, Amp has a bunch of new flavors. I've tried the passionfruit (not bad) and the strawberry limeade (pretty good, actually) and am now trying the Amp Zero, which is watermelon-flavored. I've opened it already and it smells like watermelon candy, which is a thing that I like, so hooray! Let's give this a go:

FLAVOR: Hm. Very watermelony, but not overwhelmingly so. It reminds me of some watermelon-flavored gum or something. Not, like, actual watermelons. A little more than halfway through, the flavor is still okay, but maybe there's a reason why you don't see a lot of watermelon beverages, it's kind of odd in large quantities.

EFFECTIVENESS: I wasn't too exhausted this afternoon, despite having to be somewhere at 8:00 a.m. every day this week which is my worst goddamn nightmare, basically. But my legs are getting shakier and I feel slightly motivated, so that's positive. I have a comedy-related meeting after work which I am not looking forward to, because being in an office for 9 hours a day and then driving in moderate traffic is apparently too much for me to handle. BUT hopefully this will keep me from actually falling asleep as soon as I walk away from the reception desk, which would be good what with the driving and speaking to other humans I need to do. I'd say I feel a noticeable but not crazy-intense boost in energy.

OVERALL: It's fine! If you like watermelon-flavored stuff, definitely check it out. Otherwise, it's nothing special.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Gazzu

I've got a new temp job starting next week, and near the new place's location there is a very large convenience store that stocks "Gazzu" energy drinks. I thought the cans looked kind of familiar and assumed I'd reviewed them before, but bought a couple just in case. Turns out I haven't! I've got two flavors in my fridge, but I'll start with the original flave.

FLAVOR: It tastes like... I don't know? Just a vague energy/citrus flavor. It tastes like a generic energy drink, but it's not super-strong. It's FINE.

EFFECTIVENESS: This is especially important. My head is all fuzzy after getting a bunch of sleep, apparently. I'm having a small PARTY here tomorrow night and have not dusted or vacuumed in many a week (month?). So maybe I can get some cleaning done so I don't embarrass myself in front of my improv bros by having a gross house. Halfway through the can, I'm feeling more alert and considering getting off this couch to do stuff.

OVERALL: Not bad! It was effective and had an adequately okay taste! I cleaned my house and everything! I did try the mango Gazzu later, and it was not a tasty fake mango. So be careful with your cheap energy drinks, kids.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Bing Raz

Basically exactly what my improv set
was like after this drink.
Some time ago, I tried Petey's Bing, a cherry-themed energy drink sold in the produce section of the grocery store for some reason. It was perfectly okay! Recently while trying to make myself buy some salad bag kits because heavens knows I won't chop my own vegetables, I saw that they'd expanded the beverage line some and picked up this Raz flavor. I like actual raspberries more than cherries (switch preference for artificial versions), so we'll see what the flav is like on this. It comes in a 12-ounce can, but since I got up at 2:00 p.m. and all I've done is go on what can barely be described as "run," that amount of caffeine may be sufficient (100 mg). No further intel appears to be available about "Petey" than my previous review, but I'm guessing he's part of the "husband-and-wife team" that originally developed Bing.

FLAVOR: Mmm! It tastes like actual raspberries were involved in the manufacture of this beverage, but it's not too tart. A good balance with the sweetness. The carbonation is sufficient; sometimes with the "natural" ones, the carbonation is "light" and inadequate for my bubble needs.

EFFECTIVENESS: As I have been all week, I'm rocking known baby Ariana Grande's* album My Everything on repeat with occasional plays of "Four Five Seconds" and Toto's "Rosanna"** and that is all going well. I'm trying to convince myself that memorizing this Sarah Vowell excerpt I'm using for an audition monologue tomorrow is fun. The caffeine is marginally helpful. I'm hoping it will also serve as reserve energy from my improv show tonight, which is going to be my last one for awhile. Because I'm dying. JK, I just don't have anything scheduled right now.

OVERALL: Pretty good. I'm feeling lively. Worth a try, gang.

*She charmed the shit out of me guest-judging on RuPaul's Drag Race and I'd been meaning to download some of her songs anyway.
**We're finally watching American Horror Story: Coven and there's a scene with fratbros in a tattoo parlor where pre-dead Kyle is digging this song pretty hard.

12 Monkeys: A Movie I Watched for Some Reason

Editor's note: The thought of spending any more time on this fucking movie has stalled this post many weeks. The photos I've ultimately chosen to accompany this write-up demonstrate the fact that I just want it all to be over and also my disappointment that this movie is really not about monkeys.

Guys, today has wrought much caffeine and booze and caffeine/booze. Let's try to ride just the booze out on this one since I don't want to die and it's nearly 1 a.m. so I PROBABLY shouldn't have even more caffeine. I just ate the second half of a frozen pizza, so we'll see how it goes. I've never seen the movie or any of the new TV show, so let's time travel this shit! 12 Monkeys of 1995 when I was in late elementary school!

Deadly virus 1997. Survivors underground. Animals rule. Says a person with schizophrenia in 1990. Monkey spiral behind credits. Hey, remember going to the movies? That's a kind of cool thing sometimes. A kid watches a mass shooting in a airport, I think. Bruce Willis wakes up. Chain link cell. He's been called up for something. Some kind of giant prison. Probably going to die. A big hook reaches down for him. He's in a prep room putting on numerous layers of anti-contamination/protection suit things. He's carrying some suitcases and stuff is sprayed on him in a tube. He goes through a door and is moved down a tube. Now we're in a dark, broken down part of the factory thing, I guess. Bruce emerges on the snowy surface out of a manhole.

The city looks broken down. There's snow, a cockroach, and rotted-out looking buildings. Bruce collects a cockroach. He is scared by a legit BEAR. Nature's taken the city back, but the bear ends up walking away. Bruce investigates some kind of abandoned department store and collects a spider specimen for science. Birds are disturbed. He breathes his artificial air and walks through a snowy, broken city populated by an owl, a fucking lion, and finds something on the ground. A message: "We did it" with a red monkey symbol. Bruce is back and gets scrubbed down with a literal broom. He injects himself with some shit. He gets led as a prisoner ("volunteer") to a council of some kind. He, Mr. Cole, has been committed to a sentence of 25-life for antisocial somethingorather. The council has him sit down in what looks like an electric chair. It's very narrow. He's trapped in. The council appreciates him volunteering--doing observations topside to reduce his sentence.

Baltimore 1990. Some kind of lecture in an art gallery. A lady in all black drops her pager, almost disrupting the lecture. An overcrowded prison. Our lady comes to the prison to see a "crazy" prisoner. No drugs in his system, in restraints. He's rocking, alone. Our lady wants to find him. He's not in their system, not by fingerprints or anything. It's our friend Bruce, beat up and drooling, wearing a plastic suit. She's a psychiatrist here to help him. She wants to call him James. He wants to get out and gather information. He's upset about chains. He admits he's been locked up before, but underground. He thinks he's in 1996, but it's 1990.

The cops are transferring him to another facility. He's confused by the sunshine. They scrub him down and we see his ass again. The orderlies call him "Jimbo." He's dressed and led into the common room. We see Brad Pitt in PJs and a sweater and awesome shoes. The orderly says he'll give Pitt $5000 to show Jimbo around. It's like, a velour suit he's rocking. Pitt is clearly not with it. There are so many board games to play. He says, "If you play the games, you're voluntarily taking a tranquilizer." Jimbo wants a phone call. Pitt says they'd spread the crazy if they were allowed to access the outside world. They're not crazy, he says, just "part of the system." Consumers, blahblahblah. Pitt's name is Jeffrey. A nurse yells at him. He loves to thumbs-up. A guy in a tux says he's not really from outer space. Jeffrey yells at somebody in his chair. Why is this space, like, carved into an adobe cave? Tux claims he's mentally divergent. OKAY, DIFFERENT FRANCHISE.

James Cole tells a (1990) panel he's not "crazy." He won't hurt anyone. He talks about the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Nobody knows what he's talking about. The orderly dude is wearing a red fanny pack. The '90s, right? Cole says most of humanity died in 1996-7. He wants info to trace the path of the virus. He really wants to call a scientist. The lady psych says okay. Phone call to a phone number with a black family with a bunch of kids running around. No voice mail. Lady doc believes him. He was the kid who saw the airport attack. He had braces on. It's too soon for that phone number. He should be in 1996. Jeffrey tells James they're locked and welded in. This asylum is in a cool-ass building with a circular dorm. "Crazy is majority rules," Jeffrey says. Starts rambling about germs. Jim finds a spider. He ends up eating it, I think. Jeff says he can get him out and laughs with googly eyes. Jeffrey says his dad will send you to a classy asylum. He moons the guards. The pillows are all feathers. So many feathers.

Video of a monkey trying to get out of a cage. Sad people playing with bubbles. "We're all monkeys," says Jeff. Jim wonders if he was hurt. Video of bunnies being tested on/tortured. Jim is writing something in crayon, claims it's private. They give him meds. Later, the Marx Brothers' "Monkey Business" is on TV. Jeff has a literal key. Jim is all spaced out on drugs. Animal morphing on the TV. Jeff starts freaking out and creating a distraction for Jim. Throwing, running, riling up the other patients. Jim has the key, but is still pretty spaced out on the drugs they gave him. God, how horrible. I hope I never end up there. I'm not ruling it out. He unlocks the gates. All the guards are reading tabloids and distracted, so he can just walk out, I guess? Batboy issues. His white robe doesn't look unlike a lab coat. He finds the working elevator and goes down. All the dude doctors tease the lady doctor about James Cole. They find he's escaped. He stumbles into an MRI room. Orderlies approach. He's still very drugged. Scrapes on his head. The orderlies grab him and he fights.

Lady doctor orders a sedative, but he doesn't want more drugs. Screaming about "no more drugs" doesn't really work when he's tied down on a gurney. The other docs are lecturing Kathryn, the lady doctor. Oh, somehow he's escaped the facility. Little Jim sees the guy in the airport who gets shot and it's ponytailed Jeff. Jim wakes up in the cell and hears somebody talking to him. No clear origin for the voice. It seems Jim is back in the present. Jim is back in front of the panel in the tall metal chair He couldn't make a call. He says it was all the wrong year. They ask if he saw anyone in a slide show, and he recognizes Jeff. They are disappointed, but ask if he wants another chance to reduce his sentence.

Jim is in some kind of machine with wires and plastic and a weird leather loincloth. The council tells him "No mistakes this time, Cole." They say he'll be sent to the third quarter of 1996 this time. War. Trenches. Gas masks. It looks pretty WWI-ish to me with the long coats and stuff. He shows up, naked. Jose recognizes Clay. Yelling, air attacks, gunshot in leg.

Baltimore November 1996. Dr. K gives a talk, discussing Revelation and has some pretty sweet slides. The people don't wear a very wide variety of colors. She talks about mustard gas attacks. A photo of Jose, he claimed he was from the future and spoke English, not French like his compatriots. He said he was from 1996 and disappeared from the hospital. Cassandra Complex. A guy with a pink shirt and a bolo tie in the audience. Art gallery douches after the lecture. Pink shirt has fake red hair. So creepy. "The planet cannot outlast the excesses of the human race." Kathryn laughs politely at him while others hand her books to sign. Not-new snow as she goes to her car. Someone attacks her and forces her into the car to drive. I think he's holding a knife to her neck. She starts driving and he directs her. He demands they head toward Philadelphia. He can't drive 100 miles, he was born underground and can't drive. She realizes who he is: Jim! He hurt his leg and has been sleeping on the street. He hasn't been stalking her, he just found a flier for her talk. I think I might be flagging on this, one hour in.

Cole doesn't understand that the radio ad isn't really a special message for him. "Blueberry Hill" comes on and everybody in the car is teary-eyed for different reasons. Jim breathes the outside air. "It's a Wonderful World" now. Jimbo is tired. Next day, authorities are tracking him and Kathryn down. Jim wakes up in a motel room from the flashback to cartoons on TV. He's wearing dirty coveralls. He tells Kathryn that her hair is different in the dream he just had. She's tied up in sheets. She thinks he has a fever. He's limping from that WWI gunshot. On the news, a kid has been trapped in a well. The media is tracking Kathryn and James.

Back on the road. He's got a notebook to help guide him to the Army of the 12 Monkeys who will spread the virus so he can get info for the future to help make an antidote. The well kid is supposedly actually hiding in a barn, according to Jim. In Philly, Jim sees 12 Monkeys graffiti. Kathryn considers driving away. A homeless man tells them they can't escape, they've got tracking devices in their teeth. More red 12 Monkeys graffiti on top of everything. Jim makes Kathryn come into a sketchy building with him. It's an old abandoned theater. Violent fights appear to be happening. James and Kathryn are attacked. James ends up being able to fight them off before the one dude can rape her. He stomps him a lot and is sad about doing it. Kathryn is scared. "I've seen dead people," Jim says. He's got a gun now. He pulls Kathryn along down the street. They find a corner shop labeled "FAA" and go inside. There are plants and in there and lots of animals noises. A tape!

Jim says he's looking for the Army of the 12 Monkeys and the activists claim they don't know anything. He pulls a gun. He finds out Jeff is into guerrilla activism. But after saying they're going to human-hunt, Jeff says he'll take over his dad (the virologist)'s lab experiments on animals. Reading this later, I can't reinterpret my description of this scene to make sense, so let's just move on. Kathryn drives off in a Volvo with Jim, who's looking through the animal people's rolodex. Kathryn finds out he's got a bullet wound. They stop at a rural gas station for medical supplies. She takes out the bullet. She "smells so good." Is he going to rape her?

Next we see Jim hiding on (in?) a Range Rover at a fancy event. The gun lies abandoned. Inside the mansion, a fancy banquet. Jeff's douche dad gives a speech. Jeff sleeps in the back of the room, wearing a ponytail, mustache, and glasses. He gets called out of the meeting. He picks up his shoes and leaves with the guy. Jim's asked for Jeff, who has the best crazy brown eyes. He says he's there about some monkeys. Jeff starts calling Jim "Arnie" now. Jim knows he can't stop him, but he wants access to the pure virus. Jim tells him in the future "we live like dogs and cats." Jeff wildly yells at him as security tries to lead him out. Jim jumps and lands on his injured leg.

On the news, a monkey is lowered into the missing kid's well with a sandwich (WTF? Just lower the fucking sandwich). It also says a body has been found somewhere and it may by Kathryn. Mansion security finds no one in the kitchen. Jim runs through the woods to the car and lets Kathryn out of the trunk. She is pissed because of how she could've died in there and starts punching him. Jim is upset because Jeff claimed the virus was Jim's idea in the institution. The police close in on them. Suddenly Jim disappears. Really young SVU guy. She says Jim needs help, but he did save her life. Back at home, Kathryn can't sleep. She's being guarded by numerous cops. She finds out the kid in the well was actually hiding in a barn. JUST LIKE JIM SAID.

Back to the future, the panel sings "Blueberry Hill" and are very pleased with his work. They say with a little more work, he can get his pardon for his crimes. There are creepy teddy bears on his blanket. He tells the council they're just in his mind and he wants to get well. They inject him as he crazy-laughs. Kathryn tries to tell her supervisor that Jim may really know what is really going to happen. Jim wakes up in the hospital bed and hears the whispers again. He saw the whisperer as a crazy homeless man in 1996. The voice keeps calling him Bob and tells him Jim wants to see that sky and ocean and to be with "her." Kathryn can't sleep soundly. The phone rings. It's the douchey Philly detective again. The bullet from Jim's thigh was from the 1920s at the latest. She goes to a WWI book and finds a photo of Jose. On her crazy wall of photos and notes she finds a pic of Jim reaching towards Jose's body.

Jim is being interrogated by the council again. He says he has experience, so he should go back to the past. He regrets saying the council wasn't real. Jeff's dad chuckles about a monkey army on the phone as animal testing occurs all around him. "Women psychiatrists," Jeff's dad mutters. The pink shirt/bolo tie guy from earlier is working in the lab. Maybe they should upgrade their security? The council, with their plastic-covered lab coats interrogates Jim about the virus sources. Kathryn tries to get into the FAA office. The homeless guy is back. He pretends now he doesn't know who James is. The activists are doing something. Jeff is inside writing things down. He knows Kathryn was his psychiatrist. She spray-paints their building in red until James shows up. He's cold but wants to turn himself in. He claims he wants to get better. She starts to lead him away from the cops she knows are watching. "Is this the source? What is the virus? 5000000 die?" on the wall. Jim's seen it before in the future. Honking.

Jeff tries to justify how Kathryn knows about the 12 Monkey Army. He's NOT okay. Stupid stocking cap. I love dystopianly gritty 1996 America. Kathryn and Jim slink around homeless ghetto areas. James coughs at this $35/hour hotel. The hotel guy is curious about Kathryn and calls somebody. Kathryn's trying to figure out how Jim disappeared before. He keeps claiming the future's in his mind and can manipulate them to get back to 1996. She shows him the WWI photo he's in. "I want the future to be unknown and I want to be a whole person again," he says. She hugs him. Strokes his neck barcode. She asks if he remembers the old phone number from their first encounter. A ridiculous pimp busts into their room. He says it's his territory and attacks Kathryn. Jim beats him with the old timey phone. The other ladies freak out and say nothing to the police. James has cut out his vulnerable teeth--they may be tracking him. "I don't want to go back, ever." They've escaped.

Kathryn and James both dab their bleeding faces as they get off a bus. They go to find a phone. Kathryn's going to try that number on a public phone. Jim recognizes a building. He sees a bear statue. Kathryn is excited. She left a message for a "carpet cleaning" business. He knows the message. Uh-oh. It grows dark. They buy new clothes. The (12 Monkey) Army has a plan and a sketchy bus. They've kidnapped Jeff's dad. "Biohazard" tape on his eyes. He says he took steps after Kathryn talked to him and no longer has virus access. Jeff says it's too late and that also, he's not insane.

Vertigo is playing in the theater.* Kathryn says they have to try to change things. She puts a fake mustache on his face. Somebody shushes them as she gives him a wig and says if he is crazy, in a few weeks, if the outbreak hasn't started, then it doesn't matter. Something about the ocean. A zoo. Jeff's dad looks for him. A scene from The Birds. Is this some kind of Hitchcock festival? Blonde Kathryn in the airport. Jim finds Kathryn in the lobby with a blonde wig. It's her. They have tickets to Key West. She feels as though she's always known him with a mustache and sketchy beard. They embrace. He's so scared. Animals let loose in the morning. Elephants, tigers, monkeys. A bear. The Army let the animals out, a taxi driver tells them. Kathryn thinks it's all going to be okay. The cops are looking for Kathryn and Jim. Jim says this airport is from his dream. DUHHH. She wants to hide him. Sends him to fix his mustache. They kiss, awkwardly. She goes to get their tickets.

WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING. Jim knows now it wasn't the Army who caused the virus. It was someone else, as he tells the carpet cleaners' answering machine. Who is it? The redheaded dude with the bolo tie! Jim re-glues his mustache. Somebody in the bathroom tells him he doesn't belong there. Jim runs into Jose. The future council has found him from his phone message. Jim tries to give him a gun. Kathryn almost recognizes the redheaded dude.  Jose's supposed to kill Kathryn. The pardon's not about the virus at all. Redhead due has weird shit in his bag. Giant vials. "Biological samples" he says. The TSA guy wants to open it. Kid James. Redhead opens one vial. The security people don't want to let Kathryn and James through. Redhead's already opened the shit. She tries to point redhead out. Little James watches Grown James get shot by the police before he can shoot redhead. Kathryn screams and tries to stop the bleeding. James mouths something as his younger self watches him die. Kathryn cries. She sees Little James, who is also crying.

Redhead gets on the plane. LIKE THEY WOULDN'T SHUT DOWN ALL FLIGHTS IF THERE WERE A SHOOTING IN THE TERMINAL WHAT IS THIS MOVIE PRE-9/11 WHAT. The woman next to him in First Class is from the future council. "We're the next endangered species." She's in insurance. Little James watches the plane lift off. THE END.

Okay, whatever. This whole thing has been kind of a chore.

*My first proper outing with my first boyfriend was to a free campus showing of Vertigo in early April 2003 and we held hands very intimately and he put this awesome song on the first mix CD he made me. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Guest Post! The Low End Theory: Meghan Trainor’s Base

Editor's note: Ladies and gentlemen, I've come into contact with a local scholar and cultural critic with an interest in both music and Islamic extremism. He's uncovered a disturbing link between the works of pop phenom Meghan Trainor and one of the United States's greatest enemies, al Qaeda. Due to the potentially dangerous ramifications of these revelations, the author would prefer to remain anonymous. Read on for a full analysis.

While nearly all people of sound mind can agree that Meghan Trainor is an agent of some dark force sent to ruin the lives of all who hear her songs, it is only recently that the true nature of her origins has become apparent. Through a careful reading of her popular songs “All About That Bass,” “Lips Are Movin,” and “Dear Future Husband,” Trainor’s status as a one-woman sleeper cell for al Qaeda comes into sharp focus.

As her first song to garner major airplay and attendant attention and praise, “All About That Bass” is an important moment for further examination, as it represents Trainor’s first successful attempt to insert covert al Qaeda messaging into the pop medium. First, the titular “Bass,” repeated throughout the song, is nothing other than an invocation of al Qaeda itself, which may be translated as “the base." Trainor’s frequent mentions and declaration that she is indeed “all about that bas[e]” asserting her fidelity to the cause of taking jihad to the infidels. The addendum to that central declaration, “no treble,” demonstrates a marked contempt for the branches of the US Armed Forces who oppose al Qaeda, with the treble/triple in this case being the Army, Navy, and Marines. The cheeky exclusion of the Air Force is intended as a statement against the numerous drone strikes targeting al Qaeda members and affiliates, as well as a gesture towards their ineffectuality at both an operational and sociopolitical level. Further, Trainor’s distaste for the treble points to a criticism of the Christian Trinity and an implied favoring of the singular Islamic deity, Allah, accompanied only by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

A handful of references throughout the balance of the song point to Trainor’s true intent as a sleeper agent: when she notes “I ain’t no size two,” Trainor suggests that al Qaeda’s scope is not limited to the destruction of the Twin Towers, with further attacks not only possible, but inevitable; in her statement that she can “shake it like I’m supposed to,” Trainor asserts her abilities with explosive devices, improvised and otherwise, and when she states “I got that boom boom that all the boys chase,” Trainor is sharing her successful recruiting credentials with the world; her claim that she’s “bringing booty back” suggests a Muslim reconquest and reclamation of lands lost in the era of the Crusades; and finally, when Trainor quotes her mother’s direction “don’t worry about your size,” she is reassuring those concerned about the diminutive numbers within al Qaeda that their cause may triumph.

Lips Are Movin” follows on “All About That Bass”'s valorization of al Qaeda and its cause, addressing mischaracterizations of deceased emir Osama bin Laden, the benefits of pan-Arabism, and the deleterious effects of capitalism, all with a brief few minutes. The central conceit of the song, that one may distinguish lies by the sheer movement of another’s mouth based on preconceptions about that individual, is a subtle reference to the 14 December 2001 release by the US government of a low quality video tape that purports to show bin Laden claiming responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Apart from the too neatly serendipitous circumstances of the tape’s emergence (found in a safe house in Kandahar, Afghanistan) and the dubious claim that it is indeed bin Laden in the video, the translation is poor at best, reading a definitive claim of responsibility into language that does not suggest such ownership. In this case, the faux bin Laden’s lips move, revealing the machinations of the US government to blame al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, at least in the al Qaeda reading of that scenario.

Trainor also calls to potential or current members of al Qaeda more specifically and the broader mujahideen to widen their horizons, saying “[b]oy, look me in the face / tell me that you’re not just about this bas[e],” retaining the importance of al Qaeda while situating it within the greater struggle of the Muslim umma for redress of the offenses perpetrated by the US. A particular point of contention within al Qaeda critiques of Western imperialist powers is the corrosive nature of capitalism, and Trainor gives attention to that matter as well, stating “[y]ou can buy me diamond earrings / and deny-ny-ny,” pointing to the cognitive dissonance between the supposed benefits of capitalism and the nominally Christian moral basis upon which the US’s aggrieved response to 9/11 rests. While not as ideologically prolific as “Bass,” “Lips Are Movin” elaborates upon the themes laid out in the former song, themes which are developed further and complemented with new elements in “Dear Future Husband.”

Dear Future Husband” manifests a traditionalist rendering of marital roles that stands in support of the strictly delimited responsibilities laid out in the Holy Qu’ran, the ostensibly rampant sexuality of the song being a hyperbolic feint meant to encourage women to adhere to proscribed gender roles. Throughout, the lyric delineates parallel tasks that the holy warrior’s helpmeet may take on, saying “here’s a few things / you’ll need to know if you wanna be / my one and only all my life,” a partnership of faith that exists up to and beyond the moment of martyrdom. The overall setting in which the relationship exists is set out in the statement “don’t forget the flowers every anniversary,” a call for an honorific remembrance of 9/11 as the first of many successful attacks. Where the male fighter “got that 9 to 5,” Trainor points out “baby, so do I,” reminding the song’s male subject of her importance as a supporting member of the larger cause. The “future husband” in question may also be a reference to the female warrior-as-bride of Allah, the consecration of their union being delayed until successful martyrdom. In this proximity to Allah, Trainor claims “even if I was wrong / you know I’m never wrong,” referencing the unerring role of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in recording the word of Allah in the Holy Quran. “Dear Future Husband” also establishes the role of woman warrior-as-check and balance, the one who assures the moral stability of the male warrior, at once secondary (in her lesser responsibilities) and central (in the importance of that particular responsibility).

In sum, Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” “Lips Are Movin,” and “Dear Future Husband” constitute a thoroughgoing and insidious intervention of al Qaeda ideology into mainstream American popular culture, an aural IED wrapped in bright pastels and the perky Aryanisms of Trainor herself. If it was not obviously so before, the importance of stopping Trainor’s infiltration before further damage is done is now paramount. If not, the terrorists win.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Ghost hunting and picnicking and money!

Have you ever thought, "I would love to pay for the pleasure of Lauren's company and at the same time support local theater"? HERE'S YOUR CHANCE! My improv home, HUGE Theater, is conducting their annual fundraising hangout auction. The stuff you can bid on is LITRALLY hanging out with improv people WHAT. All you need is an eBay account, which I know you use mostly for trying to find obscure Saved by the Bell memorabilia. So this time use it to help somebody for once in your goddamn life, okay? I've got two horses in this race to enjoyment:

Will we meet a transparent nightgown lady?
Ghost Hunting Adventure with Sally Foster & Lauren Chesnut! Guys, you know how I'm obsessed with ghost shows? Now's your chance to see me doing my best GhostBro impression. I've insisted on being billed as a "paranormal scholar," but Sally's actual done ghost hunting before and will bring equipment and it's going to be creepy fun! For up to five people.

Snack time with Snack Time! Just what it sounds like. You and up to two companions can join Minneapolis' premier snack food-based improv cult on a picnic. We are fun! And loud! And will bring piles and piles of snacks!

Here's all the items for sale. All auctions close Tuesday, April 14 at 10:59 p.m., so get your bids in. It should go without saying, but you have to be in the Twin Cities to collect on your hangout if you win.

If these auctions are too rich for your blood and/or you don't live in Minnesota and thus have to be denied the presence of our charms, you can always benefit HUGE by buying whatever shit you were going to buy anyway on Amazon by using and selecting "HUGE Improv Theater" as your charity. It costs you nothing extra, but Amazon will kick a little change in our direction.

And here's a reminder that my group Trust Pit is performing our original form The Reconstruction (not this Reconstruction) at 8:00 p.m. Fridays through the end of the month. Tickets!

You guys are the best. I mean that. I really hope we can buy a new rug for the green room. Now get bidding!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Please welcome our new contributer, Professor Daddy

Guys, I've realized that for too long this little low (no)-budget corner of the internet has languished because it's missing something incredibly important: a Man's perspective. All the feminist rants, the snarky movie blogging, the energy drink-fueled ramblings--completely pointless because of how they spring from the tragically underdeveloped brain of a Lady. (An incredibly unladylike lady at that.) Luckily for all of us, a Man has offered to help masculinize this here blog. But he's not just doing me a favor, he's offering to give you, yes YOU, little lady, some manly life advice. I present to you: Professor Daddy with his new column, Professor Daddy Sez.

He sez so many smart things, you guys.
Professor Daddy is a white American dude (but he's WORKED to get where he is) with the unique qualifications of being both a professor and a father, which means he knows A Lot. "Don't be intimidated by my vast knowledge and expertise of life and also all other topics, gals. Let's not be too formal: you can call me Daddy. Professor Daddy." ISN'T HE A CHARMER? All he needs is your questions! Life dilemma? Etiquette conundrum? General lack of knowledge? JUST NO FASHION QUESTIONS, THIS IS A MAN'S ADVICE COLUMN, OKAY? Send 'em my way and I'll get Prof. Daddy on the case. But not, like, in a nagging way.

Nobody can tell you what you should do like Professor Daddy can tell you. And he will. Authoritatively.