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.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Cannabis Energy Drink

Guys, I went to the mall! Sometimes Isaac and I like to go to the suburbs and eat at Olive Garden and watch horror movies in giant multiplexes (we saw It Follows, 4/5 stars). We had a bunch of time between dinner and the movie so we wandered around the mall and found some DELIGHTFUL items for purchase in Ye Olde Spencer's Gifts Boutique. They sell a line of hemp-based energy drinks called, of course, Cannabis (contains no THC, sorry stoners). Probably don't ever drink one of these in your car in case you get pulled over. It just doesn't look good. I picked up the classic green can--I hope it tastes like weed! JK, I don't, I'm not into plant flavors, EW--and a fruity one. I'm trying this for you. For science. For the United States of America. Here goes!

FLAVOR: It tastes mostly like a kind of syrupy energy drink. Not terrible, not great. Vaguely citrus-y, very sweet. It does not taste like it's been laced with pot or a rope or anything.

EFFECTIVENESS: I'm about halfway through (it's only an 8-ouncer) and I think I'm perking up. I struggled to get up at like 3:30 this afternoon, so really anything helps, let's be honest. I did the dishes and have moved on to other household chores and am rocking some '90s Sarah McLachlan, so yeah, it's probably working.

OVERALL: Okay! It's nothing special except for what it's made out of and obviously they don't have fridges at Spencer's so I had to take it home and put it in the fridge so make of THAT what you will.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Horror/Suspense Movie Classics: The Birds

Guys, I went through a bit of a Hitchcock phase in junior high because I was into creepy stuff and my mom likes Hitchcock and also his movies are generally appropriately rated for Mormon teenage viewing, but somehow I've never seen 1963's The Birds. I'm pretty sure we read the short story it's based on in my 9th grade honors English class. I am skeptical that this will scare me in my old, wizened, cynical state, but I like to be surprised. Also, I'm sure the gender politics are super good because Hitchcock and also 1963. Let's get started--CAW!

Before things actually get started, let me say that Tippi Hedron is a rich old lady in one of my top-3 movies of all time I Heart Huckabees and is thus always and forever great in my mind. The credits at the top here have birds flying past and say, "Introducing 'Tippi' Hedron" which is kind of patronizing if you ask me. If it's her professional name, just go with it. Okay, blonde lady walking around the city. I'm guessing it's California. Oh, San Francisco. She smiles at some catcallers. Gross. She goes into a pet store. Upstairs is the bird area. It's very shrill in there. Blonde lady doesn't want to wait for her bird to arrive at the store. She's going to have to teach him to talk. A handsome suited man comes in looking for some lovebirds. Blonde pretends to work there, Handsome Suit is looking for some lovebirds that won't fuck in front his eleven year-old sister. He keeps calling her on not knowing shit about birds. You can barely hear the dialogue over the bird chirping. He clearly knows she's full of shit, but she keeps going with the unsuccessful con and accidentally lets a bird go free. Handsome Suit catches it with his hat. He knows her name is Melanie Daniels. He saw her in court when one of her "pranks" ended up in a broken window. She's annoyed he's onto her game.

Melanie is intrigued by Handsome Suit Lawyer Guy and runs after him. He drives a Galaxie and she memorizes his license plate number. Melanie has decided she will have her bird delivered to her home. She uses a forest green rotary phone to call a reporter friend to look up the license number. Oh, her "daddy" works at the paper, too. Of course. Melanie's decided she wants some lovebirds. Order them, old lady!

Next day, I'm guessing. In a horrendous fur coat, Melanie brings a cage with two lovebirds in it up an elevator. The Sixtieeeeees. A dude with a mustache looks at her suspiciously. He's a neighbor and says the Handsome Suit is in Bodega Bay for the weekend and she probably shouldn't leave the birds in the hallway all weekend. Melanie drives up the coast highway because apparently she can just find him by doing that. The birds in their cage tip with each curve in the highway. Nice. Melanie is driving too fast and her brakes keep screeching. She goes into the local general store looking for Handsome Suit. The proprietor shows her that the Brenners live across the bay. She wants to surprise them, and the main road goes up to the front door. She'll take a boat to cut across and surprise them. There's some disagreement over whether the little girl of the family is named Alice or Lois. This store owner is giving her a lot of information. He tells her where to find the local schoolteacher to check. He must have such a boner to give her all this personal information without asking any questions. This creepy lady is creepy.

The teacher tells Melanie the girl's name is Cathy. The teacher gives her a cigarette and asks if she's Mitch's (Handsome Suit's) friend. The teacher says "everyone" meets Mitch in San Francisco and tells Melanie good luck. That's an exceptionally hot rural coastal school teacher. I see a Schlitz sign. SCHLITZ! I had it once in rural Wisconsin. (Worth it?) Melanie is such a sociopath (psychopath, really), you guys. Her fur coat and heels and updo are ridiculous for this dock/boat situation. The old dock guy starts her little motorboat and off she goes across the bay to stalk Mitch HandsomeBrenner. I love that all the car/boat action shots are totally '60s-worthy blue screen or whatever. As she gets closer, Melanie shuts off the engine and paddles in to better creepily surprise them. She gets off at the Brenners' dock and is excited to stalk them up close. She just fucking walks into the house like a goddamn prowler since she saw everybody leave. She leaves the birdcage and a card for Cathy and hurries back out--but not before ripping up an envelope addressed to Mitch--checking to make sure no one sees her. She climbs back into her boat and paddles away a bit to watch like a goddamn creep. Mitch goes in the house and comes back out, startled. She ducks down in the boat and starts the engine as he spots her from shore with his binoculars. They both smile. He runs and gets in his car and will try to beat her driving back to town, I guess.

Melanie is Smug. Mitch runs out and meets her at the dock and she puts on her "Who, me?" face as a seagull swoops down at her head and draws blood. Mitch helps her out of the water. She says her tetanus shot should be current. Mitch takes her into the local restaurant. So many sea captains at the counter. We find out Mitch is a lawyer as he cleans her wound. He practices criminal law. She claims she's friends with Annie, the schoolteacher. Melanie is such a bad liar. His nautical sweater is pretty great. Their sexy repartee is interrupted by pixelation on the DVD. Fast forward a bit... Mitch's mom shows up and they insist she come to dinner, so Melanie's got to follow through with the pretend friendship with Annie. She's going to rent Annie's room for a night. She picked up stuff from the general store for the night. Of a flock of gulls, Annie says, "Don't they ever stop migrating?" BIIIIIIRDS.

Totes norms first convo with your future SIL.
Later on, Melanie pulls up to the Brenners' in her car. Fucking fur coat. How fucking many animals were killed for that shit? The family walks up the road as she rings the bell. Little Cathy hugs Melanie for the bird gift. Mrs. Brenner calls the vet because their chickens won't eat. BIIIIIIIIIIRDS. Melanie's green skirt suit is majestic. Such nice wood paneling. Mitch brings Melanie a drink as Mrs. Brenner whines on the phone. She finds out a neighbor's birds are also sick or something. The two sets of chickens have different feed, so why won't any of them eat?  After dinner, Melanie plays something soothing on the piano while occasionally pausing to smoke her cigarette. Cathy wonders how Melanie knew she wanted lovebirds and then says most of the people Mitch knows in San Francisco are "hoods." (BLACK PEOPLE) Mrs. B. says some shit about how in a democracy, everybody deserves a good defense blahblahblah. "I know all that democracy jazz. They're still hoods." Right you are, Cathy. Judge those criminals. Judge 'em HARD. They all laugh about how one of Mitch's clients shot his wife seven times for turning the TV channel. Cathy tries to convince Melanie to come to her "surprise" party tomorrow. Mrs. B. interrogates Mitch about Melanie. She's in the society papers all the time, apparently. Mitch calls his mother "Darling." He says he can handle Miss Daniels, though.


Mitch wants to see Melanie again in San Francisco. He interrogates her a bit and she admits all her lies and drives away angry. Many, many birds perched on the power lines to the house. She gets to Annie's and Annie sees she's pissed and offers her some brandy. She pours some in some lil wine glasses. Annie admits she found herself in this little town because she came up with Mitch. Annie talks about how Lydia (Mrs. B.) is a bitch. She says it's not an oedipal thing. Now they're bros. Lydia is worried she'll be abandoned if somebody loves her son since she can't love him, I guess. Annie still likes Mitch "a hell of a lot." The phone rings. It's clearly him. He's calling for Melanie. Annie smokes in the foreground as Melanie talks to her ex on the phone. Melanie is also smoking. She agrees to go to the surprise party tomorrow afternoon. Annie will be there, too. Melanie's bought a nightgown. Annie tells her to nevermind Lydia. She wants to go, so she should go to the party. A noise on the porch. A seagull ran into the door and is dead now. STUPID BIIIIIIIRD.

Next day at the birthday party, Melanie and Mitch go walking in the hills. How can she walk in nature with those heels? They sink into the sand. I'd fucking take them off. Mitch keeps giving her more booze to try to get her to stay for dinner. She says she has to get back to SF for work. Her jobs are mostly socialite nonsense. Fucking with people, taking a single class at Berkeley--oh wait, just hanging out learning swear words on campus?, and keeping a Korean kid in school. She says her Fridays are free. For bird shopping. They drink martinis and smoke. Melanie's mom ran off when she was young. Things start to get a little emotionally real and they quickly walk back down the hill to the party. Annie watches them as she guides the children's games.

A seagull scrapes the blindfolded birthday girl's head. Melanie and Mitch drop their drinks as gulls attack the children. The adults chase the birds off the kids. The birds sound like cats. Annie says, "That makes three times." Scared little white children. Mitch insists Melanie stay for dinner. The lovebirds are noisy. Suddenly, birds come down the chimney and fill the living room where they're eating dessert. Mitch opens a door and the women cower. Melanie protects the little girl. Mitch blocks the fireplace with a table. Melanie pulls Cathy and Lydia into another room as the birds swarm and drop a shit-ton of feathers. In the aftermath, the local sheriff identifies the birds as sparrows There are broken dishes. Mitch tries to explain all the bird attacks, but the sheriff, who is maybe Lydia's nephew, doesn't really believe it. Melanie decides to stay over and help clean up and calm things down. "Sure is peculiar."

In the morning, Mitch is burning something outside. We see Melanie in her nightgown with her hair down and it is way cuter. Bob with curls. Lydia drives off to a neighboring farm in their seafoam green Ford. She goes into the house after no answer and finds a bunch of broken teacups still hanging from their hooks. She finds dead birds all over the place. Her farmer friend is dead, his eyes pecked out. She drops all her shit and runs out of the house. Without telling the farmhand anything, she drives away. Real fast. She pulls up at home and practically falls out of the cab of the truck. She won't say anything. Mitch has to go to the other farm and kisses Melanie's neck and they embrace. "Be careful." Now they're kissing. Hot.

It's not weird that I'm just an older version of you, right?
Melanie brings some tea in to Lydia. The Santa Rosa police are coming in to investigate the farmer's death. Lydia's worried that Cathy's not safe at school. Not sure the lady playing Lydia is old enough to be Mitch's mom, but whatever. She rambles about her dead husband and how she can't reach her kids emotionally like he could. Her room is very mustard-colored. Lydia's not sure if she likes Melanie or not. This convo is supes awkard esp. since Mitch and Melanie have known each other for like three days. Lydia cries about how she doesn't want to be left alone. She wishes she were stronger. Melanie says she'll go get Cathy from school so Lydia won't have to worry.

Melanie drives her silly convertible to the old-timey school where the children are singing inside. Melanie pokes her head into Annie's class and is directed to go fucking wait because it's Singing Time. A bird lands on the jungle gym behind her as she lights a cigarette. Why the fuck would you wait outside? Now there are four birds on the jungle gym. Five. Melanie nervously smokes and waits. How many goddamn verses does this song have? Melanie watches as a bird lands on the playground equipment, which is now completely covered in birds. Melanie hurries back inside and tells Annie not to let the kids out. Annie says they have to demonstrate a fire drill. The kids who live nearby must go home and the other kids have to go to the hotel. She tells them to be quiet and run when she tells them. So many crows or ravens or whatever. The birds lift off as the kids begin to run. The kids scream as birds land on their heads and shoulders and, peck, I guess? This is so fake-looking, I love it. Like, I think it would've been safer to leave the kids in the school, just away from windows.

Birds attacking kids. Cathy and Melanie help a girl who was brought down by several birds. The girl's face is bloody as Melanie ushers them into an unlocked car, but she obviously doesn't have the keys. She honks and eventually the birds and the kids have all dispersed. Melanie is now in the restaurant trying to explain it to her dad on the phone. Of course he accuses her of being hysterical. An old lady says crows and blackbirds are VERY different. She claims she knows about birds and also shut up, young lady. Crazy drunk guy says it's the end of the world as Melanie talks to Mitch on the phone. Ezekiel chapter 6. He's Irish, I think. Irishdruuuuuunk. The waitress is impatient for some bloody marys and is worried about scaring the kids in the restaurant. Disagreement with old lady about a bird war. Ornithology is her AVOCATION THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Different bird species don't work together, stupid blonde lady. Worried mom wants to leave town.

Sheriff Dewey would.
Mitch and the sheriff show up. Drunk guy keeps Bible quoting. Mitch is SRSLY worried, but the Santa Rosa police think the birds were just an afterthought to the farm death. Mitch wants local sea captain guy to help. They see a guy at the gas station across the street get knocked over by birds. The restaurant lady and her kids run back inside as gasoline leaks everywhere. FIRE HAZARD. The spreading puddle reaches a guy about to light a cigarette. They yell to him, but he ends up blowing up anyway. Now several cars and the whole path of gasoline back to the station are on fire. OOPS! Here come the seagulls! Everybody runs outside, stupidly. Somebody sprays the fire with a hose. Melanie climbs inside a glass phone booth because she is A Idiot as the birds swarm around. The fire department shows up as bird clouds swarm and the fire is not particularly effectively fought. Birds keep crashing into the phone booth. Every time Melanie tries to get out, she's swarmed. As they start to break the glass, Mitch pulls her out and back into the restaurant, which is now empty and quiet.

They find all the women hiding in a back hallway. Mrs. Ornithologist cowers. The hysterical mom blames Melanie for everything because the bird shit started when she showed up in town. Melanie slaps her (rightly so). The birds are retreating, so Melanie and Mitch run up to Annie's to retrieve Cathy. The schoolyard and building are again lined with crows. The couple walks by slowly up to Annie's house. Annie lies dead on the front steps. Melanie screams at the sight of her body. Cathy is inside safely, sobbing. Mitch grabs her and she hugs Melanie. The birds make intermittent cries. He wants to throw a rock at the birds on the roof, but Melanie stops him. DUH. His pants have some serious cargo pockets as he puts his jacket over Annie's face. Melanie says not to leave her there, so he picks her body up and brings it inside the house. His cargo pants are pretty high-waisted. Luckily, Melanie's still got her purse. They have to walk back past the playground birds. Mitch walks between the birds and the ladies back to Melanie's car. They put the roof up and cram into the front seat. Apparently Melanie left her keys in the passenger side sun visor. Cathy cries about how Annie shoved her inside and saved her from the birds before she was killed.

Back at the Brenner place, Mitch boards up the windows. Why aren't they leaving town? The birds are amassing again. Mitch claims there's a pattern to their attacks. The phones are dead, so Melanie can't reach her dad in SF. Lydia calls them inside, where a SF radio station reports a crow attack on the kids in Bodega Bay, but they don't have much info. Lydia starts to freak out about what the plan is. "If only your father were here!" Melanie and Mitch get more firewood as Lydia and Cathy cry. Birds head inland to Santa Rosa, apparently. There's a fire in the fireplace and the windows are all boarded up. Something tells me the birds will find a way in again somehow. Fucking Lydia. Cathy wants to bring the lovebirds into the living room, but her mom is like, "Fuck, no." Mitch checks the security of all possible entrances and exits. He eyes the lovebirds. He's going to have to strangle them at some point, I'm pretty sure. Yeah, Lydia, definitely drink some more coffee. Oh wait, she's just cleaning up dishes. She's going to strangle the lovebirds in the kitchen. Somehow she manages not to.

They all sit and wait. They should play a board game or something. Lydia must've been like 16 when her son was born. Cathy is sick and needs to throw up. Melanie goes with her to the bathroom. They suddenly hear thousands of bird cries. Everybody stands up, scared. Mitch tries to build up the fire. Why not just close the flue and secure it with logs or something? They hear crashing and Mitch wrestles a seagull or two through a window. They peck and he bleeds really fake blood while reaching for the errant shutter. He uses an electrical cord to tie it closed. No one helps him. Useless women. Isn't there, like, a basement or bathroom with no windows they can hide in? Mitch goes to clean his wounds as they birds are managing to peck through the front door. He puts a cabinet in front of the door and nails it in place. Melanie watches. The lights suddenly go out and there is but firelight now. Mitch grabs a flashlight. Birds are pecking through walls now, I guess? It seems they may be receding now.

Guys, get in the car and drive. Drive real far away. Like, to the desert or something. Everybody but Melanie sleeps in the firelight. She hears flapping and whispers to Mitch. He doesn't wake up, but she decides to go investigate with the giant flashlight. The lovebirds are still in the cage. The flapping is coming from upstairs. Bad Idea Jeans, Melanie. There's a big bug buzzing around a lamp in my living room, so it's pretty much the same situation in here as the movie right now. Do not go in there. Do not go into a crane shot right now! No but srsly, don't open that door, Melanie. She goes into the bedroom. A hole has been pecked into the ceiling and the room's filled with birds. They come at her as she very, very slowly tries to open the door behind her and becomes more and more scratched up. If you scream, I bet Mitch would wake up and help you. Hit them with that flashlight, bitch! OMG, you can get out, you idiot. He finally comes to the door as her lifeless body blocks it. He breaks through to grab her. Lydia helps fight them off too as they drag her body out. Mitch carries her downstairs. He requests water, antiseptic, bandages, and brandy. Melanie half wakes up and waves her arms to fight the birds off, but Mitch calms her down. So glad she reapplied those false eyelashes right before she was attacked. He gives her some brandy.

They tend to the wounds as she stares, dead-eyed. Mitch says they have to get her to a hospital before another attack. They'll take Melanie's car. Mitch peeks outside. The yard is full of birds. He walks slowly across the porch and they just calmly move out of his way. They're lined up everywhere. He goes to the garage as one nips at his leg. The car is still in good shape. He goes to open the garage door but thinks better of it. He turns on the car radio. He finds out that Bodega Bay has been cordoned off. The town's mostly been evacuated and the military may get involved. I'm not really sure it it's worth trying to get out right now. But Mitch opens the garage, puts the car in neutral, and guides it out to the front door. Careful not to excite the birds, Mitch goes back into the house.

Remember this? Good times.
Melanie is bandaged and catatonic. Mitch tells his mom everything's "all right" as they lead Melanie outside. She hears birds and starts to freak out. They quiet her and get her in the car. Cathy wants to bring the lovebirds. Lydia snuggles Melanie in the backseat. Mitch starts the car and pulls out. The birds seem to only be mildly disturbed by this as he slowly drives through the multitude. So much tweeting as they head down the road. THE END.

A little better than expected. Watch out for biiiiiiiiiirds.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Rockstar Organic


Supposedly Rockstar is now making an "organic" energy drink. I mean, not supposedly, I've got one right here, I am supposing about the "organic" part. However, I have never, ever cared about my consumption of chemicals, so whatevs. I mean, at least I don't live in this Kazakh village where people keep hallucinating and like falling asleep for five days for no discernible reason. (Note to self: maybe you have a sleeping disease?) It's just a new flavor to me. "Island fruit flavor" with organic cane sugar and "organic caffeine from organic green coffee beans." Okay, player. Let's give this shit a go. I've got improv practice and then later a show and I'm still mourning my Troika loss from the other night, so this shit better work.

FLAVOR: I have no idea how to describe what this tastes like. I mean, not much, I guess. It smells kind of "island fruit"-y. Isaac tasted it and says, "It tastes like carbonation... like a vaguely fruity Sprite." There's a bit of an plant-y edge, maybe that's the green coffee bean thing. We'll see how this goes. The flavor never gets better, but it's so un-flavor-y, that you can drink it pretty fast, at least.

EFFECTIVENESS: Guys, it worked real good. Did a bunch of silly kitchen improv and am still feeling pretty good. It works just as well as a regular Rockstar, I guess.

OVERALL: Recommended if you like things that don't quite taste like anything.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Important Competitive Improvising News

GUYS. My fabulous improv trio Useful Knots has made it into the finals of the Minneapolis Troika Madness tournament! Look at how cute and useful we can be:

We're competing against another new trio called Flowers for Megatron. Some people in the rope community have some questions about their origins. It's worth looking into:

Anyway, we face off after a wild card match this Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at HUGE Theater. $7 ONLY! If you come, you get to help decide the winner. Use your suffrage rights wisely. There's an actual TROPHY involved. Troika tickets.

Additionally, my group Trust Pit continues to perform our brand-new form, The Reconstruction, at 8:00 p.m. Fridays at HUGE. We double feature with MURMUR!--last year's Troika champions, who play at 9:30. $12 presale. Trust Pit/MURMUR! tickets.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Energy Drink/Bureaucracy Review: Red Bull Yellow Edition/Blue Cross Blue Shield

Gang, I don't even want to get started on the tragic story of our missing government-subsidized healthcare, but suffice it to say that through no fault of our own, we have been left uninsured so far in 2015 and I have six Prozac pills left and no refills left on my prescription, so anyway it's been fun. We should officially get coverage this week, so hopefully it'll all work itself out blahblahblah. But anyway, I get to call Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and ask them why they've sent us a $733.72 bill for coverage we never had. HAHAHA SUPERFUN.

This would be too many of this flavor, 7-11.

Anyway, I'm also going to try this Red Bull Yellow Edition (apparently also known as the "Summer Edition" because right now it's probably summer on Mars or something), which is supposed to be "tropical"-flavored. Whatever that means. Probably fucking pineapple. Let's do both of these things!

FLAVOR: Not bad. Not too pineappley. General fruitiness, a tinge of tanginess. Again, not bad. Not great either.

PHONE CALL: "Hang up if this a medical emergency?" Okay. God, voice recognition software is the worst. It keeps making me spell my husband's last name. It starts with a V which is basically impossible to differentiate from any other letter on the phone. They're sending me to a representative. 3 minutes on hold, they estimate. We'll see. Shitty jazzy hold music. Oh, less than 3 minutes! They tell me I have to go back and cancel through MNSure or just let it cancel due to nonpayment OKAY SURE GREAT INSURANCING, GUYS. That was fun how you wanted me to pay you for the two months we've been anxiously waiting for our goddamn insurance cards and paying out of pocket for all our prescriptions and putting off doctor's appointments! (I didn't say any of that stuff to the nice lady who has to answer for terrible corporate decisions, just to Isaac afterwards.)

EFFECTIVENESS: It's hard to say if the energy drink or my righteous indignation is hyping me up more, but I'm pretty sure it's a potent combination. No longer as angry, the drink is doing its job in that my legs are extra shaky and my typing fingers feel especially fast. I keep thinking how silly it is that the pull tab on these Red Bull cans, instead of just the oval, features the outline of the bull. Like, why? It's hard to identify. I keep thinking it's, like, an elephant-fishwhaleman. Look:

Image source.

OVERALL: Whatever. It's fine. Not my fave flave, but it works good and stuff. DO WHAT YOU WANT, STOP LETTING THE (WO)MAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Red Bull Orange Edition

Red Bull, elder statesman of the U.S. energy drink industry, has come out with a couple new flavors as part of its Total Zero line. Apparently not everybody's into the classic flavor ("Spree candy/noxious chemicals"). As I recall I wasn't really into whatever the Red, Silver and Blue "Editions" were supposed to taste like, but it appears I never bothered to review them here. SORRY, AMERICA. I picked up a few of the 12-ouncers because the Super America at Lake and Aldrich in Uptown has all the new flavors of energy drinks and is my go-to place for between-show snacks. Anyway, here's the first one of these guys: the Orange Edition I appreciate that though it is "orange," the can clearly tells us that it is artificially flavored, not trying to claim that, say, 3% juice is, like, even a thing. All I've accomplished this afternoon is napping, so we'll see if this helps.

FLAVOR: It's orange-y! Not bad. Much better than any of the other Red Bull alternate flavors I've tried. It's definitely an energy drink-tinged orange, but I'm into that. Less sweet than an orange soda.

EFFECTIVENESS: Isaac just used the word "phenomenon" and then I starting yelling "pheNOMNOMNOM," so I think you could say it's working now. I shared the fuck out of some events on Facebook. (INCLUDING THIS ONE TUESDAY NIGHT BRYANT LAKE BOWL.) Feeling pretty pumped to go to an improv practice and drill this new form straight into the fucking ground. So yes, effective.

OVERALL: Recommended. It's a decent flavor and works good. Worth a try at least.