Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Live (or at least recorded) comedy stylings by yours truly!

"You have the funniest energy drink reviews."
"Your take on the Godfather trilogy should be immortalized in stone."
"I bet your dissertation that you are definitely working on actively is super-smart and good."

Have you found yourself wanting to say these things to me? I don't blame you. Want more of me? You can listen and watch me do long-form improvisational comedy things!

Don't you wanna just hang out with us? Photo courtesy Next at Bat.
First up: Do you podcast? I don't unless I'm on one because listening to words without music is almost as unappealing to me as listening to music without words, but I am a dick. You should! You should very much listen to the Twin Cities' own improv podcast, Next at Bat, hosted by the lovely and talented Matt McCloud and Philip Simondet. Recently they had on my group Snack Time, interviewed us about our "artistic vision" and did some 'provs with us. Only two-thirds of us showed up and we are a bunch of clique-y, giggling assholes, but I think it turned out pretty good anyway: Next at Bat episode 51 with Snack Time. (Free!)

Next: I have two shows closing this weekend! Friday, February 27 at HUGE Theater is your last chance to see me in the Deconstruction as part of Throwback Night at 8:00 p.m. Snack Time will have our last opening set for the Bearded Men at 10:30 on Friday, also. ($12 for 8/9:30, $7 for 10:30, $18 all-night pass)

Next next: I got drawn out of a lottery by the Troika Gods to once again participate in the Minneapolis Troika Madness Tournament. It's improv. It's a competition. It's an improv competition! You may recall that my group Pigmeat was robbed of first place last year, but I shall not be twice denied! I will be performing with Jake Scott and Mary Kane as Useful Knots in the first round next Wednesday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. at HUGE Theater. Come! Watch! Vote for us so we can move on to the semi-finals March 18. (Tournament brackets forthcoming.) ($7)

Nextest of all: My Deconstruction group will be reborn as Trust Pit, performing an as-yet-unnamed new improv form at 8:00 at HUGE on all the Fridays in March and April.

Energy Drink Review: Rockstar Lime Freeze

There is nothing "frozen" about this drink unless you live in MN and leave it in your car or something.
[Ed. note: JK, I am my own editor, but SRSLY I wrote this like a week ago and then forgot to publish it. I have no actual plans to leave my home today. Don't get confused.]

In an effort to produce energy drinks in every goddamn possible flavor, even when they are abominations, Rockstar has put out a couple of drinks that are supposed to taste like frozen booze beverages: Lime Freeze and Pina Colada. Because pineapple is kind of the worst, I am declining to taste and review that one because we all know it will just say "Pineapple is not good, I do not like this." But I'm giving the ol' Lime Freeze a go. True fact: the first booze beverage I was particularly fond of was Mike's Hard Lime. I'd drink four of those and be good to go. You can tell I was very young because my stomach was able to process that much sugar at once and also it only took four very weak beverages to get me satisfactorily drunk. Ah, to be 21 again! JK, that was a kind of horrible time in my life and I never want to go back.

FLAVOR: It is very lime-y. Actually, not unlike the Mike's Lime. Will my old-lady guts be able to handle sixteen ounces of this? ONLY TIME WILL TELL. Halfway in, it's decent and not making me sick or anything.

EFFECTIVENESS: It's working, bros. I'm feeling much less lethargic. We have plans to leave the house tonight and everything. It is a perfectly useful energy beverage. Might not finish it before we go out, but it's definitely doing its job.

OVERALL: I drank most of it before we left the house and only felt slightly icky. Recommended if very lime-y things are your thing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Shut it down, guys. I can't believe I didn't know until now that the comics page's sloppiest love letter to mediocrity achieved its most glorious moment back on January 27th. I sincerely apologize for slacking on my Pluggers coverage.

There is nothing left to say or do. We've reached peak Pluggers, and of course Pluggers entirely lacks self-awareness and has continued to print more comics each day. But we know. We know.

It can never get more Plugger-y than this.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Mountain Dew Kickstart Strawberry Kiwi

This is a drink you can drink.
I've written here about the Mountain Dew Kickstart before. It's a perfectly okay beverage! Looks like PepsiCo is branching out and there are a few new members to the Kickstart family. This particular drink is billed as "Kickstart Hydrating Boost" and the flavor is "Energizing Strawberry Kiwi," so yeah. This is happening. The other new flavor had pineapple in it, so I took a hard pass on that one, OBVS. It's only a twelve-ounce can and I'm not particularly sleepy, just unmotivated to revise a draft for my sketch writing class because doing things is hard and the worst. Let's give this "NATURALLY AND ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED SPARKLING JUICE BEVERAGE BLEND FROM CONCENTRATE" a go!

FLAVOR: It's pretty tasty. Like, a lightly carbonated strawberry something or rather. I like it.

EFFECTIVENESS: My leg shakiness has increased and I'm thinking pretty seriously about looking at the word document I should be working on. Like, I already changed the date and which number draft it is, and honestly, the changes I need to make to this sketch are not that significant and will be fun to do, but I don't want to start. Because doing things is my kryptonite. The energy drinks protect me from hurting myself while exerting effort. Something in the caffeine. Or the taurine. Whatever. I'm sticking to this story. I just added two lines and some stage direction to my sketch, so I'd say overall all that it's working! Finished it and did some more tweaking, so hooray! Success! I may even let Isaac take me grocery shopping (which I hate) before Project Runway All-Stars tonight.

OVERALL: Drink it, it's pretty good and stuff.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Energy Drink Review: Rockstar Horchata Energy

Have you ever been like, "I could use an energy boost, but I'd really like there to be milk involved"? Well, lucky you! Rockstar is now selling a "tradicional [sic] dairy beverage with natural cinnamon flavors." HORCHATA ENERGY DUH OF COURSE THIS IS HAPPENING. I think horchata is yummy generally, but I am skeptical as fuck about this going well. The can says to shake well. I Taylor Swifted the shit out of that thing. Now, to try it:


FLAVOR: Whoa. That is happening. Oh, god. At first you're like, "Mmm, it's like Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk," but then it's like, "Oh dear god, what is this awful over-cinnamon-y/metallic aftertaste?" I am not sure how much of this I can handle. Does Rockstar make a chaser for this drink? Oh no, the more I have, the less I hate it. It's still not good, but maybe you build up, like a milky chemical layer on your tongue and throat so you can't taste it as much after awhile. I'm almost done with it and it is less jarringly awful than the first few glugs, but my stomach feels a little bit weird right now, I won't lie. Also, still not good.

EFFECTIVENESS: It is hard to say since I am choking it down in large gulps, attempting to bypass most of my tongue. That seems to help with the metallic aftertaste. My legs were already shaking because of how I that is my jam, even when I'm exhausted, but perhaps a bit faster now. Well, I just photoshopped a data entry joke based on a shitty Craigslist ad onto a picture of Lars Ulrich and he's probably going to sue me, so at least the caffeine part of this drink isn't complete shit.

Oh dear lord, I finally finished. Lots of weird cinnamon/metallic on the last drink. If you like horchata or energy drinks, you should stay away. If you believe that humanity can do better, definitely do not try this drink.



Are you sure that is what you want?

Re: This ad. Credit to Matt for the suggestion of This Fucking Guy^.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sci-Fi Classics: Live-Blogging "The Abyss"

This is an undersea movie. LET'S GET WET, 1989-style!

Can you dig it? They can! (For oil, underwater.)
A submarine. Dudes are talking about "Reds." It's the '80s! Cold War party!!!!! Some sort of proximity warning. Numbers. "Nothing goes 130 knots." Something's going to collide with them. It's a light or something? Did they just go through an underground warp zone? Collision blahblahblah. Fire, yelling, water leaks. I would never voluntarily get on a submarine. Almost as bad as a spaceship. Drowning/suffocation is inevitable. The ship is sinking. The captain says, "Launch the boy" I think he means "buoy." The ship is penetrated and water gets all over them and they scream and sink and die.

You didn't know this movie had royalty, did you?
Helicopters land on an aircraft carrier. A LADY arrives. "Queen bitch of the universe," some douche calls her. The lady says they're turning the wreck over to the "goon squad." I don't really know what's happening. Underwater dudes are looking around at something. Ed Harris is their boss. He gets a video call. It's the Navy calling. Their underground drilling company is apparently being utilized to investigate the sinking. They're going to pay them pretty well because they can get there before the Navy's salvage ships can and there's a storm coming or something. Ed Harris is Not Pleased they have to do this. The lady is pissed their submersible drilling rig she designed is being used for something else. She and Ed Harris are exes or something. She is on another submersible or something. I don't know, I don't really care. She doesn't want to be called "ma'am" by her team. She's worried they won't all make it to the right depth. Oh my god, I just don't care. The dudes are Navy Seals, I think. Their commander has a mustache. He's getting the hand-shaking symptoms of water pressure-itis or whatever as they arrive on the oil rig ship thing.

Guys, I hope the dramatic stakes in this movie helps these two near-exes forget all the very good reasons they are breaking up  and postpone their divorce for a few years!
She does not like to be called "Mrs. whatever." No one likes Lindsey. She's worked on this project for four years, and she and her ex were together three. Ed Harris drops his wedding ring in a toilet, but then changes his mind. His hand's all blue from fishing it out of the chemical-y toilet water. The crew is worried about radiation from the crashed sub. Mustache Navy dude is stern. Ed Harris is resentful. One of the Seals shows the nerdy crew guy how the weird fluid they breathe at very deep depths works on his rat, forcibly. They're all going down two and half miles into The Abyss. Lindsey's down to her tank top to pilot a ship. The little exploratory ships have reached the wreck. Not much sign of radiation. There are dudes in diving suits, but not sure where they are, since it's just ships investigating the ship right now. Oh, okay now they're going.  They're launching an ROV. Isaac is questioning some of the water pressure science happening here. The second woman in this movie is a butch black lady.

SRSLY though, how awesome would it be if they busted into some sweet underwater choreography up on that platform?
The sub had a ton of warheads on it. The divers are going to enter the sub through the pressure hold breach. They are now inside exploring. They have to break into some compartment where they find the bodies. Be cool, bro. Do they really think they're going to find survivors? In the missile compartment, Jammer sees sea spiders crawl out of a dude's mouth. He kind of freaks out. Ed Harris is going to stay on the other end of this orange rope from him, no problem. They have to make sure that they clear any compartments that might have air. Jammer's flashlight goes out and he loses voice contact with Bud (Ed). He tugs on the rope until it gets cut off on something. He's freaking the fuck out. Weird lights are maybe happening? Shitty keyboard choral music. Jammer tries to get away. Jammer is seizing. They think too much oxygen. Bud tries to fix the mixture.

Lindsey's ship shuts down and she sees a ball of light flit out from the crash site. It's like a pink sea bug thing? Her power comes back on and she has to go save the divers. Seal: "Look, I'm just a medic." Jammer's going to be in a coma, I guess. Lindsey's developing some film. Bud asks her what she saw. She doesn't want to say. She doesn't know what it is. The Seals think it could've been a Russian bogey. They're ordered to move to "Phase 2" which involves arming a warhead. The TV news claims it was a Russian ship that sank the sub. On the surface it's stormy. Cuban and Russian ships are monitoring shit. "Hippy," the rat guy, is nervous. The Seals have stolen a craft, I think. The hurricane on the surface is all hurricaney. It's dangerous for the dudes to be swimming right now or something. They follow arming directions from a "SECRET" set of directions. Mustache's hand shakes again. He wants no one to touch his bag full of nuclear warhead. The black lady is being sent down to do something else now.

If you were going to costume a butch oil rig worker, this is exactly what you'd pick out, isn't it?
She's trying to disconnect some umbilical cable, but the water currents are like intense or whatever. The rig is being pulled to the abyss. Topside, the winch gets destroyed, so that's not good. They're not connected to the top anymore. Sirens and lights in the rig. Whatshername's ship almost gets hit by crane parts. Hippy puts his rat in a ziploc bag to protect him. The crane crashes down right next to the rig. Uh-oh, now it's falling over the edge and it's going to pull them down, too. Ruh-roh! Sparks, fires, water leaks. Lindsey finds an oxygen mask. A Seal yells to Hippy to seal a room that has flames. Is his warhead going to go off? Hippy's rat in a bag starts to float away and he grabs it right before a little ship crashes into a doorway. Another dude gets smooshed under it in some water, I think? I don't know. Whatever. Water crashes into some room. Someone? seals the door and they're trapped, drowning.  Bud can't open it. The hose has to be cut inside. Water starts to crash down on him too and he runs. His fingers get smashed in an automatic door as water fills in behind him. A couple of the other dudes cut the hose motors and try to pry him out. He gets out and water pours in after him. They get to another chamber and are able to shut the hatch. His wedding ring kept his finger from getting actually smashed. SYMBOLISM?

The team can't reach anybody on the radio. Mustache tells Bud he was under orders and had no choice about something. Lindsey is trying to fix some shit. They're not going to have heat or enough oxygen to outlast the storm. Bud's glad she's here. She's not. She has to go outside to do something reparative. The video feed from the ROV with her keeps cutting out. The power goes out. The weird pink glowy thing comes up behind her. It's like a glowing ship/fish with lights and other stuff inside. It goes away and the mother ship comes up out of the Abyss. It's mostly pink and glowing and clear and has flashy lights. It's checking her out and making whirring/purring noises. She pets it? It starts to move away and then suddenly jets when she tries to take a picture. The little one is playful. Once they're gone, the power comes back.

Lindsey tries to explain what she saw. She says it's not human and it's intelligent. Hippy is pumped about UFOs. Underwater. UUFO. UUSwimmingO? Bud pulls her aside and accuses her of inciting hysteria. SEXIST. She tries to describe how it glided and was beautiful. It was a living machine. She needs Bud to believe her. "We all see what we want to see," she says. The Seals see Russians. Bud is not feeling it.

The Seals are doing surgery on the missile they recovered. An ROV looks in their window. Hippy's spying on them. He records the video feed on VHS. Hippy seems like he pretty much knows what's up. Lindsey overhears and is pissed. She tries to break into the Seals' room. She uncovers their missile and is PISSED that it's on her rig. Mustache sweats and tells her to make an about-face. A Seal grabs Lindsey and Bud puts on an alarm to alert the others. Mustache is named Coffey, but I'm going to keep calling him Mustache. Mustache is also played by Michael Biehn, Designated Sexy Dude in '80s Sci Fi Films, but with sinister facial hair here. Mustache's shaky hand was gripping a handgun. He says they can't trust the crew."We're going to have to take steps." Doesn't sound good. Hippy tells everyone Mustache's hand is shaking.

Lindsey wants to send down another ROV to get evidence that it's not Russians down there before the Seals mistakenly nuke the ocean. Mustache watches her argue about it with Hippy on a security monitor and hears everything they're saying. The crew tries to get some sleep. Hippy gets the ROV ready to go explore and then goes to bed. A pink light comes into the diving pool. A shape forms out of the water and moves down a hallway on the rig. It opens a hatch and sees people sleeping. It finds Lindsey and she tries to wake up Bud as a weird water worm looks at them. Butch Black Lady wakes up. They also wake up the bearded dude. He's about to throw a plant at it. It's looking at Lindsey. The end of the pillar of water mimics her face. 1989 CGI! It's not bad. Then it makes Bud's face. She touches it and tastes it, Mulder-style. It's seawater. Then the pillar retreats and they run after it. There is playful music playing. Isaac calls it whimsical. The water worm has found the warhead. Mustache and his surviving bro see the originating end of it at the pool and shut a door, cutting it in half. It retreats back into the ocean. Nice one, Mustache. RUDE.

"So raise your hand if you think that was a Russian water tentacle." Nice one, Queen Bitch! Mustache is so sweaty and paranoid looking. Eyes very shifty. Hippy thinks Lindsey saw their ships earlier. Mustache is slicing stripes into his arm with a big ol' knife. He tells his guy, "It went straight for the warhead, and they think it's cute." Inaccurate. There is a stuffed Garfield with suction limbs on their porthole. Mustache is arming himself. He's freaking out because they have no contact to the surface and it's all up to them now. This is going to end so well, you guys. Hippy makes his way down to the pool and sees that the Seals have armed his ROV with the newly-armed warhead. Mustache catches him lurking. The Seals pull guns on the whole crew. There's a Coke fountain machine. Mustache grabs his injured bro to help. Lindsey tries to talk to him and he throws her.  He puts duct tape on her face and throws everybody in the kitchen. There's three hours on the warhead's timer. Injured Seal says they don't have enough time to get a minimum safe distance away by then and Mustache disarms him. THINGS ARE SO FUCKING GOOD.

The injured dude tries to convince his Navy bro not to comply with Mustache's fake crazy orders. Jammer is awake and lets everybody out of the kitchen. He thinks he saw an angel down there. Mustache has tied up the door wheel thing. They have to find another way to sub-bay. Bud is going to swim to Hatch 6. Lindsey is worried he'll freeze. Beard's going to go with him. They strip down and go under. They're, like, legit outside right now. They find the hatch they want and open it. There's some air at the top of the pressure hatch. Beard is going to stay here while Bud goes on to some other place. Oh, he swims up into their pool. He sees Mustache playing with some chains and tries to quietly pull himself out. He's so cold. The crew is duct taping one of the Seals up. As the crew watches on a security monitor, Bud approaches Mustache with a large blunt object. Mustache pulls his gun and the trigger, but it either isn't loaded or malfunctions. They hit each other. Apparently the taped-up Seal took out his bullets. But now they're in a knife fight. Mustache gets the upper hand and starts choking Bud. Apparently Beardo made it through the water too and punches Mustache off Bud. Mustache jumps into one of the little ships and they try to pull the armed ROV off as he drives it away.

Let us not worry about which plot points have brought his shirt to this state, just appreciate the gifts you've been given..
Beardo shoots at the ship in the pool. Bud puts on an underwater suit and gives chase. Lindsey gets in a ship to follow also. Mustache is NOT looking good. He's stuck or something and Bud is able to start trying to take the thing off. He ties a rope to the ROV just before Mustache releases it. He ties it to the rig. Mustache better have some giant scissors on there. His pincers are not very good when he crashes into the building. He elbows to death a tape player that just started playing. Mustache starts chasing Bud himself. His torn shirt keeps getting more and more messed up.  It's half a shirt now. Lindsey crashes her lil ship into Mustache's. Mustache's has a fire. She picks up Bud but not before he says "I'm comin', Baby. Keep your pantyhose on." You should continue to divorce him. The rope comes undone, but they're able to grab it with the sub's arm until Mustache rams them and they lose "Geek," the little ROV. A chase ensues.

Ramming, Bud giving "Baby" directions. She causes a minor avalanche to get in Mustache's way and then rams him while he can't see and crashes him into some rocks. The two little subs are now stuck together and Mustache's is going over the edge. It doesn't pull theirs, though. He falls and then his craft implodes. The craft Bud and Lindsey are in is all broken. They won't be able to catch Big Geek in this. They're being flooded in the meantime. He's got a wetsuit on, but she's really cold. They should share a suit. She won't survive before he swims to the rig and back. He wants her to put the air helmet on and swim, but she wants him to wear the whole suit and pull her body back. She says she can be revived with hypothermia. He is reluctant, but it makes the most sense. He kisses her. She's cold and crying and about to drown. She's pretty dead and he's pulling her body back to the rig. The crew preps all the first aid stuff. They pull her out and start shocking her and stuff. They put hot packs all over her and pump air into her. Also, we see her really cold boobs. Bud keeps trying compressions, but she's gone. They didn't actually try the adrenaline shot he asked for. She's pretty blue. Maybe the sea alien will cure her. Bud freaks out and keeps trying CPR. They shock her again. He yells and slaps her to fight. He shakes her and she starts to breathe. She coughs and they all laugh. HAHA NEAR DEATH, AMIRITE?

She wakes up again later and they stroke each other's faces. How much longer until the warhead goes off? Okay, now they're prepping Bud to go disarm it, there's about an hour left. He has to wear contacts to see through the weird breathing fluid. They're putting weights on him to drop him to the bottom. He can't talk with the fluid, but he'll have a keyboard and can hear them talk. It's kind of freaky when he has to adjust to the liquid inside the helmt. Supposedly your body will remember breathing liquid in the womb.

He's calmer now and says it feels weird. He's basically wearing a full-on space suit. One of the dudes is wearing a Packers letterman jacket. OBVIOUSLY. Bud's holding onto a little tiny ROV and it's going to lead him straight to Big Geek with the warhead. Bud goes off the edge and lets Little Geek and the weights take him down in to the Abyss. Bud's currently setting a record for the deepest suit dive. He's one mile down and occasionally bumping off the side. He's having hand shaking stuff. The team wants Lindsey to talk to him, emotionally. Gross.

Ugh, worst almost-ex-wife ever, amirite?
She talks to him at 12,000 feet. He can't type right. She tells him to listen to her voice. Little Geek breaks and Bud keeps falling. He bounces off the cliff wall and tumbles down. He's got a flare to light the way. Lindsey tries to talk him through. "I'm with you. I'll always be with you." OH WHO'S NOT GETTING A DIVORCE NOW? Beardo chimes in. Bud finally types back that he feels a little better. He sees lights. The Seal guy thinks he's hallucinating, but it's the aliens. The Navy guy will tell him how to disable the bomb. Bud's flare goes out and now he's using a glow stick. Underwater rave! This green light isn't helping him see the right light colors on the wires. He almost cuts one and then tries the other, maybe? No explosion. He only has five minutes left on his air mixture, but it took him thirty to get down there. Lindsey wants him to head back now, but he says he knew this was a one way ticket. "love you wife" he texts. She loves him blahblahblah. I guess he's just going to chill by the lights now and wait to die.

Bud sees some pink lights come at him. A thing that looks like a glowing manta ray comes towards him. An alien dude looks at him from inside (I think) and extends a hand. It has only three fingers and flaps him away to their underground city or whatever. Inspirational music. Not great CGI here, but good for 1989. They fly down into a tunnel. Bud is getting sleepy. He lands somewhere and it seems like they're making him an oxygen room by moving the water away. He takes off his helmet to breathe. He throws up the water mixture stuff and coughs a bit. He takes off the air tanks and sees some of the glowy ray dudes floating next to the water wall. "Howdy." They show him his last messages again. Choral-type musicks. He salutes them. An alien face fades into clouds in front of the sun. Triumphant music.

The ship on the surface is trying to contact the rig now. They debate how to get them back. Suddenly, they get a message from Bud. He's okay and has new friends. Suddenly the rig starts to shake. Pink light approaches. The big ship is rising up out of the deep. It rises out of the water and is a big purple/pink thing rising up underneath their ship. It's the whole spaceship. All the dudes are like, WTF? The rig is on top of it, too. The survivors climb out. "We should be dead," Lindsey says. "We didn't decompress." Bud climbs out of tunnel with his arms raised triumphantly. They walk to each other and start to make out.

Blahblahblah the end. So long. Literally, I'm not saying goodbye, that movie was just so. long. Ugh, James Cameron, get an editor.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Energy Drink Review: V8 Fusion Energy Diet Cranberry and Raspberry

When I was temping at a terrible semi-industrial office in Toledo for a middle-aged dude who was way too interested in my personal life and also carried a weapon at all times a few years ago, I first tried the V8 Fusion pomegranate/blueberry flavor. I said it was "better than nothing." Since this time, numerous other flavors have been released and since my stomach has finally started rebelling from all the abuse I've inflicted upon in the past decade or so, I've basically given up Diet Coke and am looking for alternatives for when I don't (yet) want to bust out a full energy drink. I knew I'd be starting working again, so I bought a six-pack of the cranberry/raspberry flavor, which is also apparently "diet" somehow. Whatever.

FLAVOR: It tastes like cranberries and raspberries! I can't really taste the green tea the caffeine's been extracted from, which is good because of how I am a picky asshole. It's actually pretty good. Though the can says it only contains 8% juice, 100% of it TASTES like juice and is non-carbonated and truly not bad for something ostensibly healthy.

EFFECTIVENESS: It is just an 8-ounce can, so it may not do much, but we'll see! I had to get up and come into my new temp job (which is a place where I used to have a real job before I destroyed my life and finances with grad school) an hour early so another new employee and I could be "met and gret," which is how I described it to Isaac at the unholy hour of 8:30 a.m. But there were free donut holes and tiny scones, so that's something at least. I think the small amount of caffeine in this can is combining well with the anxiety I'm currently experiencing about fucking this whole thing up and therefore proving to my old bosses they were right not to rehire me to keep me pretty alert.

OVERALL: Recommended. Now that I've been unemployed for awhile and therefore not mainlining caffeine and have also developed some kind of physical aversion to too many carbonated chemicals, this kind of thing is an adequate substitute. Also, good for mornings.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Paranormal Classics: Interview with the Vampire

I've never seen Interview with a Vampire, so obvs we're remedying this now. This is going to be the '90sest thing that ever happened to me.

I think this movie might take place in San Francisco. I also think The Room borrowed some of those outdoor establishing shots. The pedestrians here are very ill-behaved. Ponytail Brad Pitt stares out a hotel window. Christian Slater is there to record his life story. Tape recorder, take a drink! PonyPitt was going to suck his blood earlier. PonyPitt turns the light on super-fast somehow and he's creepy looking. He hasn't been human for 200 years. His nails are too long. Slater's got a great "writer" vest and glasses. Slater believes him that he's a vampire.

1791: Pitt was 24, a plantation master in Louisiana. His wife and baby were dead. He was all depressed and drank at their grave. He was living recklessly because of the Sadz. He wanted to die. He wears good red pants. Tom Cruise in a shitty blond wig watches him. As a prostitute is about to blow him in an alley and her pimp tries to rob him, Pitt passes out and Cruise bites his neck and they fly into the air while they do it. Pitt is LOVING IT. "Do you still want this?" Cruise asks. Pitt says, "Enough." Cruise drops him into the Mississippi River. He ends up all sickly in bed where Cruise comes to visit him. The vampire teeth make them all look like they're wearing braces. Cruise offers to "pluck out the pain." HOT. Pitt watches his last sunrise. At his family's grave, Cruise comes to bite him up. This movie is super-gay so far. Pitt agrees to get vampy, so Cruise bites his own arm and drips it into Pitt's mouth. Then Pitt gets excited and starts to suck his wrist.

I think he's going through the Change now (menopause). "Your body's dying, pay no attention," says Cruise as he creepily watches. Cruise's shiny vest is the best. Pitt wakes up with pale, veiny skin and creepy blue eyes. An angel statue looks at him. In the present again, Pitt is not bothered by Slater's cigarettes, obvs because he can't die from secondhand cancer or whatever. Pitt likes crucifixes, stakes through the heart are like whatevs, but vampires do have to sleep in coffins sometimes, I guess. On his next night as a vampire, Pitt is super-hungry. He and Cruise share a lady in a way that is not homoerotic at all. Apparently she's not bothered that they're sucking her blood because they are so seductive. No one else notices. "You'll get used to killing," Cruise says. Thandie Newton, as a slave/servant, shows up. Pitt wants to eat her. Cruise catches a rat and pours Pitt a glass of blood. Cruise tells him living on animals is necessary sometimes, like when on a ship. Pitt doesn't want to kill people or something.

The boys go to New Orleans. Cruise is Lestat, he prefers to start his evening meal with young girls. Then a young man. He likes to drink blue bloods, if you know what I mean. Apparently vampires can read thoughts. Oh wait, only Lestat. They've got their sights set on a corrupt rich old lady and her foppish servant boyfriend. Pitt doesn't want to kill the lady, so he kills her barking poodles. Lestat is pissed and snaps her neck. They fight for a minute. Pitt has eaten all the chickens on his plantation and I think at least one slave is dead. So the slaves are putting on some kind of voodoo ritual now, I think? Pitt is interested that Lestat and his sire were both from Paris. Lestat says he had no choice. The slaves know what they are. "Forgive me if I have a lingering respect for life," says Pitt, whose name is Louis, I guess. Thandie is worried about him. He goes out riding and doesn't come to the slave quarters to fuck her anymore, there's death, and everyone's afraid. So is he. She wants his friend to go away. He bites her wrist and she starts to scream. Lestat has stirred up the slaves and they come to the house with pitchforks and torches. Pitt comes out carrying her body and tells them this place is cursed, he's the devil, and now they're free. Then he sets his own house on fire. He should let them take stuff to sell. Though they're in Louisiana, they'll probably just get picked up by a slave trader since it's not like he's making verifying documents for them.

Coffee table? More like COFFIN TABLE, amirite? Source.
Louis sets his wife's portrait on fire. Lestat shows up and is pissed because of how much he likes wealth. The slaves cheer as the mansion burns. Louis wakes up in a crypt. Louis claims there is no hell, but Louis is like, "I'm in it, like, all the time." In New Orleans, Louis watches Lestat get with/eat ladies. Louis bites one woman's boob through her clothes somehow and she is not upset, just turned on until she notices the blood. He bites her wrist to pour a glass for his bro. Don't these guys have, like, crazy laundry bills with all the blood stains? Louis doesn't want it and is upset the girl is still alive. Lestat puts her in the coffin they use as a coffee table, which is, I imagine, rather upsetting. Lestat keeps trying to convince Louis he's a killer. Finally, Lestat finishes her off. He mutters about the Dark Gift as Louis goes out to find some tasty rats to live on. That's some post-curse Angel shit. Some dudes with a body cart tell him there's a plague in this neighborhood and to avoid it.

Baby (like 10 or 12 year-old) Kirsten Dunst is mourning her mother's death in a house. She hugs Louis and asks for help. Her mom's body is rotting and gross and Louis decides to bite her. Lestat comes in and starts to laugh. He dances with the lady's corpse and sings an awesome jaunty Italian tune. Louis runs away into a sewer and cries. Killing gives him peace, but he doesn't want to kill. Apparently vampires feel pain more acutely? "God kills indiscriminately, and so shall we," says Lestat. God is a dick. Lestat has brought the little girl to their rooms. She's not dead. She's UNdead. Oh, not yet. Lestat feeds her from his wrist and she is HUNGRY AS FUCK. I bet this role was super-fun for little Kirsten. Suddenly she's not sickly and dirty, her hair is super-curly and she is pale as fuck. She wants some more blood. Lestat rings for a maid and gives her to the girl. He tells her to stop before the heart stops because it tastes better that way. He is doting on her. He tells her her mom and the maid have both gone to heaven. Louis is sad. She's their daughter now. "GAY DADS." -Isaac. She hugs Louis and now he's sucked in because of his dead daughter.

I took 10 years of piano lessons, so I feel this. Source.
She was a little spoiled child and a ruthless killer all in one. She starts to suck the blood from a seamstress' finger after she pricked it with a needle. She is named Claudia. She used to sleep in a coffin with Louis, snuggling. Then she wanted her own. Later, she'd wake up and come snuggle him. Claudia didn't know how to play the Game and would just kill them immediately, but Lestat taught her. A piano teacher smacks her hands with a dowel. A doll maker says his product is too expensive for her but she kills him and takes it anyway. She kills the piano teacher, breaking the main rule: never in the house. Louis thought she was a little girl, but Lestat wanted her to be like him, someone who enjoys the kill. They were happy for awhile. How awful to be prepubescent forever.

Lestat does not like the taste of Yankees. Too much "democratic flavor." Claudia watches a naked lady sing and groom herself through an open door. Claudia wants to be her. She's horrified Louis used to eat rats. She draws the naked lady. It has been thirty years. She's OVER dolls, Lestat. It's her birthday. She says she's like his doll. True. So many dolls. The pile was covering the naked Creole lady's body. She has a fit and cuts her own hair off. "Can't I change, like everybody else!?" It grows back immediately. She wants to know who did it. She slashes Lestat's face, but the cuts heal immediately. She wants to know how he did it, but tells her she would've died otherwise. Isaac: "She's so out of here when she turns 18." Me: "Eighteen twenty years ago." Louis tells her she'll never get old, but that also means she'll never grow up. She hates Lestat for doing this to her. Louis feels guilty and takes her to where he first found and attacked her. "You both did it," she says. "I took your life, he gave you another one," Louis rationalizes. Now she hates both her dads.

Louis wanders around muddy streets blahblahblah. He comes home, filthy, smelling of blood. "Locked together in hatred," Claudia says. She can't hate him, though. He's her whole family now. She wants to leave Lestat, but Louis think he won't let them go. Later, Lestat claims he's found a better vampire protege than her. She calls him the father of lies. But then she wants to make peace. She's brought him a present. He wants it to be a lady with boobs UNLIKE HER. Burn! Also, rude. Claudia's gotten some twin boys drunk for him. She'll get rid of the bodies and she says they're now at peace. He drinks some blood and is drugged. She killed them with laudanum, which apparently keeps the blood warm. Lestat is incapacitated and she slits his throat. Is this how a vampire dies? His face looks gross. Claudia's very pleased with herself, but Louis is Not. They put him in the swamp, weighed down. He's gonna get eaten by gators! Louis feels bad since Lestat was his Maker.

Back in the present, Christian wonders why Louis missed Lestat. "We were like two orphans learning to live again," Louis says of himself and Claudia. They book passage to Europe and Claudia researches their People. Louis goes to answer the door. There's no one there, but then a zombie-looking Lestat attacks him. He manages to get to the piano upstairs. Lestat stayed alive on the blood of gators, snakes, and toads. "Claudia, you've been a very, very naughty little girl." He attacks. Louis throws a lamp at him and he sets fire. STOP DROP AND ROLL, BRO. Louis and Claudia run away. They barely catch their ship. A fire spreads all over the French Quarter and they continue to fear him. Louis feels guilty, obvs. No rats on board, so they have to feed on the fellow passengers and crew. They make it to the Mediterranean. They search all over Europe looking for other vampires, but with no luck.

Paris in 1870. They go out dancing. Amazing dresses for Claudia. Out walking one night, Louis encounters one of his own kind. Where? A dark alley/street, obvs. Such great top hats and capes to go with their tuxes. Gold waistcoats, YES. This other vampire starts dancing up an arch. He is silly. Sexy Antonio Banderas scolds him for playing. Armand (Banderas) gives Louis a card for Theatre des Vampires, whatever that means. He and Claudia go to see the show. The playful one is dressed as the Grim Reaper. "Vampires who pretend to be humans playing vampires." "How avant garde," Claudia says. A woman is brought to the stage. She's scared and tries to run, but dudes in sparkly black robes stop her. He takes her top off. He asks her if he should take someone else from the audience. A lady volunteers, but he just laughs it off. Armand shows up. Extra pale stage makeup on. She hugs him. What a weird show! BOOBS. "No pain," he whispers to her. He takes her skirt off and she faints as he feeds on her. "Monsters," says Louis. Armand looks as him as he feeds. This lady is super-skinny. The crowd of vampires feed on her as the curtain closes. The audience is awkwardly subdued as they file out. Like, I wonder what the reviews of this show are like.

Armand shows our friends backstage and down into some catacombs. It's pretty fancy. Armand has a living boy with bite marks. "Try him," Armand says. Louis does. Fucked up. Louis wants to know the source of "all this evil." Armand gives him shit for sympathizing with the woman onstage. "I know nothing of god or the devil," says Armand. He's 400 and says he's the oldest living vampire. He tells Louis to stop feeling some much. Playful vampire reads his mind that Louis' betrayed Lestat. Claudia is pissed. Armand wants Louis. Claudia doesn't want to let him go. TBH, it'd be pretty hard for a somebody who looks 11 to get around by herself.

Another night, another show where the playful dude plays Death. Louis goes to see Armand. He tells him Claudia is his daughter and she loves him. Apparently it's against the rules to make such a young vampire because they're helpless. Armand wants to know if he killed the one who made her. Louis won't send her away, even though she's in danger. Armand says very few vampires have the stamina for immortality. Armand wants him to be the spirit of this Age or something. Vampires are like theater because they are decadent and useless. Armand loves his tears. He calls him a vampire with a human soul. Okay, good job ripping this off, Joss Whedon. Armand knows Lestat and doesn't care if he's dead. Louis wants to be mentored by Armand SO HARD.

Lovely jewel tones here.
Louis gets home and there's a lady there with Claudia. She wants to be drunk. Claudia wants her own companion since he has Armand now. "Do it before you leave me!" The lady wants her own child who can't die, unlike her loser human daughter. She's got bite marks, but needs someone who can drink more, to the point of death. Louis does it. Louis says some shit about how they're even now. He says his last "human" breath is gone. The other vampires have come to get them. "It's time for justice, little one!" a Frenchpire yells. They're going to kill Claudia and trap Louis somewhere. Armand ignores his cries from his chambers. They lock Louis in a coffin, which they drag down some stairs. They lock Claudia and her new friend in some creepy chamber with no roof. The sunlight will eventually kill them. Can't they walk up the walls or something? The daylight will get to them at , like, noon. Louis screams for Claudia as they blister and smoke in the sun. Armand breaks Louis' coffin out of the wall. Armand claims he couldn't help Claudia. Louis finds the two women, petrified like some Pompeii victims, but with hair. He touches them and they crumble into a pile of ash that blows in his face, Big Lebowski-style. He is gonna be so pissed and not want to hang out with Armand.

The playful one, who I think is Christoph Waltz just smiles. Back in the present, Louis cries briefly before quickly going on with his story. He covers the theater in some red liquid. Gas? Booze? Something flammable, I'm sure. He throws it over all their coffins downstairs. He doesn't give a fuck if he's the only vampire left, they are dicks. He chops them with the very-sharp stage scythe as they try to escape. Flames, screams. Louis runs toward Waltz. He chops him up good and throws the scythe on him as the theater burns. Outside, the sun almost gets him through some clouds until Armand pulls up in a curtained carriage, driven by the boy he likes to taste. Armand was their leader, but he was, like, Over It. He says vampires should be "Powerful. Beautiful. And without regret." Louis is skeptical. Armand is touching Louis' face with his lips as he talks. So, so gay. Louis knows he let Claudia get killed so he's like, "No thanks, I will not be your vampire bro. Bropire."

Louis wandered for years blahblahblah. He went back to America and saw sunrises again on film. 1988 he went back to New Orleans. He smells death and tracks it down to a fancy mausoleum where he finds Lestat snuggled in a little blanket in the dark, Pakistan compound era Osama bin Laden-style. Lestat was like, back in the day "no one could refuse me" EWWWWWWW. A low-flying helicopter's lights scare Lestat. Lestat wants to get the band back together, but Louis' like, "No thanx." He leaves him all disfigured in that chair like a disappointed Mr. Rochester.

Back to the present, Slater is still taking notes. He's disappointed Louis is just "empty." Slater wants to be like him, to be his companion. "Do you like being food for the immortals?" he says as he holds him by his throat to the ceiling. Then Louis disappears. Slater grabs his "writer" props and runs to his stupid orange convertible and drives off, almost hitting a Ford Taurus (TAKE A DRINK). He drives across the Golden Gate Bridge and pops his new tape into his car's tape player. THE '90S! "This is good stuff," he mutters to himself, but Lestat is in his backseat and is going to eat him now. Is the car supposed to be moving still? Lestat feels better and rants about Louis' whining. He takes over the car and he's going to give Slater "the choice." What Isaac has told me is a shitty Rolling Stones cover, "Sympathy with the Devil" is on the radio. I am very satisfied with this ending.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Where to See My Face Being Funny in Reals

My bros, the next few months are going to be busy for Lauren improv stuff. If you will be in Minneapolis in this period, you should come see me do the things on the stage! Here's a sched:

Fridays in January and February at 8:00 p.m. at HUGE Theater, $12 for the 8 and 9:30 shows or $18 for an all-night pass, which includes the late show I'm also in that night
Throwback Night! Three classic forms performed by Twin Cities favorites (like me). I'm in the Deconstruction group, the other two are doing the Harold and Close Quarters, respectively.

I got me and the other Snack Faces into the bearded spirit, okay?
(Also) Fridays in January and February at 10:30 p.m. at HUGE Theater, $7 (or $18 with the earlier shows)
Snack Time will be opening for the illustrious Bearded Men. We always bring snacks!

Sunday 1/11, 1/18, and 1/25 at 8:00 p.m. at HUGE Theater, pay what you like
Bitches with Books will improvise a ladies' book club and other semi-related nonsense at your face alongside three other fantastic groups!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Energy Drink Review: Monster Ultra Sunrise

Monster keeps changing its cans so I think they're releasing new products. There's a new orange one on the market called "Ultra Sunrise" in one of the textured "ultra" cans (a line of flavors that have ultra-underwhelmed me) claiming to be some sort of morning drink. I don't know, maybe it'll basically be like the Monster version of Mountain Dew Kickstart. I will give it a try. I will mention that it is actually sunSET here, as it is nearly 5:00 p.m., but we all know I don't sleep at night anyway and there's no way I'm getting any writing done if I don't have caffeine. Let's do this!

FLAVOR: Hmm. It legit tastes like orange fruit was involved in the making of this beverage. It's carbonated and obvs loaded with chemicals, but the flavor somehow comes off closer to orange juice than orange soda (which is what the Kickstart tastes like, in a good way). Not bad. The drink continues to be tasty.

EFFECTIVENESS: Yeah, it's working. I moved my computer into the office and got out the ten pages of dissertation proposal I've written and went through with a purple pen. Next step: open the word document. Legs shaking extra much. I'm listening to music and doing a tiny bit of work, which is saying a lot since I've spent the past three months intentionally unemployed so I could write a total of ten pages. LET'S CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES.

OVERALL: I haven't finished it yet, but it tastes pretty good and is working. Different enough from the other orange Monsters to be worth a try.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Energy Drink Review: Tornado

I had the red one. Blue one's next. Brown one never (sorry, I'm racist against coffee).
Guys, I found a Big Lots(!) here in Minnesota and was able to find some random new energy drinks to try. I picked up a "Tornado" drink in a few flavors and will review the original flavor here for you today. I really shouldn't drink energy drinks, just generally OBVS, but because I'm awake until the morning and then sleep all day and then get up for awhile and then take a 3-hour nap, but I will do almost NOTHING if I don't drink some caffeine. My friend Mike tells me this sounds less like caffeine dependency and more like "depression" but WHATEVER WORKS, MY FRIEND. Unnecessary caffeine and lots of cheesy pop music are how I'm doing this thing (occasionally doing household chores and writing once in awhile). The plastic bottle of Tornado claims it contains a "Taste that blows you away!" I do find the way they incorporated the UPC barcode into the tornado picture rather clever. I respect that. Without further ado, here is my live Tornado review.

FLAVOR: Okay, it just tastes like generic "energy drink." The bottle has red on it, so that my be skewing  my tastebuds into thinking it tastes a little more "red" than citrus-y. It's perfectly acceptable in flavor, but definitely has a kind of chemical-y aftertaste. I don't mind that, but I am more energy drink than man at this point, so that's not saying much. Okay, the flavor does not improve with time or warming. It's got a cough-syrupy edge to it almost. I will continue drinking it, obviously. UPDATE: the flavor never improved.

EFFECTIVENESS: In addition to some fun music, this here Tornado is helping motivate me to do some chores I was supposed to do last week, so that's positive. After a little while, my head feels kind of funny, so that's a thing. Maybe I should eat lunch or dinner, whatever meal I'm supposed to have next. I'm going to take my tape measure to the Goodwill for a secret project and then probably get some Wendy's because I'm classy. We'll see how this goes. I got a headache, but I got my secret project purchase and four new (used) puzzles and some dinner made me feel better. The last third or so of the drink is in my fridge for now. I will update if I decide to drink it tonight.

Okay, I finished it eventually after my patented cocktail of sudafed and ibuprofen and a delicious Wendy's salad fixed my headache. It is 2:16 a.m. and I am VERY alert. I even took care of some grownup internet-based business I'd been avoiding. I started a new puzzle and we finished season one of Masters of Sex OMG so good, right? I know I'll never sleep again until it's time for most people to go to work.

OVERALL: Whatever. The caffeine works, the flavor is not so good. I was not "blown away."

UPDATE: The blue one tastes slightly better. Probably not worth looking into unless you find them for 50 cents at Big Lots like I did.