Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nightmare on Elm Street

My love for the horror genre started at a young age. At this point you've all heard the stories of Beth and I at eight years old, huddled together watching horribly gruesome movies that our parents had allowed us to rent from Coast to Coast. We weren't watching the classic horror movies though. Our love for horror films has always leaned more towards the "super shitty" variety. I remember one in particular that we rented a lot which was just a collection of scary shorts, one of which involved a dog getting microwaved.

So when I say that I'm a fan of the genre, I typically get grilled about which classics I like the best, and my response is always, "Umm...well...I haven't seen any of those, but have you seen Ticked Off Trannies With Knives?! It's ahhhmmmmmaaaaaaaaazzzzzzing!!"

I totally didn't even make that up.
This week I continue my movie education with the Wes Craven classic, Nightmare on Elm Street.

I already knew the premise of the movie from, you know, pop culture, but otherwise I was entering the franchise pretty fresh. I mean, I guess I saw the 2010 reboot, but the only impression that it left on me was, "Thomas Dekker...preeeeeeeeettttttty..."

**Attention: Spoilers Ahead...but this movie is from 1984, so you can't really bitch if you too haven't watched it yet**

The movie opens with Freddie chasing a hot blonde chick around a boiler room in her nightgown. I know full well that she will be the first to die...because she's a hot blonde chick, and Wes Craven loooooves killing off hot blonde chicks. Sorry 'bout your luck, blonde chick. 

Just as Freddie is about to slice her up with his finger knives, she wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. She's relieved until she looks down and sees her nightgown has been sliced open right where Freddie attacked in her dream. SpooOOooky!

Our hot blonde chick, Tina, meets up with her hunky bad boy boyfriend, Rod, and their two virgin friends the next morning. You can tell they're virgins by the number of sweater vests they wear and also because their names are Glen and Nancy as opposed to Rod and Tina, which are basically 80's porn names. They pass by a yard where three identically dressed little girls jump rope and sing a song about counting and everyone's impending death.

Open your eyes, idiots. Little girls singing are always, always, always a harbinger of doom (which is why I'll never watch Annie).

They all realize that they've had the same dream about the same scary man in the striped sweater with finger knives. Because they're all so spooked, they decide to have a slumber party to make themselves feel safer. Now...if it was me...and all of my friends were having the same terrifying dreams? I'd maybe be finding a new clique to hang out with so that when Freddie comes calling I could be like, "Oh, Nancy? We don't really hang out that much. I don't even think I have her cell number anymore. She lives over on Elm Street though. I could draw you a map if you think it'd help?"

Tina, Nancy, and Glen hear a strange noise in the back yard. Instead of hightailing it out the front door, they go out to investigate the noise...all of them.

With only Sweater Vest Johnny Depp to protect them...
At this point, they're f#%!ing idiots for not realizing they are living a horror movie. There's the creepy singing little girls, the super weird matching dreams, the fact that their friend group is wildly mismatched with different horror movie archetypes, and they were staying at Tina's house because her parents were out of town.

I've been convinced I'm living a horror movie for a lot less.

For instance, while in San Francisco we stayed at a place through Airbnb, which is a service that allows you to rent other peoples' homes while they are out of town. The place we were staying was super cute, but I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something weird about the whole thing. I was freaked out out by the strange art on the walls, there were unexpected drafts, and they didn't have a TV...something was obviously wrong with these people.

I was in a full on panic when we got home from a night of drinking and I found a closet door that wouldn't open. The girls I was with tried to calm me down by telling me it was probably just locked, to which I replied, "Do you see a lock on this door?! If it's locked, it's locked from the inside of the closet! And that's supposed to make me feel better?! GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES!"

We survived the weekend, and I rested easy knowing that if something did go south, I was staying with three hot blonde chicks. I know who survives this horror movie.

The ominous noise our hapless main characters heard turned out to just be Rod being a douche bag. He shows up, asserts his masculinity by wearing a leather jacket and a shirt only buttoned at the bottom, and takes Tina in to her parents bedroom to have loud sex (like really loud that it made me wonder if I've been doing it wrong). Nancy, on the other hand, took the twin bed and just made Glen jerk of by himself on the couch (Okay, so that's not in the movie, but I'm sure it's one of the deleted scenes).

The horror begins again after Tina falls asleep and starts to dream. Dream Tina hears a noise outside and goes to investigate with no pants on (which I can actually respect). Freddie does a bunch of super scary stuff and ends up killing her pretty violently while Rod stands by the side of the bed watching her thrash and bleed.

I probably should have been pretty horrified, but...

Dat ass!

Nancy begins chugging coffee to prevent herself from falling asleep, but she dozes off in class the next day, and see's Tina beckoning her from inside of a bloody body bag.

...and the bitch follows her.

She's of course attacked by Freddie, and she acts all surprised by it! GURL! You followed your friend's body bag into a boiler room! What the f#%! did you expect?! It was at this point in the movie that I quit rooting for her, and I started counting all the ways that Nancy deserves to die.

Your best friend is murdered viciously, and you're pretty sure that you're being hunted by a monster in your dreams...the same monster that this friend told you that she was dreaming about before she was murdered. What's your next move?

Nancy's next move is a nice relaxing bath.

You're almost drowned in the bathtub because a dream monster attacked you when you inevitably fell asleep. You realize you need to stay awake at any cost. What's your next move?

Nancy's next move is to crawl into bed and watch a horror movie.

Bitch, what is wrong with you?! If I had to stay awake or I'd die, I certainly wouldn't hop into bed! Also, I feel like putting in a horror movie is kind of a big middle finger to the fates! "These past few days sure have been intense, but I just really wish that I was more scared right now..."

If there's one thing I've learned from television and movies, it's that high school libraries have some of the most comprehensive collections of occult books in the world. Maybe you could get off your ass and try to figure out what the hell is going on?

You're in a fight to the death with the guy who killed all of your friends while wearing only your pajamas. You come across a knife just lying there. What is your next move?

Nancy's next move is to grab for the crucifix hidden underneath it.

You're dating Bare Midriff Johnny Depp. What's your next move?

Nancy's next move is to not bang him.

Plus she's wastes vodka. She's the worst.

Towards the ending of the movie I started to figure it all out. Freddie is going after all four of the main characters, but he only kills them after they get all sexy.

Doesn't own a hairbrush.
This bitch is going to be in the sequel, isn't she?

In a tremendous show of bravery, our awful heroine stands up to Freddie, turning her back to him and telling him that she's not afraid of him anymore thereby taking his power away. Freddie disappears into an explosion of 1984 computer generated pixelation and 8-bit video game noises. It's super great, if you didn't want Nancy dead. I personally found it to be a little bit of a let down.

Apparently Nancy also has a time machine, because her friends are all alive again. They all get into a convertible, and they're laughing and joking until the convertible top flaps closed, the windows roll up, and the car starts driving itself away with everyone trapped inside.

Because Freddie is a car now, and we're all supposed to just accept that as an ending.


I looked up the actress who plays Nancy to see if she'd appeared in any of the later movies, or if the car had indeed eaten her. She's in two more, which was disheartening, but I did find out that she also plays Nancy Kerrigan in a made for TV movie called Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story. Which means if I search hard enough I can see her get beat in the leg with a bat.

So at least I have that...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

San Francisco: Everything is Fine, and Nobody is Mad

That's it. I'm moving to San Francisco.

Maybe not immediately, and maybe not actually at all, but, oh man, it's been nice to daydream since getting back to Minnesota.

I was there over the weekend for a quick getaway to see one of my oldest friends, Chelsea. She'd called me around Christmas time and the conversation started normally enough:

"Ohmygod, hi!"- Me
"Ohmygod, hi!"- Chelsea
"Do you realize that there's a f#%!ing blizzard happening here right now?!"
"It's sixty degrees and sunny here."
"I call bullshit on your life."

We talked for a few minutes about some of our favorite conversational topics (drag queens, drinking during the day, hating people who have given us no reason to do so), but then she took a turn for the more serious:

"Just so you know, I'm not going to be sending out a Christmas gift for you this years, and I probably won't be doing a birthday present either."
"Don't worry about that at all! I totally get it, money is tight, and..."

"Ummm...I probably won't be sending a gift because I'm so poor that I just put peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla and pretended PB&J Quesadillas were a thing."

I flew out last Thursday, and I have to say that I was pretty nervous. I wasn't afraid of the flying itself, but I was concerned about flying by myself. I've flown before, but there's always been a chaperone leading me where I needed to be. This time around I needed to get up to the airport, get through security, get to my terminal, and get on the plane without a parent or teacher in a matching lime green t-shirt leading the way.

The whole thing went swimmingly though, and it proved to be a nice boost to my ego.

Except for the part where I didn't have anyone to ask for a ride to the airport shuttle in the middle of the day. The twenty minute walk to the bus depot, weighed down by my luggage, gave me plenty of time to have a "look at your life" conversation with myself.

My plane got in at around 9 pm on Thursday, and we fully intended to go out and tie one on...until we realized that we were almost thirty and had been traveling all day (also, my use of the phrase "tie one on" was just a nice reminder of being almost thirty). Simply wearing pants was taxing at that point, so we decided to grab a few bottles of wine, head back to Chelsea's place, and just sit on her stoop drinking and talking about life.

It was kind of the perfect evening.

Friday was our touristy day. We spent the day riding around on a double decker bus taking in all of the sights.

San Francisco is f#%!ing cool, you guys. Like, did you know that their financial district is built over top of what used to be a crazy pirate war zone? They just straight up built on top of sunken pirate ships, and now anytime any construction needs to be done, they have to bring in archaeologists to help recover freaking pirate ships!

Or that during the 1906 Earthquake/Fire that destroyed half of the city, to stop the blaze they ended up blowing up all of the buildings in the fire's path so that it wouldn't have anything more to burn? Then, the mayor, who was apparently a super shady dude, told everyone not to mention the earthquake to any of the insurance agencies. Apparently, insurance didn't cover earthquakes back then, so in order to get any money everyone in the city (including their newspapers) had to pretend that it was just a fire...and it worked.

That shit sounds like a movie Willem Dafoe would star in.

Friday night was our first night out on the town. We went out in The Haight, the neighborhood where Chelsea lives, and there were a few moments when the night got a little intense...

We had a group of Type A personalities, which can spell trouble on its own. What made it worse was that we were Type A personalities who were good enough friends that we didn't have any fears of doing and saying exactly what we felt. We threw about a number of frustrated snaps, unintentionally harsh responses, catty side eyes, and absolutely no apologies.

It was one such mini-meltdown that brought about what would become the theme for our entire weekend. I was calming Chelsea down after a perceived slight when another member of the group walked up asking what was wrong. I turned abruptly and yelled, "Everything is fine, and nobody is MAD!"

Seriously, try shouting it next time someone is getting themselves worked up over something silly. It works.

And it worked for us all weekend.


"Everything is fine, and nobody is mad."


"Everything is fine, and nobody is mad."


"Everything is fine, and nobody is mad."


I got my first experience of The Castro on Saturday. For those of you who may not know, The Castro is San Francisco's gay neighborhood (gayborhood). I'd been looking forward to this part of the trip for months, and it did not disappoint.

Immediately upon entering The Castro we noticed a huge line of people that went three blocks before turning down a street we couldn't see. Thinking it was the line for the place where we were going for brunch, we investigated, and found the line came to an end at a movie theatre where they were doing a sing-a-long showing of Frozen. Then, right after we turned the corner from the theatre, we nearly collided with a hot dude walking around completely naked, save a sequined pink sock on his wang.

I honestly can't decide between wang guy and seeing a sing-a-long of Frozen as the gayest moment of the trip.

Saturday evening we spent back in The Castro, wandering into whichever gay bar caught our fancy. The whole night ended up being a bit of a blur, but I remember trying to discretely take a photo of a gogo boy in his underwear to send to a friend back home before getting frustrated, turning the flash on, standing directly in front of him, and shamelessly snapping a photo before shoving a wad of singles in his briefs.

I also remember two lesbians who were so obsessed with how cute my Minnesotan accent was (apparently 10 years is long enough to pick that shit up) that I was honestly a little afraid that they were going to try to abduct me.

Then there was the hot guy in the cutoff shirt with the huge arms that "Dirty Dancing'd" Chelsea in the street.

The resulting head wound was a minor one, and we ended up hanging out with him for awhile after. 

Well...Chelsea hung out with him for awhile. I hung around just long enough for him to buy my drink before I said, "I really can't talk to you with your nipples looking at me like that." gave them a tweak, and went to find the rest of the group.

The last clear memory of the night I have was while walking to the bar where we ended up dancing until bar close. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a wide eyed little queerling asking me, "Ummm, excuse me, but can I ask you some advice? I just bought Molly from some guy up the street for $20. Do you think I should take it?"

I just learned what Molly was last week, so I was absolutely not equipped to be answering this boy's questions. Weirdly, I was a little flattered that he apparently thought I looked worldy enough to be able to provide some insight. Truthfully, he probably thought I looked fatherly...homeboy was young. I really didn't help matters by immediately exclaiming, "ABSOLUTELY NOT! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS?! WHO IS TAKING CARE OF YOU?! YOU DON'T BUY DRUGS FROM MEN NAMED SID!" and then I just kept repeating, "Oh my god, STRANGER DANGER!"

Luckily, a member of our group had a bit more knowledge on the topic than I did. She gave him a whole list of warnings and instructions, insisted that he find his friends and a bottle of water before doing anything else, and we sent him on his way.

If the photos on my phone are to be trusted as an accurate representation of how the night ended, we had a blast! Also, if the time stamps on the photos on my phone are to be trusted, I spent a solid 5 minutes taking photos of the mirror ball. 

Whatever ego boost I'd gotten from my painless travels a few days before was lost on Sunday when I was flying home. I made my flight with only moments to spare. My train was late, I realized my driver's license was expired as I was trying to get through security, I got off the train at the wrong terminal, some lady sneezed on me while I was putting my bag in the overhead compartment, and I didn't get a chance to pee before getting on the plane (my seatmates seemed unfriendly, so I didn't want to ask to get out).

I made it home though. Home to a snowstorm, a ceiling that was still leaking water, and a dwindling bank account. 

Reality sucks.

It can't hurt to start sending my resumes out that way, right?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In the Kitchen With Chris: Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

It's been...a week.

I've been working quite a bit, I've got a trip to San Francisco quickly approaching, I seriously overestimated the number of children I'd be able to handle on The Sims, and my laundry pile had grown so high that I'm pretty sure I saw snow on one of the peaks.


I got home Friday after work and found strange smelling brown water literally pouring in all over my belongings. I'd spent the entire day at work looking forward to an entire evening of tea, slippers, and a trashy novel. Instead I got to spend an hour hunting down every drip in my apartment and moving furniture to make room for anything bigger than a cereal bowl that could hold water.

My landlord showed up and drilled holes in the ceiling tiles to relieve some of the pressure, but there was nothing more he could really do until the snow was melted and it was warm enough to get up to the roof and do some patching.

So my apartment has looked like this all week...

It's not great.

On top of that, in my frantic attempt to save my stuff, the random placement of my furniture created the world's most perfect TV marathon nest.

Try not watching three hours of Gilmore Girls...and then another three hours of Gilmore Girls when you've got this little hidey hole, a fridge full of Diet Coke, and a talent for ignoring responsibilities.

So, as per usual, I put off getting my shit together enough to start this week's blog post until Tuesday night when I decided that it was time that I get back into the kitchen. I'd like to say that I hunted for the perfect recipe that would challenge me and really teach me something new, but what actually happened was I had a bunch of rotting bananas that wouldn't fit in the trash, which I was not interested in taking out.

Banana bread it is!

Now no one is going to read a blog post about making plain old banana bread. It's like, what's he going to do next week? "Chris Crosses the Street by Himself," or "Chris Learns to Tie His Shoes."

Actually, both of those things were kind of a struggle for me growing up.

One of my coworkers recommended a recipe for Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread that she'd found on Pinterest though, and it sounded delicious. The recipe came from the blog Recipe Boy (or you can find it on my Pinterest board here).

I mean, really.

When I saw that this recipe was created by a "boy" I was immediately interested in making him my husband. I'd worked up this whole bit where I was going to proclaim my love for the man that created this magical combination of some of my favorite foods in a private message on his blog and share the awkwardness of whatever response was received.

It never occurred to me that he wasn't calling himself "Recipe Boy" like I call myself a "Small Town Boy" in my dating profiles. He's like actually a boy. 12 years old.

So now, not only did I almost have to register as a sexual predator, but I was also feeling pretty ashamed that a 12 year old boy is inventing actual recipes while I recently patted myself on the back for thinking of crumbling the last of my Cheez-its on a bowl of shells and cheese.

I started cooking after work. I had a few hours before I was supposed to be over at a friend's house, but the recipe said it would be a 15 minute prep time and a 50 minute cook time. 

Plenty of time.

The recipe calls for:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup halved raspberries, tossed in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

I ran into problems almost immediately. To being, you mix your flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl, and all of my mixing bowls were currently filled with gross roof water. A fact that I probably should have thought about before piling all this stuff on my counter. 

After cleaning (and re-cleaning) the bowls I'd need, I got back on track by mixing the sugar, butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. I was supposed to just do the sugar and butter, and then add the eggs in one at a time once the initial mixture was smooth, but I didn't, and I'm not sure that it made a difference. 

From there I slowly added the banana and yogurt, beating that until it was well blended. The recipe then calls to slowly add the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture "just until moist," and it warns against over mixing it. I switched to a wooden spoon instead of the electric mixer for fear that I'd beat the batter to death.

Then I added the raspberries and chocolate chips in, and spooned the mixture in to a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan and sprinkled some extra raspberries and chocolate chips on top.

How pretty does this look?!
Your oven should be preheated to 350 at this point. You should have done earlier, but if you're like me, you didn't, so go ahead and pour a glass of wine while you wait. 

The directions state that this should bake for 50 minutes, but after 50 minutes, I pulled it out, and it was still straight up batter in the middle. So I gave it ten more minutes.

And then ten more minutes.

And then ten more minutes.

And this went on for while.

After over an hour and a half of bake time, and a sloppily texted message to my friend letting him know that not only was I late, but  was going to need to walk over, I was finished.

It was...doughy...but still good!

I'm sure someone with a real grown up oven could pull this off beautifully. In fact, I encourage you all to try it and then bring it to me, because if I'm enjoying my sub par version this much, I can only imagine what the real deal will taste like!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Broadway Sweat

About seven weeks ago I decided to start a new exercise plan in which I used ridiculous celebrity workout DVD's to get myself into shape. Specifically, the shape of Marisa Tomei.

About six weeks ago, I gave up on that shit.

It wasn't even like it was hard. I felt good about it when I was done, and after just a week of doing the workout, I was totally even able to do a real push up (one glorious push up). Once I'd gotten the blog post out of it though, I was immediately over it.

So my plan to get super fit before my birthday fell pretty flat. I did get into some really good eating habits in the weeks beforehand though. I was drinking green smoothies every morning, I made salads filled with vegetables (without any real knowledge of what picking out a good cucumber entails), I briefly considered making kale chips (which, if you've seen what kale chips look like, counts for something), and I'd cut fast food entirely out of my diet (except once when I saw that Subway was making sandwiches with Fritos in them...FRITOS!).


The week after birthday weekend, however...wasn't great. My typical "Splurge Day" didn't last for just a day. Oh no, it was a week long free for all of mac & cheese, birthday cakes (yeah...plural), pizza, and Ranch Dipped Spicy Buffalo Doritos. I literally didn't make a smoothie all week because it would have required clearing off counter space for the blender. Salads were out of the question because all of my lettuce was wilted, and going to get more would have required me to take a break from watching Ghost Whisperer and sobbing.

Turning 28 has been a bit of a rollercoaster.

By the time my actual birthday rolled around I had fallen into a bit of a rut. My apartment was a disaster, I'd stopped trying to scrape the orange cheese powder from under my fingernails, and the most working out I'd done was having to vault over the ever growing Diet Coke can mountain on my living room floor to get to the fridge. I decided I was in no mood to go downtown and celebrate.

Until someone asked me to...

It was as if the week of poor decision making I'd done was all just preparation for a night where I would make a series of the poorest choices of my life. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I made fun choices that night (really fun choices), and it's not like I did anything that I regret. It was definitely a birthday for the record books. But waking up to the remnants of the previous night's party, and replaying the hazy memories I had of the night before, I remembered that 27 was supposed to be the year that I was going to grow the f%#! up.

How have I not made more progress yet?!

So now I'm feeling my bi-monthly burst of motivation to take charge, make responsible decisions, and get my shit together.

The following Monday I cleaned up my living room floor, and put in the VHS I'd ordered two months before.

Oooooooh yeah...

I'm gonna start out by saying that I did not underestimate at all how hilarious this is, but I 100% underestimated how f%#!ing hard it was going to be. 

Richard and friends dancercize through 10 classic showtunes. The moves are fairly simple, and you get the feeling that it really doesn't matter if you f%#! them up a little bit, as long as you are smiling really big when you do it. There's a lot of cheering randomly from his chorus line, and Richard is super supportive, constantly shouting things like, "There's nobody like you!" or "This is your life!"

It seems like some of these people maybe misunderstood the casting call maybe they thought they were showing up to dance for a real Broadway production, and they decided to just make the most of it in the hopes that maybe a chubby producer somewhere would buy this video and, in the midst of his workout, they'd be discovered. There's one woman in particular that I've become a bit obsessed with.

You can tell she wants this to be her big break sooooooo badly, and she showed up ready to steal every number she was in. 

And homegirl brought it.

 She's rocking a furry red cardigan (how is that comfortable for working out at all?!), what looks to be animal print leggings (although I can't for the life of me figure out what animal), the sassiest perm I've seen in my life (and I grew up in a small midwestern town in the 90's...I've seen some perms), and a smile so dazzling that it distracts from Richard Simmons himself (no easy feat considering he's a grown ass man wearing a bedazzled tank top and shortie shorts). 

Her enthusiasm was contagious. Every time she was on the screen, I felt like I needed to up my game. By the third song it wasn't the hysterical laughter that was making me lose my breath, it was the maniacal grapevining, the overzealous knee slapping, and the almost frighteningly intense jazz hands. In fact, I'm pretty sure I threw my neck out trying to whip my hair with the same attitude during one of the many kick lines.

The whole video is an hour long...and I've yet to make it past the thirty minute mark. By the time they bring in the grain carts for the Fiddler on the Roof number, I'm gasping on the floor, cursing the hip thrusting chubby middle aged women making it look so damn easy on the screen.

I've attempted to complete it three times now.

That's good enough, right?

Shut up, bitch. You're not better than me.