Sometimes there is a franchise that makes a huge impact on society, and it just manages to pass you by at 160mph. The Fast and the Furious franchise is so huge that it’s a wonder neither of us had seen a single installment. Many people in our lives insisted that if we were to watch just two, it would be The Fast and the Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. To better guide us on this new journey, we invited our longtime pal, Sara, to sit in on the episode. Hooray!
First, we talk about the original, the classic, the one that started it all. When you look at the levels the franchise now goes to (at least what we can tell from the trailers…), it’s almost startling to watch the first and see how grounded it is. Sure, it is absolutely a hetero dude dream sequence, but the story and action are still rooted in something believable. We both enjoyed this one overall, and could see how it would inspire droves of people to think they could be drag racers.
But never would we have guessed it would have turned into an extensive series with a messy, twisted, timeline. Why so messy? Well because of Tokyo Drift, the third in the series. Sara’s expertise really helped us understand how this standalone fit in the series and why the creators were bending over backwards so they could include the most (only?) charismatic character from this movie into future Fast films. Adri watched this one under the influence and with a group which made it a fun watch, but Sara and Pay both found it boring to watch all the way through. Truly, when a whole movie is based on one move (drifting), one flaw (dude can’t turn well) and absolutely minimal plot (he learns to turn), it gets tedious.
It was an interesting ride to delve into this franchise, one about fast cars and family bonds. This franchise is also as old as our friendship, and what are old friends if not family?
Whose future grave did Pay visit in New Orleans?
How many candles are too many candles for a bro party?
When I saw the trailer for Untitled Goose Game, I was on a mission to tell everyone I knew about it. I needed to plant as many seeds as possible so someone would get it and let me play. Lucky for me, I have some very nice pals and family who cut out the middle man and gifted us the dang goose game. And hell if this game wasn’t everything I wanted it to be.
I. Love. Being. This. Goose. Something very calming about low-stakes hooliganism in a village. Highly recommend this one. Now I’m just waiting for the sequel where I get to be a raccoon in the city. Let me eat some trash!
The only Beatles movie I had seen up until a week ago was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is absolutely bananas in the best, ’70s way possible. A Hard Day’s Night is of a very different vein. More of a cute romp with shenanigans rather than a drug-fueled fever dream. (Though I assume there were drugs here too.)
I thought it was a pretty fun movie and held up almost 60 years later. I’m also a fan of The Monkees*, and while I knew the show was inspired by the Beatles, it wasn’t until watching this that I really saw the connection.
Oh, and now I know I am definitely a George Harrison kind of gal.
*Semi-related story: I once told a Trader Joe’s employee I was more of a Monkees fan than a Beatles fan. Boy, did that really dampen her mood. Might be the only time someone was rude to me at a TJ’s.
A Proper Layer Cake
Y’know, after decades of baking, it hit me that I had never really made a proper layer cake. I learned how to pipe and decorate as a kid, but now I’m more of a flavor-over-look kind of baker. So when it comes to cake, I keep it simple: sheet cakes, bundts, cupcakes, that sort of thing. I received Stella Parks’ Bravetart as a gift about a year ago (same folks who gifted the goose game, so double thanks there), and had not ventured to try any of the more elaborate layered cakes. When I saw the red velvet and cream cheese frosting recipes, I knew I wanted to make it for a special event in my D&D game. The group avoided the special in-game dinner where I would’ve served this cake, but I decided to make it anyway.
Hot damn was it good. I don’t like traditional cream cheese frosting that much, but this one was essentially pastry cream whipped into butter and cream cheese, so call me a convert. The decorating could’ve gone better. I didn’t have the buttercream at quite the right temperature when I started putting it all together, and I’m pretty sure I over whipped it. Still looks alright, I think. Wish I’d taken a picture of the inside to show the dark burgundy sort of color. Did I mention there is half a bottle of red wine in this sucker? Yes, please, and thank you.
Keep an eye/ear out for our next episode, which drops in February. In the meantime, have you subscribed? Or maybe even suggested a thing? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?!
What’s this? A chill in the air? Jingle bells off in the distance? The scent of snow (or rain or some kind of weather)? That can only mean one thing: it’s holiday story time! More specifically, A Christmas Carol, arguably the quintessential Christmas tale.
First, we talk about the original story (novella?) by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol is so ingrained in the pop culture consciousness that Pay and Adri were both very familiar with the morality tale about Ebenezer Scrooge and his four spirit visitors, yet had never actually read it. But does the original hold up? Why is it that we all know about humbug and Christmas goose? Why does it get adapted over and over again?
Speaking of adaptations, Pay had never seen A Muppet Christmas Carol. Never! It is such a regular in Adri’s holiday viewings and another movie with great songs by Paul Williams, so it was very important for Pay to see it. Sure, you can’t force people to like things, but thankfully Pay liked the movie, so friendship may endure.
One of the surprising things was how close the Muppet adaptation really stuck to the original material. Most of the dialogue matched word for word, and even a few lines Adri thought were Gonzo-isms turned out to be straight from Dickens pen. A true sign that Gonzo is a genius.
Another holiday, another solid set of entertainment we’ve suggested. We should become party planners at this point.
What did we think about the latest season of British Bake-off?
What is the source of the duo’s patriotism?
Where does Charles Dickens end and Gonzo begin?
What are our other essential Christmas movies?
What vintage commercials did the Muppet Christmas Carol DVD have?
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so Pay and Adri are both sharing what they’ve checked out since last episode. Let’s do this!
Lady Bird (2017)
Oh boy. Watching realistic movies/tv shows about being a teenager can be tough. Adult me sees the sacrifices movie parents make and thinks the kid is an ungrateful brat. But my brain reminds me how much I was that brat, even if I never dared to yell at my mother. Always makes me cringe, remembering what it was like. But the real clincher is watching something that reminds me how much I took my family** for granted because I was centered on my own shit. It’s too bad it usually takes putting thousands of miles between you and family to notice how much they really mean to you, but better late than never. Anyway, I definitely cried and Laurie Metcalf is a treasure. Also high school plays are excruciating to watch as an adult. Bless any parent that sits through a high school production of Grease. – A
* Have you tried watching A Goofy Movie as an adult? Goofy is such a good dad and Max is a real shit! Powerline remains perfect. **Vin Diesel voice
The Legend of Korra: Seasons 1-3
As a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I was well aware of it’s follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, and had every intention of checking it out at some point. But when the show came out, I didn’t really have a way to watch it. So it continually fell through the many cracks in my brain until my brother’s constant reminders to watch it finally sunk in. And I’m happy they did. I’ve only watched three out of the four seasons of Korra, but, so far, I am enjoying it a lot. Just like Avatar, the world-building is so meticulous and well-done. I appreciate that they weren’t lazy and didn’t just do a retread of Aang’s characterization with Korra. They get a lot of real estate in making her both a girl and a teenager, but even then they weren’t lazy and made sure she was a very different character with her own motivations, instincts and flaws. The villains are surprisingly scary and believable threats. And the writers do an excellent job of making me “accidentally” watch four episodes in a row so I can see what’s going to happen next.
I just got season 4 from the library, and even though I’m sad to be on the last season, I am looking forward to circling back to where it all started and finally giving Avatar another viewing. – P
Keep an eye/ear out for our next episode, which drops in December. In the meantime, have you subscribed? Or maybe even suggested a thing? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?!
It’s October, y’all. And you know what that means: time for all things spooky. This episode, we aimed for spooky and accidentally got very specifically spooky. Our penchant for an unintended Double Theme struck again, and we picked not one, but two vampire movies. Apparently the vampire craze is far from over for the two of us.
First, we chat about A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), an American, Persian-language, vampire western. (Bet you’ve never seen that combo in a movie description before.) Written and directed by Ana Lily Amapour, this modern black and white film tells the story of a lonely vampire, the titular Girl, who stalks Bad City at night.
This one caught Adri’s eye in a magazine write-up a few years ago, but she hadn’t quite gotten around to seeing it yet. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was creepy, atmospheric and moody, with a few moments of solid dark humor. This is one to have on in the background at your next pumpkin carving party, for sure.
Next up, we take a trip to New Zealand with What We Do in the Shadows (2014), co-written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. This comedic mockumentary introduces us to Viago, Vlad, Deacon and their everyday (everynight?) after-lives as vampires sharing a flat.
It turns out Adri was already quite familiar with What We Do in the Shadows (she owns it), but this is one Pay had been meaning to see for a while. She first learned of Taika Waititi with his 2016 film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and had been meaning to watch some of his older projects ever since. This movie is very hilarious and super fun and would also be good for your next pumpkin carving party.
Look guys, not to toot our own horns, but we just gave you two solid selections for your pumpkin carving party movie playlist. We’re not saying you should thank us… but it wouldn’t hurt if you thanked us.
What shows do we need subtitles to watch?
What was Adri’s favorite shot in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night?
What was Pay’s favorite scene in What We Do in the Shadows? Was it this one? Or maybe even this one?
Our next episode is right around the corner, so it’s time for a little update on what Adri finally got around to since the last one.
Adventures in baking
Oh man. I really like making bread and always have a list of recipes I mean to try, but I just haven’t gotten around to much of it until recently. It started with some English muffin bread I made a month or so ago. Then I got it into my head to finally make bagels. Most of the bagels I have access to are pretty unimpressive, and since I’ve made pretzels on multiple occasions, this seemed like it would be an easy thing to learn. Joke’s on me! I messed with the recipe too much (foolish mistake), and definitely deflated them when I boiled them. The bagels came out pretty flat and not too pretty, but they still make a great breakfast sandwich.
A while ago, I picked up a book on cooking with spelt, something inspired by an old D&D character of mine. (A halfling from a long line of bakers. Spelt loaves were the family specialty.) It’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. I managed to find a natural market that carried spelt flour, and I picked up some rye while I was at it. I made a spelt-rye loaf from the book, with some adjustments since I didn’t have white spelt flour. (King Arthur bread flour to the rescue.) Whoo-wee! What a delicious loaf of bread. My partner and I slathered on some garlic butter and gobbled up too many slices of this sucker in one sitting.
The bagels and spelt loaf are in the freezer now, because otherwise I’d be in a major carb coma right now. With the new season of British Bake Off on Netflix, I’m sure there will be more baking to come.
Bought myself a ukulele
I started playing violin in elementary school; in middle school, I was second-to-last chair of second violin. For those who don’t know, that means I wasn’t the worst violin player in the group. I was the second worst. It also meant I sat near the viola and cello players who were undoubtedly cool as far as orchestra kids go.
My musical skills never really got past second-to-last chair. Granted, a lot of that was due to lack of practice. I was embarrassed about sounding bad. Who knows where I’d be if I hadn’t let that stop me. Could I have been third-to-last chair of second violin? What! A! Dream!
Over the years I tried some other instruments, but was always held back by the anxiety of having to practice. Best I ever did was learn the bass lines for “Rebel Rebel” and “Welcome to Paradise”. I’ve been meaning to try again, but didn’t want to make as a huge of an investment in case it went the same way as before. A ukulele has been in the back of my mind as a good way to dip my toes in.
Look, I know that ukulele has been the go-to instrument for every aging white hipster for the better part of a decade. For that very reason I resisted the urge to get one. Luckily, I no longer give a shit about whether or not what I like makes me seem like a hipster or whatever. I also no longer give a shit about sounding bad, so I’ve actually been practicing. A great resource has been Cynthia Lin’s Youtube channel.
I’ve gone off on my own a bit, picking up chords here and there. So far I’ve learned “Heart-Shaped Guitar” by Masked Intruder, the Jeopardy theme song, and “Jolene” because who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? I’ve been on a bit of a break since I got a tattoo on the arm that holds up the ukulele’s body, but it’s healed up and I’m ready to get back to it.
My sincerest apologies to the neighbors. It’s gonna get annoying.
Keep an eye/ear out for our next episode, which drops in October. In the meantime, have you subscribed? Or maybe even suggested a thing? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?!
If we’re honest, it was only a matter of time until we read Fifty Shades of Grey for the podcast. How could we not though? It was (is?) a cultural sensation, which feels like such an oddity for books these days, especially an erotic romance novel.
We both read the first Twilight novel in college, and so were curious to see how Fifty Shades’ origin as a Twilight fan fiction influenced the experience of reading it. We also go into the different influences that made it break through to the mainstream.
In the end though, we wouldn’t recommend giving it a read. People like what they like, but alas, this just wasn’t our cup of tea. We sure had fun discussing it together, though!
What do we think of the current run of Disney remakes?
Which one of us actually got to the end of the book? Is this a trick question?
Which excerpts do we read aloud?
Here are a few links to some of the things we mentioned in the post and a kink-related resource we are fans of. Give ’em a look!
Kink education comics on Oh, Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. Very NSFW, but our favorite sex education site. We’re linking to the kink posts, but OJST is so much more. From toy reviews to sex ed, it’s a great resource and so inclusive of folks along all parts of the sexuality and gender spectrums.
Our next episode is right around the corner, so it’s time for a little update on what Pay checked out since the last one. Buckle up!
JK, you don’t need to buckle up.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
So I got ambitious this year and made my Goodreads Reading Challenge 24 books. I was like, “Two books a month? That’s nothing!” Guess what?Turns out it isn’t nothing! For me, at least. Anyway, one of the two books (eek) I’ve managed to finish this year is Crazy Rich Asians. I’m sure you’ve heard of it since the film adaptation was a huge deal last year. I’m often curious about the source material when I find out a movie is an adaptation, so I decided to pick up this one. It’s about a Chinese-American economics professor, Rachel, who accompanies her boyfriend and fellow professor, Nick, back to his native Singapore for the summer. There, she’s surprised to find that his family is stupid rich and none of his snotty relatives think she’s good enough for him.
I generally liked the book but it wasn’t the page-turner I was hoping for. Kwan includes a lot of helpful cultural context, but those notes could be a tiny bit distracting at times. And there are like, a million characters. At some point I just gave up trying to keep track of who was related to whom, and who had done what to the other, and why this person didn’t want this other person to marry that other person. Having said that, the side characters ended up being more interesting to me than Rachel and Nick – something that was more noticeable in the novel. Also, the novel highlighted just how shitty it was for Nick to not give his girlfriend any warning about his upbringing. It made me hate him a little. Anyway, the book was alright but I don’t think I’ll read the other two in the trilogy. But you better bet I’ll be watching the sequel when that comes out. The first film made me really want to go to Singapore.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Wow, “Fahrenheit” is a hard word to spell. I very rarely pick up a classic, but I’ve always been intrigued by this one. It’s about a dystopian future where books are outlawed and firemen burn books instead of putting out fires. Our main character, Montag, starts questioning his job and embarks on quite a ride because of it.
It was kind of a slow start, and even though it’s short, it took me a while to get through. But after a certain point, things start to pick up and it ended up being more exciting than I thought it would be. Now I’m curious to check out the HBO movie (staring two different Michaels – B. Jordan and Shannon). I haven’t heard great things about it, but you know what? I’m gonna watch it and form my own opinion, dammit!
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
I’d been meaning to watch Sorry To Bother You (dir. by Boots Riley) since it came out last year and I just got around to it. I was immediately drawn to this movie thanks to what I thought seemed like a random cast. The most important member of that cast being Steven Yeun, who alone is enough to make me want to see a movie. He has great cheekbones and seems very delightful and if you like to smile, you should watch him go to a Korean spa with Conan. (Actually, anytimehe’s on Conan is fun.)
Anyway, the movie. It was… very weird. I think I liked it? It’s a sci-fi comedy about a guy named Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) who starts to rise in the ranks at a telemarketing company by using his “white voice” (voiced by David Cross). A bunch of stuff happens and then he stumbles upon some truly wild shit that I won’t ruin because really, you should go watch it yourself. It’s not at all what you would imagine. But if you do watch it, and that is what you imagined, let’s talk. Because your brain is just as strange as Boots Riley’s and I’d like to know what other weirdo thoughts you have.
The movie did have some interesting things to say about race and labor and I liked the use of surrealism and comedy to talk about those things. But when we hit the wild shit I mentioned before, I got a little bit confused by what we were supposed to take away from the movie. When I think about it a little more, I think it still makes sense? But honestly, who knows? Either way, I did enjoy watching the movie and would recommend it. Mostly due to the aforementioned wild shit.
Keep an eye/ear out for our next episode, which drops in August. In the meantime, have you subscribed? Or maybe even suggested a thing? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?!
Y’know, we’ve been sitting around watching Things, but sometimes you want to get up and Do a Thing. That means we actually left the house for this episode. It required physical exertion. What a world we saw!
Our starting point for this episode is something Adri has wanted to do since she was a kid: go to a skate park. Skateboarding is one of those things that she wanted to do but thanks to the awfulness that is being a teenager, she convinced herself she was too fat/uncool/some other insecurity to actually do it. Thankfully, the older she gets, the fewer fucks she gives. Sure, learning to skateboard in your twenties might seem like a bad idea, but thanks to the internet, there has been an increase in visibility of girls and women becoming bad ass skateboarders at different stages of their lives. How could it not inspire someone to finally do something they always wanted to do?
Next, Pay did something she hadn’t done since she was a kid: go to a roller rink. Roller skating at a rink was such a birthday party staple when we were kids, but it died down as a go-to activity. Considering roller skates have been around since the 19th century, it’s no surprise its popularity comes and goes. Seems like we are in the upswing in popularity, we guess in part helped by the comeback of roller derby. And now that Beyonce has been spotted checking out a roller rink, skating is definitely cool. Though Roll Bounce certainly tried to get it going again.
A few highlights:
What tips do we have so you can watch Netflix at work?
How can we have a very important discussion about oatmeal and not mention that the Quaker Dino Eggs packet is clearly the best kind?
Did we fall on our butts??
What lesson do we have for our younger, more insecure selves?
Did the presence of children ruin our adventures?
What bonus Thing did Pay do?
The lesson of this episode is really the lesson of our podcast: If you want to do a Thing, do it! It’s never too late!
There is a bunch of rad skate-related stuff out there, so here’s a little link round-up of a lot of the stuff we like.
Next episode is just around the corner, so time for another rundown of Things we’ve gotten to in the meantime. Adri’s taking care of this month’s post, and Pay will take on the next. As per usual with OYTT, spoilers ahead.
I am still in full Romance novel mode, it seems. I was super stoked about this book. I heard the author on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books where she was discussing queer women relationships in historical romance and the different considerations you have to take into account. She made a lot of interesting points, so knew I had to check out her work. This is a historical romance which has an interesting world of magic that’s tied into Christianity, particularly the role of Saints, which was a cool mix. The writing style is very descriptive and not reliant on dialogue, which goes well with the setting. I can imagine a family gathering around the fireplace in the drawing room and someone reading a chapter aloud for the after-dinner entertainment. The romance aspect is a pretty slow burn and not of the steamy sort. There is plenty of political and personal intrigue here too, not least of which is one of our heroines having a mysterious past she doesn’t know. This is one in a series, and I think I’ll check out the rest when I get a chance.
This is the first in the Wallflowers series. The Wallflowers are four women on the hunt for a husband in 19th-century English society, but for various reasons they’ve been relegated to be wallflowers: too old, too desperate, too shy, too brash/American. The Wallflowers make a pact to help each other find husbands. This first one focuses on Annabelle whose father has died and whose financial situation becomes progressively more dire. In her mid-twenties, she’s practically over-the-hill in terms of courting, so this is her last season to make a match or face ruin. They set up her eventual romance with Simon from the get go, so there’s more of a when-will-they rather than a will-they-won’t-they. Much to my surprise, they get married much sooner than I expected and not really purely for love, which was an interesting change from what I usually read. We actually get to see the post-marriage life and how they come to be partners in love and life once the honeymoon is over. And dang, this. book. gets. sexy. If that’s your kind of thing, this delivers. I’ve already checked out the next one, so I will definitely be reading the whole series.
How had I not seen Point Break yet? Well, I guess technically I’d seen the one clip they show in Hot Fuzz. Still, this movie is so iconic it seems crazy I let it slip for so long. Long story short: Heck, yes! I had a real good time watching this movie. Finally hearing Keanu’s “Vaya con Dios” in real time, the multiple skydiving scenes, Patrick Swayze in his most cult leader-like role. And Lori Petty! Why didn’t anyone tell me she was in this? I would’ve watched it agesago if I knew that. Tank Girl forever! I must admit I was not an ounce sober when I watched this, which definitely enhanced the experience. I will say that my one complaint is that there could’ve been more time spent on the Keanu/Swayze relationship. Their growing bromance is so important in the end but you barely see them interact with each other in the grand scheme. When that scene where Keanu shoots in the air rather than at Swayze came in, it seems out of nowhere and a severe change of heart considering they’ve only hung out a couple times by that point and Keanu didn’t actually see Swayze’s face. As much as I love Lori, they spent too much time on the romantic relationship here. I hear there was a remake, but I doubt they address this issue and instead just added more stunts and sexy lady time. Part of me wishes we’d saved this one for the podcast. Maybe we can revisit it for a special episode…
Grosse Pointe Blank
I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll watch a movie from the ’90s and am the same age as (or older than) the main actor. But there is something about the time period where I still think they look older than me. Part of it I’m guessing is purely psychological, but another part has to be ’90s fashion and styling. It’s not so bad in this movie, but in other its so aging and unflattering. I feel the same way about the ’80s. Anyway, the point is, John Cusack and Minnie Driver look old to me in this movie even though they are clearly young. It’s a weird phenomenon. Also this movie was great. What a sleeper! I went into it completely without context and was not expecting to come out liking it as much as I did. If I’d read the DVD box maybe I wouldn’t have been surprised that Cusack is a hitman who is still in love with his high school sweetheart. Even though some of the plot points were predictable, it was fun to see how everything came together. If I had seen this in high school, I definitely would’ve wanted to be Minnie Driver. Though the whole radio DJ in a display window thing always freaks me out when I see it. During my short radio career, I was more of a basement goblin. Now I’ve upgraded to a dining room/closet goblin. What an upgrade!
Next episode drops in June. Don’t forget to subscribe and we’re always looking for new Things to try. Send those suggestions in!