Episode 13: Wining, Dining, Scamming, and Jamming

The pandemic is a year old… The podcast is a teenager! Does this mean it will start being a cranky, moody, butthole? Maybe! The world seems to be that way, so why not the podcast? We jest. It’s been another wild few months and here we are trying to provide some low-key, easy-to-handle entertainment to distract us all for an hour.

We. Love. Scams. Well, we like hearing about scams and all the ways people take advantage of the basic desire for human connection. (Please don’t try to scam us.) There have been many great scams over the years, but we really enjoy ones that go after the people up top. That’s right, talking about scamming rich people.

At Pay’s suggestions, we watched Sour Grapes (2016), a documentary about the wheeling, dealing early-2000s and the person who made millions by auctioning fake rare wine. Neither of us really realized how big of an industry wine-collecting was, and how much it exploded thanks to the nouveau riche coming out of the tech bubble.

This one was interesting on several levels: why people collect wine, why this scam worked so well, and the shock in the wine-collecting community when the scam was revealed. Did he do it alone? It seems impossible! He’s out of prison and we still don’t know all the details. Come on Rudy, sell your story! Making money from it is the ultimate scam!

Also the only reason he got caught was because there was big money involved. If he’d been scamming regular folks, would the FBI have bothered getting involved? Probably not.

The movie is currently available on Kanopy and Hoopla, should your interest be piqued by our ramblings.

(This isn’t the first time we’ve suggested these services. Have you checked whether your library subscribes to them? Go do it now! It’s so worth it. Libraries are great.)

Episode Highlights

  • Are either of us willing to pay big money on wine?
  • What solid advice does Pay give about how not to use sneakers?
  • How long does it take for Degrassi to come up…again?
  • Who were our favorite characters?

Further Watching/Reading

Episode 12: The Fantasy Epic…in Space!

space…space…space

We’re a dozen episodes in, even it doesn’t seem like it (curse you lost episode 10 *shakes fists*), which means we’re two years into this. Commitment! Nothing else really to add here. It’s month nine of the pandemic. It’s too cold to eat lunch outside. Everything is still a mess. But at least there’s hot cider and cocoa to keep us toasty.

This episode really gets at the spirit of the podcast. Adri heard about this thing when it first came out, multiple people recommended it over the last eight years, and despite living in a house with the entire current collection of issues, she still managed to never get around to it. Honestly, there was no excuse and it was time to change that.

Plus our original idea fell through, so we had to pick something quick and easy to get our hands on. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Welp, however we got here, we finally started reading Saga (2012-), the fantasy space epic by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Adri certainly had Saga in the back of her mine (and her bookshelf), but Pay wasn’t as aware of the series coming into this, seeing as the last comics she read were either for work or Archie comics as a kid. But she has been trying to find more fantasy content to get into as she’s really discovering she likes parallel universes and magic in her stories.

Seriously though. They’ve been right there. For years. In good company at least.
Also is that a MaxFun Membership card you see? Heck yeah it is.

We both enjoyed the first volume, and definitely plan to keep on reading. (Adri’s already up to issue 18 and counting…) It’s everything you want a comic to be: intriguing, page-turner of a story, and eye-catching art. We seriously loved Fiona Staples’s character designs throughout the series. They are unforgettable, and can really make you go from “Aw!” to “Ew…” to “Argh!” in just a matter of pages. While we are looking forward to reading more, knowing that the series is on hiatus is a bit of a bummer. Once we get to issue fifty-four we’ll be in the same boat as every other Saga fan.

Like we said, we had originally planned to read something else, so we get into discussing why things went awry there, our current reading habits, and an unexpected tangent about movie adaptations. So it’s a long one folks. Then again, aren’t they all? Hope you’re not tired of our nonsense. There’s plenty to go ’round!

Oh and before we forget:

Told ya it’s cute.

Episode Highlights

  • What book did we originally plan to read for this episode?
  • Is Pay close to her GoodReads goal? (Spoiler alert: not really)
  • Does Adri manage to remember the word “animatic” by the end?
  • Which characters really struck a chord with us?
  • What type of movie do Adri and Pay want more of?

Further Watching/Reading

Episode 11: There is No Spoon

Oh hey, it’s still a surreal time isn’t it? If you’re in the U.S. and haven’t already, make sure you’re registered to vote and figure out your voting plan. VoteSaveAmerica.com is a good place to start.

Sometimes a movie is so ingrained in the culture that it’s very easy to assume we’ve actually seen it. And heck if that’s not what happened here. While Pay knew she hadn’t seen The Matrix (not for lack of trying), Adri could have sworn she saw it years ago. But turns out, that since The Matrix is the quintessential cyberpunk movie and became such a huge part of the pop culture consciousness, it just seemed like she’d watched the dang movie. Just think about how many times the Bullet Time scene has been parodied and imitated in the last 21 years.

Now that we’ve actually seen it, we gotta say, we dig it! Can definitely see why this was such a big movie when it first came out and why it’s considered a cyberpunk classic.

Episode Highlights

  • How much time to we spend talking about going to the dentist and doctor?
  • Who wins Best Smile of the Movie?
  • How do we feel about all the leather and latex? And those sunglasses?
  • Which actress was Pay very sure was in The Matrix who definitely wasn’t?
  • What country singer does Adri have a beef with (with good reason!)?

Further Watching

Episode 9: The Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestig(ious)

Our experiences as Black and Latinx women frame our conversations on the podcast. We create this show for our own entertainment, but know there are others listening who may expect us to talk about the fight to end police brutality against Black Americans. For many reasons we do not delve deep into the real world parallels of today’s episode topic, not least of which is the fact that we recorded this before the current Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

It feels surreal that people still need to hear this: Black. Lives. Matter. No ifs, no buts, no “perfect victims.” Every Black life matters.

We hope this episode offers a brief escape from the onslaught of news, if you need it. We also hope you, like us, are keeping informed, and listening to local and national community leaders on how to help dismantle the system built to oppress Black people. The resources are out there. Find them. Use them.

The thing about prestigious institutions is that they usually cost money. That holds true not just in universities but also in TV viewing opportunities. Seeing as neither of us has had regular access to HBO, it’s no surprise that we had never actually watched some of the most well-regarded television shows in recent history.

Cover of The Wire, Season 1

In this episode we discuss the first episode of The Wire, one of the most compelling shows to showcase the relationship between Black communities and the police, and a two time-Emmy winning drama. As Maryland natives of a certain age, people were generally shocked when we would say we had never seen the show.

We both could see why this show is so well-regarded and agreed it is well worth finishing the series. Though considering the heavy, realistic subject matter, it’s not something we can just pick up on a whim. We’ll have to be in a the right mindset to be able to watch it all.

Next we watched Veep, the multi-Emmy awarded comedy. Seeing as this show came out shortly after college when we were both severely underemployed, it’s not much of a shock we didn’t have regular HBO access.

As fans of British comedy, we could see the similarities to the original British material. Even so, this first episode didn’t really grab Pay at first, but by the end of the discussion she was convinced to give a few more episodes a try.

Episode Highlights

  • Which one of us got a quarantine home hair cut?
  • How much time do we spend talking about Idris Elba?
  • Was May the worst month of 2020? (Honestly, TBD.)

Further Reading/Watching

Episode 08: Smorgasbord Sound Off

Welp, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, aren’t we? We are doing our part, social distancing and self-isolating. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. It’s gonna be a long ride.

But we’re not here to talk about the real world and how society may well soon be on the brink of collapse. No. We are here to chat about some random shit. That’s right. We’ve got ourselves a smorgasbord of topics for our latest episode, so let’s hop to it, shall we?

The first theme we have going is Food. An incredibly vague theme, but there were a few things we’d been meaning to do in the food world. First up is Adri’s adventures in croissant making. If you know anything about baking or have watched at least one series of Great British Bake Off, then you know laminated dough recipes are all about skill and precise temperature. You may also know that making croissants is an ambitious task. So of course Adri decided to try making some in her too-hot kitchen.

Well, it certainly could’ve gone better. At least it was still edible. Moving forward she’s going to stick with practicing some easier recipes, maybe a rough puff pastry, and work her way up to croissants.

Croissant sandwich with boiled egg, lettuce, vegan bacon.
Extra toasted, it made a great breakfast sandwich.

Over on the other side of the country, we are talking burgers. L.A. is a pretty good food city, and it has more than its fair share of good burger places. Pay, resident burger enthusiast, likes to keep her eye out for new places that pop up to try. This time around, she went to HiHo Cheeseburger. They already had a Santa Monica location, but c’mon, even a burger can’t convince Pay to make the trek. Luckily they opened a location on Wilshire, so after a day at the salon, she checked out this location.

A burger and fries

The burger itself is really good, nicely seasoned. Fries are an essential part of a burger joint, and these didn’t disappoint in their supporting role. The experience was marred by a few awkward situations, so Pay didn’t get to savor the meal as much as she’d hoped, but y’know what, it was still delicious.

After that, we took a ride down Pop Culture Lane and chatted about music and movies for a bit.

Adri finally purchased two albums she’s been listening to over the last year: Walk Through Fire by Yola and Pony by Orville Peck. Both are great country albums, and both artists are a joy to watch perform. If you somehow don’t know about these two albums already, absolutely check them out.

Pay finally watched Logan, and really enjoyed this take on superhero movies. We really appreciate a superhero movie that takes the story in an interesting direction. Getting to see these characters be physically vulnerable is certainly different, and we are here for it. Also if you are or know a fight choreographer, get in touch! Because you’re cool! And impressive!

Episode Highlights

  • How to we feel about hugs?
  • What GameCube game helped Pay learn about social distancing?
  • What is Adri’s favorite movie fight?
  • What very important opinions so we have about french fries?

Further Watching

Episode 07: The Last and the Curious

Alpha, a gray tabby cat, sits in front of a microphone
Alpha was very helpful during this recording.

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!

The Fast and the Furious poster
This movie has been stolen from at least two branches of Adri’s local library.

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.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift poster
This movie was stolen from at least one branch of Adri’s local library.

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?

Episode Highlights

  • Whose future grave did Pay visit in New Orleans?
  • How many candles are too many candles for a bro party?
  • Whose accent was very distracting?
  • Will Pay or Adri watch any more Fast movies?
  • Did these movies age well?

Further Reading/Watching

Episode 06: A Tale of Two Christmas Carols

Title page: "A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas."

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.

Such Christmas, such cheer. This pocket copy of Dickens’ Christmas stories actually fit in Adri’s pocket. ~Magical~

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?

One of the oldest surviving adaptations. Gotta respect those effects.

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.

This DVD doesn’t include Belle’s song. Shame!

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.

Episode Highlights

  • 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?

Further Reading/Watching

Episode 05: Bite Off

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.

Episode Highlights

  • 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?
  • Guess what? That show we said we’d watch actually exists!
  • Why did we start talking about Chris Hemsworth?
  • What kind of horror movies are we into?

Episode 04: 50 Shades of Huh?

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.

Cover of Fifty Shades of Grey audio book
Print, e-book, audio. We came at this book from all directions.

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!

Sixty-nine times in less than two hours? Well that’s not a good sign, is it?
Also, heh, 69. Nice.

Episode Highlights

  • 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?

Further Reading

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!

Episode 03: Rate! That! Skate!

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!

Two skateboards
Adri and her partner have some heckin’ cute boards.

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?

One day Adri shall hippie jump. One day…

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.

Honestly, the skating in this video looks pretty rad. Also love how they advertise Bow Wow’s tour at the end.

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.