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 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 02 : Seven Deadly Gone Girls

Episode 02? Well, would you look at that follow-through! We’re pretty darn proud of ourselves.

When it takes a long time to finally get around to a movie, it’s pretty tough to avoid spoilers. So for this episode we picked two movies where we had already heard the twist or ending. By chance, the movies we picked were both directed by David Fincher, so we’ve got a Double Theme episode, y’all. [Insert Jamaican Air Horn here]

First up we have Seven, a classic tale of an ol’ retiring cop/young cop stuck with a crazy ass case. At this point, everyone knows what’s in the box, but no one ever really talks about how it gets there so the spoilers weren’t too much of an issue for this one. That being said, we’re pretty sure neither of us will watch this one again. Zodiac is a better option.

Ah, murder in the name of teaching people humans are disgusting.

Second up we have Gone Girl, the movie that garbage men use as evidence that all women in the real world are manipulative bitches. Why can’t we just enjoy a sociopath villain who uses the fact that she’s a woman to her benefit? Why can’t we have nice things?

Shout out to the cinematographer and art director, because dang, that’s a good-lookin’ movie.

This was an interesting one to discuss. Pay knew the twist because she had read the book, while Adri had received the spoiler second-hand, a difference which definitely affected the viewing experience. Either way, this is one where we felt knowing the end did make a difference. Also, Nick is a total dum-dum. How is he such a dummy? Just at every turn doing the dumbest shit. It’s baffling.

A few highlights:

  • What tips does Pay have for getting a free movie ticket?
  • How many times can we say “ugh” in reaction to women being treated terribly?
  • Which murder disturbed us the most?
  • What would our theme be if we were serial killers?
  • Who does Adri mix up with David Fincher every dang time?

We also briefly discuss the pleasure of watching crafting videos, and everyone should check out Crafsman. That dude rules.

Cabachon? Papa John? Cabachon.