Chaos Attraction

Possible Fire, Terrible Icing, False Positives

2022-12-30, 6:21 p.m.

Thursday rehearsal was short, as in it ended at 8:45 because something was burning/smelling bad/getting into the air/making Taylor's asthma act up, and everyone agreed to adjourn rehearsal after "The Telephone Song" since they couldn't do much about the air to freshen it*, Steve isn't there, and nobody at the theater right now has any idea what the hell is burning. "We're going to have to run late tomorrow..." I’m not sure what that means. Call rehearsal early? They usually don’t start from where they left off and keep going (as far as I can tell this show is probably gonna be about 1.5 hours long in the first act and 50 min in the second act after all the costumes/set changes settle), so....????

* I note I asked Kimmie about the filters and she was all, "yeah, the one onstage needs to be fixed, I think there's one up there somewhere in the corner," and I didn't find one. On a related note, I found out that lunchbox-sized HEPA filter boxes exist, and I ordered one off the Internet to save my own bacon next week.

Darn it, I was really curious to see how rehearsing with raw eggs went...or if they ever got anyone else to do the gorilla part because today was the deadline to work on that. (And seriously, what happens if Kelvin isn't up to emceeing?!)

Before that, I had James tell me how to turn on the moving lights, which is...relatively complicated, but he auto-set up things for it, thank god. This was because I said, "If Steve's not here to turn on the lights, and YOU're not here to turn on the lights, what happens?" and he said, "Good question."

Other things:

Jan has no mask on today. I know you tested negative, but um....YOU ARE LIVING WITH SOMEONE WITH COVID RIGHT NOW, WHY IS YOUR MASK NOT ON *cries in my head* I haven't been to their apartment, just seen it on Zoom, but I doubt it's THAT big to be able to totally isolate.

Things about that egg:

Kimmie: "If I could think of a way to crack a Cadbury egg and have it look real, I would."

Kimmie on the "prairie oysters" drink Sally makes on stage, with the aforementioned egg-in-her-fur-coat: "Worcestshire sauce and egg, ugh."
James: "Which is YUMMY and I can't wait for you to taste that yummy drink!"
Kimmie: "That's why we're switching to White Claw."

Other things about drinking:
* Don't put your mouths on the glasses.
* They are putting gel into some of the glasses again, a la Christmas Carol. Me: "Oh no, more gel." Omar: "It's going to turn into mayonnaise in 2 weeks."
* Kimmie to Gill: "You will have a real schnapps glass. I'm going to go to a store tomorrow and drink it."

Other quotes:

James (no clue on context): "'l'll make you fart on it !"
Kimmie to Morgan: "I was going to tell you something, but now I don't want to." (????)
Kimmie: "Unless you're onstage dancing as a Kit Kat Girl, please have some decorum."
Kimmie: "That's why we're going through this nightmare during tech week."
Kimmie to James: "Don't make me hurt you tonight. I love you."
Omar whistles "Tomorrow Belongs To Me." Me: "Getting in that Nazi mood?" Yup, he is.
Brian, standing in for the emcee: "Something in German, something in French."

I will note that Scott’s mom “liked” my post saying I wasn’t going to show up without testing first. Okay then, kinda forgiven.

Friday: Tested negative again today, still feel as fine as ever. (MASKS WORK, PEOPLE. LEARN FROM MY LIFE.) Loretta asked how I was doing and she said “sorry you’re having to spend the last of the holiday testing,” and I said that’s going to be every year for the rest of our lives now, so....

On a related note, right before I was finishing this for the day, Steve just posted, “Guess who has two thumbs, an NY accent, and is NEGATIVE FOR COVID?!?!?!” and posted a picture of himself grinning in his car. I’m so confused, but Ashley said the same thing happened to her in that she didn’t test positive for very long the last time. Steve said he thinks it’s a false positive. I’m confused as hell now.

As for the rest of my day, I slept in for 10 hours, avoided the crap weather outside (I do love when I don’t have to go out in rain),and tried to make both of the gingerbread house kits I got for Christmas.I tried to make this beach house one and this Hershey one.

I will say this: I am a grown ass woman with crafting abilities AND I took cake decorating in 4-H and I still couldn't even get CLOSE to putting this together. Like I gave up after an hour and just started eating the beach house instead.

(a) The green icing bag was the easiest to use, followed by the tiny white icing bag. However, there was definitely not enough white icing in the bag to cover all of what was supposed to be covered on the house.

(b) The blue icing bag was awful and I could VERY VERY BARELY get anything out of it at all after multiple adjustments, cutting the pointy tip off over and over again, kneading and shoving, etc. Ain't no way I was going to get enough out to cover all the house parts in blue.

(c) Suffice it to say that sticking the parts of the building to each other absolutely didn't stick. The package claims two minutes should do it. MY ASS.

The Hershey house looked like it'd be simpler because it had only one icing and not much else to stick on, but it was even worse for trying to get icing out (basically, I could not). Also one of the pieces was broken when I opened the kit. SO THAT WENT WELL. So now I have the remains of two houses (okay, I already ate one wall and some of the broken other wall) and have no idea what to do with all of that.

Hallmark reviews! I have so many to post now because I've been marathoning movies.

Haul Out The Holly: I heard this one was completely insane, especially when I read this review of it. I expected to hate hate hate it, given the insane HOA shit--and it's legitimately Too Much for sane people to deal with--but I note that Emily doesn't really super seem bothered by all of this (to be fair, she grew up with her parents creating all this HOA madness), so it seemed less obnoxious than it should be.

Anyway: the plot of this is that Emily breaks up with her boyfriend, moves home for the holidays, only to find out that her Christmas-decoration-obsessed, HOA-running parents are literally, immediately, decanping to Florida and leaving her with the house decorating responsibilities required by the Evergreen Lane HOA. The HOA president is now the town hottie, who is legitimately attractive in a "looks like Jeremy Renner but not beat to shit like Jeremy Renner is" sort of way, but it's hard to really get into a romance when he is literally writing Emily up with HOA citations, demanding she go to board meetings, demanding that she have a nutcracker that is 36 inches long, demanding she run some event or other, demanding that she run the snowman parade (how do snowmen parade? They don't have legs), blah de blah it goes on and on and on and on. But really, he just wanted her to ask him to be Santa already.

I note that Ultimate It's That Guy! Stephen Tobolowsky is doing his first Hallmark movie! I note he is called "Ned" and nitpicks their kind of coal. He is clearly having a great time being neighborhood crank.
"You wanna ride the lighting?" "No." "Party pooper!"
"You should go to therapy." "I've been in therapy for years." "Have you considered finding another therapist?"
He also has wardrobes for "Barry Manilow Santa" and "Darth Vader Santa. Very popular."

I will note that Emily originally just wanted to lie around and watch Hallmark movies, specifically "Christmas in Vienna," because Hallmark is now trying to sneak in that Netflix Christmas Universe...thing. Also, Kristoffer Polaha is in this as one of the neighbors, and Eric Mabius randomly rolls in for a Dramatic Reunion with the cookie contest winning lady.

I give this 3.5 stars. It's kind of insane, which is something I like in a Hallmark, but also kind of bizarre? I'm not sure what to make of it, really. However, I am kind of deranged/waiting in covid limbo right now while watching/writing this, so my focus is also shot and were this not an issue, I'd probably have deeper thoughts/more bitching, I suspect.

A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe:

Annie Cooper just took over the family cookie business that her dead grandma founded, and people have complaints. Annie is focused on the fact that the company has been losing money for the last few years and may go under in another two (which seems legitimate), but this kind of gets drowned out by someone STEALING HER GRANDMA'S COOKIE RECIPE and even thought they HAVE a digital version and the ingredients are on the box, somehow Annie has to hit up a hot rival cookie maker to try to devise the original recipe....Don't ask me how this works, I don't bake shit.

I love me some Rachel Boston, though, so seeing her made me happy. I note that a lot of the movie is dedicated to trying to figure out the recipe thief, who Annie eventually thinks is the head of the board who hates her guts, and then that lady suspends her and basically says she's going to get Annie fired. Annie apologizes at the meeting, and then later we find out her so-called friend Arthur (Grandma's buddy) stole it because Grandma told him to? Admittedly I am kind of deranged today so I probably missed details, but...why?! Anyway, he's a large shareholder, he talked to the board, I guess it's all fine now.

I will note that there are two cheerfully doofy employee guys who start out the movie asking what the definition of "semi-formal" is: "Hang loose on the bottom, suit and tie on top," or the other way around? They show up in tuxedo T-shirts. Later they dress up as robot-eating humans. I love these dudes. They needed to be in this more. Or perhaps do cameos in other movies.

Quote from the movie, pretty outta nowhere: "She should go back to her smelly cave at the top of Mount Crumpet." I also note that this is "A Christmas Castastrophe Production," which is the best name for a Christmas movie production EVER.

Three stars. Kind of in the middle for me with this one, but I'm being generous since I'm reviewing under distracted circumstances.

A Holiday Spectacular:

Before I begin, I'd like to quote from this other review because I thought same and agreed with it:

"First, it appeared to me that several of the actors in this movie wore wigs, versus just styling their hair in various 1950s hairstyles. With SO many references available online as to how women in the late 1950s styled their hair, and with plenty of professional hair stylists who would know how to re-create those styles, I can’t believe they thought it would be good to force some of the ladies in this movie into obvious artificial wigs. Is it easier? Probably. But attractive on screen? Definitely not. Now, if I’m wrong, and those hairstyles were done with their own hair, then my goodness they need to hire better hairstylists next time because they did not look good."

(Seriously, they did not, and I'm not even GOOD on judging bad wigs. The main character's was soooooo fake.)

"The second issue I had was the highlighting of a Black character specifically stating that she had been a Rockette for 10 years prior to Maggie’s arrival. Sadly, that was not true in the 1950s. What’s shocking is that the first Rockette of color did not hit the line until the late 1980s. Yep – I said the 1980s. I’d have been fine with Rockettes of color being in the movie in order to have a more diverse cast in general, but to have the Black character specifically say she said she had already been a Rockette for 10 years had me scrambling to look up the true history of the Rockettes because I knew that wasn’t true.)

(I also Googled for this and found out same. Sigh.)

This is one I've been looking forward to because (a) it takes place in 1958, so that's pretty new (I think that Candace Cameron Bure time travel one is as close as we get to that usually), and (b) Rockettes. Ann-Margret is in the present, narrating to a granddaughter about her days in the Rockettes. As Margaret (later Maggie), she's a rich girl who's been betrothed to some guy she barely knows and who doesn't even have any interest in learning her correct middle name. Seriously, he's like those people in Jolly Good Christmas, except obviously this guy's not supposed to give a shit. He tells her to buy herself something nice from Tiffany's. Margaret/Maggie has zero interest in this dude or the engagement, but clearly feels obligated to go along with it anyway.

She comes up with a plan to sneak off and "live" with her married friend Kitty for several months (Kitty is great), doing "wedding things" in New York, while really she's in a ladies' boardinghouse and being a Rockette.* This is obviously great fun, even if at one point she's told, "You have exactly 78 seconds to change from wooden sailor costume to Times Square." This is...officially worse than any of my costume changes, I think.

She also meets a stunning, slightly snarky, super friendly photographer named John who wants to go to NYU for art and whatnot instead of running the family business. I really liked that dude. I'm not sure how fond I was of Young Maggie (she seems a little...plastic-y to me, maybe it's just that actress's face), but I suppose she's all right. I did root for her, especially when she finally told her parents what she was doing and they disowned her. I note that her fiance actually paid attention and got her Rockettes tickets (props to him for paying attention! Better than Jolly Good Christmas after all!), which led into the conversation. She politely breaks up with him because neither of them love each other and should have love in their lives, and he's totally chill and cool about it. I rather liked him in that moment.

Quote from the movie: "You're my new favorite soap opera after Guiding Light."

Anyway, her mom ends up running into John's mom, they hit it off, her mom sees the show, and suddenly she's sympathetic. John and Maggie get together and are still together, aw. Overall I'd give four stars, this was enjoyable.

A Big Fat Family Christmas:

Liv works for a newspaper as a photographer. Henry is a diplomat's kid who just moved to the US and joined the paper. He hears from Liv's brother that her family, the Changs, throw an epic party every year. Liv doesn't want to admit to being a Chang, for Reasons, but obviously hiding this doesn't last beyond oh, 20 minutes, because Henry isn't stoopid and can deduce it from how weird and cagey she's being. It's pointed out that nobody cares that she's related to the party (though her editor certainly is once she has to admit it), but she still kind of wants to stay the heck out of the story even if they're offering her the cover.

Once Liv is forced to admit to being one of THOSE Changs, Henry is welcomed into the family. Liv continues to be weirdly uncomfortable about the whole thing ("I'm a photographer, I just hide in the background!") until finally she blurts out that the party is "a circus and it's embarrassing." Turns out she got bulled at school once she invited classmates to the party, so she was feeling ashamed for years. However, she gets over it this year and sings in Cantonese in public again, so that's very nice.

There is also a plot about how Henry is enjoying being a tourist ("Don't tell me you've lived here all you life and never hung off the side of a cable car!") and talks Liv into doing this, while they are in possession of donation money, and then they lose it. Liv finally admits to being a Chang on her Insta (or whatever social media she got) and asks for makeup donations, which not only does she get, a girl FOUND THE BAG and saw the video, so she knew how to give back the money. Awwww.

I will note that both the lead actor and actress in this are named Shannon, which is both cute and must have been SUPER confusing on set. Other name confusion: "A Big Fat Family Christmas" did make me originally think it would feature a Greek family. Or possibly the Fat family who has a bunch of restaurants in this area, at least some of which are Asian cuisine. (Disclaimer: I don't know those people or know if they are Asian or not.)

This was an angstier Hallmark than I was expecting, but it's sweet. I'd party with the Changs. Four stars.


Which would you rather have pulling your sleigh, Rudolph or "a great big fire breathing dragon?"
"Do people not know at work how Changtastic you are?"
"There are like, a bajillion Changs. I want to be my own person."
"Tell that to my nine nonexistent grandchildren." Whut?

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