celebrities, reviews, videos, YouTube

Repost: Teen Steam! Teenaged Alyssa Milano works out!

Here’s an old review I wrote for Epinions.com about Alyssa Milano’s laughable Teen Steam workout video. I reposted it on my Dungeons of the Past blog, but I’m also going to post it here so it doesn’t disappear. I like to preserve my Epinions reviews when I can, and I am probably going to discontinue the music blog at some point in the near future. This review is AS/IS– it has not been edited or updated. So please read this as if it’s 2009, not 2022.

Did you know Alyssa used to be a pop star in Japan?  I like her better as an actress.

Yikes! I’m sure she’d like to forget about this project.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie’s plot.

Ah 1988… What a year that was for people born in 1972. Our birth year may be the one and only thing Alyssa Milano and I have in common, besides being female. As a kid, I used to love watching her on Who’s The Boss, an ABC sitcom in which she played Tony Danza’s daughter, Samantha. And, of course, I’d seen her play Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter in the 1985 film, Commando. Back in 1988, all the girls admired her and a lot of the hormonally crazed boys wanted to do her. Naturally, that meant she should put out an exercise video. Perhaps that’s how Teen Steam, starring Alyssa Milano, produced by her mom, Lin Milano, and featuring music by her dad, Tom Milano, came to be.

I will be honest. Back in 1988, when this video was selling via television ads, I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in it… not even for the “stylish” Teen Steam digital watch that was thrown in to sweeten the sale. All I remember was seeing Alyssa Milano on those ads, dressed in a spandex shirt and torn up jeans, hawking her exercise/dance video and singing a very annoying but catchy theme song. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I finally ended up getting the chance to watch the thing. And now, some enterprising soul has posted the whole video in its entirety on YouTube for the whole world to see.

The video

Teen Steam is definitely a low budget affair. Currently only available on VHS, it’s now out of print. Used copies are available on Amazon.com. Judging by some of the comments left by reviewers on that site, I’m guessing that this video might have been meant for teenaged girls, but actually appeals more to adult men. It runs for 30 minutes and is not rated. Below is the actual video, which is still available on YouTube.

I read a comment from one guy who said this video made him shoot “huge loads”. Sounds like he’s using Teen Steam for “off label” purposes.

The “plot”

Okay… actually, Teen Steam doesn’t have much of a plot. Basically, the video starts off showing Alyssa in her bedroom, dressed in spandex biker shorts and a tight fitting white tank top that ends just below her budding bosom. She’s listening to her answering machine and gets a message from a girl named Tiffanie (Tiffanie Poston) who claims she’s having a major problem and asks Alyssa to call her back. Then the phone rings and it’s a girl named Michelle (Michelle Simms), who evidently tells Alyssa that she’s also heard from Tiffanie, but Michelle’s problem is even worse than their mutual friend’s. Alyssa, obviously the most level headed one in this group, invites them both over to her house so they can “work it out” together. Given that this video is a “workout” video, I guess that was sort of a lame play on words. On the other hand, maybe it was an unintentional play on words.

Alyssa heads over to her “hi-fi” stereo and puts in what looks like a mix tape. She presses play and suddenly the room starts to pulsate with some 80s era techno dance music. Alyssa says forlornly, “Another one of those days. I can feel the steam rising.” Suddenly, she’s joined by Michelle who complains that she can’t go out that weekend because she has to babysit her little brother. Then Tiffanie gripes about being grounded for bringing home a D on her report card.

Alyssa turns to the camera and says she likes to work out the stress by working out. Then she rattles off an obviously scripted spiel about how warming up is the most important part of the workout. The three girls start to work out to the increasingly lame techno music as Alyssa directs them, gamely trying to sound just like a pro.

I’m not a horny teenaged guy, so I don’t get into watching Alyssa Milano work out. I suppose I might have gotten into watching this if, as a teen, I really looked up to Alyssa Milano. But she’s my age, so I didn’t see her as a role model back when this video was on the market.

The girls do some obligatory chit chatting as they do stretches and basic dance moves to a soundtrack that sounds like it was inspired by the jungle. I don’t really get the feeling that these girls are friends in real life, but they look nice enough on camera. Speaking of the camera, it pans around to show Alyssa’s face as she sweats and gyrates to the music. Just when I think it can’t get any cheesier, Alyssa and her buddies start to rap sort of half-heartedly. Afterwards, Alyssa giggles and says the next exercise is hard to explain, so we should “follow her”.

Alyssa then leads her buddies in floor exercises. She claims she’s already done her exercises for the day, so she’ll just play coach. Alyssa sits between the two girls and counts, offering constructive criticism every so often. It’s at this point that the music threatens to overtake the girls’ chattering. Between the music and the constant giggling, it’s hard to make everything out. Although Alyssa does a good job of keeping things moving, she’s not very convincing as an exercise leader. But I get the feeling that most of the people who would seriously want to watch this won’t care about that. 

When the floor exercises are over, Alyssa joins her buddies in stretches. She begins with an exercise she calls “pretzel thingies”. Then she tells her audience that if they still have energy left, they can “dance it out” with her and her friends. She faces the camera and reassures viewers that the steps are easy and they probably do them all the time when they’re dancing with their friends. Then she tells them if they get lost, they can either rewind the tape or come up with their own steps. Finally, she offers a half-hearted encouragement, saying “Let’s do it!” as she walks through her bedroom mirror. Real helpful, Alyssa!

The next part of the video is the dance segment. As Alyssa walks through her mirror, she ends up in what looks like a dark alley. She’s dressed in ripped acid washed jeans, high tops, a pink spandex shirt that shows off her midriff, and a jean jacket. She’s joined by a bunch of dancers who gyrate to the cheesy electronic music, but Alyssa’s workout buddies are nowhere to be found. This part of the video is sort of set up like a music video, complete with a loosely told story. It’s really pretty hokey. Alyssa Milano isn’t the best dancer in the world. In fact, she sort of emulates Tiffany’s “hand jive” moves that were kind of popular back in the day. But I’m guessing that most people who would really want to watch this video won’t care about that. 

When Alyssa’s done dancing, she walks back through her mirror, once again dressed in her biker shorts and tiny tank top. Suddenly, we see Alyssa’s friends again. They appear to be doing exercises in fast forward. Alyssa says “Oops” then snaps her fingers. The friends act as if they were stuck in some kind of time warp. At this point, Alyssa does something truly cringeworthy. She appears to try to emulate Dana Carvey’s Church Lady as she sneers, “Well… wasn’t that effect… special?” It’s enough to make you want to jump out of your skin.

At this point, we’ve seen Alyssa work out, play exercise coach, and dance. Now it’s time to hear her sing. That’s right, folks. Alyssa Milano sings too. Apparently, she had a number of hits in Japan back in the day. She walks over to her tape deck and turns over the cassette. I’m suddenly surprised that she doesn’t have a machine with auto-reverse. I would think with the way her career was going in the 1980s, she could have afforded it.

The punchy electronic theme song to the video starts and suddenly Alyssa’s in the recording studio, dressed in her ripped jeans get up. Holding an earphone to her ear, Alyssa starts to sing the following prize worthy lyrics:

“My parents want an angel, my teachers want a brain, my friends all want to party and it’s driving me insane”

She looks like even she thinks the song is stupid, but ever the professional, she sells it as best she can. The lyrics to this song are pretty inane and seem inappropriate for a girl Alyssa’s age, but she has a passable singing voice and the melody is catchy enough. If you’re not careful, it’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. After about three minutes of this, the credits mercifully start to roll, the irritating theme song playing all the while.

Overall

I don’t think I would have liked this video when I was a teenager. I will admit it’s kind of fun to watch it 21 years later, but only as a lark. To be honest, it’s not a very interesting video and Alyssa doesn’t seem that invested in it. I got the feeling that she was doing it just for the money. Come to think of it, she probably was.

That being said, I will comment that this video seems to be popular among men, especially those who admired Alyssa Milano when she was a teenager. She was a very good looking girl and has blossomed into an attractive woman. I’m sure this exercise video was meant for adolescent girls, but I think it’s more appealing to men… and that makes me wonder what the hell her parents were thinking when they got involved with this project! In fact, I also wonder why Alyssa Milano needed to do an exercise video. She hasn’t seemed to have gone through that cursed transition to adulthood that a lot of childhood actors do. I don’t think she ever had an ugly duckling phase.

Anyway… I don’t think I’d recommend this video to anyone who plans to take it seriously. It’s fun to watch for nostalgic purposes and, judging from some of the comments on YouTube and Amazon, some people also watch it for sexual purposes… but remember, Alyssa was only 15 years old when this video was made. Tsk tsk tsk…

Recommend this product? No

Not that I think many people want a VHS cassette of Alyssa Milano’s cheesy exercise video, but here’s the link to Amazon in case anyone does. I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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Ex, music, narcissists, Neighbors, politicians, politics, reviews, YouTube

Lauren Boebert’s family are allegedly not good neighbors… and more!

Happy Sunday, y’all. Once again– lots I could be writing about today, and this post will probably diverge a bit, because I’m not sure I can fill a proper post with stuff about the ever disappointing Lauren Boebert and her raucous clan in Colorado. However, I feel impressed to share the below video by MeidasTouch, which I discovered on YouTube this morning and… sorry, it’s really not funny for the hapless 911 caller, but I did laugh a lot. He made it sound like a scene from any reality TV show. Pure madness!

OMG… Lauren’s husband and sons sound like a bunch of total howler monkeys. I particularly cracked up when the first caller called Jayson Boebert a jackass and told him to get the fuck out of there.

Neighbors from hell are one of life’s biggest nightmares, even if you live in a detached house and don’t have to share walls. The folks in this recording sound like they are at the ends of their proverbial ropes. It makes me appreciate cold passive aggression I have experienced from certain neighbors… and landladies. I’ve said it before– it’s NOT a punishment to be shunned by an asshole. Too bad the Boeberts aren’t the type to deliver the silent treatment. What makes it worse is that they’re heavily armed with weapons, and apparently Jayson Boebert is threatening everyone. We know Lauren is a fan of guns, so anything can happen.

Here’s hoping the Boeberts get what is coming to them, as their orange turd hero, Trump, goes down in flames. Or… so I pray for, as the world finds out that Trump stole highly classified documents and apparently thinks the law doesn’t apply to him. It sounds to me like the Boeberts are cut from the same ignorant, entitled, TACKY cloth.

Moving on…

Yesterday, I watched Fundie Fridays’ most recent video, which was a repost after she was forced to take down an older version. Lawson Bates– a country singer and one of Gil Bates’ many children– hit Jen’s channel with copyright strikes, which she says threatened its very existence. But common sense prevailed, and Jen didn’t lose her channel. Better yet, she was able to repost the below video, which I have to say, made me die laughing… especially at the end when she spoofs a country song, complete with pink cowboy hat, toy horse, and fake guitar playing.

You have to watch the end of this. HILARIOUS. I love Jen’s uninhibited sense of fun and sharp witted humor.

In the above video, Jen talks a lot about the Bates family. Before Josh Duggar’s mighty fall from grace, the Bates were riding on the Duggar family’s coattails. They seemed poised to take over the realm, as Gil Bates comes across as somewhat more pleasant and friendly than Jim Bob does. But– I think Josh’s disgusting perversions and their long affiliations with the Duggars have made the Bates family somewhat more tarnished, so they have also lost their reality TV show(s). The Bates were actually on two networks– TLC and UpTV– and they had two shows, neither of which I ever watched. But I do remember them from the Duggars’ show, which I did watch for awhile, then got bored with, then watched again as the girls started “courting”.

Anyway, the Bates are only an aside to what I want to comment on next. In her video, Jen does a short snippet about purity culture and purity rings. Apparently, Gil presented one of his daughters with a purity ring and told her he wanted to wear it until she found herself a good Christ lovin’, Bible thumpin’, father obeying man to marry. As she was playing that clip, Jen played this schmaltzy sounding music, to which she sang along. She declared the song, which I later determined to be the 2015 song “Always Love You” by a singer-songwriter named Tyrone Wells, “disgusting”. I have to admit, the part she played was pretty cringeworthy. Below is the video, followed by the lyrics.

He has sort of a acoustic pop sound, with obviously Christian friendly lyrics.

In my eyes you’ll always be
Princess and the world to me
Wonderful than any twinkling star
I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

You will grow up way too fast
And leave me wishing for the past
Back when you were still a daddy’s girl
So I’ll hold onto the memories of
The little girl upon my knee that
Little girl that forever changed the world
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

And when your heart breaks
My heart will break
When your dreams come true
My dreams do
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through
I will always love you
I will always love you
It’s just a simple truth
What else could I do?

I will always love you
Oh, I will always love you
Sometimes you will fly
Sometimes you will fall
And till the day I die
Daughter, through it all
I will always love you

I will always love you
I will always love you

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Tyrone Wells

The part Jen plays and sings to is this:

I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart

I agree, on the surface, it does sound gross– like the weird fundie father “purity ring” bullshit that gets pushed. But I listened to the whole song, and on the whole, I disagree that it’s “disgusting”. It has a nice melody, and Wells has a pleasant voice, even if it does sound like most of the other male pop singers out there today. Just as a quick aside– I really miss the days when we had more distinctive singers who didn’t sound so “perfect”. I don’t like autotune, and I hate that so many popular singers are indistinguishable from other singers, with so many electronic sleights of hand and wizardry to completely alter organic sound. But again, I don’t think “Always Love You” is a particularly gross or disgusting song. Just those three specific lines, when paired with video of a weepy Gil Bates giving his daughter a purity ring, are kind of yucky. I mean, I’m married to a man who has a huge, loving heart. No, he can’t sing, but I can see him expressing this kind of love to his daughters. Or, at least the one who speaks to him.

And finally, speaking of Ex…

Apparently, Ex is now an expert on what makes marriages work. I guess, when you’ve had three husbands, and your adoptive mother has been divorced seven times, you do get an education of sorts. I didn’t think this quip was enough to base a whole blog post on, but I did have a good chuckle at this comment she tweeted about married characters on her favorite TV show. Someone had asked if she thought a time traveling couple would have lasted in marriage. I don’t watch the show myself, so I have no idea… but Ex’s comment did make me pause for a guffaw.

I don’t, actually. Frank and Claire had different things driving them. Even if they had a good sex life, it would not have held their marriage together. It takes a deeper, truer love to make marriage work in the long term.

I dunno… from what I’ve heard, she and #3 don’t have a marriage like that. They HAVE been together for 20 years, but it’s probably because #3 knows Ex alienates her children from their fathers; he can’t afford to pay her child support; and she may have actually convinced him that he can’t do better. She almost convinced Bill of that, even though it’s preposterous! As for sex… it’s true that she is adventurous, but it comes at a huge price that can potentially leave literal scars. My guess is that nowadays, she’s too busy watching TV and fantasizing about celebrities to do much rational thinking. As we know, narcissists aren’t really capable of true love, so I think she may be speaking out of her ass again. I remain grateful to her, though, because by divorcing Bill, she gave me the chance to find a deep, true love. <3 And we’ve managed to have that, even without a “great sex life”.

Even if what she says is technically true, in her case, it’s pure book smarts. Because I am convinced that she’s never experienced deep, true love. She has experienced infatuation, lust, and maybe attachment related to narcissism, which switches on and off at the drop of a hat. But she doesn’t know love… and she doesn’t give love. She’s about possession and loyalty binds, and if a person dares think for themselves, they will be cast aside, ostracized, and smeared. Not very loving, is it.

So ends today’s post. Bill is bottling beer today. I feel better than I did yesterday, so maybe we’ll do something. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

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movies, reviews

Yesterday, I watched Kate’s Secret; it almost made me puke.

I could totally write about all of the crazy stuff in the news about Donald Trump today… but I don’t feel like writing about the turd. I also don’t feel like writing about Anne Heche, who I have heard has passed away after her car accident last week. The last news I heard about Heche is that she was on life support, so that any viable organs can be harvested and donated. However, I also heard that there was cocaine in her system when she crashed, so I don’t know…

Anyway, I’ve decided not to write much about those topics this morning, because frankly I don’t feel like it. It would require more research than I feel like doing. If you read my travel blog post today, you know that I partied too hard at the wine fest last night. So, in the interest of what I was doing earlier this morning, I’m going to write today’s post about a 1986 made for TV movie called Kate’s Secret. This movie aired in November of ’86, when I was fourteen years old and kind of obsessed with eating disorders. At that time in my life, I engaged in disordered eating myself, although my behavior was never bulimic (binging masses of food and purging/vomiting).

Meredith Baxter talks about making “Kate’s Secret” and “The Betty Broderick Story”, another hot topic on this blog. Meredith says that people still come up to her and ask her about this movie. The interview is much more recent than the movie is.

Kate’s Secret is mostly about bulimia, and stars Meredith Baxter, who was then going by Meredith Baxter Birney and starring on Family Ties, which was a hugely popular hit sitcom. Baxter was, at that time, married to her second ex husband, the recently late David Birney, a fellow actor who starred with her on the 70s era show, Bridget Loves Bernie. Baxter is now married to Nancy Locke, having come out as a lesbian about ten years ago.

An upload of the whole movie.

Because I was so interested in eating disorders when I was a teenager, and I was a fan of Family Ties, I remember being very eager to watch this movie when it originally aired. Having watched it again yesterday, I kind of have mixed views. It’s pretty dated in a lot of ways. I’ll get into that in a minute, though. First, an obligatory rundown of the plot.

Kate Stark (Baxter) is a beautiful thirty-something California wife to a superstar lawyer who is busting his ass to make partner at his law firm. Kate’s husband, Jack (Ben Masters) works very long hours with a beautiful female lawyer named Monica Fields (Leslie Bevis). Kate tries to trust him, but her overbearing mother, Faith (Georgann Johnson), keeps nagging her about the threat Monica poses to Kate’s marriage. This constant riding by her mother about how she should look, and how she should be worried about Monica, makes Kate nervous and insecure. However, it’s clear that Jack loves Kate, and is disappointed at the beginning of the film, when she denies him sex so she can go running. Later, Monica hits on Jack, and he rebuffs her. So, while Faith’s instincts about Monica being a man stealing ‘ho are correct, her instincts about Jack being the cheating kind aren’t.

A short clip showing Kate’s secretive and damaging eating disordered behaviors…

The couple has a daughter, Becky, played by Summer Phoenix, who was about 8 years old at the time. Kate doesn’t let Becky eat sugar, and forces her to drink watered down orange juice. Becky is a Brownie, though, and her mom is very involved in the troop. She’s excited, because she’s about to become a Junior Girl Scout. At one point, they show Summer in a 1986 era Brownie uniform, which gave me a flashback. I, too, was briefly a Brownie in the late 70s, and I wore the 70s version of the uniform, which I hated. It was so itchy! These days, they don’t make girls wear those uniforms anymore. That’s a good thing, because they were very “extra”.

My uniform was just like this one. I was in Troop 819.
Becky’s uniform is a little different than mine was, but it appears to be accurate to what girls wore in the 80s. I hated wearing that shit to school.

Kate somehow manages to keep her bulimia a secret. She’s shown stealing food at the grocery store, buying huge fast food feasts in her car, using the excuse that she’s “surprising her daughter with a treat”, and gorging on party leftovers. Then, one day, while doing aerobics with her friend, Gail (Shari Belafonte, who was then styled as Shari Belafonte-Harper), she passes out. This causes her to miss Becky’s promotion ceremony, as well as missing getting to her husband’s law office in time to pick him up for the ceremony. She calls Jack from Gail’s health club, and he bitches her out for trying to squeeze in aerobics before their daughter’s ceremony, which she had nagged him to attend.

After Kate recovers from fainting, she goes to Becky’s school to pick her up. The child is understandably upset and sulks as she sits in the front seat of the car. Eight year olds in the front seat! Another dated aspect of this film. Kate tries to explain herself to Becky, but then passes out again and has an accident. She moans “Becky…” as she crashes the car, her face planted in the steering wheel, which had no air bag. Curiously, Kate’s face isn’t bruised or banged up after the crash.

Poor Becky is very upset and unable to call for help, since there were no cell phones. She cries for Kate to wake up, and all we see is Kate’s face planted in the steering wheel as the horn blows. Becky frantically tries to rouse her mother.

“Mommy, wake up!”

After the horn scene, we see Kate and Becky at a hospital, where the nurses all wear white dresses and have nursing caps. It’s hard to believe that they still dressed that way, even in the mid 1980s. It makes me feel so OLD. This is where Kate gets sternly chewed out by the emergency room doctor, who is astute enough to see that his patient has teeth marks on her fingers, swollen jaws, and bleeding gums. Seriously? He had time to do all of that evaluation while Kate was unconscious? She’s had lab work done and cardiac tests, and he’s had time to call Dr. Resnick, a psychiatrist played by the late Edward Asner. Resnick shows up just at the right time to confront Kate and tell her she needs to be locked up in a treatment center. She starts crying, moaning that they’re going to “ruin her life”. And of course, Jack doesn’t know what bulimia is, so Dr. Resnick explains.

Then Jack finds out the ugly truth… This scene really blows me away. This is all being discussed in the hall, and they act like she’s going to be compelled to go into the hospital. No HIPAA in 1986, of course, but I don’t think they’d be having this scene in a hallway, even in 1986. It makes for good 80s era TV, but it’s not really rooted in reality, even back in those days. Poor Kate gets confronted and dressed down, and Meredith really pours on the melodrama with lots of fake crying and moaning.

Jack is all pissed off, but agrees to let the good psychiatrist haul his wife off to the psych ward. Kate isn’t given a choice in the matter; it’s all settled by the men. Next we see Kate in the psych hospital, where a doctor is explaining everything. As she’s checking in Kate, she tells her about her roommate, a bulimic model named Patch (Tracy Nelson). Again, no HIPAA back then, so it’s okay to tell Kate about another patient’s medical problems. The doctor tells Kate that the bathroom door is locked, but she’ll open it whenever she needs it.

Then we’re introduced to a crew of other women with eating disorders, to include Dayna, played by Mackenzie Phillips. Mackenzie had plenty of her own real life psych and drug dramas to add to this role. The women give Kate the scoop on what is expected, then we see her bonding with Patch, who like Kate, has a troubled relationship with her mother. The group therapy session scenes are kind of cliched, as one of the women confronts Kate for not admitting her problems. The women are taken on a field trip to a local grocery store, where they are taught to shop for food.

And then Kate asks Dr. Resnick if she can have a “pass” to attend a party for her husband. Dr. Resnick says no, so Kate sneaks out, wearing one of Patch’s beautiful dresses. I’m surprised the dress wasn’t under lock and key, and I’m also surprised that Kate can fit into it, as Patch is supposed to be a model, and Kate is an average sized woman at about 120 pounds (per the obligatory scale scene). She’s talking about how she can’t fit into a size four dress at the beginning of the film. I would assume Patch would wear smaller clothes. Patch helps Kate sneak out of the hospital to go to the party, a decision that will cost both of them dearly (duh, duh, duuuuh!).

When Kate wakes up from surgery, she finds out that Patch overdosed after having to deal with her awful mother. Patch took all of the diuretics she stole and had a heart attack. Kate proceeds to have a huge meltdown and confronts Dr. Resnick, babbling about how no one cares about her unless she’s “good”. Then she has a breakthrough, wailing to the doctor that she’s terrified that her husband will leave her, because her father abandoned her. And her mother had blamed her for her father’s absence. Kate is very distraught to learn about her friend’s death, but Jack declares that he loves Kate and will never leave her. This seems to be when she decides to get well. Again… kind of unrealistic, especially when she says she’s been hospitalized for six weeks. She must have had some great insurance, but I guess her lawyer husband could afford the bills. The movie ends as Kate is seeing her meddlesome mother off at the airport… pre 9/11, so she was allowed to be at the gate as Mom leaves.

I love a good melodrama, and Kate’s Secret has a lot of it. I used to love movies of the week for that reason. In some ways, this movie is not terribly realistic and you have to suspend belief. However, for its time, it’s pretty well written and, of course, in those days, there weren’t any movies about bulimia. Anorexia nervosa was probably considered a more dramatic malady, and probably more compelling for viewers, since anorexics don’t tend to binge and purge (although sometimes they can). Watching someone vomit isn’t as visually appealing for most viewers as watching someone restrict food. I really like Tracy Nelson in this movie, too. I wish they’d made her Kate instead of Meredith. But I guess she was too young for the role, as she was only 23 at the time this was made.

Summer Phoenix, who played Becky, is the sister of the late River Phoenix and, of course, Joaquin (also known as Leaf) Phoenix. Their family is famous for its acting and musical talents, as well as being former adherents to the Children of God religious cult. You can search this blog for more information about the Children of God. The family left the cult in 1977, the year before Summer, who is the youngest child in the family, was born. Summer grew up to marry Casey Affleck, Ben’s brother, and had two children with him before they divorced in 2017.

I suspect a lot of people will read this post, because I tend to get a lot of hits on posts I write about eating disorders. But now it’s time to wrap it up and take an antacid… So I hope you enjoyed my recap/review/relook at Kate’s Secret. And please remember, kids, not to try this at home. Bulimia, that is…

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reviews, sex

Repost: A review of the Hitachi Magic Wand… 

I wrote this review for Epinions.com back in 2007, when Bill was deployed to Iraq, and just before we moved to Germany the first time. As you can see, I didn’t like it as much as a lot of others did. This review actually ended up in my getting some unwanted correspondents. However, this was one of my most popular reviews. It made a lot of money.

First thing’s first. I am a woman in my 30s (er, I’ll be 50 in a few weeks) and I haven’t seen my husband, Bill, in months. Like lots of women in their so-called sexual peak, I have certain needs. Unfortunately, while my husband has been off defending God and country, my old massager started an irreversible death spiral. As I was shopping for a replacement, I remembered my husband’s comment that the Hitachi Magic Wand Massager HV-250R was the “Cadillac” of vibrators/massagers. Guess he read the ads on the Internet, too. Remembering that little tidbit of information, I decided to purchase one to keep me company until Bill comes home.

What is the Hitachi Magic Wand Massager HV-250R?

Chances are, most people reading this review already know that lots of women use the Hitachi Magic Wand to satisfy their sexual needs. However, I think it’s important to point out that the Magic Wand is actually billed as just a plain old massager. If you look at the packaging, you see leotard clad women using the device on parts of their bodies that are perfectly acceptable for public viewing. Read through the instructions and you’ll find no mention that this product can or should be used for intimate purposes. In fact, the instructions even include a diagram of a fully clad woman marked with positions where the massager should be used. There are no arrows pointing toward the diagrammed woman’s genital region.

This massager is sold by drugstores and sex shops. Attachments are available and sold separately. They looked kind of scary to me, so I opted to just buy the wand. I had high hopes for this product, since it got so many great reviews and seemed to be so powerful.

Specifications

The Magic Wand has two speeds, high and low, which have vibration frequencies of 6000 and 5000 per minute respectively. Designed to be used in North America, the massager uses a 110-120 volt power source and consumes 20 watts. The manufacturers don’t recommend using the wand with an electric converter, which means that when I move to Germany, I’ll have to find a new toy. The Hitachi Magic Wand is about twelve inches long and has a soft, smooth, flexible head. The power cord is about seven feet long. The massager comes with a one year limited warranty and is intended for home use.

My first impressions

Oh boy, was I excited to get this package in the mail last week. I was especially happy because DHL had lost my package in transit and I had visions of some DHL employee playing with my new toy. I was relieved to get my new Magic Wand in a box that showed no signs of tampering. When I pulled my new machine out of the box, I noticed that the plastic seemed a bit lightweight. The power cord was also flimsier than the cord on my other massager.

I plugged in the Hitachi and tried it out at both speeds by just touching the vibrating head with my fingers, something the manufacturers warn that I shouldn’t do. I wasn’t all that impressed with its power, or lack thereof. Later, I tried it as a sensual aid and found that it’s not as powerful as my old massager was when I first bought it. For me, that’s a big drawback, especially since it takes longer to get the desired effect. The Magic Wand uses a motor to make vibrations. The longer you use it, the hotter the motor gets. The hotter the motor gets, the sooner it will overheat. Others may find the Hitachi Magic Wand plenty powerful.

One thing that does strike me as a good thing about this massager is that it’s very compact. Lightweight at just 1.2 pounds, it’s small enough to easily stow in a suitcase. It would be very easy to travel with this massager as long as you’re staying in North America. I also don’t think this massager is excessively noisy, so that’s another plus.

The Hitachi Magic Wand Massager HV-250R is widely available, so even if you’re feeling a little unfulfilled, you can buy it without embarrassment from a number of different retailers. The list price is $69.99, but I wouldn’t pay more than $40 for this massager. Luckily, that’s pretty much what it’s going for these days.

Precautions

I have to admit, I found reading the instructions for the Hitachi Magic Wand very entertaining. Obviously, they weren’t written by a native English speaker, although whoever did write them is very fluent in the language. Here are a few direct quotes from the precautions section in the instructions.

You’ll want to use your massager on your shoulders, arms, back muscles, and legs. It’s not for your chest and certainly not for use around you [sic] thyroid gland (just below the Adam’s Apple)…

The rated maximum continuous use of your massager is 25 minutes. That’s really long enough. Should you wish to use it longer, turn it off and wait about 30 minutes before using it again…

Don’t turn the vibrating head by hand or press it tightly to your body. You could bend the head-supporter, and heavy pressure does not produce a stronger massaging effect anyway…

Never drop or insert any object into any opening. 

Yuk, yuk, yuk…

There are also standard warnings about not using the massager while taking a bath or on inflamed or swollen areas of the body. In fact, the folks at Hitachi even specifically warn that the Magic Wand should not be used on an “unexplained calf pain”. Ouch.

Seriously, this massager seems safe to use as long as the user has common sense. Don’t use it around water, on open wounds, or when the motor is so hot your fingers are burning, and you should be just fine. And be sure to avoid that “thyroid gland”, too… (snicker)

Would I recommend the Hitachi Magic Wand Massager?

It depends. Frankly, I didn’t find this massager powerful enough for my particular “needs”. I don’t like the fact that it’s made of flimsy plastic and has a lightweight and somewhat short power cord. However, I think this massager would be fine for general use on sore muscles. And I also think that some women would find it plenty powerful enough for their sensual tastes. Hell, I find that just reading the instructions is a source of entertainment all its own! But for me, personally, this massager is less like a Cadillac and more like a Dodge Neon.

AND, since it’s a short post, here’s a repost of a blog entry I wrote in 2013, about taking this particular vibrator to the dump.

Taking my vibrators to the dump…

As we’re preparing for the packers to come here tomorrow, Bill and I have been discussing what to do with some items we haven’t been using.  A few years ago, when Bill was deployed, I invested in a “Magic Wand” vibrator by Hitachi.  I was really excited about getting this device, since I’d heard such great things about it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed with the wand.  Somehow, I also ended up with two of them.  I reviewed the wand on Epinions and ended up getting some uninvited correspondence with yucky, horny men on Yahoo! Messenger.  It was way gross.

So, since about 2007, my vibrators have sat in the bottom of a drawer, bereft of my attention.  I needed something a little more powerful than the Magic Wand and ended up finding something more like a jackhammer for my “special sensual needs”.

I have a few other massaging items that I don’t use anymore… a water bath with jets for my feet, an electric vibrating foot massager, and a cheap chair massager for my back that never fit any of the chairs in our house.  So there’s a pile of massaging items in our bedroom waiting for a trip to the dump.

I’ve been imagining what it will look like when Bill takes these items to the landfill.  One time, when he went there, there were people hanging out at the dump, waiting to see what people were throwing out.  They were delighted when Bill offered them an ugly 40 year old yellow American Tourister suitcase I had inherited from my mom.  They referred to it as an “Ike Turner” suitcase.  I can only wonder what their reactions would be if he offered them my vibrators…

Incidentally, the Magic Wand doesn’t really look pornographic.  In fact, if you read the directions, there’s no discussion of it being used as a sensual aid.  It’s supposedly intended for use on parts of the body that are perfectly acceptable for public view.  But I have never heard of anyone using the Magic Wand for anything other than a sexual toy.  Go figure.

As far as I know, no one who was hanging around at the dump in 2013 wanted my vibrators. I can’t blame them.

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movies, reviews

Repost: A review of the 1980 movie, Resurrection…

Here’s a repost of a movie review I wrote in August 2015. It appears here as/is.

It may seem strange that I would review a 35 year old film.  I’m not even one to watch a lot of movies these days.  I decided to purchase a copy of Resurrection, a film made in 1980 starring Ellen Burstyn, Richard Farnsworth, and Sam Shepard, because I’ve had the soundtrack stuck in my head for what seems like ages.  I used to watch Resurrection when HBO ran it all the time.  Since I was a kid back then, I didn’t get all the nuances of the film as I did yesterday, when I watched it for the first time in probably 30 years.

Someone has helpfully posted the whole movie on YouTube.

Ellen Burstyn plays Edna Mae Macauley, a woman who had just bought her husband a new car.  The two got in the car and went for a joyride along the Pacific coast, when a boy suddenly skateboarded in front of the car.  Edna Mae’s husband swerved to avoid hitting the kid and they went over a cliff.  Somehow, Edna Mae survived, despite the fact that neither of them wore seatbelts.  Her husband died.  I feel I should mention that there’s a pretty cheesy special effect when the car crashes.  The screen goes black and we see shattering glass.  It’s obviously very fabricated and fake, but gets the point across.

Edna Mae has a near death experience, where she sees friends and family who have passed on.  Just as she’s getting comfortable going into the light, she gets sucked back to Earth.

Edna Mae wakes up in a hospital room.  She is badly injured and winds up in a wheelchair.  She moves back to her rural hometown in Kansas (actually Texas, which is where much of this movie was filmed).  Her family takes care of her, though they are a bit reserved and God fearing.  This is a stark contrast to Edna Mae’s warm, free spirited visage. 

One day at a family picnic, one of the kids gets a bloody nose.  Edna Mae takes the child in her arms and calms her down.  The nosebleed miraculously stops.  This is the first sign that Edna Mae now has healing powers.  Eventually, she even heals herself and then starts to heal others.  She has about a 70 percent success rate.  Scientists want to study her.

She meets a man, the son of a Bible thumping zealot.  They start a relationship, but he’s uncomfortable with her “powers”.  Much of the movie is about their relationship, as well as the rocky one Edna Mae has with her father, who thinks of her as a whore.  By the end of the film, we find out why he feels the way he does. 

I think Resurrection is a really good movie and the ending is powerful.  I’m surprised it took so long to become available on DVD, since it’s well-acted by people who have actual talent.  Yes, if you buy this on DVD, you will get a published on demand copy, which carries some risks.  I was pretty happy with the quality of the DVD I got. 

I love watching films from the early 80s because they remind me of a time when life was simpler and we didn’t have so many stupid rules… and people weren’t always butting into other people’s business.  Or, if they were, the whole world didn’t know about it.  Besides that, I just think Resurrection is a gem of a film.  And, while I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the concept of God or an afterlife, I do find the story kind of comforting.

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