Monday, December 31, 2007

"It's New Year's Eve,
And hopes are high
Dance one year in
Kiss one good-bye..."

-Sunset Boulevard

It's about 8:30, and I've been feeling like Cinderella all night, avidly watching people at Job A setting up for a champane dinner and dance, compleat with twelve-piece jazz band and four intelligent lights that are calmly bathing the black-tied early birds in cool blues and sparkly whites. Also, about four hundred balloons, anchored securely to the ceiling, awaiting the midnight drop.

2007 has been a long year. It hasn't been the greatest year and it hasn't been the worst, although I'll be relieved to see the back of it. I never really celebrated or even much noted the passing of the years before. But I'm determined to do better this year: something's gotta happen now or something's going to give. Or, as dad reminded me when he brought me back a week ago: something's coming, something good. Change is in the air, I can feel it.

Part of not celebrating New Year's was never having any resolutions, but with the determination to make a clean break from 2007, I've decided to make a few. Firstly, to be more cheerful, friendly and optimistic and less down on my situation. I can feel myself being more cranky, bitchy, cold and condescending, and that has got to stop. Secondly, to stop being late for everything. Crappy public transport is no excuse for showing up late to every meeting. And thirdly, to start going to church again. There's a coldness that subzero temperatures can't quite explain, and I think the answer is in a house of worship.

I'm looking forward to 2008. It's going to be a good year.

"I just wanna update my blog quick, I wanna talk about my deodorant."

Last week I bought a deodorant bar from Lush called T'eo--for once I'm not naming inanimate objects, that's actually what it's called in the catalogue. Lush is a great store--they're totally organic and environmentally friendly, and they also have a store in Covent Garden. So one whiff sends me back to my favourite place in the world. I wanted to buy a deodorant bar because the sticks that I use normally tend to gunk up my clothes after awhile. I used a non-aerosol spray in London, but that's not available here. So I decided to try this stuff. At $7 a bar, it's an investment, but I love it. LOVE IT. T'eo looks like a little bar of chalky soap, and it smells like citrus heaven. You pat it on under the arms and it deodorizes like magic. The best part is that it also makes your room smell good!! And there's no packaging beyond the little plastic bag they give you to take it home. The woman at the store told me it should last about three or four months, but since I pat it on every chance I get (citrus heaven! heavenly!) I'll be surprised if it makes it another three weeks.

Samio is here--we just had a midnight diner run (not such a good idea since I had pasta and veg for dinner--overfull belly panda is not a happy panda) and now she's working her way through "The Onion's Year End Wrap Up" while I sing the praises of T'eo.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

this is MY SHIP!

Firstly, has a hysterical take on scary radiator noises. I agree-they are terrifying (second only to The Dark)-the ones in my apartment sound like the tormented souls of the damned.

Speaking of the damned. I've been reading Mutiny on the Bounty which fulfills several of my reading requirements:

1. It involves a ship
2. Takes places circa 1790-1805
3. Men in breeches
4. Is small enough to fit in my purse
5. Battered enough that I don't feel bad about shoving it into my purse

I found this book at the thrift store. I felt kind of ripped off because this copy was originally thirty-five cents, but the thrift store charges fifty cents for paperbacks, but it's all for a good cause, so I decided to suck it up and fork over the extra fifteen cents. I was afraid that I wouldn't like this book because I've bought books that have fufilled the above criteria only to plow to a halt halfway through them because of the dense language but Mutiny on the Bounty is RIVETING. I mean--it's just an amazing story. AND IT'S TRUE! I had no idea that the story was based on actual events. It's just amazing the sheer forces of will that were involved in these events. Of course, being a book about the Navy, there's a lot of talk about duty and honor and even though modern interpretations tend to sympathise with the mutineers, it's obvious that the narrator still feels a great deal of loyalty to Captain Bligh, and we're supposed to be horrified that anyone would disobey orders or break ranks like this.

The authors manage to create these incredibly suspenseful story ("WILL the mutineers be HUNG?!") even though the narrator mentions the battles he's been involved in--Camperdown, Copenhagen and Trafalgar--and all these take place after 1792, so it's pretty obvious he survived--but even so, I nearly missed my stop on the train because I was dying to see what happens next. Roger Byam is the name of the narrator, and he's based on a real-life figure, Peter Haywood, who, after being acquitted of mutiny, went on to become a captain in the navy. (He also served on HMS Bellerophon, which is the ship Napoleon surrendered on, fyi.)

I was quite pleased with myself for not having to look up the definition of "fothering" while I was reading, and gave a little squirm of recognition when the president of the court martial was named as Lord Hood. Slowly, the bits of British naval history fall togther. (Another reason we're supposed to sympathise with Captain Bligh--Nelson spoke highly of him after Copenhagen, and if Nelson likes someone...I still get a kick out of how ANY naval occurence in this time period must have one Nelson reference. It's so cute.)

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It's just so damn fascinating.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Celebrity Hack

There's home and then there's not home, and I'm definitely not home right now. I am feeling a little more centered about finding a new job and living in Chicago, but still ansty about Seeing the World and trying something different. In the meantime: worked for twelve and a half hours today. Welcome back!

Christmas was magnificent. I am the happiest kid on the block because I woke up to find a Singer sewing machine under the tree, causing me to dance around breathless with joy. Finally, a friend who won't get sick of my endless contemplations of period clothes. (not that I don't have friends who are excited about period clothes. But I'm sure even THEY have hit their limit of my reverent recitations of Nelson's decorations et al.) By Mom's count, we had forty people in our house at one point, and most of the afternoon was spent singing. I love to sing with my family, we are endlessly musical, and what we lack in training we make up for in enthusiasm. (except for KT. She has amazing talent, also enthusiasm. Also, better hair.) The highlights of the day were marked by a pair of Announcements, one of which involves a Boat, specifically the purchasing of by my dad. Dad, who was quickly corrected by me when he regretfully told me that I couldn't borrow it: "But Dad, if I have to drive it, how am I going to sit up in the bow and bark at passing jetskis?!"

So we had a long day of family fun, and in the evening I settled down with "Half Blood Prince" in front of of a roaring fire and watched Law and Order with mom...just like being at home. Yesterday Dad brought me and the new Singer (which doesn't have a name yet, since I'm trying to figure out if it's male or female) back to Chicago, pausing momentarily for brat-y goodness at Kenosha. If Napoleon had had my stash of leftovers, he would have made it to St. Petersburg. My one regret about working today is that I did not have the luxury of eating my way slowly through the fridge. Also, my roommate got to the taco salad. Damnit.

Happy news on the job front: I have a Very Promising job interview tomorrow for a full-time office position (yay), the only slight downside is that they would probably want me to start Monday. I am supposed to be working on Monday., this is awkward, but if you REALLY had wanted me there, wouldn't you be offering me more than eighteen hours a week? I feel bad ditching my wonderful boss, but a real job is, well, a real job.

News at eleven.

Oh wait, it is eleven.

Good night all.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Mom has just pointed out how Dad's new snowblower isn't as heavy as the old one, mentioning how after blowing, one must shovel, and looking at me in a pointed fashion.

So I'll keep this short.

I am home, and it is good to be home. Many times before I've mused on the meaning of home--is it in Chicago, is it London, is it here in my parent's house, where I grew up but where I no longer live (posters of HP on the back of my bedroom door notwithstanding). But this is home. Right now, today, here helping my mom make meatballs or avoiding helping Dad shovel, this is home. I'm so happy to be in a place where I know that right now, this is exactly where I belong and where I should be.

I felt it this weekend too, being surrounded by friends old and new, reminiscing about the greatest city in the world and speculating on the future. Home-not-home in Chicago, but in the love and friendship of people all over the world. It's like sunshine after a long winter.

Like I said, I have to keep this short, but I'm hoping that everyone will feel this way this Christmas--this is the best present I could have receieved. I have already been paid for a review of Sweeney Todd, so I'll post the link here once I write it, but rest assured the movie was great. Merry Christmas everyone, and God bless us all in our contentment.

Friday, December 21, 2007

happy winter solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year. I am happy that from now until June, there will only be more hours of sunlight, because I'm tired of doing things in perpetual semi-darkness.

In a couple hours, friends will start arriving from all over the world to celebrate mah birfday with me, acts of love and friendship that I am so grateful for. It's been a hard year, a long year, and I hope that 2008 will be better. I'm not anxious to leave my late early twenties behind, but the future is calling, it's now or never.

I'm going to be leaving to go home for Christmas in a couple days, so I probably won't get much of a chance to post here between now and the 26th, when I'll be back.

So my New Year's resolution for this year is to be the positive, optimistic, cheerful person I'm used to. More than anything, I hate how my current situation has turned me into a cranky, stressed out, grasping individual. That's not me. I must turn my attitude around, or else I'm going to start hating myself as well.

Until then, Queen:

It's a hard life,

In a world that's filled with sorrow

There are people searching for love in every way

Yes, it's a hard life

But I'll always live for tomorrow

I'll look back on myself and say,

I did it for love.

Yes, I did it for love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For Once, the Catholic Church and I Are in Total Agreement

"The Golden Compass" is a crappy movie.

Although we dislike it for different reasons. Yahoo has this article, which says that the Catholic Church has slammed "The Golden Compass" with a "stinging broadside" (broadside being a nautical term), saying that it is "Godless and hopelss." Let it be shown that I too wish to broadside "The Golden Compass" with cricism, except MY problem is with the story and the script. I agree with the Catholic Church there should be more God, if only so when he humanity brings down the Kingdom of Heaven, people will feel more than just "what is happening? I'm so confused." Which is how I exited after seeing the film a couple weeks ago. The Catholic Church is scared that these books will cause children to question their religion, turn away from the church and possibly give up on God all together. The movie is about as threatening as VeggieTales, but the Catholic Church has been denouncing it anyway, since the books just might make a few people think.

Last night I finished re-reading the His Dark Materials trilogy ("The Golden Compass" is based on the first book, "The Northern Lights"), and I understood and enjoyed the story a lot more than I did when I read it in college. It is kind of bleak, especially at the end when the Church's power is destroyed, and the onus for making the universe a good place falls onto the shoulders of people. That's a LOT of responsibility, especially for a couple of kids. But at the same time, it's no different from what Jesus tells us--"do unto others as you would have done unto thee" and the one about treating the least of my bretheren as you treat me. (yes, yes, I know, it's been awhile since I've cracked a Bible) What's the difference, saying you're acting this way for the glory of God or because it's the decent thing to do? Maybe because the dark side of that is where it gets scary: if I am acting decently for the Glory of God, then what is to stop me from hurting people for the Glory of God? (cf, Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, etc.) Yet when godless heathens act decently or hurt people they're considered examples of how degraded humanity has become, how far away from God we've moved. Truly, what if there is no God, and it is up to us to be decent or not? That's a lot of responsibility. I don't know if I'm ready for that.

Saying "I'm not strong enough to take responsibility for being a decent person" seems like kind of a weak and weird reason to be a Christian. But, then again, Jesus died for our sins--how can I do better than that? Yesterday I talked about how bitchy and crabby I've been lately, and these are just little examples of being a bad person. Small moments when I could choose to be more polite or just spread around anger. These are the marks that are going to get read back to me on the Day of Reckoning, since I'm not planning on committing any murders any time soon. I'm not even strong enough to reel in my contempt when someone answers my questions slowly, or when people stand on the left on the escalator. How can I hope to build the Republic of Heaven on my own? Better to continue the work that Jesus started and try to bite my tongue when the situation calls for it.

Christmas is a week away, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Not in a "yay, I'm so excited to go home for Christmas!" or "yay, Jesus!" kind of way, but in a "when is this holiday going to be over so I can get back to normal" kind of way, which makes me slightly ashamed. There are reasons for the season, whatever your beliefs, and regardless, we should all take the time to slow down and appreciate the year that was and the year that's coming. But I can't do it this year. I don't know why. Maybe it's because of all the crabby and the stress, it's pushed goodness and patience out of my heart. I think "His Dark Materials" affected me more than it did before, because the message hit a little harder this time. The onus IS on me, after all, no matter what, to do the right thing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Other People's Presents

I've decided I don't like wrapping other people's presents. Work at Job A started today when I was presented with a box and told to wrap what was inside. Inside was a Wii. I realised, looking at the box, that it had obviously been purchased directly from Nintendo, then couriered via a United Airlines flight to Chicago, where it was going to be presented to some deserving Child Christmas morning after being wrapped by yours truly. I was momentarily taken aback by the casualness of the present, when parents all over the land are tearing their hair out trying to get one, but then I remembered that these are Very Rich People and they probably called up their good friend the CEO of Nintento and mentioned how little Tarquin was fading away from a lack of Wii. So I wrapped it. It took me forty-five minutes because the only paper we have here is Crappy Brown, better suited to retirement parties and funerals, and every bit of it is too small to go around the Wii box. I'm sure the Deserving Child will not notice my careful hiding of double-sided tape, but the parents are no doubt fuming over the fact that I had to tape two pieces together and then carefully hide the join under a ribbon. When I finished, I was presented, Rumplestiltschkin-like with another three boxes--all of which are too big for good ol' Crappy Brown. sigh. The good news is the powers that be have taken pity on me and are asking people to pay for wrapping, which is nice. We (okay, "I") don't mind wrapping things that come from our store, but we do not sell the Wii.

This ties back to a snarky article I read in the paper the other week. A journalist was talking about his favourite restaurant, and how he and the maitre d' are "pals," they say hi, they schmooze, whatever. Then the other day, he was seated and he saw his "pal" the maitre d' with her "customer face" off from across the room, and he realised--this is her job. She's not my friend, she's just THAT GOOD that she makes me think I am. He realised she has a hard job and she does it well, and he hasn't appreciated that before now. So on his way out he gave her twenty dollars--he said that she took it so quickly he had to make sure that his fingers were still there, a snarky comment that still rankles. Because people don't realise. Working in the service industry around Christmas has given me a better appreciation for waiters, clerks, maids, coat check people. The other day at Job A the coat check lady told me that two twenty-somethings had left ten bags of Christmas shopping (think Gucci, Prada, Tiffany, etc) with her while they had tea--and when they came back for their stuff, they left no tip. NADA. Now, I don't know if they didn't realise that tipping also applies to stuff and not just coats, but I was outraged on behalf of my friend. I luckily make enough that I don't have to rely on tips, and twenty dollars will not make or break my budget, but it would be nice to put something in the bank occasionally. I'm not saying "pay me to wrap your Wii" but at least understand that this very expensive machine you couriered across the country has been carefully handled and hand-delivered to your door so you can take the credit come Christmas.

Of course, I do it too. Yesterday, after my job interview before work, I stopped of at a McDonald's for a cup of coffee. Growly (I had had no caffiene), high-strung and mad (on top of EVERYTHING ELSE, I've lost my CTA card, oh, what a world!) I barked out an order for COFFEEEE! at the poor guy across the counter. Did not make eye contact, but thrust a five dollar bill at him while reaching for my cup. He mumbled something. "WHAT?" I said, impatiently, "WHAT?!" He said, "It's a free cup of coffee, miss. It's Monday." I immediately felt embarassed that I hadn't taken the five extra seconds to understand him the first time. And I'm ashamed that I wasn't nicer to him--after all, there are positions where you can expect to get tipped, and then there's working at McDonald's. I think I muttered an "oh, sorry" and slouched away, red-faced, clutching my coffee. We are all working hard. Must remember that--if nothing else, we are ALL working hard.

Update: About five minutes ago, the Dad who had bought the Wii called me up, concerned. I had wrapped the Wii by itself, then wrapped the extra controllers and memory card separately, all together in a shirt box. He just wanted to make sure that everything was there and find out what was in each box I had sent him. I politely told him, refrained from mentioning that people do find time to wrap presents themselves, and wished him a good day. Okay. So I'm working on the snarky part. Working hard, working hard...right.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Normality on a Saturday

I feel bad for not going out last night with my friend, even though he had asked me three weeks ago, but after a week of being sick, not getting enough sleep and going to two job interviews in one day, I was ready to crack. So I stayed home and went to bed at 7:45. And slept until 8:30. Clearly I needed it.

Today I had to return to the clinic so I could get my TB test examined. I can tell that I'm feeling better, because I saw an anti-abortion protest outside a woman's clinic, and I nearly got off the bus to give the protestors a piece of my mind. Five males (of course!!!), holding pictures of babies (no dead fetuses, thank God) and the Madonna and haranguing Christmas shoppers. I understand pro-lifers even less when they're male and I don't appreciate them waving religious iconography in my face. If an angel had come to me in a blaze of light and told me that I was going to bear the Son of Man, you bet your fur I'd keep it. Not all women have that assurance. Moving on.

Actually-I'm sure there's a whole essay in there about how Mary had no real assurance that everything WOULD be okay and she kind of had to go on faith, etc. etc. but now's not the time.

I spent the intervening hours between my visit ("is my tetanus shot supposed to look like this?" "What, does this hurt?" *poke* "OW!" "It's fine. It's just a reaction." Oh, good...glad to have cleared that up...) and working doing some Christmas shopping. I have no idea what to get my mother. Normally I'd get her a sweater or a pair of slippers and be done with it, but this year I want to get her something sparkly. The problem is...I just haven't found it yet. Suggestions? The problem with Christmas shopping is you tend to find lots of things for yourself. Like, for example, an antique metal locker from HMS Mercury that was only--ONLY!--$125 that I have no use for whatsover, but it says "HMS Mercury" on it. Also, inkwells.

As I walked to work I ran into another protest, this one against furs, outside of Saks...I applaud people who are willing to stand out in the snow and get slushed on, but, really, guys (again, all men, hmm...), this time of the year, you're just in people's way and probably pishing them off.

Now CNN tells me that Hillary Clinton is losing her lead in the Iowa polls, after gleefully pointing out that a blizzard on January 5th could make all the difference. (read: "Those poor rubes. The fate of Middle-Earth lies in their hands, but they might not be able to shovel out!!") I'm quite excited to think that Barack is slowly edging into the lead. I'm totally ready to follow him as a president, but I wasn't sure anyone else felt the same way. Well, there's still eleven plus months until the vote, but good numbers are a positive thing. Yay.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So far, so good

The site of my TB injection remains flat and colourless. The site of my tetanus booster (thank you, US taxpayers) hurts like a sob. Ironically, it's about an inch south of the snitch tat, where hopefully tattoo #3 will be appearing. Someday. In the meantime, everytime my bra strap slips off my shoulder it rubs against this spot, causing me to growl in pain. This happens a lot. I need new bras.

I have another interview lined up--this one for Monday morning, for a real job, not a temp agency, a job involving Admin and Reception and Business Professional. Which I have done before. Is it theatre? No. Will it allow me to a) have only one job b) get a new apartment c) have enough money that I can afford tea in teashops on Sunday so I can write JK Rowling-style d) buy plane tickets to London and e) adopt a warm and fuzzy? Yes. So I need to get a haircut and wash my suit. Check.

I have completely given up on my roommates. Before I left I was despairing about how it is going to take me a long time to clean, and one of the guys said "oh, if you'd just leave me a list, I could help out..." Implying of course that I would clean--he would "help." So I said, as I dashed out the door to wash work clothes so I have something to wear during my two interviews tomorrow, "would you mind shaking out the rugs? I'm going to sweep and mop when I get home!" Two hours later (at eight thirty) I returned home. Rugs: unshaken. I had hoped he might get the hint and shake, sweep and mop, but since a direct imperative was beyond him, I don't know why I thought he'd go above and beyond. Other roommate also not so gret: Cans still appearing in the garbage despite a slightly desperate post-it note saying "please recycle! thank you!!!"

for the record it took me ten minutes to shake, fifteen to sweep and fifteen to mop. And another ten to bitch.

but I have not given up yet. For in the store today, an incredibly helpful lady named Diane (clearly, a reincarnation of the goddess of wisdom and patience) gave me refund on my organic peanut butter even though I did not have the original receipt without quarrel. Thank you diane for being such a decent human being. I really need some of that right now. She even gave me the FULL refund, not the price on sale, but the extra two dollars, which I promptly spent on a jar of chunky Jif. Preservatives be damned.

Also, Herbal Essences makes a shampoo called "DRAMA CLEAN." Yes I bought it, how could I not? Have you been paying attention to this post? "nickilovesdrama?" "nickiloveshistronics" more like.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pricked, prodded and preoccupied

Another hoop I have to jump through to volunteer with wee children is having a tuberculosis test. I always associated TB with eighteenth century writers, but apparently it's having a comeback tour in our schools and hospitals. So I made an appointment with a low income clinic downtown and went down there today. In the course of two hours I was:

1. Seen by 4 different people
2. Stabbed by three of them
3. Reassured my blood sugar level is perfectly normal--no diabetes (woot)
4. Ditto high blood pressure (double woot)
5. Robbed of blood for a cholesterol test
6. Given a TB test which involves a clinician inserting a tiny needle under my skin and then blowing it up like a balloon, or a science fiction movie. I'm sure there was some kind of medical reason for doing this, but then again it could just have been "hey, look at this cool thing your skin does!" If I do not have TB the bubble is supposed to go away. If I do, it will get harder and bigger. Right now--it's gone. So much for me retiring to a sanitarium and reading the plays of Henrik Ibsen.

So I have an owie on my inside right arm, my left shoulder, my left finger and my left forearm. I only saw the doctor for about ten minutes. I was really impressed with how efficient these people are, but at the same time it was a little disconcerting at being shuffled around so efficiently. I also felt very out of my league because almost everyone there was Hispanic and more than half had a baby(ies) or small children attached to them. (as Extremely Efficient Clinician #1 took my weight (their scale is broken, btw) another one weight a brand-new baby who was six pounds (six pounds!!! awww!!!) causing me to lean over for a look and prompting EE #1 to swat me on the arm and tell me to stand still.) I learned a new word tonight--CONSULTARIO! Which is a much cooler word than "exam room."

I'm relieved everything looks okay. I will return on Saturday to find out about my TB bubble and my cholesterol test. Meanwhile I'm feeling a little better. Migraine on Sunday was followed up by a bout of stomach flu on Monday and yesterday I worked thirteen hours.

I had a really bad moment this morning--probably due to the fact I was lightheaded (stomach flu+not eating=light head) and was wondering how to pass the three hours between working and my appointment. An image of a bookstore with a coffee shop flitted into my head and I thought hazily "oh, I'll...just go there..." I'd been there a lot even though I'd never had coffee there, but I figured I could get a paper or...and then I realised the bookstore in my mind was actually the Waterstones right off of Trafalgar Square. Where I used to kill a LOT of time.

I carried that with me all day, very cranky, very upset at my life right now, only to arrive home to an email from a company inviting me to interview with them for a stage management position (paid) and a voicemail from a temp agency about a REAL job.

Monday, December 10, 2007

70% Better

I'm feeling better today...last night after a 1776 production meeting I came home, took a scalding hot shower, put on flannels and socks and curled up into the fetal position and slept like the dead for twelve hours. I think in addition to being overworked and underfed, I'm severely dehydrated, because I drank three liters of water before going to bed--and I didn't get up once during the night to use the bathroom. I did have to reschedule a meeting at (yet another) temp agency--I just hope the perky secretary on the other end believed me when I said I was suffering from a migraine and didn't secretly think I was just avoiding going outside. I don't know why my body's reaction to getting sick--any kind of sick--is to immediately shut down blood flow to my extremities so my fingers, toes and nose feel as cold as though we were hiking Mount Everest. SEriously. When I got home last night, I thought my fingers would for sure be black once I prised off my mittens. Naturally, as a precaution today, I put on a hoodie under my winter coat and almost immediately regretted it when Stage Two kicked in and I turned from freezing to feverish. I am a LOT better today though. I sort of feel like, oh, I don't know, say like Professor Lupin after his transformation at the end of Movie 3 ("I've looked worse." "Really sir? Because you look like sh--") Better, but fearful that it could come back at any time. I never get migraines. What is going on?

I probably should have stayed in yesterday, but I stubbornly insisted on taking advantage of my one day off this week and going to see "The Golden Compass" even though I had read bad reviews. I have to admit, I was very disappointed in the film--the acting was superb, but unlike the books, which do not dumb down their messages for kids, the film had to spell everything out for their audiences, and did not allow us to discover the story on our own. I was very sad with the way the story moved around so much and focussed so much on the big action scenes--although Kathy Bates was, as always, an inspiried . Ah, well. That's why we read books after all.


This must be a migraine...a nuclear bomb slowly exploding in my head...feverishness...pain in my limbs...nausea...sensitive to light and sound...feeling extreme cold...all bloody day...

Oh My God. Make it stop, please, Jesus, make it stop.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Glamourous Life


Someone just drove past me on a Segway.

And I'm at work.

They just whizzed by me, down the hallway.



Whew! Seriously though *wipes tears from eyes* I love rich people. They're so disconnected.

Wait, wait, here he comes again...bwahahaha...I shouldn't laugh, he probably has problems with his legs or something, but I don't understand how the Segway ever got off the drawing board.

Okay, seriously though.

I don't read Glamour magazine, except when it gets slow at Job A, then I might pick it up. Also occasionally my self-esteem is SO HIGH I need a puncture so I flip past the size 000 models and remind myself that I have a long way to go.

Going to need energy. Better get some cake.

One of the things Glamour does is send a hapless intern or reporter or whatever out into the streets of NYC to see how friendly people are. The scenario usually goes like this: hapless intern is carrying eight cups of Starbucks coffee plus bags of pastries. WILL ANYONE HELP HER, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!! Disguised cameraman takes pictures of people walking by looking at her in sympathy, intern notes how the only person who helps her also asked for her number, when intern finally dumps all the coffee, a friendly passer-by helps her pick up the carnage, etc. Last month it was a woman trucking around a pair of giant suitcases.

I find these "articles" interesting on the sociological level. First off, it's always a woman, so already there's something inherently sexist about the experiement. "oh, help me! I am a hapless woman forced to fetch and carry! help! help!" Well honey, I've said it once--if you're going to pack that much luggage, you better be prepared to carry it. Also--if you sign up for an internship, you're going to have to get coffee occasionally. DEAL. (This month's victim noted how she would never EVER make anyone get her coffee. Yeah. Right. Isn't that why God invented interns? I know someday I'm going to get an intern and make her get me coffee. Well, make tea. And she better do it right.) PS: Starbucks, Intelligentisia, Argos Tea, Dunkin' Doughnuts (not that anyone goes to DD--not haute enough, I guess) et al now have these handy little bucket o' coffee containers with a screw on lid. Kind of like a gas can for coffee, only insulated. So there's really no reason to be carrying around eight cups of coffee, unless everyone wanted something different. And if they did--well, that's the point when you'd whip out those quivering eyelashes... "but, but...I can't CARRY eight cups of coffeeee!"

Actually, come to that, I think a gas can would be a GREAT way to carry around coffee. Imagine the looks you'd get emptying a pot at a gas station into your gas can. And then drinking from it.

I would actually have more sympathy for someone carrying a suitcase (been there), and I might also want to show a visitor that yes Virginia, there actually ARE friendly Americans. I don't know about helping someone pull a suitcase down the road, but hitching it up the stairs? Sure. Although--I have been in situations where parents are hiking strollers bearing children up the stairs and I've swept past. I know it's possible to grab the footrest and carry (moms and dads working in tandem have this down) but I'm less anxious to do it when there's a chance that the Precious Cargo might fall out. Even if the parent is holding up traffic.

The other problem with the Glamor 'speriments is, again, the fact that they're always conducted by women. It would be infinitely more interesting if they did it with a woman and also a man and compared results. Especially if the man also asked a passerby to unstick his hair from his lip gloss.

Friday, December 07, 2007

100% Organic and Preservative Free!

In my never-ending quest for perfection I recently bought a jar of organic peanut butter. I love peanut butter. I eat it every day for breakfast, and up until recently, my PB of choice was chunky Jif. Yeah. Sounds like a blues band, doesn't it? Chunky Jif and the Jive Five. Yeah. But I'm worried that chunky Jif has too much sugar and preservatives in it, so I decided to give organic a try. It took me about ten minutes to find an appropriate substitute: a honey-flavoured chunky PB from Arrowhead Mills. (the organic community eschews the time-honored tradition of colour-coding their PB, blue for chunky, red for smooth, so I had to pick up each jar and look at it. My jar, like Maria at the end of West Side Story, has a lovely yellow cap) It cost me $4. Today I had the last of my chunky Jiff on one slice of toast, and the chunky Arrowhead Mills on the other. The first thing I noticed about the organic stuff is that it separates. So you have oil, then roughly-chopped pieces of peanuts, then the creamy butter, and you have to mix it together. Okay, fine. The taste...well, it's not as sweet, that's for sure, it's more peanutty than any PB I've ever had (except for this generic stuff in London...never again...) And it's sticky. Each bit prompted a sip of tea to get my jaws unstuck. I mean--this is the kind of sticky that Shel Silverstein was writing about when he was warning about the horrors of PB. Better than Jif? Eh. Probably. I compared the labels, and this is what I found: Arrowhead Mills ingredients: peanuts, salt, honey, soy lecthin. Jif: Peanuts, molasses, salt, mono-and diglycerides. That would be the preservatives, I'm assuming. And maybe preservatives aren't a bad thing: I realised, as I went to put my preservative-free organic peanut butter in the fridge that it expired Nov 22. 2007. Ooops. Who checks the expiration date, anyway? I want my food to last for years, so in, the case of a 28 Weeks Later like scenario, I will have a good supply of PB while I try to work out an acceptable substitute. I'm still going to give the organic stuff a shot, but I think I might take this back to the store and point out they had expired product on their shelves.

The simplicity of the reciepe has given me pause though. Maybe I should try making my own damn peanut butter. I have the honey, after all. And a bag of peanuts from Fleet Farm is, what, a buck? Hmmm...

Speaking of things organic, I was surfing around yesterday (and by "surfing around" I mean "screwing around") and I found a very nice cotton t-shirt with a black and white sketch of George Washington on the front--very classy, very understated. Clearly what the General would have wanted, had he had access to a screen printing press at Mount Vernon. I thought about adding it to my collection, but then I thought about wearing something like that. I mean, Washington was, after all, a slave owner. And there is a point where irony and tongue-in-cheek humor crosses the line, so I think I'll be content with my GW action figure. I'm wishing I had bought that Nelson T-shirt...if only because it was a portrait of him in pink...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

An Act of Incredible Hubris

Some of you have been asking. And, since this blog is all about me, me, me! (when it's not about Nelson) here it is: mah wish list. If you are shaking your head in disgust at my incredible act of hubris, then feel free to read no further. If you're thinking "at last, her birthday is coming up" read on.

Beethoven's symphonies

Sewing machine

Harry Potter 5 on DVD

"Sweeney Todd" the movie soundtrack (available Dec. 18th!)

Black trouser socks

A backpack (small but sturdy)

Nice-smelling lotion (Bigelows #5 lemon-verbena from Bath & Body Works)

Blank journals

Black, waterproof, no heels, knee-high, appropriate for winter leather boots (size nine)


This t-shirt

A yoga mat

A kitten

The Horatio Hornblower books and DVDs

Plane tickets to London

Okay, it's a much longer list when it's all written out like that. Er. But everyone's got a list, right? Right?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Fingerprints: Let Me Show You Them

One of the things I have to do to be able to volunteer with small, impressionable children is get my fingerprints taken. So today I bundled up and bundled down to the Center, where a very efficient woman scanned my fingers into a machine. How cold is it here today? So cold that I had to give the woman a baggie containing my snapped-off fingers when she asked for my hand.

It's very hard to type with with no fingers.

I was very impressed with this machine: I had a hazy vision of walking around all day with my fingers stained purple "voting for the first time EVER in Iraq" style, but instead she just slapped them on the machine which took an electric picture and loaded it right into the computer. It took, literally, two minutes. Five, if you count the time needed for Horatio Caine to take off his sunglasses, make a pithy retort and Roger Daltry to scream the intro to "CSI Miami."

God I miss CSI Miami. Dream job: steady hours, dog, home in time to see CSI Miami.

Speaking of dream job. We have a new person at Job A, and I am trying to be happy that we found a new non-idiotic person for this role, but at the same time I'm a little cranky that the place is willing to hire a completely new person and give her more hours when, hello!, I'm right there. Also, ruffled a little because I've been asked to train her how to close. Do not seem to recall THAT being in my job description. Grrr. Trying not to jump in and say "let me do it!" while she fumbled through her first close put fifteen extra minutes on my timecard, but mah patience, it is thin.

The happy news for today is I found a new winter coat--exactly what I was looking for. I actually bought one at LB, went to Sears to try find a scarf/hat/mittens, found a coat I liked better, bought it, and took the other one back to LB, thoroughly confusing my manager. But I like the Sears one better. I always say myself as more of a button-up peacoat than a zip-up furry hoodie, though it was fun to pretend for a half hour.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Terribly snobby

Would it be terribly snobby of me to say that "For Unto Us a Child is Born" by Handel just doesn't sound as good unless it's being played in St. Martin's in the Field?

Okay, then, I won't say it.

Things I am grateful for:

1. My knees, both of which still work.
2. Annie's Honey Bunny Cereal which does not contain high fructose corn syrup.
3. Overactive radiators that I don't have to pay for.
4. The first chapter of "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett, posted on
5. Hershey's new Truffle Kisses. Bliss in a kiss.

I'm feeling rather low-ish today. Working two jobs is taking its toll, plus I'm panicking that I'll never get out of this cycle of working low-paying jobs. Which I WILL, but sometimes when it's five o'clock at night and it's fully dark out, this primal fear of an eternity of mediocrity kicks in and I have trouble breathing.

I know things will get better, because they always do. I'm still looking for a "real" job as well as other theatre opportunities. And breathing. Breathing is key.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Day goes Quickly by

Today the description of the weather could have been taken from "The Return of the King:" It never got fully light out, but the grey day started turning into evening about two thirty pm when it began snowing mixed with rain. It is freezing, except for the streets, which are a slushy mess, gross grey slop slowing everyone down and soaking into your shoes. I do hate a city winter. Next week LB is going to be having an associate's sale, so I think I might break down and buy a new winter coat. One with a hood.

I had to rush from Job A to Job B because the other person from Job B got fired which means more hours for me--but also more rushing. I managed to scarf down a quick sandwich in the lunchroom, where CNN was interviewing Magic Johnson, asking him what sort of message he wanted to spread today, World AIDS Day, December 1st. CNN told me that it has been 16 years since he publicly admitted he was HIV-positive, and did a brief look back over the things that have changed. Now, of course, a lot of people think "oh, that's an old disease, I could never catch it--and besides, they have drugs now that make you live a lot longer." Witness Magic Johnson, living for 16 years past his diagnosis date.

Happy as I am that Johnson can be a source of inspiration and a voice of advocacy in this world, I am also kind of sad, because 1991 was of course the year that Freddie Mercury succumbed to AIDS. And Freddie has a much more profound influence on my life than Johnson, but he's not around any more. If I had a time machine I'd go back to 1983 and lock Freddie in a room for about two years. I haven't done anything for World AIDS Day ever--not raised money, not attended rallies or informational sessions, but today I was feeling the hole in the world created by the death of Freddie, so I fashioned a red ribbon and pinned it to my lapel using my nametag. No one has asked me what it's meant so far--everyone has been too busy shopping--but I know what it means. I remember.