Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm so hoooooot...

We don't have AC at our house, and I'm not complaining. It's not Arizona hot here, so the sensible solution is to wear less clothes and lie around fanning oneself, pretending to be Marie Antoinette. But I just came back from walking around, and now I'm all worked up and sweaty and hooooot...everyone thinks the Midwest is constantly covered in three feet of snow. I forgot just how hot it gets here in the summer.

Another day, another I hooked up with Kelly Services. I worked with them before, and the woman I talked to seemed pretty confident, even going so far as to assure me "I'll be calling you soon!" as I slipped out the door. I'm so tired of job hunting right now though, I don't really care. Work? Eh. Whatever.

Afterward I went for a stroll around the plaza with the Picasso sculpture thingy, where there was a Turkish Festival going on, under the banner of "Chicago Meets Istanbul!" I spent three of my last five dollars on Turkish coffee and baklava. The coffee is like Greek coffee only somehow...more oppressive. I sipped delicately while listening to what sounded like a Turkish jazz band. They were really good--good enough to keep me standing in the blaring sun while drinking hot coffee, anyway.

Next to me were a group of Turkish girls who had just finished a dance piece, and were swaying along to the music. It made me think of a play that I saw last week, called "Fear of a Hood," which was about a group of college friends who were dealing with their own ideas of racism. One of the characters, your typical WASP, had a monologue about taking a "diversity" class in college and saying that he wished he had been part of a minority. Of course the class attacked him saying "you want to be oppressed?!" but he explained that what he meant was he wished he was a part of an ethnic or cultural group so he could feel like he belonged somewhere, and had some traditions he could take part in. I could understand that very well--being of Scottish, Bohemian, French-Canadian, Dutch, et al extraction, sometimes I too long to belong to one "ethnic" group that I can feel a part of. I know--I am an Americain, but that's less fun when you're surrounded by them. So, it was lovely to get a taster of Turkey, and now I'm thinking of visiting there someday. If only to ask how they feel about being defeated by Lord Byron. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nicki Reads the News:

Dear Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for finally putting some sanctions on the government of Darfur which has, for the past FOUR YEARS, been terrorising half its population. I'm sure the Janjaweed militia is quaking in their boots (government bought) at the thought that three oil refineries will no longer be able to sell their oil in the American markets. When you said ""For too long the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder and rape of innocent civilians. My administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide. The world has a responsibility to put an end to it," I could only cry tears of happiness at the thought that soon the slaughter would end, just as it has ended in Iraq. I didn't get the rest of your speech, sorry, because I was too busy putting my head through the computer screen in frustration. Now you are trying to get the UN to impose more "pressure" on Darfur to behave--when did the UN become your bestest buddy? I refuse to celebrate your actions, which are too little, too late, because I suspect they are a PR move to distract the American people once again from the war which you started, by waving the shiny flag of "economic sanctions" that, in the long run, aren't going to hurt anyone except people who have already been hurt enough.

If you're going to be a cowboy, act like one.

Yr Hmbl & Obt. Srvt,

I spent last night with a woman from our cast who doesn't like to sleep alone in her house. L is a lady of a certain age, and her husband works for a very large company and travels quite a bit. They live in Evanston, in a gorgeous house surrounded by trees, a couple of blocks from the lake. We had salmon for dinner, and this morning we strolled down by the lake and watched the lucky dog owners and their charges play in the water. I felt like I was on a mini-vacation, a feeling that wasn't helped when we went to get a coffee at the Unicorn cafe and the barrista started speaking German. Ah! How I miss strolling along the South Bank in the hot summer sun, stopping for coffee and pints. After blogging yesterday I ended up going to the lake but, mistrustful Midwesterner, I wore jeans and failed to bring a blanket, so I couldn't go down on the sand. Now I know better and the next time I go I will be prepared. I am actually wearing shorts today--proper shorts, like, that are above my knees, and I'm quite smug about how small my waist is getting. I'm not losing any weight, but all my trousers are falling off my hips and my knees aren't rubbing together. I'm trying not to brag--money is so tight right now that I'm eating less, and I've never been skinny but...tee hee isn't this fun!

The good news is I have another job interview with an agency this afternoon, so hopefully they'll be able to find me something that is a little more permanent. As soon as I stop stressing out about work, hopefully I will be able to write. Must finish the one about the dogs...

The bad news is there is a copy of Bill O'Reilly's book "Culture Warrior" on the floor in my roommate's room:

"Hey! One of the cats vomited on my book!!!"
"Uh...yeah. Cats...right."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

What Character in Brokeback Mounatin Are You?

You're Jack Twist, the tragic hero of the story. You struggle to follow your heart and are bitterly punished for your courage and suffering. You're an innocent dreamer, headstrong and enthusiastic. More than anything you want to be loved. Don't let the world break your spirit, cowboy.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Laura's got a new quiz up on Quizilla, confirming yet again that I am Jack Twist...the perpetual dreamer and romantic who constantly gets their heart broken under the crushing blows of a World that Does Not Care. sigh.

Today is Memorial Day...I am trying to keep in the spirit of being properly grateful, but money concerns have been so pressing lately that all I can feel is slightly bitter that, to me, Memorial Day is just a day that I'm unable to work. Bridget Jones says it best in her book when she's wondering about V-E day: "Feel slightly weird celebrating, as was not me that won the war. Is it possible to have an ironic victory day party?" Well, no, and that's precisely the problem. Since I haven't fought/sacrificed for our country, I feel odd "celebrating" --but that's what I'm encouraged to do, via the numerous Memorial Day Sales! which include (I'm not making this up) a recently advertised piano sale. As much as I would like to bang out "The Yanks Are Coming" I don't think it's appropriate. So I'm spending today applying for jobs and, later, I might paint for awhile.

Last night I went to a birthday party/barbeque down on the lake shore, which was lovely. There's one thing you can't do in London: take your shoes off and splash in the Thames. I have been feeling very depressed lately, for no real reason, so it was good to get out for awhile. I even cornered the director from another company who *might* be doing 1776 next year and basically told him if they do it they needed to hire me to be an ASM/dramaturg and then got into a discussion with him about whether or not Edward Rutledge is a villain. I also managed to work "I'm in the middle of a biography about John Adams," "Well, I agree with you Barack Obama is a great senator and probably our best hope for the future," and "You know, I'm not certain that Thomas Jefferson wouldn't have preferred a monarchy, according to Wikipedia" into the conversation. Showing off? Yes. But, he did take my business card and say "we'll be in touch." I heart history. :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

So much to Do, so much to Say

First off--anyone who still reads this in London, go check out Trafalgar Square: The tourist board has laid a bunch of sod, so now it is park-like. I like it! I only wish I was there so I could lounge and conspicuously read my Nelson biography.

So. Reason number four hundred and eighty seven why London is better than Chicago: I've never had a problem with the public transport here, except there's not enough of it, the buses don't go where I need them to without a transfer, and the trains are aboveground. (seriously--who thought this was a good idea? It SNOWS here, people!) I have a CTA card, which allows me to travel an unlimited amount for a monthly fee. Last night I left it at the theatre, and I only remembered it this morning. Cursing my fate, I made a quick stop at an ATM, then trotted into the train station, needing to buy a day pass, which costs $5. So I'm standing in front of this machine which resembles a soda machine in the sixth layer of hell. What I'm looking for is: "Day Pass--$5--Press here," but what I'm seeing is: "Insert Amount Here, press vend." Well, I don't need a $20 pay as you go card, (I only have twenties, since the ATMs here are incapable of dealing with anything less), I need the $5 unlimited day pass. "Aha!" I think, "In London, if I have a question, I can ask the slightly surly Tube employees and THEY will help me--surely it is the same here!" So I slide over to the window, where the woman (who is roughly my age) informs me that she does not sell cards. I will have to buy a pass from the machine. I laugh at her. "Seriously?" I say, disbelieving. Sne nods, wary. Ok, fine. So, getting panicky, as I am going to very quickly be late for work, I slide back to the machine and approach it with my $20. The woman materialises over my shoulder. "It doesn't give change!!" she helpfully tells me. Now I am past the point of incredulous, and think about making some comment like "Where are we--Brazil?" until I remember that Brazil has adequate public transport AND it runs on bio-friendly fuel. "Can YOU give me change?" I ask, already fearing the answer. "No, ma'am, but there are lots of small businesses around here, you could ask one of them." I can't believe this. If I am going to go to the store to buy a pair of jeans, I would not take them next door to try them on. I try whining: "I come through here every day, and I just left my pass at the office, can you let me in please?!" (okay--I lied--but I figured I could buy a pass for my journey to the theatre) The woman looks slightly panicked "Ma'am, you have to pay to get in..." "I HAVE the money (brandish, brandish) right here!" "I can't let you through without paying! There's cameras all over, I could lose my job!" Well, at least now I've got her as worked up as I am. I finally decide to give this poor girl a break and trot next door to a small Mexican restaurant. Day laborers and small children stare up at my "office casual" attire. The man behind the counter is understanding and gives me a ten, a five and five singles. I finally get the card, which is not the one I wanted. Instead it's got five dollars loaded on it, which will get me two and a half rides...and I need three en total today.

Oh, London. When I think about the times I cursed your touch-screens with their multiple options and ability to give change, or Ken Livingston for not having enough Oyster terminals...little did I know. At least the story has a happy ending: I arrived at work at 8:59 and had to wait outside the door for someone to show up and let me in since I was here first. Woot.

But wait, there's more. I had to save the best story for last.

Yesterday: I answered maybe 20 phone calls, helped fax a few things, sent some Fed-Ex, but mostly screwed around all day (hey, there were only four people here, it was, as I mentioned, veddy, veddy quiet.) Until I got this phone call:

ME: Hello, J---- M---- G----, how can I help you?
GUY: Hello?
ME: Hello, how can I help you?
GUY: Yeah, can you hang on a sec?
ME: Sure, no problem. (thinking: Ah, he's probably sending an email, or maybe needs to get his boss on the phone--)
GUY: --I just got out of the shower.
ME: What? (thinking: What?!)
GUY: Yeah. How you doing?
ME: Um... (thinking: is this guy for real?)I'm fine...
GUY: That's great. What's your name?
ME: Uh, Nicole. (thinking: "Stupid!")
GUY: Great weather we're having, huh?
ME: Uh. Is there someone I can connect you to, or--
GUY: Let me put some clothes on...I just got out of the shower.
ME: Okay, sir, I'm going to have to end this conversation, you have yourself a nice day now. *click*

Note how I remained professional throughout. When I hung up I started laughing so hard that one of my co-workers stuck his head out the door and asked me what happened. The best part was when he called me back about ten minutes later and got as far as "I think we got disconnected..." before I hung up on him again. Seriously. I'm kind of half hoping he calls again so I can tell him I'm working at a private investigation firm, and we have his phone number in our system and we will be pursuing charges for harassment and mental anguish. Honestly. This be one crazy City.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It was too quiet, so I thought I'd get out my soapbox...

The company I am working for this week has only eight employees...and three of them are gone for the afternoon, so it has been VEDDY QUIET. Luckily, I have the Internet, fountain of all knowledge and waster of all time. (how did it get to be 2:20 already?!) When the boss was here I spent my time looking at "serious" websites like CNN, but then I got sucked into a crazy website called, which is mostly a site for crazy cat pictures, although they do have some other animals.

Ah, tea humor...snort. I know all y'all are thinking "how does she manage to get these sweet jobs, clicking around on the Internet all day?" By not being able to get those life-affirming jobs like teaching biology to a bunch of highschoolers. Now THERE is an useable job skill. *sigh* At least I can still look for jobs while I'm working.

Reading all this news thought has given me something to think about as well. I begin to understand what the last years of Vietnam were like for the population--yesterday's New York Times had two full colour pictures of Marines under fire on the front page--and the latest news story is, of course, about the soldier who was recently fished out of the Euphrates River. I don't like war, and I especially don't like THIS war, but I think my sentiments can best be summed up by a journalist writing in "The Week" who said, basically, that Americans don't like losing, and we don't like the idea of committing more of our resources overseas where they're having negligible effect, but what we ESPECIALLY don't like is this sensation of doing the same thing over and over, in effect, spinning our wheels. Which brings me back to Vietnam--these are two different wars, but they are similar in the way that the government can't seem to make up it's mind to retreat or commit fully to this conflict. And by "commit fully" I mean hand out the ration cards and turn the GM plants into bomb factories. Put those Union guys back to work. Not that that is likely to happen, of course. (That does remind me--I heard that President Ahmadinejad is in trouble for price gouging on gas prices in Iran. It was 30 cents a gallon two days ago, now it's 38.)I'm tired of the American people saying they support the troops even when they don't support the war--the inflated redneck rhetoric of "they are fighting to defend our freedom!" is going too far, but we must recognise that these soldiers are indeed fighting for our country. Not for this "administration" (how I distrust that word!) but for the US of A, where we get to write angry little blogs and hold free elections every four years. (Ladies--let's not forget we've only had the vote for eighty years or so! Ask your grandmas about it!) We can, and should, demand that our government spend its money and its attention in more important areas, like looking after the people who live in this country. If we are able to feed, educate and employ our our people, then the terrorists will not be jealous of our "freedom" they will appreciate that a democracy can and will care for itself. That is what should be meant by "support the troops" --support one another, recognise we still live in the best. damn. country. in the whole world, but we too have an obligation to fight for it and defend it--not against terrorists--but against naysayers who see the sunset of an empire. No. But now is the time to stand by America, by each other and say "This is it, all you who would run our bad name into the ground, your time is up. You finish what you started and you get us back on track. NOW." Of course, I don't have any suggestions for how to do that. If only it were that easy. I'm not going to co-opt the lessons from Vietnam, but I will say that we (Americans) are learning--four years is long enough. We're not going to let it go on much longer. How will it end? Who can say. But,if I may quote Sondheim here, "Every now and then the country goes a little wrong/Doesn't stop the story/Story's pretty strong." And, don't forget, after the end of an era comes rebirth.

And if it doesn't come fast enough, we may have to send in the ninjas:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Elevators (also narcissim)

I had "pre-screening" today for a job--what I thought would be a half hour interview turned into me taking "personality questionaires" for two bloody hours. The upshot is I now know I am a good team worker and an "energizer" (whatever the hell that means) the bad part is now they probably think I'm a puffed up prat with an inflated sense of her own self-worth and an anal retentive tendency to need to be in charge. Oh. Wait. Curse my powers of self-esteem! Well, wish me luck--working for a publishing company would be cool.

Every time I go anywhere in this city it's an adventure...I just wish that I wasn't having these "adventures" every time I get on the damn bus after work. In Chicago, the bus signs tell you where the bus route ends, with a vague idea what street it runs on. So the 151 Sheridan--you'd think it runs on Sheridan, right? Sure, after about a forty-minute meander up Lake Shore Drive. I'm not saying London is better* but I will point out that ALL the bus stops in London have a map showing EXACTLY where the bus will go, how long it takes to get there, and clearly indicates whether it runs all night or not. And London has about three gazillion buses. Come on Chicago. It's not that hard.

But I did get to go past all the condos on Lake Shore drive, and I also had plenty of time to ponder whether or not I'd like to live in one. Well, it would be nice to have a view of the Lake, but I'm not sure that paying half a million dollars to live in a shoebox for the privilege is worth it. Chicago is a city of elevators. As a temp, I have been inside a LOT of them lately--maybe I should write a book. The best ones I've seen so far are the ones at 35 East Wacker: gotta love the Imperial imagery. (and by "Imperial" I mean "Napoleonic" of course.)

Meanwhile, it's 90 degrees here, and I'm cursing whatever gods thought up humidity. Honestly. This *sucks.* In a fit of passion (or heatstroke) I finally took a scissors to my bangs--fringe! Fringe, it's fringe, it were cut in Britain, so it's fringe--took a scissors to it anyway, and the result is sort of a cross between a 1970s fashion model and my ten year old self.

How do I know what my ten year old self looked like? 'Cause not only do I like to write about myself, take photos of myself, but I also like to scan old pictures of myself that I have lying around. (please note the book!)

PS: Don't worry Peter, Brenda--I promise to get a real haircut by July 20th. I want puppy pictures!

*West Ham rulz!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Things You Never Want to Hear in a Theatre:

1. "We're out of gaff tape."
2. "He's gay."
3. "Macbeth."
4. "Fire!!"
5. "Nicki, can you hand us the first-aid kit?"

Unfortunately, I've been privy to all of these, but it's only the last one that has that special power to induce heart attacks and enable me to leap out of tech booths in a single bound. One of our actors smashed up his fingers on Saturday, as he slipped on the stage carrying a barrel. Keep in mind the whole show is blocked with our actors onstage the entire time, so I didn't hear about it until an hour later when he finally came offstage. I tell you this because Bil has used his day off (and, apparently, the slight psychosis caused by too much painkiller) to make this funny little video called "Pinot Grigio" which is posted on YouTube: Check it out.

Meanwhile, I've been cleaning the house. I don't mind cleaning the house, except that what am I cleaning? Oh, cat hair and kitty litter. I don't hate cats. I am anti-cat. When people get teary eyed and talk about having cat shelters and how inhumane declawing is I just blink subtly and think to myself "these beasts WANT to be feral. Why should I deny them their deepest, darkest desires?" The best example of cat ownership I have seen was my friend Sarah's family, in Paris. Every night before they would go to bed they would kick all six cats outside. Vive French kitties.

And now I've got to go take a shower so I can go to work. I should have gotten up and sent out more resumes today, but I stayed up late last night reading a book called "Sex Wars" which is about real people after the Civil War, when the women's movement was first getting going, and the morality and temperance movements were gaining steam. I find it very interesting to see how people's genders inform their politics and about how ideas have changed (or not) over the years. The author makes a valid point when she talks about Susan B. Anthony being the only one who can legally "own" the feminist press, because all the other women, who are married, are unable to sign contracts or have their own bank accounts. It suddenly makes me very grateful to live in a world where I can make 89 cents to every man's dollar. Also where I can vote for the laws that govern my life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the women's movement, and in history in general. It is a good counterpoint to the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s: like the civil rights movement, the roots of the problem go back a long way, and we're not there yet.

Right. Off to support myself, man-free. Woo.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Lesson learned...

What have we learned today, kids? If you want temp work, you must call your agency often and be as available as possible. It be Monday morning (11:59: still technically morning) and I'm not at work--not that I haven't been busy, I've sent out a bunch of resumes for potential jobs, and I'm about to trot off to the library to return some books, but I was panicking a little bit about money. Then I called my agency to "let them know!" that I was "available!" this week, even though I called them on Friday as well. Lo and behold, there was work Wednesday through Friday, and about five minutes later I got a call back--"Can you come in for training tomorrow afternoon?" Certainly! So, with employment assured (at least for this week), I can sit back, relax and...continue applying for jobs. Also writing, which is something I like to do in my "spare" time.

So I'm home alone--well, the cats are here. Stupid cats. I feel like I'm ten years old again --"Shelby is looking at me!!!" I find it so annoying that the cats just stare at me. Why? Why? Why? I'm not that interesting, even if I do need a haircut (badly), and if they want attention, why can't they just be dogs? Honestly. I've decided to move at the beginning of September (so if anyone in Chicago needs a roommate...) and I'm going to be getting a dog. Enough of this nonsense. Didn't I say when I moved back to the States I was getting a dog? Well, then it's high time to become a dog person again! Hopefully by September I'll get this money thing figured out.

Is it to much to ask to be paid for what I'm good at? Arg.

Meanwhile, I've been so busy that something Very Important! has completely flown under my radar. Andy Claoude was the first person to mention that none other than the gorgeous Michael Cerveris (angelic chorus!) has been nominated for yet another Tony Award. He is in a show called "LoveMusik" where he plays Kurt Weill.


How did I not know about this? I'm getting senile in my old age! A) Michael Cerveris is doing another show, B) he's playing KURT WEILL!!! and C) he's nominated for a Tony award! Now, I lost my faith in the Tony awards when "Spamalot" won best musical, but I'm thrilled that Michael Cerveris is getting more attention because he is so talented he can't get enough, quite frankly. I would love to give him ALL my attention, if you get my drift, but I'd settle for walking his dog. So good! I was doing fine without a TV up until now, but I might have to steal one for the Tony's...maybe buy a nice flatscreen and return it the next day. Hmmm...

Check out the website: there's video!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Radio silence

You know I've been working hard when I'm too busy to write about myself. This week was tech week, and last night was opening for "The Castle" and now...there is nothing more to do but run it. Yay! Tech week was grueling, but a lot of fun. There were many, many late nights, but the company I'm working with is all about working hard and playing hard, and everyone gave it their all, so I had no problem showing up and pulling my own weight. Even though, technically, as a stage manager, I didn't have to help out with anything, I figured they could use an extra pair of hands. And why should the designers have all the fun, anyway? So we loaded in the show on Sunday and Monday and rehearsed it in the evenings. I decorated my booth with some of my postcards that I received from other shows (including a Union Jack), and also my Nelson figure, prompting our LD to threaten to burn my British flag. "That's okay," I replied sweetly, "I have more." There is always a loss of creative stuff when you move a show to a different space, and I think the director was upset at just how much was lost--but we got it back last night. Just in time because rumour has it there was a reviewer from the Chicago Tribune there. Woo. I'll let you know how the critics like it--not that it matters much to me because it's a frickin' great show and if anyone wants to come see it, I'll guarantee that you'll like it.

So now I have a day off (well, half a day--by the time I get on the bus an hour before I need to to avoid Cubs traffic, I'll only have half a day) and I've decided to go to the library and return my books, and then wander down to the local thrift store and see if I can buy some glasses. It really bugs me that the roommates have no glasses, just odd mugs they've stolen from bars and cheap, huge plastic tumblers. And maybe some curtains. I can't really afford anything right now, but I want some pretty things because it's spring outside and the house still looks like a bunch of college kids live here.

If anyone is going to be in Chicago soonish, "The Castle" is running until June 18th, Thurs, Fri and Sat at 8, and Sundays at 3 at the Trapdoor Theatre near Cortland and Ashland.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Okay, I don't hate Chicago...

I get to be fabulous me, while he has to be himself for the rest of his life. Jerk.

So if London is a 17th century banker (in breeches) contemplating his wealth while clutching a copy of a map of the Empire in one hand who is outwardly friendly to foreigners while secretly loathing them; Chicago is a gruff, 1920s gangster who will protect his turf and his interests with lethal force if necessary while still being nice to his mother. So. Picture a guy in a trench coat and a fedora holding out a lollipop to a sulky me curled up in my room last night, and you'll pretty much get how I was feeling when I got home. Last night Chicago played host to an event they called "Looptopia" which was an idea floated in European Capitals to throw open the streets of their downtown areas after dark. Because of the suburbinification of cities, most downtown areas are now businesses and restaurants which close by six pm, and unless you're on your way to the theatre, there's not a lot of hanging out to be done. So last night the shops stayed open, there were free concerts, free theatre, lots of art in department store windows and movies being projected onto sides of buildings. I was feeling sulky (see above) but what is the first rule of depression? Don't lock yourself away. So I grabbed my trusty iPod and went for a walk. I really wanted to see the theatre being put on by Redmoon Theatre, a movement and improved based theatre group who had small pieces of "theatre" all over the city. One of these included a man playing a diggeridoo while a woman explained a complicated algorithm, sung to the tune of "Carmen." It was very bizarre. The other one I liked invoved girls dressed in bubbles and goggles moving slowly and responding to the crowd. I don't think Chicago is ready for theatre that doesn't involve talking, plots, etc--the dancers drew a lot of people, but most of them felt the need to make snarky comments or jokes because they couldn't just shut up and enjoy the show already. Then I did a quick spin around the Art Institute, but apparently the other Seurat painting didn't feel like coming in for the event because it wasn't on display.

Then afterward I went to a small house party hosted by the TD at his new apartment (which is a block away from mine and very nice). It was good to chill out with real people who actually treated me like a human being, and made me feel so grateful for normal people acting normally and not evil and condescending. Ah, well. As Scarlett O'Hara says, "Tomorrow is another day!"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Down again

I don't remember giving the supercilious b------d here permission to make me feel like crap, but he did it anyway. All I want is a little respect, and instead I get treated like nothing. Even with a personality clash we should be able to work together, unless someone goes out of his way to make me feel like my sitting here is worth nothing.

Well, I was excited about going out this weekend, getting into tech, polishing my resume, making Greek salad, writing a new play, sitting by the mailbox and waiting for my Entertainer DVD, but maybe I'll just go home and lock myself in my room.

I hate Chicago.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Even with the sound off, Geoffrey Rush is STILL the best actor in the room!

Naturally the first time a guest came on "The View" that I actually wanted to see, the speakers weren't working. They were interviewing Geoffrey Rush who is one of my favourite living actors (as opposed to Edwin Booth, one of my favourite dead ones), and they showed a clip from the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Even with no sound, even dressed up as an undead pirate, even in the trailer for a lame Disney summer block buster, he was still acting circles around Orlando Bloom. I thought I saw Orlando being swept overboard by a huge wave at one point, but it turns out that was just the sheer force of Geoffrey Rush's amazing talent.

In other news, I might have to kill my passive-aggressive co-worker. It's just very hard for me to get along with someone who doesn't respect my contribution to his being able to get his work done by taking ALL the phone calls, and who has actually said "I just tend to tune people out." Oh yeah? Well see if I take the time out of my busy surfing-for-Laurence Olivier-pics to answer the phone anymore! One more day. Breathe. Right now I am utilising all my discretionary skills and also practising Zen and the art of the snarky inner monolgue. PS: If all the people at Step-an-wulf are like this, count me out.

There was something else I wanted to write about, oh, yes, something very dear to my heart...or my left shoulder, as the case may be... Mugglenet announced today that Scholastic is going to release a special edition box of the entire Harry Potter books in hardcover. *whimper* *drools a little* The bad part is, of course I already own these books (sometimes multiple copies, British and American) so I can't really justify buying them all over again, but...I might have to. I'm sure that Bloomsbury is also going to release some kind of box set, and since we all know that the British books are better, maybe I'll invest in those.

The sad part about this picture is not the geeky kid, but the fact that I have a similar pic of me holding up the same book...only I'm in costume.

This is also a call for everyone to *not* buy their books from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. I read an article about a small indie bookstore here, and they were explaining how stores like that utilise the "Wal-Mart" selling strategy, and smaller stores can't compete. IE, if the stores buy the books for 40% of the cover price and resell them for %50 of the cover price, they will still make millions because they're moving hundreds of copies. Now, I love as much as anyone, but I also love small independent bookstores. So come July, pay full price for once and support a local bookseller.

While we're on the subject of everyone's favourite boy wizard, is it just me or have HP movie posters gotten more and more stupid over the years? Even Chamber of Secrets, which is the worst of the bunch, has a better poster than the latest batch I've seen for Order of the Phoenix. Chamber had a picture of Harry and Ron in the Ford Anglia, looking scared, but the Phoenix posters are largely the standard Hogwarts-students with their wands out variety. I know that Warner Brothers probably doesn't want to give away the plotline, but come ON, who are we kidding here? That's why Chamber was such a good poster--you knew there was going to be a flying car, but the flying car was only in the first ten minutes. A hook, but something that wasn't overall important. (What kind of car is in book 2?" is an excellent trivia question, especially since the Anglia was never released in America. Much like the Ford Prefect. Anyone? Anyone? sigh.)

Even with no nose Ralph Fiennes can out-act anyone in the room!

I am so excited about Harry Potter coming out this summer it's ridiculous. I can't even think about it or I wiggle a little in excitement. The IMAX version is even going to feature twenty minutes in 3D. I think that might be the flight over the Thames...hopefully I'll manage not to explode from sheer overjoy'dness. *wiggle*

One of the treasures that was unearthed when Mr. P-A was cleaning out his desk was a book called "The Untied States of America" which I rescued from the trash. (a disrespecter of books!!! blasphemer!!) It is about how America is not the land united we all like to think it is, and how shifting perceptions could add or subtract states in the future. It's absolutely fascinating. The author, Juan Enriquez, used Britain as an example for how states in the US might reignite "national pride" --twenty years ago schools in Ireland started teaching (err, I'm going to screw this up) Gaelic, and now I meet people who speak it like a first language. The United Kingdom? Hardly. And I never knew Mexico used to stretch from Washington State to Panama. Also, it didn't sink in that Barack Obama (who will lead our country to prosperity and teach our children to read)is the ONLY black senator. And there are 40 million black Americans. hmm... "No taxation without representation!!" Now Rudy Giuliani is telling me he supports a woman's right to choose. Whoa--when did I fall into a black hole? Sorry Rudy--even if you are the least deadly head, you're still attached to that Republican hydra!

Ooh! And Tony Blair is not going to be prime minster starting on June 27th! I'd say let's have a party, but that would be inappropriate. We should have a wake instead.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Being Employed

Laura was having problems uploading pictures to her blog, so I thought I'd help her out on here. Laura has been sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer, and is going to be starting her new assignment this month. She's aaaamazing.

Today I had two very exciting phone calls. One was from my temp agency, telling me they had a permanent, part-time administrative assistant position that they were wondering I wanted to go out for. A part time position that pays as much as my full time job, plus health and dental insurance and time off to write that opus? Heck yeah send my resume over. Fingers crossed I'll get an interview.

Then I had a phone interview with a company that provides theatre people to the cruise ship industry. I made it through that first screening, and now my name is in their pool of potential applicants if a position should become available. So I'm not ready to start packing yet, but maybe come this fall I'll be imitating Nelson down in the Bahamas. (Most people imitate Titanic. This is lame.) One of the questions the gentleman asked me was if I was afraid of long hours. I just laughed and said "Hey, I'm already working fourteen-hour days. It would be nice to focus on one show instead of temping all day and stage managing all night."

So, the employment hunt goes, if slowly at times. The problem is I'm interested in such diverse things, that it's impossible for me to say "right, am going to be an XYZ right now," it's more like "ooh! Job opportunity! Shiny!"

Monday, May 07, 2007

Peter is the Smart One

I had a couple dozen people tell me that I better put Peter's graduation up on my blog, or else I'm not going to get to come over and play with their new...uhhh...guinea pig. Yeah. Peter was worried that I would talk about going home for my coz's wedding and completely neglect the fact that he Took His Degree from the Moste Respected Michigan Technological Universitie. Which is silly: it's obvious where my priorities are, speaking as someone who has two degrees and no marriages to her name. Seriously though, Peter graduated on Saturday, and he's already got a job, and I couldn't be prouder. I always said he was the smart one. Way to go, bro! Congrats!

The other reason I went home this weekend was to see my cousin get married (for real this time), and to see my family. I loved being able to skip home for the weekend and see everyone, since that wasn't an option this time last year. The wedding was lovely, and the reception afterward was a lot of fun. I danced most of the night, and entertained everyone with my impression of "drunken Nicki." I was only sad that I had to hurry back to Chicago on Sunday because I had rehearsal. Mom, Dad and I stopped at The Brat Stop in Kenosha for dinner, however. Oh my. If you ever get a chance, stop at the Brat Stop in Kenosha. It's places like this that make Wisconsin great. If you ever come visit me from England, we're going to the Brat Stop in Kenosha. Part of me was horrified, and part of me was like "My people! I'm home!"

Today I'm back at work...I've got my fur up because Mickey Rooney thought he could kiss the Queen's hand when he met her. Which he most certainly can not!!! Let's lock him up in the Tower of London. If I'd have known what a prevert he was, I would not have seen "Night at the Museum."

Also, what is Monday without a bit of screwing around?
Admiral Nelson on the Simpsons? ha-ha!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What an Amazing Discovery!

I have discovered that the computers at work have Google Earth on them. Google Earth is a computer program that lets you put any location, city name, zip code, whatever, and it will whisk you there in high-definition, so you get the sensation of flying over whatever you're looking at. You can move around, zoom in and out, and even "tilt" the screen so you're looking out over the city--although that gets weird as the skyscrapers remain obstinately two dimensional. Ashwaubenon is not rendered in the highest definition, so I haven't quite figured out where Skilark Lane is. London, however, is captured in perfect clarity, and when you type it into the search engine, it plops you right at Trafalgar Square. Or maybe that's just because it's me.

I am enjoying this wayyy too much. It's like I'm walking down my favourite streets again, almost. I can fly over to Covent Garden and pat the Tube station with my mouse cursor, or zoom down the Thames to Greenwich and have a look at the National Maritime Museum. It's almost as if I'm haunting the city. Oooohh...

Yesterday I was reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu which is a collection of short stories by Susannah Clarke, the woman who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Normally I don't like short stories, but I would read this woman's grocery list if I could get ahold of it. Seriously. Her books are so good that I almost don't want her to write more because I'm afraid she can't live up to her own standard. What was I talking about? Oh, right--I almost fell off my train seat yesterday, because one of the stories contained a passing reference: "Mrs. Purdicks milk should be sweet and strong, because she is very fond of eating and puddings, is she not?" "Oh, yes, miss, little Horatio Arthur is a very healthy child." Obviously this woman had named her kid for the two heroes of the day, but you would not get that unless you were me, and therefore a geek.

Rehearsal has been sort of frustrating this week--mostly I think due to the fact that everyone has other jobs (and sometimes two or three) and we're all a little squirrelly and tired. I know for my own part I have been having to keep Mr. Temper on a very short leash, but that hasn't stopped him from barking occasionally. We're working on transitions, which is hard enough when you're training stagehands what to do, but when you're asking actors to emote while they're moving heavy blocks around it sometimes seems impossible.

This weekend I'm going to a wedding in Appleton. I'm really looking forward to it, for a number of reasons. Mostly because I'm excited about seeing my family who I haven't seen in a looong time. Also I bought new shoes, which are very cool and grown up and I'm looking forward to showing them off. But mostly it's excitement about seeing the family. After the past couple days playing desk jockey, I cannot wait to get out of the office.

have at ye!

I am still working at the receptionist supervisor has taken two weeks of sick leave, so that leaves me with the other new hire, who is also a theatre person. We got off on the wrong foot however--I respect the fact that he's been working in this city for three years, but he had to realise that I too am an accomplished theatre professional, so we had one of those fun little spats that happen when two egos collide. Everything is okay now. I wish that I could do more to help him, but when the policy is "don't tell the temp anything" it's hard to be useful. He has been very good at telling me places I can send my resume and places I should look for work, but he's also told me that the first year working in Chicago is a b*$@h, so I need to be wary. Well, I could have told you that. I knew this wasn't going to be easy.

Chris came over last night and we hung out for a couple hours before she larks off to New Jersey and thence to Alaska. It was great to see her, and I'm really going to be missing her once she goes. Of course--one of the best parts of friends in far places is ROADTRIP!!!! That's all I want to do this summer is go on trip and visit people. I can't decide if I should go back to London for a visit though: of course I want to, but can I afford it? Is it worth the carbon emissions for 2 weeks of fun and joy? Hm. I'm really bored here, because it's hard to meet people. Most of the theatre people are already encamped in their theatre companies, which overlap to form a loose web of alliances and sister companies. So, patience! Is the word of the day. It'll happen. And, if not, I'll try another city.