Friday, April 29, 2005

Merci pour le chocolat.

The boys who work at the Trader Joe's in Goleta are continually straddling the line between simply being very friendly and straight out hitting on my friends and I. They tend to ask too many questions, regardless of whether I am alone or with the group. Examples of said questions for the group situation might be something like "So, do you girls have any plans for the weekend? / Going to any good parties this weekend?" and things of that nature. Entire conversations will surround those questions. When I go by myself to Trader's, I am usually just getting off work or on my break, therefore, I wear the lovely Hollywood Video purple shirt. I usually get this kind of question: "So are you just off work? / Any good movies this week?" Innocent enough. However, I am sometimes recognized outside of the purple shirt by several of the Trader Joe's boys. When that happens, I get the following: "No Hollywood today? What're you doing this weekend?" The pattern ensues. We are never sure if the Trader's boys are simply being friendly or trying to get themselves invited somewhere with us. I like to assume they are simply being friendly.

The man who made my sandwhich at Subway tonight was not simply being friendly. When he inquired what I would be doing with my evening once I got off work, I replied, "Oh, probably just renting movies, going home, and going to sleep." To which he replied, "Nah. Don't do that. I should come with you. We can watch some movies, sure, but you wouldn't sleep." Were I not completely taken aback by this, I think I might have had something clever to say. Instead I said, "Nah . . . I don't know about that." And decided to eat my sandwhich in my car rather than stay in the restaurant. I cannot eat sandwhiches there fore a good long while. I'm sure sandwhich dude meant no real harm by it, but I am sufficiently creeped out.

One nice thing, though, occurred after the sandwhich incident. I shrink-wrapped some movies for this Russian boy so he could return them to the store from whence they came. He insisted on paying me for the favor. I refused to take $5 from him just to shrink-wrap something, considering we hardly use the shrink-wrap anymore so it's completely worthless to the store. After my refusal of his cash, he asked me what kind of chocolate I liked. I intentionally told him that I liked dark chocolate because we do not sell any dark chocolate and I didn't want him to give me anything for such a simple favor. I turn to shrink-wrap the videos, and Russian boy is gone, but his friends are still in the store. He comes back about 5 minutes later and hands me to giant bars of Hershey's Special Dark and thanks for me doing him the favor. "Thank you, but you really didn't have to buy me chocolate. Really." And he just waves his hand at me in that universal "No, I insist" gesture.

There really is no ending to any of these stories. It was just so odd that a routine work night that began with the traditional odd niceties from the Trader's boys wound up being infused with one of the absolute creepiest things I've ever had said to me. (Which. by the way, reminded me vaguely of this one time where a boy at the student store at UC Berkeley read my "Bad Kitty" t-shirt and, when I told him jokingly I tended to scratch up furniture, said "Scratching furniture, huh? Breaking headboards is more like it.") This sandwhich incident was definitely unsettling. I mean, I'm flattered. Really. I'm glad this dude thinks I'm pretty, but I am not legitimately creeped out by him. I'm actually much more flattered that the Russian boy was so dead-set on giving me something in return for the favor that he went out and searched for my favorite kind of chocolate. I suppose a good point of summation would be the following:

1. It is okay to straddle the line between niceties and flirtations if you work at Trader Joe's.
2. It is absolutely not okay to blatantly hit on a customer while you are making her sandwhich--especially when you do so by inviting yourself to her place to prevent her from sleeping in the manner of your choosing.
3. Russian boys are very nice boys.
4. Chocolate is an acceptable form of payment for any favor.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Exchange rates.

My parents have just informed me that they are getting two "sisters" for me over the summer, which is to say that they will be hosting two exchange students for two weeks. They will be getting a Japanese daughter and a Sweedish daughter. Unfortunately, I will be in classes back in SB when they arrive. So I promised the parents that I would come home for the weekend when they arrive so that I can take them dancing and shopping in San Francisco.

The parents might then bring them down to SB to experience SB with me. Oh, let the international fun ensue . . . I'll have an extra bedroom over the summer . . . why not?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Avoiding Responsibility.

So, I've been super busy with work and school and costuming a show. Hamlet on the Moon is going to be really exciting, especially because there are robots, and robots are cool. Moon Hamlet is also my first huge costuming project for the theatre. Thus far, I've been lucky enough to get readymades for my 2 film projects, but with Moon Hamlet, I have $230 worth of crepe satin to sew and about three weeks to sew it all in.
With that said, I present you all with another random thing I stole from Jenrikay's blog:

A - Age you got your first kiss:
B - Band listening to right now:
Louis XIV
C - Crush:
Jewish guys like my fiance
D - Dad's name:
E - Easiest person to talk to:
Marcus, followed by my roommates Jen, Cassie and Heather
F - Favorite bands at the moment:
Louis XIV, Head Automatica, David Byrne
G - Gummy worms or gummy bears?
I really don't enjoy gummy candies.
H - Hometown:
Crockett, which, coming from Highway 4 after dark, becomes the swinging hotspot of
"C ock tt"
I - Instruments:
I used to play piano and lap harp, but I actually have no musical talent
J- Junior High:
St. Patrick School
K - Kids:
I love kids! My cute kid story of the week involves this absolutely adorable one-year-old girl who was in the video store with her parents. She was absolutely serene--a fucking angel. Not a peep from her . . . until she let out this random screech and then was silent again. Her father looked at her and cooed, "Awww . . . are you a Nasgool?" I thought that was so awesome. Really, who compares their child to a flying dragon creature from LOTR?
L - Longest car ride ever:
my last trip to LA, which should not have been a 7 hour drive, but due to LA traffic and a storm on the Grapevine, it was
M - Mum's name:
N- nicknames:
there really are too many to list, and most of them are only applied to me by one person at a time
O - One wish:
To publish.
P - Phobia[s]:
clowns, squirrels, failure, stupidity
Q - Quote:
"I miss his pretty white points."--Toni Morrison, Beloved. I put this one down only because I've been reading slave narratives from the Romantic period, and none of those accounts capture slavery as well as Toni Morrison in Beloved. Maybe it's just the 18th century writing style that turns me off, but the above quote absolutely fills me with chills--unlike anything I've been reading lately.
R - Reason to smile:
I made two shirts today for Moon Hamlet, and they are shiny!
S- Last song you heard:
David Byrne's "Miss America"
T - Time you woke up [today]:
9 am.
U - Unknown fact about me:
D.H. Lawrence turns me on.
V - Vegetable you hate:
Fucking peppers. Fuck peppers.
W - Worst habit(s):
worrying too much, getting frustrated with things that are beyond my control, being too forward, my stupid mouth
X - X-rays you've had:
Teeth, and I've had a couple CT scans and an MRI--which is the most frighteningly close to an alien abduction I'll ever be
Y - Yummy food:
Silvergreen's potato cheddar soup, curries from Nirvana, sukiyaki, pizzocheri, my dad's sketti sauce, braised green beans, spicy tofu from Hunan Villa
Z - Zodiac sign:

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hair products galore.

We are sick of being blondey pink. The locks have been lovingly smothered in some brown shade called French Roast. The shade lives up to its name. I think I look rather sultry, if I do say so myself. Others seem to take to it. I make a good brunette.

Picasso, on the other hand, is not such a good blonde. Graham requested that he become the standard bleach-blonde Laurence Olivier type Hamlet. I whimpered, but complied because you do what your director wants. So we died Picasso's hair after fittings on Saturday. Dark haired boys are not meant to be blonde! And we have to keep bleaching so its perfect for the show! I just keep getting these flashbacks of when we tried to die Greg Montoya's hair grey for some anime convention and he, olive-skinned half-Mexican Greg, had bleach-blonde hair for months thereafter. Dark haired boys are not meant to be blonde!

Blonde haired girls, on the other hand, do make fetching brunettes.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Stuff I've Been Reading

In an attempt to be more like British author Nick Hornby (who is 3 for 5 in the books-turned-into-movies ratio), I will now publish a monthly column of Stuff I've Been Reading.

Books I've Read:
How to Be Good--Nick Hornby
Kennedy's Children--Robert Patrick
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates--Tom Robbins
Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For --Frank Miller

Books I've Bought:
The Bell Jar--Sylvia Plath
Ariel--Sylvia Plath
Wintering, a Novel of Sylvia Plath--Kate Moses
Sideways--Rex Pickett
Will in the Word--Stephen Greenblatt
House of Leaves--Mark Z. Danielewsky
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay--Michael Chabon
Ash Wednesday--Ethan Hawke
Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For--Frank Miller

It's amazing that I've finally read all of Kennedy's Children now, after knowing every bit of Carla's part for a good four years. It's a great character play, composed entirely of monologues. A challenge for actors in terms of making each of these characters (especially Sparger) real and a challenge for directors in terms of staging. No character interacts with another (modernist isolation?), so the challenge to a director is to keep this play from being boring to watch. Essentially, the success of the show is determined by just how enthralling your actors can be. I still think Carla and Rona are the best characters in the play, and I still want to play Carla. Again. I also think that, given the uncertainty of our political situation, Kennedy's Children is an excellent way to remind people of the past. There is no Camelot, there are no stars, and the new kids are no use.
Frank Miller is fabulous. All the beauty of a graphic novel with the grit of detective fiction and the themes of noir.
As much as I want to be like Nick Hornby and am half-assedly emulating his monthly rag on books from The Believer magazine, I really don't want to be like Nick Honrby. I've got to say straight off that How to Be Good is certainly not his best. It, like the other book I managed to finish in March, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, attempts to answer grand questions about goodness and spirituality, but the inherent problem in trying to write books about these grand questions of spirituality and goodness is that they are unanswerable questions. Thus leaving me with two books with wholly unsatisfying endings. The Hornby novel takes a very domestic approach to the Grand Questions. It explores the practical means of goodness and spirituality through the eyes of a scientist in a marriage that is rapidly falling apart--until her husband meets a street kid spiritual guru with turtle eyebrow peircings. Hornby's argument in all of this is rather basic: we shouldn't be too hardhearted, nor should we be too softhearted; goodness is measured on an individual level and we can only give what we ourselves don't need. The book had far too simple of scope and far too simple a thesis to receive the kind of praise it was given on the jacket cover. Tom Robbins' novel, on the other hand, we definitely much more interesting than Hornby's in the way it chose to deal with the Grand Questions, but nonetheless disappointing in the end. The ultimate question posed in Fiece Invalids through an intense discussion of the Fatima prophecies (and Robbins' speculation at what the 3rd unknown prophecy might be for the purpose of this book) is the following: which religion will bring the most spiritual satisfaction to the greatest number of people? Along the way, former CIA agent Switters visits several countries, lusts after his 16-year-old step-sister, meets the model for Matisse's Blue Nude, eats his grandmother's beloved parrot, makes love to two defrocked nuns, and receives a shaman's curse that renders him unable to set his feet on the floor. Women love these fierce invalids home from hot climates. By exploring the recent interest in a Marian view of Catholicism, Robbins sets a much more convincing background to attempt to answer the question, and comes up with many great witticisms along the way. However, the question is never really answered. At all. I was really disappointed in the ending, not because the Grand Question went unanswered (because that was arguably on purpose: no greater force can bring us joy/wahoo, we must find that in ourselves). I was more disappointed that the Switters story had come to an end when there was so much more about him that I wanted to know. Maybe just five or six pages more. Some resolution is all I'm asking out of this book. I suppose I just have to make my own wahoo out of the ending.