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Friday, June 25, 2010

"...there is only one Chanel"

Today everyone at work left early for an award show. Except my boss but, because everyone else left, he got really, really busy and never came out of his office which is in the other end of the building so except for one treacly "Hi, isn't it a gorgeous day outside?" from me when he went for a cup of something or other I never saw him. It has been made clear to me that I am expected to sit at my desk with an expression like one of those little tin monkeys that play drums whenever I see anyone. This is because my boss looks at two things. 1) He didn't hire me, he inherited me. He would have liked a dumb blonde who is NOT smarter than a fifth grader. I am, after all, the receptionist. This means I'm not too bright. If I were bright I would be working somewhere else so he may, actually, have a point there. 2) I have a fat ass. It was fat when he met me and it's getting fatter. This has something to do with the fact that I never freaking get up from my chair. Because my job is to sit still, adopt a goofy, not-to-bright grin (which, btw, when coupled with my overbite makes me look something like Barney Google) and make sure the college educated V.P.s on the floor have sufficient coffee and paper cups to waste. This is seen as the extent of my capabilities because, well, isn't it obvious? If I HAD capabilities I wouldn't be the receptionist!

Okay, now granted, I'm going to blow my own horn here. I have a hell of a sense of humor. In HIGH school a teacher once gave me a book by Ogden Nash because she thought it would appeal to my fey mind. I thanked her and immediately looked up fey, at which point I thanked her again, first for the book and secondly for the new word.

I'm quirky and I know it. I'm also a smart ass and I know that too. I can use words properly and occasionally throw words of more than two syllables into conversational sentences. I mean hell, my parents paid a LOT for those words, they sent me to a private university. I feel it would be a grave disservice to them not to use them.

My boss and I speak rarely. I try and maintain a pleasant demeanor and indulge in some lighthearted conversation with I occasionally run into him in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the last time I did this I quoted (and cited) Marcel Proust. Now, I'll admit, I only know one quote of Proust's and it involves cookies but I don't think it made any points. Quoting Proust to a lawyer only cements one's reputation as "that fat ass in Reception." Fun fact.

Well, anyway, today with most of the execs gone, my own personal exec holed up and my desk painfully devoid of work (which, I feel, makes me look like a slacker) I stuck a disc into the dvd player in my computer and turned the sound down to barely audible on a movie I hadn't seen in a long time. There was Natalie Wood, the young woman version. She was playing the adult, not yet married and therefore still living at home daughter of a business owner. We were first introduced to her as she walked into her father's library (did I mention he was a RICH business owner?) to answer a question about some shares of stock she happened to have inherited. She was in a simple black skirt, stockings, black mid heel pumps and an absolutely stunning tailored pale pink blouse, a blouse who's main and riveting feature was it's modest portrait collar.

Like this:

And I got to thinking, gee, we used to dress like that during the day. I mean now I would dress like that to go to the theater. Well, okay, I wouldn't because I can't stand wearing panty hose anymore, the crotch always seems to end up somewhere between MY crotch and my knees which leads to some very uncomfortable chafing problems along with the inability to cross one's legs. But I think my point is made. I looked at her as she was driving James Garner to the airport and she had a pretty pink scarf thrown over her head to protect her hair in the car and I thought "who the hell dresses like that hanging around the house?" And then I remembered. We ALL did.

Well, okay, maybe not you, but your mother did. Donna Reed wasn't a freak people, we didn't WEAR pants in public. My mother never left the house without lipstick and earrings. In fact, I made sure she was wearing lipstick and earrings in her coffin because, if there's really an afterlife, I didn't want to run into her and have her rip me a new one because I sent her to St. Peter without lipstick and earrings.

Somewhere between Levittown, burning our bras (which only women with AA cups actually did, you do NOT want to know what a set of double D's looks like in a t-shirt) and finally finding our voices we seem to have lost out sense of self. Is it really so demeaning to look nice? And then it hit me.

64% of Americans are overweight or obese. I know why. I know why I have an ass the size of Lake Erie. I know why most men look like they're shoplifting watermelons.

It's because we look like CRAP.

If I HAD to climb into a skirt and panty hose twice a week I'd weigh 20 pounds less. So would a lot of us. But no, we roll out of bed into some clean jeans and a pullover top and head for the office. We dress like we don't care. So we look like we don't care. And we stop caring. Tried to get a perm lately? Not gonna happen. I have thick straight hair and I don't like to get up a second before I have to in the morning. And I thought..AHA! I remember perms. How nice would it be to have some thick, soft bouncy waves and curls? And how EASY to take care of! Pretty and quick.

Oh no, I'm told, what I really want is a cut that takes 15 minutes of blow dry and styling in the morning and by noon has pulled down into a center parted mass of nothing special. Because we're liberated now, we no longer are slaves to curls and chemicals.

So. I have decided. I will find someone who tortures 83 year old ladies into curly tops and let her or him torture ME too. I will do all my laundry this week-end and try to dress in a shirt that matches my slacks, even after work. I will wear a shoe with a heel. I will put on lip gloss and buy a tube of mascara and maybe even buy some Monster Mamma size panty hose to try and smooth down the figure 8 my hips make in my pants. I will go on eBay and find some brightly colored espadrilles with a wedge heel to match my outfit.

I've got five bucks says I lose 5 pounds in a month if I stick to this plan. It probably won't get me off of the reception desk but I won't feel so fat while I'm stuck there. I will age elegantly. And feel much better about myself, secure in the knowledge that, while I polish my class, my dignity and my sense of self-worth, my boss will increasingly resemble Vladimir Lenin.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life With Fathers...

I am beginning to feel that we should enact some sort of law,or regulation or at least a social convention which dictates that holidays are only to be celebrated by those under the age or 27. It would solve so many problems. Why 27? Well, 20 seems too young, 30 is past the age of reason and splitting the difference at 25 just seemed way too predictable. And I like the sound of 27, don't ask me why because I don't know. As a rule, when I have to come up with a random number it has a 7 in it. As in "Jeez, I thought he WAS dead, how old was he?" and my answer is usually "117".

This, of course, is Father's Day. Or, just another Sunday in my cramped and filthy apt here in the urban village. Father's Day should be celebrated by people under the age of 27. You can hang with your dad, you can get away with taking him to Chuck-E-Cheese's because it's the bestest place ever and you want to share it with your dad. Once you hit 28 though, things start getting ugly.

There are two things one needs to celebrate Father's Day in America. One...a back yard. A yard is essential to Father's Day because, for some unhealthy reason, Father's Day requires a barbecue. I believe this is actually a Constitutionally mandated form of celebration, hidden the the oft misunderstood and much maligned Second Amendment. It's most frequently invoked as the right to keep and bear arms, something that seems simple enough until one realizes that it's used as a battle cry for thieves, murderers, patriots and pedophiles alike, in short, it can be pretty much bent to support whatever one wishes to do with one's free time.

As the Second Amendment is always subject to major discussion and personal interpretation I have come to believe that, between it's constantly debated lines is contained a National dictate to barbecue on Father's Day.

We no longer have a yard and, against my entreaties to the contrary, the hubster gave away the barbecue when we were forced to move from my home. The one with the room inside and the back yard outside. Many people who live in this dump, and on the block that contains the dump, drag their grills out to sidewalks and driveways and courtyards and such and fire 'em up for any and all occasions including any televised Chicago Bears game (we, btw, don't live anywhere NEAR Chicago, this is Los Angeles, people). However, as our barbecue was charcoal I'm just as glad it's gone, I kept yelling about carcinogens and fouling the environment but to no avail. The last Father's Day I actually had a home, I replaced the charcoal with apple wood. Smelled divine. My FIL and my own father were there, as was my SIL and it was a really wonderful afternoon. Last one I've ever had, if I remember right.

The other thing you need for Father's Day is a car. If one can't barbecue, at least one should be able to actually go SEE one's father, drop off a card and a baseball cap and maybe a bucket of chicken. I don't have one of those either.

There's one other thing you need now that I think of it. You really need a heart.

My own father drives my INSANE! He spent a ton of money on hearing aids then never changes the batteries because they're too damn expensive. He thinks global warming is a commie plot and he sees terrorists hiding in every 7/11. He doesn't trust bag-less vacuum cleaners, French press coffee-makers or Facebook. He believes the President is an illegal alien and that all those people crying "wah, wah, wah" about the oil spill that is undermining the entire world in general and the Gulf of Mexico in specific are just a bunch of people who don't understand that it's no big deal and people got killed in a flood in Arkansas and no one but Fox News covered that story and why aren't people going "wah, wah, wah" over the people killed in the flood?

Yes, you might suggest that someone point out that people, tragically and unfortunately, get killed in floods all the time. Well, when there's a flood, that is, but the BP debacle in the Gulf will have a lasting negative impact on the world but you would be wasting your breath. Trust me. Been there, done that, sold the t-shirt on eBay.

So yeah, he drives me nuts. But he's my dad and he loves me. He thinks I'm a commie pinko liberal but he loves me anyway. I would like to do more than engage in a phone call today but it's all I've got at the moment. Because he's about a 90 minute drive from here and there's no public transportation to where he is on Sundays.

The hubster refuses to speak to or of his father, for reasons no one understands. In fact he claims his father didn't do anything to warrant this behavior except marry his step-mother who is, I'll admit, a cold hearted, money grubbing pig who, at one point in a personal disaster of BIG proportions (to us, anyway) offered to SELL her support to us. Now the money grubbing part used to bother me, not so much now, as she still has a home and I no longer do so maybe it's not such a bad idea in the long run. She never gave money to unemployed sad sacks who didn't work because they were trying to sell scripts and break into show business at the age of, oh, somewhere in their mid-50s I'm guessing and were 18 hours from eviction. And when she DID lend money to my BIL she sent my FIL to Florida to personally collect the loan...but I digress.

She pulled some really crappy stuff, manipulative and vindictive, which is kind of odd as we didn't really do anything to HER. When my FIL had a heart attack last year I found out about it six weeks later, she was too mean to pick up a phone and call his oldest son. Now, here's the thing. I tell the hubster. And I say "you need to call your father. Because he's sitting over there thinking that you knew he was in the hospital with a heart attack (for all I know the MIL TOLD him she called us) and you deliberately ignored him. You need to tell him you just found out, that you didn't know." Yeah, like THAT happened. So I don't know who's worse...the (step) MIL who deliberately did NOT call any of us in an attempt to make us all look like unfeeling, selfish, petty bastards who cut off his father because they refused to help us when we desperately needed some help (like in the form of emotional SUPPORT, you freaking bitch) or the hubster who deliberately let her play a stupid, schoolgirl plan like that out to great success.

His father has been married to this woman for over 30 years, he's not going to divorce her to please my husband. His father can be an SOB at times, who can't? But he is, in general, a pleasant guy, a genial host and he's EIGHTY THREE FREAKING YEARS OLD! How the hell much longer is he going to be around to ignore? Is is really so FUCKING HARD to pick up the damn phone and say "Happy Father's Day?"

Look, there's the thing. My father drives me to drink. My FIL pretty much follows whatever the bitch he married wants him to do. They're happy. Maybe they weren't the best fathers in the world, my own dad walked away from some problems that, had he dealt with them, would have, undoubtedly made me a much better person than the one I am. And I suppose, the hubster's parents are responsible for the coldness he exhibits towards his own father.

But you know what? They did their best. Was it good enough? Yes. Because is WAS their best. A very warm and wooly friend of mind once told me that no one makes the wrong decision. We do not decide to do something because we think it won't work out. All of our decisions are made with the feeling that we're doing the right thing, or, if not the absolutely RIGHT thing it's at least the best of all our options. So yeah. Your dad did his best. All of our dads did their best.

It's a PHONE CALL, people. Make it. If it doesn't work out all that well, you can sit on your butt, smug in the knowledge that YOU have been the bigger person.

Oh, and by the way? I don't care HOW adorable you think it is, NO woman over the age of 8 should be calling her father "Daddy" in public let alone posting it on Facebook. It's kinda disturbing...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Call me, don't be afraid you can call me...

So I went home for lunch today. I say this as if it's a great and unusual thing when, in fact, it's my habit. See, being on the bottom of the food chain around here, I have a desk that requires a warm body in it and God help anyone of the wrong person comes by and sees an empty chair.

So, I have to have people sit here for an hour a day. Several different people who all serve, begrudgingly, their days at the desk. They don't want to do it, they don't like to do it. I am, therefore, subject to the whims of recently graduated hot shots who have found themselves employed as clerks and secretaries and "executive" assistants when they had every expectation of an entry level position carrying the title of at least "Manager" and probably "Vice President".

So every day at, well anytime really, someone shows up at my desk waiting for me to clear the hell out so they can drop their skinny butts into my extra wide chair and suffer through the hour I'm gone to lunch. I'm seldom sure when they're going to show up. if I take 63 minutes instead of 60 I'll find them packed up and gone. So, as I live about a 5 minute walk away, I just go home.

This afternoon I wandered home to watch the last several minutes of the England-Algeria World Cup match. The phone started ringing. Normally I don't bother answering the phone, as it's never good news. No one has EVER, and I mean EVER called me up to say "You WON!" So, with one eye on the 0-0 game I answered the phone. I considered telling the young man on the other end that no, I wasn't me and could I take a message for myself but, well, what can I say, I'm a big softie, figuratively AND literally.

The nice young man, Ryan I think he said his name was, was calling me from Catholic Cemeteries. Well, okay, I'm sort of on edge here. I buried my mother in a Catholic Cemetery in East L.A. 10 years ago next month. If she didn't pick the worst freaking part of town too. I honored her wishes. She wanted Calvary in East Los Angeles, just down the street from the Metro ticket office and King Taco. However there is a very nice family who sets up shop at the corner of the freeway off ramp and I can pick up my flowers AND my produce when I visit her crypt and never get out of the car. One stop shopping. Gotta love it.

She could have chosen any one of the Catholic cemeteries in the area. The San Fernando Mission has a lovely one, and she had no qualms burying her sister and her mother there. It's an actual Fr. Serra the Indian abuser California Mission. Adobe and bell towers and fountains and trees. It's down the street from a used car dealership and an Arby's, btw. But, according to my mother, there weren't enough trees and it was flat. She didn't like flat. She also could have chosen Holy Cross, which is on the west side of Los Angeles. Breathtaking views. Rolling hillsides. AND it's by the ocean so it has insanely beautiful weather.

No, she wants the one in, well, lets just say there's a lot of authentic native California atmosphere there and leave it at that.

Well, anyway, the first thought when Ryan identifies himself is that they've been doing an audit and they've found I owe them money. I'm prepared to give him a rather Un-Catholic answer to that, something like "Dude, it's been 10 years, go whistle for it" but no. Ryan wants to know if I've made my pre-need arrangements yet and can he help me with them? Seems I had a birthday a few weeks ago and, well, you know. they're just there to help...

Ryan, it seems, is cold call selling cemetery plots.

And I thought my job sucked.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The dreams of the everyday file clerk.

So, I'm home with a cold. Okay, I'm home with the hubster and one son and a cold. Which, I've no doubt, will take up residence in the hubster if it hasn't already. And he'll take to his bed for the next week. He is, after all, a man. And men go to bed and require constant tending when they bite a hangnail. You know they do. I, as most other women, will spend the day trying to nap (unsuccessfully), doing dishes, sorting out four weeks worth of mail, answering the phone (what IS it that guys can let the damn phone ring?) cooking know, the usual stuff.

Problem is, well, if I could breathe, that is, is that I basically enjoy being home during the day. By myself, yes. But I like being home. I like just going out to Target at 11:26 because I need Tide. I like not having to arrange with someone to cover anything because I want to go to Target and I like being able to decide "oh, as long as I'm over here I'm going to Michael's" because I don't have to be anywhere and I don't have to be back in an hour.

In my entire adult life I have only had one really long period of unemployment and that was when I was raising my toddlers. By the time they were in 3rd grade or so, I was back at work. I don't work for the love of it, I work for the money. That's all. The hubster holds out for the jobs he loves. Therefore, I work for a paycheck.

About 10 years ago, I quit a job to care for my mother, who was ill and getting worse. Long story short, she died. I had spent pretty much my entire life taking care of her in one way or another, she was as emotionally needy as they come and only had one child. I always felt obligated to stay and keep her company as she had no one else and I didn't have the balls to say "that's not my problem anymore". She died in July and my kids and I were living with her at the time. I decided to wait until the school year started to go back to work. Frankly, her stubbornness and illness had worn me out and she and I battled constantly as to just who was raising my children.

That was one of the best summers of my life. The boys were getting ready to go into middle school, so I wasn't constantly chasing toddlers. We went swimming and we went to the mall and we drove to San Diego. I got my very first pedicure (my mother thought they were creepy) and my very first facial. The hubster and I started repairing our own personal problems. Well, come September I starting looking for work, as my mother's bank account wasn't going to last forever, but it wasn't falling into my lap. (A job, not her bank account which, as she was a divorced woman with one child DID pretty much fall into my lap.) When you work for money and not for the love of what you do you end up with a resume of nothing special - and a lot of it.

The boys were in school. The hubster was at work. And I, for the first time in over 40 years, had a life. A life I found I really enjoyed. My home was always a cluttered mess - two boys, a dog, a cat and a husband who is a borderline hoarder - now, with my days free, I started working on the house my mother had let run down. A little here, a little there. I ripped the dirty, cheap carpet up by myself, scrubbed and polished the hardwood I found underneath. I watched some TV. I planted begonias. I left the house when I wanted to and didn't have to tell anyone where I was going.

I sat by the open window and enjoyed the beginnings of the fall breezes and listened to the sounds of the neighborhood. Birds, toddlers, the occasional car, the sound of the bells coming from the boys middle school about four blocks up the hill, the sounds of the kids streaming out after lunch, temporarily free and full of piss and vinegar. I decorated the house for Halloween.

Right after Thanksgiving I got a call for some temp work, which I sorely needed by then. A couple of long term assignments and then I took a part time job. I started work at 8:30 and left at 12:30, I could stop at the store on my way home, stop at the mall, go home, relax, it was a great time. But I was good at my work and I enjoyed this one. I was soon moving quickly, I had more and more work and more and more hours. I had a good boss who had a kid the same age as mine, I was able to be a mother AND an accountant there. I had my own office.

The current recession finally cost me that job, and, as the hubster was in yet another period of unemployment and the benefits had run out I had to land on my feet, and fast. And I did.

And I find myself home today with a cold, puttering around the apartment (we lost the house and the cars - the perils of marrying an 'artist') feeling the breeze, listening to the birds and not jumping out of my skin every time my boss heads down the hallways. And I'm liking it. I'm wondering why? I wonder if the hubster appreciates spending his days at home as much as I do? I wonder if there really is something attached to that second "x" chromosome that says "You're the one who keeps the home"?

On the other hand, it might just be the Nyquil.

Friday, June 11, 2010

They call it...Girl Talk

Well, I've had a few days for the results of last Tuesday to sink in. First off, may I just say: Meg Whitman? Really?

Now, to try and sum this up, Meg Whitman campaigned on these basic issues:

California is broken. She will fix it. She will bring business back, fix the state legislature (which I wasn't aware was broken until Meg told me) and she will fix education. Fix. Her word, not mine. As in "just FIX it." Meg spent a reported 70 MILLION dollars of her OWN money on this campaign. 'Cause she wants to "fix it."

Meg, however, has failed to identify exactly WHAT needs fixing. More importantly, if she knows how to fix it she's keeping it to herself. Sort of like John McCain announcing he knew how to find and capture Bin Laden.

It's estimated that Meg will have pumped approximately 125 million of her OWN money into this campaign by the time November rears it's chilly head. As most of her money is invested in Goldman Sachs she seems to have done rather well. If she'd just donated the cash to California we wouldn't be having such financial woes now. And the "opposes Barbara Boxer". I'm still not sure exactly WHY that's relevant and neither, I fear, does Meg. But it sounded good. Only a really conservative Republican would oppose Barbara Boxer I guess.

According to Carly Fiorina though, Meg is at least smart enough to know she's not up to appearing with Sean Hannity. Which brings us to Carly.

First off, I'm not sure a Senator should be names Carly. Sounds kind of lightweight. But I'll admit, this is something particular to myself. I suppose as the newer generation ages into maturity and activism Capitol Hill will be liberally peppered with Senator Tiffanys, Congressman Joshs, and the Jonas Brothers.

Carly too, ran an interesting ad campaign. Carly seems to feel that California is in the crapper because small businesses have left the state and small business creates jobs and she's going to see to it that small business comes back to the state and creates more jobs.

Now, let's ignore, for the moment, the sort of obvious conclusion here, which is that Carly's campaign is more in the realm of what the Governor would be addressing while Meg and her opposition to Barbara Boxer seems to be eyeing the Senate - and move to the really BIG payoff. Carly is in favor of small business and knows all about it. Because...wait for it....Carly was the CEO of...


When Carly was in charge of HP she engineered the "merger" with Compaq. This cost HP millions and millions of dollars. Which she then saved them by outsourcing most of the HP rank and file to Bombay or someplace.

To make a long story short, in 2005 the executive board of Hewlett-Packard ousted Carly's boney ass. Within an hour of the news hitting the streets HP stock had risen over 10 dollars a share, although it eventually settled just short of 7 when the market closed that day.

Carly has neglected to mention that. She has also neglected to mention that the obscenely high amounts of her personal fortune she poured into this campaign came from the "golden parachute" she pulled the ripcord on when HP booted her.

So now we're set. Carly will run for Senate against Barbara Boxer because Carly says Barbara is a commie pinko liberal who's been in office way too long. Well, sure, Carly only held HER last job for five years or so, I can see how she would feel that way.

Senator Boxer, however, has learned something in her long tenure that Carly Fiorina apparently hasn't. All microphones are open, Carly. If they're in 30 pieces on a technician's workbench, they're STILL open. All guns are loaded and all microphones are hot. Learn these two basic tenets and you'll go far. I taught them to my children.

Carly announced that Barbara Boxer's hair was "so yesterday" into an open mic. She's running for Senate and this is what she comes up with? She has bravely announced her comment stands and she's not going to apologize for it. She made this comment, btw, while on camera. Looking like this:
Um, Carly? Do you own a mirror? You're wearing an evening suit at 7am and what's with that necklace? And, by the way, have you seen Kay Bailey Hutchison's hair lately?

Now for the obvious. As a citizen of the Golden State, I personally worry more about what's going on INSIDE my representatives head than about what's on TOP of it. And now I know what's going on inside yours, Carly. And it's just a bit too shallow for my taste.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The self-explanatory post.

It's Election Day.


I'll have plenty to say on the subject tomorrow. But today? Okay, I still have plenty to say but I'm not going to. Until tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Give my regards to Broadway...

Well, yesterday was "Get in line four hours early and stand around waiting for the possibility of free theater tickets" day.

This, was, btw, a successful endeavor. If "A Chorus Line" is nirvana for theater addicts (and it is), the current production of "South Pacific" at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles is the Rapture. Holy crap is it ever good. Don't moan and think "Rodgers and Hammerstein 1950's schmaltz". This is compelling, it's real, it's as romantic as all get out and it's just plain beautiful to watch. And hear. Oh LORD, what sound. Instead of the standard 4 - 6 musicians with a synthesizer there are 25, count 'em, 25 musicians who play an individual instrument. A real instrument. As in a violin. NOT a box that makes a sound JUST like a violin but a violin. And there's a guy hitting a big, bass drum and someone plays a harp and there are real flutes and a conductor who stands in front of them and conducts.

Now, as for the stand by line...

Sorry, but I think it's time to start handing out quizzes. Simple questions with a hard line rule "If you get more than one wrong you have to leave".

Question #1: What are you here for? Please be specific.

---The answer should include the title of the show. If not, something that includes a performer's name, the composer or anything remotely related to the theater will be acceptable. Answers that include phrases like "I brought my camera 'cause I heard the cast of "The Hills" was coming," "I got off at the wrong stop and the next bus won't be here for 90 minutes" or "I heard your giving away something free" are NOT correct and are grounds for immediate expulsion from the stand by line.

Question #2: What sex was Ira Gershwin?

---Anything other than "Ira was George's BROTHER, what kind of a fool do you take me for?" will be considered wrong.

Question #3: What state is New York City in and why should you care?

---You're in a line for THEATER tickets, THAT'S why you should care. You don't have to LIKE the place but you really should have a vague idea of what Broadway IS.

Question #4: You have been instructed to "dress appropriately" for an Opening Night. What is the minimum length your pants should be?

---If your answer, either in words or in actual FACT(as in "Dude, I"m LOOKING at you") is anything shorter than "They should at least reach my ankles," sorry, but you won't be around to play Final Jeopardy!

Question #5: At what point during the performance is it acceptable to take calls on your cell?

---"You should wait until there's a quiet, meaningful conversation during the play itself. That way the person who just called me will be able to hear me and I won't have to shout to be heard over the noise from all those people singing "Hello, Dolly!" on the stage" will get you marched off the theater property, preferably by an usher who has taken hold of your ear. Said usher will also get to keep your car should you have parked in the theater parking structure.

See? Five simple questions. There are a few other rules of behavior which, I feel, can be enforced by specially hired security personnel, trained in voice and dance and bouncing. For example: If someone standing in the Opening Night Stand By line happens to win tickets to that night's performance in a raffle and you immediately run over to see where the tickets are located and then volunteer the information that you won tickets once and you couldn't see anything because they put you in the luge...well, don't expect to be sitting in the same theater I'm in. I can, of course, understand why you didn't see the show very well as you were flat on your back hurtling down an ice chute at Squaw Valley. My only regret is that I wasn't standing at the top of the run to give you a nice, flying start.

I suppose that could be question #6 though:

"What is the difference between a luge and the loge?"
--- The answer, of course, is "If you can't tell the difference between the Winter Olympics and "Oliver!" you don't belong in a theater let alone a ticket line."

Oh, and, now that you're seated? The INSTANT that all those people in the funny clothes up there on the stage start making so much noise that you're having trouble hearing the story your friend has been telling you about Aunt Gertrude and the ambulance driver, you probably need to leave anyway. Because, for one thing, all those people in your row are getting kind of stiff from sitting still and paying attention will relish the break when you block the view of the stage and we all have to stand up, fold our seats back and lean perilously into the cleavage of the lady seated behind us in order to give you enough space to get your picnic hamper, your Uncle Calvin, your over sized tote, your four children and your over sized ass into the side aisle and the blessed freedom from all those snotty "artsy fartsy theater snobs" who insist on turning around and staring at you because they really want to hear the end of your story.

In short, there's just way too much stuff to do in a town the size of Los Angeles without boredom driving you into the Opening Night stand by line.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...

So there I was last night, happily watching "Wipe Out" with my sons. I look forward this every summer. In case you don't watch "Wipe Out" I'll try and explain but I don't think I'm going to do a very good job of it. If you do know about it, well, just skip ahead if you like. Sort of like when one TiVos through the commercials and the stuff in the movie you didn't like.

"Wipe Out" is an adult version of the Nickelodeon show "GUTS". With a little of "Legends of the Hidden Temple" thrown in. There are no questions to answer though, in fact I'm not sure being overly smart is a good thing here. Grown up people attempt an obstacle course based on great big squishy things and a lot of water and mud. God help me, I love it.

It is always a summer replacement. No one in their right mind would actually try and put this on during a regular season. But, during the long daylight hours of summer it just seems to work.

Well, there we are, watching the two hour preview of "Wipe Out" and mostly yelling "OWWWWWW" as people fall off large sponge balls and hit the mud below and the network is showing commercial after commercial for it's new "summer season". This, btw, translates to "these are the shows that some idiot here bought and gave them a six episode committment and we now realize they suck."

One of them is about a really, really rich gated community and what goes on there. I'm intrigued, I'm hoping for another "Dallas" or "Dynasty" or something. Television runs in cycles and we're pretty much at the end of the "let's solve the murder in the forensic lab" if you ask me. I'm campaigning for a return to the prime time soap.

So I'm watching the promo with great interest. Until I see one of the characters sprout fangs.

ENOUGH WITH THE STINKING VAMPIRES! They're all young, they're all dark, they're all brooding and they're all tortured. They ALL want to get it on with non-vampires. They all live in weird, locked away places that no one has ever heard of. They sparkle in the sun and never smile, because they're tortured and they brood about it. They have dark, haunted eyes. The only difference here it that these vampires appear to be rich and seem to live in a gated community. I'm guessing they have trouble keeping a gate guard, that's good for an episode or two.

Jeez, you're vampires. LIVE with it. They never smile, they're thoroughly miserable people. I would think it would be better for them now that they can live in places like Washington State and wear jeans and t-shirts instead of being confined to Eastern Europe and a tuxedo. But noooooooo.

Obviously I had a hard time getting through "Twilight", which is now in heavy rotation on one of my movie channels, btw. I watched about five minutes of it. That's the guy that played Cedric in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". Yes, I know, I've read all the Harry Potter books. I love Harry Potter. I watch the movies.

Why do I have no problems with an invisible school somewhere in Northern England where the denziens of a parallel universe send their offspring to be educated in subjects like "Ancient Runes," "Defense Against the Dark Arts," and "How to Tame Your Dragon?" (Okay, I made that one up, I like vulgar humor). That's easy.

No Vampires.

There was a show on Broadway a few years ago (or maybe it was Off-Broadway, I know it's basically just an address thing) called "Title of Show". I've never seen it, but I know that there's a song called "Die, Vampire. Die". I like the sentiment, although it does require a belief in vampires to begin with. Said song spawned a shirt:

You gotta love theater people.

However, in searching for an image of this shirt (and I knew the shirt existed,my son has one, although his is a t-shirt with a picture on it and is WAY cooler than the hoodie) I came across something else. As today is my birthday and my father STILL sends me a card with money in it, I'm always looking for something spiffy to get myself, something I'd never take out of the budget. And damned if I didn't find it.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'll have another martini, please?

Well, I've been perusing the news and damn! Where to start?

The Duchess of York? Or is the the former Duchess of York, she's not married, after all. The Princess formerly known as the Duchess of York? That might explain why she's not been paying her bills, it's an awfully long name to sign a check with. By the time you get that puppy all filled out and mailed the bill's probably past due anyway.

In case you haven't heard, it seems Sarah Ferguson, the (not any more you aren't) Duchess of York, got caught offering a reporter "access" to Prince Andrew, her former husband. 500,000 pounds worth. Or maybe dollars, I don't remember. It was a half a million of something, anyway.

Half a million for PRINCE ANDREW? Have you SEEN him lately? I don't know what's more ridiculous, her asking that much or someone PAYING that much.

The older he gets, the more he looks like Robin Leach. And let's face it. What in hell does he actually DO? He always struck me as rather affable. His younger brother, Edward, goes by the name of Ed Windsor and has his own p.r. firm or something. The guy works for a living anyway. Charles, of course, isn't aging any too well himself and seems to occupy his time by being the heir apparent, which is in and of itself, some sort of profession. I could understand half a million whatevers for access to the next King of England. Assuming he lives that long.

But Andrew? Oh well, there's no accounting for taste, I guess.

Sarah, btw, has explained this egregious faux paus on Oprah. Well, hell, where else? A former English Princess gets caught doing something incredibly stupid and explains it all on Oprah. Lord, help us.

Well, it seems she's broke. Okay, she's always broke, she handles her money worse than I do. Apparently an investment went really, really bad. Well, okay, that's sad. Very sad. It's a suckola economy right now. So there was Sarah, out of money and the bank was going to foreclose on her palace. I think she has a palace, they settle nicely on former spouses in England. Hell, Henry VIII gave Anne of Cleves a palace and they never even slept together, I'm sure Sarah got something similar, as her daughters look enough like the rest of the Royals to give them bone fide credentials.

So, it seems that, not only does she make lousy investments but she's developed a nasty drinking problem. I had previously thought that middle age was not treating her kindly, after all, she's younger than I am.

I now realize it's the gin.

Now don't get me wrong, I have a high degree of sympathy for the Sarah. Hell, if that battle axe was MY ex mother-in-law I'd drink too. And, while I'm sure she had to tear up the check she got from whoever it was for access to the scincillating and reclusive Prince Andrew, Duke of York, she'll get it back in residuals from the Very Special Lifetime Television Network Movie Event that I have no doubt is already on it's first read through. Oh, btw, just for shiggles, I suggest Alicia Witt play Sarah. Think about it. I'm serious, it's a good piece of casting. Either her, or Conchata Farrell. I like her. Or Sarah Palin. Take off the glasses and dye her hair red and we may just have something.

As for Al and Tipper, I haven't quite wrapped my brain around that one yet. I've never been a fan of Tipper, anyone who would go out in public with a name like "Tipper" isn't exactly my type, but I always figured it didn't matter, I wasn't living with her, Al was.

I'm going to mull this one over and see what falls.

I have a headache. Simple as that.

Okay, I've worked here for three and a half years. It's now June and I've taken exactly ONE day off this year. ONE. For a FUNERAL.

So LAST week I said "hey next Wednesday is my Birthday. You know, another year older and deeper in debt? I want to leave two hours early and go get in line for free tickets to South Pacific".

Shouldn't be a problem, I'm told. So this morning I get "gee, I really need someone here until FIVE". I am so mad I could SPIT!

A large part of the problem is that I could probably arrange something to cover this holy desk I sit at for two of the three hours IF I had a car. I am ready to freaking SHOOT SOMETHING because of this "who needs a car" attitude. I live in LOS ANGELES. I wish I didn't NEED a car, but I do. IF we had any damn public transportation it would be different.

However, in order to make a trip via mass transit I have to leave here at 3, take a bus at 3:15 in the opposite direction of where I'm actually going, then catch a subway downtown and walk to the theater. This will take somewhere in the vicinith of an hour and cost there of us $15.00 in bus fare (round trip).

When the show lets out we will have to do the same thing, in reverse. Except that the busses will have cut back to one an hour so we will end up standing on Hollywood Blvd. for up to 50 minutes waiting for a bus outside the subway station. We will get home somewhere between 12:30 and 1:30am. Two of us will then shag it out to work the next morning.

IF the car was operable it would take me, oh, half an hour to get there considering it's early afternoon drive time. Parking is 8 bucks. And, when the show breaks at 11, it will take about 15 minutes to get out of the theater, get downstairs, get the car out and on to the street and then, at that time there won't be any traffic and I'll be putting the key in my front door about 15 minutes after that.

And they wonder why we're wedded to our cars here in L.A.

So, anyway, since the first of the year I've taken exactly ONE day off. ONE. I was sick a day too. I asked A WEEK AGO if I could leave early. That's all I needed, just a couple of hours early.

The SAME DAMN thing any other person in this department can have at the drop of a hat.

ME? NOW it's a freaking problem! NOW someone needs to sit here until FIVE and keep the damn seat warm because there are a whole lot of people out this week and there's little to no activity here but GOD FREAKING FORBID I shouldn't be effing sitting here!

My other option is to take the entire day off, which I don't NEED and didn't plan on doing, so that they can hire a temp as a bench warmer.

An entire day off so I can sit at that apt, wash the dishes, cook breakfast and lunch for the people there, none of whom WORK, btw, and, you know what? That's just a waste of a day off. Seriously.

So this place begrudges me THREE LOUSY HOURS at the end of a day that will be as quiet as a mausoleum here anyway.

So I'll have to take a later bus, and I'll be farther back in line and it'll probably be fine but jeez, what an S.O.B. boss. It's now a HUGE big deal.

And then he wonders why sometimes it looks as if I don't like my job? My CAT could figure THAT out.

In honor of Memorial Day I made a blueberry pie yesterday. There's half of it left. It was good, actually, even though I had to use frozen berries, it has a crumble topping.

I think I'm going home and eat it for lunch. The whole thing. Just me, a fork and the pie. Save a dish. At least I won't have to wash it.