i have a question...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tales from the Job Search

I just spent some time looking for jobs. Mostly, I am procrastinating. But also, why not get a headstart on what's out there?

It's taking me back to the Season of Unemployment in 2005 when I spent hours and hours per day sending out resumes and cover letters to companies via email.

Eventually, I contacted Dialogue Direct, which is an on-the-street solicitation service for organizations like North Shore Animal League and Children International.

I kicked ass at the interview and blew the others at orientation out of the water.

I got hired in August.

I spent eight hours a day trying to get people to sign up to sponsor animals at North Shore. The amount of money I made was dependent on how many people I chatted up enough to get them to sign up. This twisted into my mind that I was personally a terrible person if I didn't get anyone to sign up. I went home crying every day.

It's the only job I've ever quit.

I spent most of that time in great debt to my mother and S. S and I had just moved across the country and were living in a small sublet in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

I'd spend my days sitting on the couch, directly under a skylight, in the dead of summer. I'd buy Chinese food downstairs for lunch and save half of it for dinner. I'd run between the TV and our back room, where our computers were set up. I sent my information to anyone who was hiring any kind of administrative assistant at all, wasting most of my time on craigslist. I visited temp agencies that told me that I didn't score high enough to get placed with them.

I bought a three-piece suit and went on twenty-three interviews. Yes. Twenty-three.

I finally discovered Idealist.org and eventually interviewed at Population Council, a sexual health non-profit organization on the campus of Rockefeller University--it was interview #22. Pop Council was the first place I had interviewed where all of my directing and managing experience as a theatre major counted for something, even though it wasn't paid.

A few days after the interview, I got an email that said I had not gotten the job. Then, I had a dream that the manager called me and told me that email was incorrect and that I had been hired.

I DID get hired--and told the manager about my email and my dream--as an office assistant and worked there for over two years. It wasn't the perfect job and I didn't get paid enough and I didn't use a lot of the skills I'd honed my whole life, but it was a paycheck.

These days, it's wildly satisfying to be looking for jobs with higher degree requirements. I'm still scouring Idealist.org for the perfect fit and just sent out a few resumes for Program Director positions in Boston.

I also decided to check out craiglist and found a post for a teaching position at a day care center in my neighborhood.

Then, out of curiosity, I Googled the center and the only hit I came across was about how the custodian was beaten to death in 2005.

So, um, maybe I won't follow up with them.

Word of the Day, vol. XVI

Word of the Day: MUSIC

In the summer and fall of 2004, I had a brief stint as a nightclub singer at a piano bar in the Castro.

OK, that’s not entirely true.

I don’t remember how we discovered it—S probably does—but for weeks in a row, she and I and her brother and our friends would get dressed up, head to Martuni’s (it took me like a year to get that joke), and drink fancy drinks while we waited for our names to be called so we could get up and sing to a room full of gay men and fruit flies.

Weekly, I would stand by the piano, nervously, while the pianist, Houston, would coach me and coax me through “Adelaide’s Lament” from Guys and Dolls. It was a huge crowd pleaser and sometimes I even sang it well.

Mostly, I was just having an insane time, dressed in clingy black dresses and pearls and fedoras and slashes of red lipstick. Trying to be super sexy and forgetting that I was playing to the wrong audience. Although, the friends we brought always appreciated it.

I was never really sure what I was doing, but I knew I had something…a little different to offer.

Eventually, I added “When You’re Good to Mama” to my repertoire, which I would belt to the high heavens. It’s hilarious to think that this song actually made me feel a little bit like a rockstar.

We gained a bit of notoriety at the bar; people would stop us to congratulate us as we exited, dashing to catch the last BART train or to pile foolishly into S’s parents’ car and head back to Berkeley, where we’d stay up late, eating donuts or noodles or just keeping drinking, while we regaled the events of the night.

I was in summer school that summer and we would crash, still reeling from alcohol, and I’d wake up, sweaty and hungover and have to run to campus to work in the costume shop or go to my improv class, thinking I would die on the way there.

I don’t remember sleeping more than six hours a night that entire summer.

It was an incredibly heady time, for more reasons than I can even mention here. Things among the group got very intense and our reign at Martuni’s sort of fizzled, as the summer ended. I performed a poorly executed version of “Anyone Can Whistle” one night and realized a little bit of the magic was gone.

Sometimes I imagine reclaiming my post by the piano, when I visit San Francisco, just as a lark.

I would do it just to recall some of that magic.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Overheard in the Classroom (or Kids These Days), vol. IV.5

Just one more quote from yesterday, which was very long.

"Oh, oh! It's based on a really smart person!"--an 8th grader's perfectly logical response to the question, "What is The Wiz based on?"

I start solo teaching this week.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Overheard in the Classroom (or Kids These Days), vol. IV

Usually, I post quotes from the week on Fridays. This week, however, I'll be seeing a play late into tomorrow night and don't want to have to come home and feel obligated to write. (This is what I do--give myself assignments that then I feel beholden to.)

Also, FYI, I am already in my pajamas. And slightly drunk.


"General Hospital."--one of my Special Ed students' responses to my question about what TV he watched. For some reason, it CRACKED ME UP.

"Dreamgirls?"--an 8th grader's answer to my proposition that I'd give him an extra point on his project if he could name the original singer of "Respect," which he'd been singing all period.

"OK, Mom."--an 8th grader's response to me asking him to do something while calling him by his whole name.

"Now...try to bite your ear."--an intro student, leading a physical warm-up. I kept having to step away to laugh out loud.

"I tell them I don't like to be hasty."--a Special Ed student's very assertive statement, as she explained why she takes her time to leave the room at the end of the day.

Don't Be a Leader...

Be a follower!

I want to direct your attention to the column on the left, humbly entitled "all the cool kids are doing it."

It is my new obsession. I check my blog many times a day to see who's reading and if I know them and how they found me. It's pretty fun and satisfying, and I appreciate everyone who has become a follower.

You're truly making me want to WRITE!

And all I ever really want is an audience. I mean, in May, I'll have two degrees in theatre, for God's sake.


As a reward, you will be provided with tales from yours truly, ranging from slightly-amusing to hilarious to mortifying.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Word of the Day, XVI

Word of the Day: SCHOOL

I’m sort of cheating with this post. I’ve been wanting to fill you all in on my OTHER most embarrassing moments, both of which involved distinctly shoving my foot in my mouth. Conveniently, they also both occurred while I was in school, so just roll with it.

High school was tough. I moved from New York City to Cambria, California the summer before my freshman year started. (And, there is a reason you’ve never heard of that place. It’s tiny. And not really worth mentioning). But, I was the new kid and it took me a good year to feel settled with friends I liked. Still, it wasn’t the most fun four years ever. Of course, whose high school experience is?

I went to a few football games. Our team sucked. But one night, I was there with a bunch of friends, and one of them commented about the coach. How he was such a nice guy or some shit. And, suddenly, I had diarrhea of the mouth and was complaining about how arrogant he was. How much he thought he knew everything. I think he had recently substituted for one of my teachers and I had been frustrated again by how much smarter I felt I was compared to my teachers.

Several moments passed and suddenly I heard behind me, “Who was talking about Coach?” And felt a jab on my shoulder. I reluctantly turned around.

“This is his wife and this is his daughter.” This woman pointed out two totally lovely looking women who were sitting right behind me.


I apologized profusely and sat forward the rest of the game. His daughter said she’d hated him growing up too. But still.

Stupid small town.

The other incredibly tactless moment happened when I was very drunk, so you can’t really blame me. And it was my birthday.

Beckett’s is an Irish pub near Berkeley’s campus, and we ended up there late in the night on my…22nd? Birthday. I don’t even remember where else we were that night, but a big group of us piled into a booth and the waiter came over and asked a question I didn’t understand.


An awkward silence fell. And everyone pulled out their IDs, which is what he’d asked for, in his Irish brogue.


My friends were appalled. I was sure I was going to get kicked out of the bar, the big, bald, Irish waiter was so pissed.

“Are we gonna have a problem here?” he asked me.

I apologized profusely and explained I was drunk and it was my birthday.

He eventually came back with our drinks and sat next to me, needling me for another apology and a kiss on the cheek, and then all was good.

Moral of these stories is you can’t take me anywhere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am a Pop Culture Genius, vol. XI

Last night, I rediscovered Soapdish on hulu.

For some reason, this movie is a family favorite, and finding it last night reminded me how good and silly it is and also that I still can sort of recite it word for word, after all these years.

Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Elizabeth Shue, Robert Downey Jr., Cathy Moriarty, and Whoopi Goldberg? Yes, please.

Also, cameos by Carrie Fisher and Garry Marshall.

But, then, I recognized Stanford Blatch among the actors playing soap opera writers. Stanny! With hair! Which actually made him look older!

Good times.

Sunday, February 21, 2010



Things are changing here at [clever title].

I've spent a long time keeping things anonymous here, but with my debut as a guest-blogger, now you all know my last name, which means we can be Facebook friends(!)

Really, though, it was time.

(Btdubs, this marks seven posts in seven days. That’s probably a new record for me.)

I do, however, appreciate and will continue to honor the anonymity of my family and friends. I don't write anything particularly mortifying about them--I save that embarrassment for myself--but I realize that with my new followers (THANKS!) and a little more visibility, it was time to reveal last names and maybe even some photographs. We'll see.

I say all that in anticipation of thanking Una LaMarche, at The Sassy Curmudgeon, who linked me here on her blog and gave me THIS.

She called my soul busty.

She hasn't seen me since I was probably 11, save the random reunion we had briefly a few years ago, so she probably didn't realize that I'm ACTUALLY busty, but...moving on.

I'm supposed to share seven interesting tidbits with all of you, now.

This just reminds me of that Facebook trend of naming 25 random facts about yourself. Let's see if I can narrow it down to a semi-interesting seven.

1. I do not know how to ride a bike.
This is like...my go-to little known fact. I've tried MANY times. And everyone I ever meet says they'll teach me. Granted, the last time I tried was about 10 years ago. My brother asserts that I do know how to ride a bike, I just don't trust that I do. I assert that I hate doing things badly, so I'd rather not do them at all. Mostly what this means for me is that the saying "it's like riding a bike" never applies to me.

2. I am proficient in American Sign Language.
It's totally one of my special skills on my resume. I'm not sure when or how or why it always attracted me to learn it, but I took courses here and there through college and then I did most of a program at a small school in NYC, where I became pretty fluent. It takes practice, as with any language, to keep it up, so I've lost A LOT of vocabulary, but I could probably slowly sign my way through a conversation with a deaf person. (I know all the dirty signs and can sing/sign through "I Want It That Way" and "The Rose.")

3. I still dream about the summer camp I went to for seven years.
I could write for pages and pages about Camp Onas, a Quaker camp I attended from the ages of 8-14. I moved to California right after "graduating" from being a camper there, so I was never hired back as a counselor, and it hurt for about 10 years. Working with kids, as I'm doing now, has fulfilled some of what I think I missed by never being hired, but it's one of many things I feel I missed out on by being moved across the country then. Now I'm Facebook friends with some of my counselors and I see that they all stayed in touch and ended up marrying each other. So yeah, I missed out.

4. I'm scared that post-graduation blues will still apply this year, even though I'll have a Master's degree and a teaching license.
I had such a terrible time adjusting after graduating from Berkeley, as I’ve documented here. (Check out my first few posts.) I know that the post-graduation funk is different after undergraduate college…or is it? Still, I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing after August, and I’m so consumed with what I’m doing these days, that it’s hard to focus on the fact that I’ll be unemployed in six months.

5. I’ve had a nose ring for more than eight years.
I will never forget telling my parents that I had something to tell them, after I pierced my nose my second semester in college. I’m assuming they both, individually, thought I was pregnant.

6. I am obsessive compulsive about staying on top of my pop culture news.
I read many, many blogs and many high-brow (read: Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Arts section, New York Magazine, and People Magazine) arts sites, and I check them about every half-hour, when I can. This is one of the many ways I kill time so well on the internet. But how else would I know about the couple who got married while she was mid-labor with their first child? These things are important!

7. I dye my hair because I am going gray.
Yes, that’s right. At the ripe age of 26. Damn those genetics! I am currently on a mission to find the perfect chestnut brown color. I was a pretty brassy redhead for a bit and decided I’m too old to be one anymore. And, also, one day, I will be a brassy redheaded grandmother.

Now, technically, I’m supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers that I know. I don’t actually know very many other bloggers.

So, I will just link them all.
Chasden Lieb Gilson Walker and his mommies
Days Off
I Like the Way You Think
Any of you beautiful bloggers wanna bite?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Word of the Day, vol. XV

Word of the Day: HATE: a Post of Vague Complaints (in no particular order)

I’ve felt like whining a lot lately. It doesn’t matter that it’s sort of warming up or that the weather’s been nicer lately or that school is going well. I pulled “hate” out of my word bag and all I could think of was writing a probably-uninteresting list of all the things that bother me.

Bear with.

(NOTE: This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. But I’m sure you figured that.)

1. Lack of etiquette when it comes to taking up space in a public place.
2. Lack of etiquette when it comes to voice volume in a public place.
3. Lack of etiquette when it comes to use of cell phones in a public place.
4. Assholes who don’t let people OFF of public transportation before barreling onto it.
5. Spitting.
6. Slamming doors for no reason when you enter or leave a room.
7. The fact that sometimes I’m the only one in my house who brings in the mail or empties the dishwasher.
8. People (including me) who speak just to hear themselves speak.
9. People who speak without forethought.
10. The use of the word “gay” as a synonym for lame or stupid.
11. Douchey guys getting up in my face at bars.
12. The fact that winter feels really long these days.
13. Not having any money.
13a. Not having any money to buy new clothes, as many books as I want, to travel, to go out to eat every night because I’m too tired to cook, etc..
13b. Not having enough money to live alone.
13c. Not having enough money to keep the heat up in my house, so always being cold in my house.
14. Owing lots of money.
15. Not knowing what the hell I’m doing in August to make money.
16. Not living in the same city as my best friend.
17. No real spring break this year.
17a. February break being nearly over.
18. Feeling out of touch because I’m so consumed with student-teaching.
19. Feeling in transition as school screeches to a halt.
20. Losing my dating momentum.
21. Being on top of everything all the time.
21a. Being scolded, even though I’m on top of everything all the time.
22. Having more ideas for projects than time to do them.
23. Not having a more creative thought for a post than writing all the things that bother me.

OK, I’ll stop with lucky number 23.

I’m such a whiner. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Word of the Day, vol. XIV

Read Word of the Day: FAITH here.

And support WAM Theatre!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Advice Ever, or On Making a Good Impression

S: Just wear something nicer than your pajamas. And speak. You'll be fine.

Quotes from a Day of Grad School

(dictating an email) RM: Give a [sister] a break.
me: Is that "sistER" or "sistAH"?
RM: "SistAH."
me: Like, with an "a-h" at the end?
RM: Yeah.
me: Got it.

...and, later that day:

me: Does it make me an alcoholic if I had a drink and it made me feel better?
PM: That's like...the American Dream.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Time on My Hands

There's something to that theory that staying busy makes life easier.

I'm on February break from student teaching this whole week and so I've been killing a lot of time. As you know from my post about watching pirated movies yesterday. Luxurious leisure time where I have nothing to do is so scarce these days, and usually I do it without a second thought, even with glee and giddiness in my heart.

But there is such a thing as too much time on your hands.

Granted, I spent a fair amount of time figuring out the rest of my week because I do have to be at Emerson this week, which means Tuesday through Thursday will not be spent staring at my computer screen.

But, today, I woke up (at almost 11) and could not, for the life of me, figure out when to get out of bed. Or what to do first: shower or eat. And, oh god, WHAT SHOULD I EAT? WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR LUNCH?

Sometimes life is so hard.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Doing My Research

Admittedly, I'm very good at wasting time on the internet. (Evidence lies here. And here. And here. Just to name a few.)

Saturday evening, after getting a lot of work done, I decided to kill some more time, so I tucked into my bed and Googled "movies streaming online free."

This is the part of the story where I realize again what a magical place the internet is.

I found It's Complicated! I'd wanted to see it so badly! It was so silly and fun! Alec Baldwin at his most irresistible! Hurray!

Then, I watched Brothers, which, as you can see from this, I really wanted to see. It was harrowing and so well-acted. The silences were used beautifully and hauntingly.

I've hit the internet pirated movie jackpot.

So, now, I've decided to catch up on all the Oscar-nominated movies I haven't seen yet.

This morning, I watched The Blind Side.

I am not ashamed, the trailers made me weep, but it wasn't the kind of movie I was willing to pay $11 for to see in the theaters. Still, it feels like part of my pop culture duty to see what everyone is talking about in Sandra Bullock's performance.

And, honestly, I think I wept through the entire movie. Minus the football game parts.

Yes, yes, it's full of horrible, white lady saves the black kid cliches. Some of which even offended me, like the fact that the thug the lead kid escapes from actually said, "I will bust a cap in yo' ass" or that Sandra Bullock's character actually only wears white and tan. (SEE? It SYMBOLIZES the difference in their RACES!) Or the duet of "Bust a Move" between the lead kid and his tiny white brother.

But it's about a kid who needs to learn how to learn, about really great teachers and about family.

And I forgot it was Sandra Bullock on the screen. And her eyes filled up with proud and overwhelmed tears at just the right moments.

And then they showed actual photos of the real Tuohy family with Michael Oher, and I cried through the entire closing credits.

And now you know.

Still on my list: Crazy Heart, Up in the Air, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Sherlock Holmes. Watching movies like Avatar and even Inglourious Basterds on my computer just seems silly...

Make no mistake. These movies had the very clear DO NOT COPY, TRANSFER, OR GIVE AWAY fine print flashing sporadically through them. Someone else broke the rules. Do not judge me. I am a poor graduate student. And the internet is a magical, magical place.

To surviving Valentine's Day with the help of good friends

This is amazing. Watch it.

(P.S. Some of you who are friends with me on the Facebook have already seen it.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Overheard in the Classroom (or Kids These Days), vol. III

"Shitting bricks!"
"You know when you're playing hide and seek and you have to use the bathroom real fast?"--two seniors' answers to the question, "What did it feel like right before you went onstage during the showcase?"

"Isn't that the girl from Princess Diaries?"--a freshman, referring to Julie Andrews.

"I'm suing!"--an 8th grader who had ruined her $60 sweatshirt with paint, while working on a design project. I suggested she take the sweatshirt off, but she's pretty adamant about suing.

"A white person falls in love with a Puerto Rican person, to put it bluntly."--an Intro student's response to the quiz question, "What is the significant plot point that occurs in West Side Story at the dance in the gym?" His answer was copied verbatim by one of his classmates, which was an act made even stupider by the fact that the cheater had been absent the day before and didn't even have to take the quiz.

"ALRIGHT!"--an Intro student's impatient commentary during this song. I couldn't really blame him.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So Over It

(I just realized that's the title of Katherine McPhee's first single, which is appropriate since I'm about to write about American Idol. Ready?)

As most of you know, I DILIGENTLY chronicled AI Seasons Jordin Sparks and David Cook. It made me feel like an Entertainment Weekly columnist, which is secretly my dream job. And my readers demanded MORE!

Then, I started grad school and had classes Tuesday evenings last spring, so missed most of Season Kris Allen. I did, however, write excitedly about the finale. (Man, it is a devoted reader who will look back at all those posts.)

Anyway, AI was remotely on my radar this year because I do still read Entertainment Weekly and I know Ellen has taken over as judge and I sort of heard about Pants on the Ground and such. Still, I didn't even realize it was on tonight until S asked, at 7:56 PM, if I was going to watch. I was home and dinner was almost ready, and the show wouldn't cut into LOST at 9, so I watched.

And was bored and annoyed. The formula is grating on me. Ellen was fun, but I really don't like any other judge. Even Ryan was bothering me. There were a couple singers that gave me chills or made me kind of teary, but I was turned off by everything that wasn't them.

Maybe it's just because it's Tuesday, and everyone knows I hate Tuesdays, but I am not excited about this season at all yet. Plus, I won't be able to watch past 9 PM on Tuesdays because that's when LOST airs, and my loyalties really lie there.

How are you all feeling about the potential for this season, i.e., Simon's last?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Watch This Space

Stay tuned for Word of the Day, vol. XIV, which will appear on the website for WAM Theatre, my classmate's theatre organization. My first guest-blogging gig!

Check the site out.

I will keep you all posted.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Overheard in the Classroom, vol. II

"Suckish."--one of my 8th graders' responses to "How's it going?" He said it twice in one week.

"Oh! THAT'S your name!"--an 8th grader, during my 5th week with them.

"Taylor Lauter is my HUSBAND!"--a freshman girl who doesn't realize he probably doesn't play on her team.

"He wins for the best poo-colored paint!"--OK, fine. I said this one.

"So, just because I'm not Mrs. D., you're not going to listen to me?"--I said this one too, to my initially most-challenging student. And the kid's been manageable ever since.

"You're...22."--an 8th grader guessing my age when I told him I was old.

"Do you want to hear a really racist joke about Asians?"--also in the 8th grade class. I said no.

"All teachers are under arrest."--one of the seniors, who's a real Negative Nancy. I protested that technically I'm not a teacher, so I was free. He proceeded to give me evidence that I was a teacher: I was sitting in the teacher's chair and I order them around. I figured, he had a point.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Best Non-Sequitur Award Goes To...

me: What's the @ sign in your theatre name for?
MW: Wherever I end up will be "[Theatre Name]" AT...the umbrella location.../
me: So, when my brother was in my mom's womb...

What can I say? It's late.

Update: Reviewing this, I realize it might only be funny to me and MW. But, funny, it is!