Tue 28 Nov 2006
It took me two hours to get home last night and twice I considered ditching my car. As you may have guessed Seattle was dusted by snow last night. Silly me, I was still in my Colorado mode, where you don’t even think about snow in terms of anything to get freaked out about. It snowed, you got to work, that’s the mentality in the Rocky Mountains. Josh and I had at least one car that was four wheel drive hanging around; I learned how to pump my breaks, go slow, and watch for snow plows.
We watched an enormous black cloud envelop Seattle in a matter of thirty minutes outside the huge windows of the chi-chi studio I work at. I left an hour early, preparing to take Airport Way and avoid the highway…how foolish I was to think the north part of downtown would be unaffected by Seahawks traffic. I sat on the James exit off ramp for a half hour cursing and swearing and calling Josh periodically from my cell. I finally cut over to Cherry and made the arduous journey uphill in increasingly heavy snow conditions. I found myself terrifyingly creeping up an enormous hill praying I wouldn’t have to stop and be stranded. I’m not great with using the parking break to keep my stick shift car from rolling backward…I usually kill the car and I knew that if I ended up having to stop I would roll right back into the car behind me. Ice had begun to collect on the roads, and everywhere I went there was traffic sitting around trying to get home like I was. All the back roads were clogged with ill equip cars skittering around and the main roads were a parking lot. I ditched Boren for James, I left James for Marion, I slid down most of Marion, pumping my breaks furiously and yelling into my cell phone at Josh, “I’m sliding! I’m sliding!” I finally cut across to Jackson and 22nd, only to get stuck behind a lady who simply turned her car off and walked away! The rest of us had to creep around her car as we made our way to Jackson and 23rd. I sulked inside a Starbucks for fifteen minutes before tackling the trip home.
Once I hit Rainier things became immensely better, the roads were barely covered with snow–although that didn’t stop a cab from driving down the center of the road instead of opting for the two lanes. I finally started picking up speed from my tedious one mile and hour pace and cruised the rest of the way home. There was a point where I was buried in the Central District thinking I was going to pull over and hike to Kris’ house. Kids were throwing cheerful snowballs at my car; good Samaritans were directing traffic and pushing at the tails of sliding cars. Josh was a saint, coaching me through the neighborhoods via Google maps over the phone.
Last night I ate a pot pie and drank hot chocolate and watched the Bachelor with my sister-in-law (who is currently living with us while she transitions to her new job at Boeing). Ice coated the roads this morning so we remained home.
Sat 25 Nov 2006
The weather was horrible driving down to my parent’s house. Horizontal rain, water covering parts of the highway, and constant traffic. It was our fault…we drove down on Thanksgiving day. We stopped in Centralia in the hopes that Josh’s beloved Burgerville might be open. He crossed his fingers super
hard in eager anticipation: only to be let down by the very nice concept of allowing Burgerville employees the day off for Thanksgiving. We drove around looking for somewhere acceptable and open; eventually we found ourselves in a Jack in the Box drive-thru: Blech! We half-heartedly ordered a burger for Josh and a hopeful eggnog shake to split. The shake was terrible, despite claiming it was made with real ice cream I found it digustingly sweet and unsatisfying. DAMN YOU JACK IN THE BOX! (And how embarressing that we resorted to fast food on Thanksgiving).
This Thanksgiving went down in history as the smallest in attendance we’ve ever had. It really saddened me…Gina did her best to cheer me up by flaunting her Tofurky dinner around festively:
It just wasn’t the same without my brother openly mocking my sister’s vegan lifestyle. My Dad did his best to hassle her and give her a hard time:
Gina went on to tell us about a recent stalker she’s inherited since her art show. Appearantly an overzealous fan has been emailing and calling her in attempt to get her to sell some prints of her work to him. Nomally this would be fine except he compares her work to well-known erotica artists, asks her if she’s ever attended a nude beach as a way of empowering her body, and tells her that she reminds him of his wife. He showed up at the art school asking anyone and everyone where she might be…and then, creep of all creeps, he snuck his way past security and into the building that houses all the student’s studios. He actually found her studio and started pulling poloroids of my sister off the wall and asking people nearby if this is what Gina looks like. Needless to say he didn’t last long and was thrown out by security. Not creepy enough for you? The dude brought his baby along…chances are that’s how he got into the building…no one can resist a man with a baby, right? Anyway, after hearing this story I immediately whisked Gina to a nearby computer and together we composed a very nice email telling the guy to bugger off. I have to say she was being far too nice about it and really needed the iron fist of her older sister. The kid has enough to worry about being a senior in college she doesn’t need a freak show stalking her on top of it.
This isn’t the best photo, but it sums up the tininess of our table this year:
You can see Gina sawing away at her Tofurky log, Josh eyeballing the turkey, my Dad doing the honors, and my Mom supervising the whole thing. We had my father’s traditional wild rice and sausage stuffing (including a rice and squash version for my sister), mashers, beets (put out with my sister in mind but we all indulged), salad, cranberries (we forgot to bring a can of cranberries for Josh who prefers the gelatonous log over the real deal), and turkey which had been soaked in brine. Having no competition with Jonah and Sammy out of town, Josh took a turkey leg as a way of pitching in. Despite our low numbers the four of us ate half of the turkey and Gina polished off half of her Tofurky.
The next day we lounged around, bought medicine balls to replace our office chairs, and bought a home improvement book at a bookstore. The return to Seattle was immensely more pleasant and yes, Burgerville was open, and yes, their pumpking milkshake was terrific. Upon returning home, Hobbes voiced her extreme gratitude by meowing all over the house and finally settling on Josh’s lap:
Sat 18 Nov 2006
So, what’s been going on? Had a house warming party which was oodles of fun, (thanks to those who came out). Sold a fair amount of jewelry at an art show recently. Chipping away at house projects…trying to stay focused and sane despite a torrent of horrible weather.
Recently performed at an improv show and I have to say it was one of the worst shows I’ve ever participated in. This includes the years of cabaret gigs and fringe festival shows from years back. It was basically a recital of sorts, all the different levels from the Improv School I attend getting onstage and performing with their class. I’ve been working with this theater on and off since 1997. There was a keg in the lobby of the theater and the audience drank copious amounts of beer. My class this quarter was underwhelming due to the fact that it contained way more men than woman. You need a little feminine energy in an improv show simply because it’s tiring seeing the same old white guys get up there with their shtick, wit, and gagging for laughs.
Anyway, one of the guys in my class is a stereotypical actor: young, ok-looking, self-absorbed, narcissistic, and will drag you across the stage if it means he looks good. Unpredictable, he’s a loose cannon on stage, doing whatever it takes to get a laugh, all the things I hate to watch (and participate) in an improv show. Some improvisors can get away with breaking some cardinal rules, but this guy only alientates his fellow improvisers with his no-let’s-do-my-idea-instead and occasional ‘humping dog’ routine that’s so played out I have to look the other way everytime I see him start gyrating on someone’s leg. He and a bunch of other guys in the class have formed a rookie improv group which they talked about incessantly during class. This also meant they were constantly onstage together doing inside jokes and laughing at themselves. The rest of us in the class were left with this weird, left out sort of feeling.
Halfway through the quarter I realized this certain actor, let’s call him “Jo Bob” was (surprise!) extremely hard to handle…and suddenly, I made the realization: he’s a misogynist. I started tallying how many times he would start a scene with a fellow female improviser with a negative relationship, a super violent physical character, or, even worse, start bossing her around the stage. Now, granted this guy rarely ended up on stage with any of us because he was always drawn to his buddies…but we had this showcase coming up and I realized he was going to have to play nice or we would be massacred onstage.
Yeah…you know where this is going. Dude shows up, starts drinking beer, and starts heckling the other classes as they go onstage to perform. Our class went last, and I was trying really hard to stay positive. Two other girls in the class had told me previously that they didn’t want to do the showcase because of this actor. I had ranted and raved about how we needed to bond together and be strong, girl power, etc…Now I was regretting the decision. The whole class started on stage, preparing to do a long form of improv based on a poem. Our teacher read the poem aloud to the audience and then left us in silence as we absorbed the writing and prepared to transition into a scene.
We all stood in silence for about a second when, suddenly, Jo Bob halls off and hits one of the girls on stage in the face. OK…he stage slapped her, so I don’t think he made any contact, and after he was done he marched off the stage with a wicked grin on his face. I’ve never had such a shocking stage moment, and that includes when I shattered a glass during a production of “Tango” and started bleeding profusely onstage. If I had ever doubted his issues with women…well, they were no longer doubts. I KNOW this guy did this to shock the audience (and us), so I pretended to slap myself in the face and ran offstage after him. I furiously whispered, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You’re supposed to support us onstage, not bitch slap us!” The rest of the long form was spent either avoiding this guy or enacting revenge, and the cast eventually rallied around me…during one abstract part we literally blew Jo Bob off the stage. When he came onstage during my interpretive poetry reading I endowed him as a stick man who shattered into a thousand pieces. He did pay me back, however, by throwing himself across me during an underwater scene involving a stage block…I managed to support him with my ribs and debated launching him into the audience. I was so mad at this guy, you have no idea… my class was on for about 20 minutes when we eventually imploded and had to throw in a quickie ending.
After the showcase was over, I found Josh in the audience and left. No basking in the glory of a finished show, no drinking a celebratory beer, and definitely no hobnobbing. I didn’t want to risk running into this guy off stage and I was feeling really defeated. Josh and I walked around the city while I reflected on the evening’s events…I was totally let down. While I write this post I want to give props to my former comedy troupe buddy, Jeff, who always did a fine job of making sure the male energy in the group didn’t overwhelm and who, as far as I know, has never started a scene with a man hitting a woman in the face.
Wed 8 Nov 2006
I very rarely comment on politics, preferring rather to blather on about my personal and social life. Being on the sensitive side, I can’t lie and shrug off the current goings on in our country. I listen to an incredible amount of NPR…I listen to it during my thirty minute commute into the city, on the way out of the city, while I’m cooking dinner, etc. I listen to it so often that I hear repeats of the news at four and then again at six–usually nothing has changed. I listen to the radio with such fervor that nothing is ‘news’ to me…if Josh tells me something cutting edge I’ll usually shrug and say I learned it several hours ago when it was breaking news.
I try to be good and shut the radio off when I feel myself zoning out; bored with the financial news or the graphic coverage of the war, I’ll click it off and drive or cook in silence. I can’t handle repeated retellings of carnage and suicide bombers. I’ve been known to start crying during the segment on War Letters or the touching journalistic pieces profiling fallen soldiers and the families they left behind.
But the fact that our country is under the thumb of a crazy idiot, a president whose voice is so painful to my ears that I impulsively snap the radio on and off during his address to the nation–I can’t listen to him straight through. “LIES!” I holler at the radio when Bush stated, “We are winning.” I can’t even express how utterly offended I was when he referred to the nightmare in Iraq as WINNING, as if there was a shred of accuracy or reality to that statement. It’s like the whole situation is an unhappy rain cloud on my relatively normal life.
While watching my new favorite series on the Discovery Channel, Discovery Atlas, I was enraptured by the intense imagery of different countries. When covering Australia the narrator states, “This country is at peace with all countries.” And suddenly, I was sad and I said aloud, “I wish we were at peace with all countries.” It’s as if the war is so common and so normal that I forget that at one point in my life we didn’t have this shameful bit hanging over our country.
During the last few weeks I’ve felt a smidgen of hope. As I ingested my daily dose of NPR I began to absorb the impending doom of the Republican party. I felt a morbid sense of cheeriness when another Republican sex scandel makes the news. I quietly imagined what my conservative in-laws are thinking, knowing the Missouri has been taken over by a Democrat. I clinked imaginery champaign at Rumsfeld’s resignation (it’s about time…I heard he had hoped to step down on a positive note…when it never came he settled for today, a day of transition and change).
I remember the first time Josh said to me, several years ago, “Hey, did you hear Bush wants to go after Iraq?” The second he said this to me, I felt a full body chill, this horrible sense of doom. I couldn’t even speak I was so shocked…finally I said, “I think that’s a horrible idea.” There wasn’t an instant that I ever, ever, thought that going to war with Iraq was a sane idea. From the moment the UN started looking for WMD’s to the casual, “well, guess we have to take em’ by force” nature of the military, I’ve always thought the whole concept was audacious. The fact that the rest of country has slowly started to come around in a collective, “Hey, this is messed up,” is really wonderful news.
Wed 1 Nov 2006
On my way home, several blocks from my house, in the middle of a five way intersection I watched my first solicitation of a prostitute. She was standing on the corner at four o’clock in the afternoon waving and strutting her stuff in tight jeans and a pink tank top. It was the top that really tipped me off because, c’mon, the temperature has drastically dropped in Seattle since the weekend. I sat at the stop sign and waited forever to get through it so I had plenty of time to watch her. I tried to think innocently, “Oh, she’s probably just waiting for a friend or something…and she’s really friendly and likes to wave at strangers.” And then she made eye contact with a guy in a truck and it was ON. He discreetly pulled into the parking lot of an old apartment complex and she took FOREVER crossing the street. Even though she was crossing at a crosswalk and cars kept stopping she insisted on waving them on, “no, no, go ahead!” At one point a cop drove by and I had this eery feeling, like part of me wanted to abandon my third wave feminist nature (that’s largely pro-sex work) and yell, “She’s a prostitute! Her client is right over there! I saw it all…and right by my house, the horror!” But part of me was sort of enthralled in a weird way, like I was watching COPS on channel 13 and it was all about hookers and there I was in the middle of the deal going down.
I’ve always felt that a certain level of permission should be given to grown adults making decisions regarding their bodies. I recently voted against a local inititiative to ban lap dances, increase lighting in strip clubs, and enforce a six foot minimum between dancers and clients because, frankly, I think law enforcement have better things to do with their time. I’m certainly not against strippers making money and men throwing it at them in their spare time…but sex for sale is a little different because of the bad associations with it. You know the rap: all sex workers are on drugs, on welfare, poor, down and out…etc. So, here I am, sitting at an intersection near my house and I’m sort of scandalized that this woman is so blatant. And I’m a little nervous…even though the park down the street from our old crib was supposedly a haven for prostitution (until it got its make-over from Starbucks), we never really saw any of that sort of activity. But then I rationalized, “Well, she’s not really hurting anyone…this is only a block away from the road rage shooting after all…I guess if I had to pick between drive-by shootings and prostitution I would pick the latter.”
That’s right…give me hookers over gang activity anytime.