Monday, April 24, 2006

Slowly but surely, I'm getting through uploading my pictures onto Flickr. I started with my Legolas costume, not all photos are up, but most, and totally dig that Flickr resizes your photos for you. Half the pain in the ass in posting things like that was making thumbnails.

I'm mildly tipsy from a cosmopolitan after watching 24. It's become a tradition. I walk to my mom's house on Monday and Wednesday, Jack makes cosmopolitans for mom and me, fantastic ones at that, and we watch on Monday 24, and Wednesday, Lost. Then, I'm mildly buzzed, and Jack walks me home. Jack my stepdad that is, not Jack Bauer.

I had a wholly productive weekend getting my work done. I ran into one of the actresses from our show in Starbucks, she was recognized by a few people and it was interesting to be "in" by knowing her. We saw each other, chatted, gossiped, people strained ears to listen while they tried to look like they weren't listening. After our chat, I sat back down to work and got stares. People wondered who I was to be so familiar with her. I won't lie, it was fun to cause that kind of interest in those around me.

I had to send myself to bed at 1AM Sunday night, as I could have worked more. I set up my laptop, watched some TV, did work. A thunderstorm boomed outside, flashes of lightning filled the sky, rain poured in a steady stream. I typed on. I had on wonderful ambient music that comes on our public radio station on Sunday night, chilled, worked, felt better about the two weeks to go. Went to bed, read. Today, I got a good look at where I am in finishing and felt much better. My jaw pain hasn't returned, and I'm optimistic about finishing the hardest part of my job, the continuity book, a week ahead of schedule.

We're on our last couple weeks of filming the last episode, then everyone goes off to rest or to their next job. Some people stay longer than me, others leave when I do. Our wrap party is this weekend, even though I have a week of work after that.

I have no idea what I'm going to wear, even though I have many dresses. Last year's wrap party was a ton of fun. I look forward to this one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yes, I know most of my pictures aren't working. I'm in the middle of changing to Flickr, as so many of you championed, hands down. Thank you for your excellent, informed advice as always, and please bear with me as I slip into another outfit.

I'm winding down the job, and have been busy making sure it's going to be finished on time. Heck, ahead of time. When the last day of work arrives, I want to be completely finished, unlike last year. That was special circumstances, and I appreciated the extra work, but this year I'm ready to be finished. I've been having moments of despair that I won't get everything done even though I have two and a half weeks to do about a full week's worth of work. Before our "wrap" meeting, I was suffering jaw pain that I know was caused by clenching both while awake and asleep. The day after the meeting, and of course, before bed that night I'd had a cosmopolitan, the pain was gone. I have days where the work seems effortless, and today where it felt like I was running uphill on a treadmill getting nowhere. Some days I'm thrilled that I'm so far ahead and organized, other days I feel incompetent, worried that I won't finish.

And that's the thing. I've done everything to make sure that I do finish. Working weekends, over this last three day weekend included. The work I'm doing is on the continuity book, a huge, huge undertaking which involves writing character bios for each episode, every character per episode, and it's tedious. When I work weekends, I do it in coffee shops.

I think all the anxiety has to do with change. Even though I've done this before, meaning had a contract job that is near end, there is always anxiety of making that hop from one lily pad to the next.

I'm afraid I'll break form mid-air and belly flop into the water.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Have you ever been taking a walk and the weirdest memory just pops into your head? You're walking, enjoying a nice stroll in the neighborhood. You talk to a few neighbors, pet the neighborhood six-toed cat, round the corner, and remember something like this.

Porto!
Porto?

My first summer at American Ballet Theatre was after my freshmen year in college. My desk was right by the artistic department and therefore I was one of the office chicks the dancers, ballet mistresses, choreographers, directors, whatever, saw on a daily basis. Perhaps they thought that connected me to the top-secret workings of the office, and therefore I was the person that many of them told about things that were wrong with the building, or where they were going, when they would be back, and if so and so calls, I've died and left my inheritance to my cat. Things like that. It was all new to me and exciting to work in a top-tier performing arts environment. What can I say? I got a kick when people like Twyla Tharp would tell me that the toilet in the second floor bathroom was making a weird hissing sound that could be heard in Studio Three.

Every year, it's hard to avoid The Nutcracker on television during the Christmas season. No, I'm not talking about a wrestler in the WWF. For those who aren't aware, or just never gave a shit, American Ballet Theatre is the company performing that hazy filmed Nutcracker danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. My mom made me watch it the first time, invited over a couple friends of ours and I barely managed to sit still through it. However, it soon became a fixture in our holiday routine to sit and watch it every year. It was just so, well, Christmassy.

What does that have to do with me sitting by the artistic offices and my weird memory, you may ask. Well, occasionally, I'd see a face from The Nutcracker that I recognized. It was cool, and I'd think back to being a kid and watching the very people who were now passing by my desk, still around in some fashion with the company.

Which brings me to my encounter with Drosselmyer. Otherwise known as Alexandr Minz, may he rest in peace. Drosselmyer, in The Nutcracker, is Clara's mysterious uncle who brings the Nutcracker doll to his niece and sets off all the adventure. If you've watched the production, he's the guy dressed in black with a cape.

Alexandr Minz was a ballet master at ABT. He had defected from Russia a long time ago but still had a very pronounced accent. To myself, I referred to him as Drosselmyer, to his face, he was Sasha.

One day he walked up to me, dressed in black tights, white shirt, a towel around his neck and stopped short, staring at me. He stood with perfect posture, his feet in first position probably out of habit, and held out a stiff brown paper bag. I was sitting and he towered over me, commanding attention. I turned to him, a bit intimidated. Other hand on hip, he held his chin high and said one word to me.

Porto.

I looked at him, not understanding. He stated it again, this time louder and sharper.

POR-to!

Me: Porto?

Drosselmyer: Porto!

Me: Porto?

Drosselmyer: Yes! Porto!

He hadn't moved, his body as stiff as a board, paper bag still in hand.

Us: (silence, staring at each other.)

Me: Portable?

Drosselmyer: No. Porto!

Me:(face reddening) Porto what?

Drosselmyer: Porto! Porto! I found it in the bathroom! It's disgusting!

Me: (Really clueless now. Had he found a portable potty?) In the bag?

Drosselmyer: Yes. Porto!

Me: (timidly) Let me see.

He thrust it at me, chin still high and waited, now both hands on hips. I was prepared for the worst and peeked in the bag. I was greeted by a picture of the biggest, thick-veined erect penis I'd ever seen, almost comically huge. It was on the centerfold of a gay porno magazine that had been folded back. There was no mistaking the one eyed worm on steroids.

Me: (closing the bag. Looking up. I wouldn't crack, he wasn't going to see me break.) Oh! You mean Porno!

Drosselmyer: Yes! Porto! Like I said!

Me: (Thinking: That dong was fucking huge.) I'll pass this along.

Drosselmyer: Good!

After he left, I passed it along to proper department. That being the trash can by my desk. I covered the Porto with other trash, then went to the porn free women's room and washed my hands with very hot water and lots of soap.

Next time you happen to catch The Nutcracker on TV, purposefully or accidentally, and see Drosselmyer parading around, swinging his cape like he's master of the universe, you know you're going to think it.

Porto.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I bet you've been asking, "Now why don't she write?"

First, let me say that I'm glad my last two posts flushed some of you out of the bushes. I enjoyed your emails and your own stories about GTC, or whatever your respective schools called it. Or, just your stories about grade school. I'll be sure to share some more of mine.

I'm on the last home stretch of my job, which has me tired and without much to say. I have to make sure everything is finished and wrapped up neatly with a bow. My last week is the first week of May and then it's nap time. Oh, and I have jury duty on a day of that last week as well.

We also had our yearly benefit for the Ella Thompson Fund, which was great fun. I had an office mate who was the event coordinator, and it made worlds of difference to have another body in my space. She was lively and funny, and the wife of the script coordinator who is in the office to my right. I do much better with people in my space when I'm at work.

That is of course, the right people. I can't have corporate assholes, rung climbers, humorless fucks, featureless meat, inconsiderate slobs, or just plain bores in my space. Otherwise known as energy vampires. This woman, a hip, former New Yorker who used to work at HBO was just right. Now she's gone and I must face this last month of work alone. That is, in my office. I can see the halves of two bodies and the occasional person walking by, but that's it.

Anyway, the party was fun, and I bought a dress at Neiman Marcus because there isn't really anywhere to shop in Baltimore for such events. Baltimore seems determined to keep their women dowdy. Two cute shops I heard about had closed. Yes, closed. If that isn't telling, I don't know what is.

I accidentally discovered a mall in DC with all high-end stores and went to town trying stuff on. I'd just googled Neimans to get driving directions, thinking I was going to the one where I usually go in DC, but ended up at another one. It was nice to see stores dedicated to brands that I miss dearly, and fun to shop with the clientele. We chatted over frills and heels and talked about our trials and failures. Sometimes it's nice to be surrounded by beauty and chat with people who are on a quest for the same. It's needed, people. We're women. I probably tried on twenty dresses until I found "the one" at yep, Neimans. It's a great dress that I'll wear again and again I'm sure. The day of, I got my hair highlighted and styled in an up do by Missy, my hairstylist, and since it's also a day spa, I had my nails and toes done. I just didn't want to do anything myself, and therefore didn't. The payoff at the end of my princess day was fabulousness. Oh yes.

I've been feeding a stray kitten in the neighborhood for the last few days and was pleased to see today that she has made other neighborhood friends, one being a family who is trying to adopt her. I sat in the park as we tried to coax her into a carrier with the food that I brought, but after an overzealous MICA student tried to shut the door on her too fast, she panicked, hissed and ran. She's leery of people, sometimes growling and hissing, but clearly has had human contact before. I think she was dumped in the park by some ingrate who should be banned from having animals, not to mention, drawn and quartered. I've been socializing her the last few days and making sure she had at least one serving of food and fresh water every day, as well as human kindness. After the student's door faux pas, she was on to us and wouldn't come near the cage. It was so sweet to watch Peter, the son of the family who wants to adopt her, whom I'm guessing to be around eleven or twelve, try to coax her inside. She clearly liked him a lot and I know it's only time before they gain her trust, as I've never seen her as social as she was today. He wants to name her Patches, since she's a long-haired calico. I'm so happy that she's got a bright future in front of her with such a sweet boy and family, as I've been worried. I'm still going to check on her every day. My last endeavor to find a stray a home worked out extraordinarily well. In her case, she found a wonderful home with a neighbor who emails me every now and then to let me know how she's doing.

Sometimes I'm just moved when I hear of animals' plights and feel compelled to do more than just hope things work out.