Friday, November 13, 2009

Another "Nine" post

I know what you're thinking.... I'm obsessed with this upcoming film.

As much as I hate the Weinstein Co. for pushing back the release date to December 25th, I must give them props for knowing what they are doing. They have only released the tiniest of teases and no actual trailer or full-blown promotion. I seriously cannot take it anymore. The foreplay has been going on forever and I am desperate for the real thing. I am praying that the movie will be as good as I hope it will be. Regardless of the end product, it's going to be a huge movie when it opens.

But enough of me talking about it. Here are two newly released clips from the movie.

First up, Kate Hudson singing.

Everyone on the net has been anxious to hear what she sounds like. Moreover, the musical's original composer (Maury Yeston) wrote an entirely new song for her. You've all heard me rant about Kate being in this movie. Aside from her performance in Almost Famous, I think she is a rather lousy actress who makes bad movies. You know I think she has no business being in this movie. Furthermore, her character originally only sang one verse in the musical and they expanded the role for her.

The first time I heard this new song ("Cinema Italiano"), I hated it. It is glaringly different from the other songs in the score. It is completely out of place (e.g. it sounds slightly Madonna-ish). But, dammit, the song is uber catchy. I have not been able to stop playing it or getting it out of my head. Her voice is surprisingly mature and strong. I still hate Kate Hudson. And I still think this song should not be in Nine's score. But I can't help liking it. *sigh*



What do you think?



Secondly, Penelope Cruz's phone sex song - "A Call from the Vatican."

Aside from Fergie's "Be Italian" number, this is the song that is getting (pseudo) massive promotion. People (myself included) have been dying to see and hear her perform this famous song. I say pseudo promotion because the Weinstein Co. have released tons of stills and silent clips of the performance, but never actually let us hear what it sounds like. Until now.



It's a minuscule clip. A mere 20 seconds of footage. It's a tease of a teaser. And now I am truly dying to see the whole thing!

Before I go, I want to share another current obsession...... http://nine-themovie.blogspot.com/

I check this blog multiple times a day just to see if there are any updates on the movie. It is an excellent blog that posts everything and anything relating to the film adaptation of Nine. If you are even remotely interested in this movie, I encourage you to check out this blog.

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Journey to the past and a trip back to reality

I am back from my Bay Area road trip.

I spent my last day of work anxiously awaiting my reunion with my old friends. Then, I was so filled with nervous energy that I woke up at 2am. Unfortunately, I had gone to bed only two hours prior and my alarm was set to go off two hours later. I don't think I actually went back to sleep because I was wide awake when I awoke prematurely. When my alarm finally went off around 4am, I simply turned off the alarm and proceeded gingerly to get ready as though it were 4pm.

I made a necessary pit stop before hopping on the freeway. Tank full and a very strong cup of coffee in my hand, I made my way toward LA to pick up Brandon at his apartment. I arrived at his apartment building and found myself all jittery with excitement. It had been over a year since I bid farewell to him in Boston. I don't know if it showed, but I was totally giddy when we got to see each other again and began our long journey to Berkeley.

The one aspect of this trip that I was dreading was the drive to and from the Bay Area. I hate driving and am horrible when it comes to directions. I had imagined us getting lost in some dreadful place or somehow ending up in Mexico (knowing me, I would find some way to end up heading south instead of north and never realizing it). Luckily, Brandon had a GPS that he brought along. I always knew GPS devices were wonderful things, but now I learned first-hand how amazing those little computers can be. It made the trip a simple and painless thing. It is definitely going to be my next big purchase.

I only made a few stops along the way to Berkeley. One stop at a gas station (somewhere past Oxnard, I think) to use the bathroom and buy some nourishment. The next stop was in King City for gas and another bathroom break. We had originally planned to make a stop before that to eat at In n Out, but we ended up driving past it. We could have stopped for food elsewhere, but we were craving Double-Doubles. Thanks to my Blackberry, we knew that another In n Out was 96 miles away from where we were. So we filled the tank and made our way to that In n Out. And it was worth the wait!

From the land of delicious burgers and fries we drove straight to Berkeley without making any further stops. Aside from the traffic we encountered due to the Bay Bridge being closed, we made it to our hotel without any difficulties. We left LA at about 7am and made it to Berkeley around 3pm or so. We could have arrived sooner, but Brandon had really wanted us take PCH. Taking CA-1 and the 101 made it a longer trip, but it was a really nice drive.

Our friend Bika was waiting for us at the Downtown Berkeley BART station, so we didn't have much time to rest after getting into our room. I didn't mind though because I could not wait for the Boston trio to reunite. It was so wonderful getting to see dear Bika again. I wiped everything but the present from my mind the moment the three of us were together again. At that moment, as far as I was concerned, I was back in my Boston life. We hadn't gone our separate ways. It was the good old days again. It was as it should be.

We spent the day walking around Berkeley. Showing Brandon some of Cal's campus. Walking down Telegraph Ave.. Going into costume shops to look for last-minute accessories. Nothing wild; just experiencing the city. The big event was later that night. We had bought tickets for American Idiot at the Berkeley Rep. Brandon and I ended up with amazing seats. We sat front row center. The actors were just a few feet from us. It was a good show. Clearly inspired by other rock, youth-oriented musicals like RENT, Hair, and Spring Awakening. It made me want to rediscover the Green Day discography. Eventually, the night came to an end and we said goodbye to Bika.

The next day was spent exploring San Francisco. My friend Leya would not be able to meet us until after 5pm, so Brandon and I were on our own until then. We walked along Market Street. I ate my fill of free samples at the Port's farmers' market. From the Port of San Francisco. We walked along all the piers until reaching the famous Pier 39. Brandon really wanted to see the sea lions, so that's exactly what we did. From there we continued walking all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. Brandon wanted to check out Chinatown, so we took a bus back to Market Street and walked to Chinatown and Little Italy. By then it was time for us to head back to Berkeley to change into our Halloween attire. Brandon was Dexter (television's favorite serial killer, not the cartoon child genius) and I was a fancy cat. What the hell is a fancy cat, you say? I wore some dressy, trendy clothes paired with cat ears and a black eye mask. And that, my friends, is a fancy cat. Lame, I know. But I couldn't think of anything else and never had time to go to my parents' house for legitimate costumes.

We BARTed back over to San Francisco and met up with Leya. I hadn't seen Leya since last xmas. The funny thing about Leya and I is that we never see each other. She's one of my best friends, but we only see each other once a year. We've simply accepted that this is the way it's going to be and it works for us. We are great friends regardless. After meeting up with Leya and making the necessary introductions, we had dinner at Cheesecake Factory. I personally would have preferred a restaurant that wasn't a chain, but Brandon had never been to this restaurant before. Our plan was to party at the Castro and the Mission, but the famous Castro Halloween party was basically shut down ever since some guy shot people at the 2007 party. He ended up killing one person and a huge tradition. Bastard.

We walked around the Castro and Mission, but the city was really dead. After a brief interlude at a bar, we eventually met up with another friend of mine. My friend Ash invited us to a party at a local club, but we didn't end up going. Brandon just wasn't feeling up for it, so we said our goodbyes to Ash. I invited Leya to come back to Berkeley with us, but she ultimately decided to stay in the city. So I bid her adieu until next year's meeting. The night ended with Brandon and I passing out in our room while watching tv.

The next morning we left Berkeley at about 8am. We had originally intended to stop in Santa Barbara, but never did. Since we ended up taking the 5 instead of the 101 home, there were no signs announcing nearby cities. We simply forgot about Santa Barbara and didn't remember until we entered LA County. It was a big "oops moment." We decided that we would have to dedicate a future road trip just to Santa Barbara. We arrived in LA at 2pm. I was going to stick around and hang out in my old stomping grounds with Brandon, but I was pretty tired. I just wanted to get home and collapse on the couch. So I once more said goodbye to Brandon.

It was just three days and they flew by, but what a wonderful three days. The only repercussion was the aftermath of my reunion with my old friends. I was really down yesterday at work. I'm normally very introspective, but I couldn't put my finger on why I was so down in the dumps. Then I realized what was wrong. I chose to ignore the fact that my reunion was only temporary and the impact of having to once again say goodbye to my Boston friends had finally hit me. I hate goodbyes more than anything. They tear me up inside. I really wish I weren't so damn sentimental, but if I haven't been able to break this by now...

Oh well. It was good times all around. :)

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

...the San Francisco treat!

It's official... I am going to be spending this weekend in San Francisco.

I leave Friday and come back Sunday. I thought I would be going alone, so I was almost certain that I was not going to end up going. I have two good friends up there, but the prospect of driving up there and back all alone was a deterrent. It all seemed like such a hassle. A 6-hour road trip by myself sounded so boring. I was so tempted to just stay home.

But I just got a text from my Boston friend currently studying in LA saying that he would be able to accept my invitation. So now I won't be going alone, which is great. But the real treat is that it will be a Boston reunion because we'll be meeting up with a another Boston friend who lives in the Bay Area. The three of us lived in the same building during our time in Boston and became very close.

Brandon and I will be driving up to Berkeley on Friday morning. Brandon has heard many a good thing about driving on PCH, so we'll be taking the scenic route up to Nor Cal. Once there, we'll meet up with Bika. We will be spending the day in Berkeley and then seeing American Idiot (the new Green Day musical based on their hit album of the same name) at the Berkeley Rep. The next day we'll be spending it San Francisco with my dear friend Leya. Halloween in San Francisco should be great! Now I just need to come up with a last-minute costume. Any ideas???

And that will be that. A short weekend, but I'm sure it will be a fun one.

I'm so excited!

Cheers,

- R

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dying. Seriously. I'm dying to see this movie!

The Weinstein Co. pushed back the release of Nine to December 18 because they hate me. They did, however, finally release something other than the teaser trailer (which ended up being the actual official trailer) for film adaptation of the movie Nine. I talked all about the upcoming film version and the actual music in a previous post, but I just had to post this video.

To be perfectly honest, it doesn't reveal much of anything new. But it does give a glimpse at the film's opening mixed in with previously shown rehearsal footage. Though I like the instrumentals they use (reminiscent of an orchestral warm-up), I do wish they use the original overture for the opening. It's a unique (as far as I know) overture and a Nine signature because the entire overture is an a capella composition for the women in the cast -- "Overture della Donna."

But enough from me. Enjoy the following video and yearn with me for this movie's release date.

Cheers,

- R



Thanks to Trailer Addict for this video.

Monday, October 19, 2009

You make me feel so young

I'm back, folks!

Forgive the hiatus. I've been busying fulfilling my lifelong dream of climbing Mount Everest and just got back from... er... wherever Mount Everest is.

Ok. So that's a lie. But I have been out living life.

It seems that I have neglected being young and carefree since leaving student life behind me. Back when I was spry and full of youthful vigor, I would go out and be the life of the party. Now I'm 24. I'm practically decrepit.

I recently told a friend that I am past my prime. 2007-2008 were the years I was at my peak. I was the wittiest and most entertaining person people knew. People liked having me around. I felt rather beloved. But that is all over.

The way I put it... for one brief shining moment I was a grape prime for the picking. I had the potential to become a fine wine. But instead I withered on the vine. I shriveled up and became a raisin. And I hate raisins. Next stop: prune. Raisins become prunes, right?

Lately, however, I've been changing. Yes, I work all the time and have started reviewing again. But I am making having some fun a priority.

My co-workers have become my new group of friends. I've been seeing a lot of one girl in particular. She has reintroduced me to the world of debauchery. For example, one night we drove to West Hollywood for a night of bar hopping. We got to The Abbey (one of my favorite bars in LA) around 11pm or so. Drank and danced a while, but then left to find other bars. We left LA around 2:30am and I got home at around 4am. I slept for 3 hours and then got up to get ready for work. It was insane for me to have such a crazy night when I knew I had to open the next day, but I did it anyway. I was half-asleep and still a bit drunk when I arrived at work, but it was all worth it!

My recent escapades, though less wild (and by less wild I mean that we stayed in Orange County), have been just as fun. My activities have ranged from closing down bars to catching a late flick.

It may sound silly to you, but I had seriously forgotten that life can be fun. I am enjoying my life at the moment. It is becoming a healthy (well, arguably healthy) mix of work/responsibility and fun.

I truly believe that that's what has been missing from my life. It is the reason there have been so many gaps between posts on this blog. I had lost my creative muse and found it increasingly harder to write. But these new friends and experiences have refreshed me. In the words of Romeo, I am "new baptized."

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roger Federer????

I'm sure we all get physically compared to someone.

Perhaps it's someone you know like a friend or a family member. For example, I've had friends tell me I look like my friend Brandon. Aside from one picture in which we kinda... sort of... slightly resemble each other, I still cannot see the resemblance between us.

Or to a third party (e.g. "You look just like my friend ________!").

Or you could even be compared to a celebrity. The celebrity comparison can really go both ways; it can be a compliment or an insult. If you're lucky, you are told you look like an attractive celebrity. I've been told on multiple occasions that I look like Wilmer Valderrama, specifically as Fez on That 70s Show. I do not consider this comparison a compliment in the least. Being compared to a douchebag playing a stereotype is not flattering.

Yesterday at work, however, I got a new one. I was helping a family of 5 and one by one they began telling me how I look like Roger Federer.

"You look like someone," says the patriarch.

"Ummm.... I do?" I reply.

"I got it! You look like Roger Federer. Yes, that's it. You look like Roger Federer."

"You do!" says Daughter #1. "You totally look like Federer."

"The tennis player?" I ask incredulously.

"Yeah! You look a lot like him," says Daughter #2.

"Well... thank you. I suppose," I say with an awkward smile.


Later that night I told my dad about this alleged resemblance.

"They said I look like Roger Federer. But isn't he Swiss?"

His response: "He is..... but... hmmm... huh..... yeah."

"Yeah what?"

"I guess you do kinda resemble him. I wouldn't say you look just like him, but I could see some similarities."

I looked him up on Google Images and, honestly, I don't see it.



For one thing, my nose is not nearly that big. At least, I hope not. Also, I don't think my eyebrows are that nice. But I suppose this picture bears some slight resemblance to me, particularly when I grow out my hair. We kinda smile the same; our cheeks cause our small eyes to look even smaller.

But women seem to find him very attractive, so I guess I will take the comparison as a big compliment.

And you, dear readers? Have you ever been told you look like someone -- celebrity or otherwise -- and just can't figure how or why?

If so, do tell!

Cheers,

- R

Friday, September 4, 2009

An unwelcome homecoming

Seeing as I finally got some time off from work, I decided to head over to my parents' house for some much needed alone time. My parents wouldn't be coming home until the weekend, so I had two days all to myself.

After an hour-long drive in the heat that won't seem to go away, I pulled up to that oh so familiar driveway. I bid the remote to open the garage door. I begin to slowly drive in. But I stop. Something is wrong.

There is a bit of a mess. Stuff has been knocked down. I drive in an inch more, but once again come to a sudden stop.

I see a shape on the ground. There is something in front of the door leading into the house. My mind races with ideas as to what the shape is, but I can't quite discern its identity. I have a feeling I know what it is, but I really don't want to be right. I take off my sunglasses to get a better look at the unidentified object. Then my suspicions are confirmed.

It's an animal. It had yet to move, but I was still unsure that it was actually dead. I finally turn off the car, but still don't want to get out of the vehicle. Like I said, the animal could just be sleeping.

I eventually get out of my car. The animal blocking the entrance to my house is... er, was an opossum. A juvenile opossum, to be exact. It looked dead. But what to do? I did what any 24 year old man would do in this situation.

"Mom! There's a dead animal in the garage!"
"What? How do you know?"
"I'm looking at it!"
"Well, how did it get in?"
"How should I know? I don't live here."
"Just pick it up with something and dispose of it."
"Are you insane!? I'm not touching it! What if it isn't really dead? What if it's just... umm... playing 'possum?"
"Throw something at it."
"Ok."

I throw some balled up napkins at the opossum. Nothing.

"It didn't move."
"Then it's dead."
"But what if it's really good at pretending it's dead?"
"Oh just pick it up with a broom or something and get rid of it."
"Can't I just leave it here for you to dispose of it?"
"You are NOT leaving that carcass in my garage! Now man up and dispose of the giant rat."

I hang up the phone and stare at the dead body before me. I must have stood there for at least 10 minutes before actually doing something. Finally, testosterone returns to me and I take action. I grab a broom and prepare to transport the dead animal to the garbage. But first I poke it a few times just to make sure it is really dead.

After several pokes I conclude that the opossum is definitely not going to suddenly rise to its feet and viciously attack me. I take the broom and carefully try to slide it under the body. Unfortunately, it doesn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. I continuously drop the opossum and toss it around. I find myself apologizing incessantly to the dead body.

"So sorry."
"Oops! Sorry!"
"Oh god, I'm sorry."
"Ack! Sorry."

After what seemed like an eternity I manage to dump the body into our garbage. My dark deed was at last complete and I could put it behind me.

I confess that a large part of me was tempted to merely back out of the garage, walk into the house through the front door, and pretend that there was not a rotting corpse in my garage. I could easily have left the body for my parents deal with. I was certainly tempted.

At least now I have an interesting story to tell my co-workers.....

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Things I overheard #13

The following overheard conversation requires no introduction or conclusion. I think it speaks for itself.

Customer: "These shoes are great. I'll take this pair."

Customer's daughter: "Mom, can you buy me these shoes?"

Customer: "No. I've already bought you shoes."

Customer's daughter: "You suck!"

Customer: "Only your daddy."

Me: ......................

In which I borrow a heading style from a fellow blogger

Because I could not come up with a sufficiently pithy title for this particular post, I decided to take a page from my blogging buddy over at Badass Geek. So thank you, my good man.

The other day I actually locked myself out of the house.

I grabbed my things and made my way out to the car. But wait... where were my keys? Oh shit, I thought to myself. I checked my pockets several times as though the fifth pocket pat would reveal that familiar metallic jingling. But no. I had indeed left my keys inside the house.

As my luck would have it, this was also the one time I closed all the windows before exiting the house. I could not even ask the neighbors to let me go through their backyards so that i could climb in through a window. I called my work and let them know that I was standing on my driveway trying to figure out a way to get to my keys.

There I stood. Cursing the heavens and any name I could think of.

"Shit. Crap. Fuck. Damn. Bitch. Cock. Ass."

I was like a sailor with Tourette's.

The only people with keys where my parents, but they were merrily on their way to a 2-week vacation in Cancun. Figures. "Who else? Who else? " I kept repeating to myself. I vaguely remembered that an aunt and uncle had an extra key.

I called up my uncle. "No. Sorry. Don't have a copy of the key. Try your aunt."

"I'm sorry, honey. I don't have one either. I lent it to your uncle Pepe for some reason and never got it back."

There was no way in hell that I was going to call him. I would either pay an arm and a leg for a locksmith or try to break a window before I would ever call him. Why, you ask? The story surrounding this particular uncle is long and drama-filled.

Let me put it like this.... This uncle of mine and his venomous snake of a wife are the most greedy, egotistical, vindictive people I know. Their daughter is even worse. The girl is most likely to become a sociopath. I despise them. I would never ask them for the slightest bit of help because they would never let me live it down. They would have me be in their debt for the rest of my life. You are probably thinking that I am exaggerating, but I most certainly am not.

Like I said, calling that uncle was not an option.

Eventually it came to me. My neighbor. I think she was given a key in case of emergencies. Luckily, she was home. And she was given a key for emergencies. Turns out that she would be out golfing, but was waiting for a new toilet to arrive. Thank god for that toilet. I used her spare key to retrieve mine and even made it to work on time. Barely, but I made it.

So really this post should be titled thusly (and I'm still borrowing from Badass Geek on this one):

In which a toilet comes to my rescue.

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Call me Lemming

I've succumbed to peer pressure. I just got myself a Blackberry.

It didn't really hit me until I was driving home. My god, what have I just done? I thought to myself. I can no longer judge others when I am now part of the crowd.

But let me explain. I switched to the crackberry out of need rather than desire. My life has been consumed by this job of mine. All I do is work, so I no longer have the time to just sit down at my computer. Moreover, this lack of time has resulted in my missing out on emails from editors. If I want to be a successful freelance journalist, then I need to be constantly connected.

That being said, I concluded that I needed to switch to a smart phone.

Let's just hope this is not the first step on the road to degradation. Pray that you won't find me wearing two polo shirts with the collars popped and sipping on iced tea while texting away on my Blackberry during dinner.

Cheers,

- R

Friday, July 31, 2009

The future

I haven't yet mentioned this, but I got news from my boss last week. They would like me to stay on as a regular employee. Yes, folks. I now have a permanent job. I can stop worrying that I would soon have to start seeking employment elsewhere. As you can surely imagine, this is a great weight off my shoulders.

So let us raise a glass to my good fortunes!

Also in the future is the arrival of my Boston buddy, Brandon. He was one of my first grad school friends and I am excited to be reunited. He will soon begin an epic road trip from Boston to a new life in LA. He will be finishing up his schooling on the West Coast and then, life allowing, stay on indefinitely.

I feel really guilty though. Another great Boston friend also came to LA to finish up grad school and is still living here. I came back from England, but have not spent a single moment with her. At first there were legitimate reasons for not driving up to visit her. There was that month where I had the neverending flu. Then one thing or another got in the way. And then my fruitless job hunt drove me into a depression that took me away from even my best friend for a very long period of time. I don't think any of these circumstances are my fault, but maybe they are. Life just kept getting in the way. I just feel guilty that I'm in a better place with this friend as opposed to my other good friend. On the plus side, they'll both be in LA and I can make up for lost time with the both of them. I'm sure everything will work itself out.

And now I raise my glass to your good fortunes!

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From the twisted mind of Roberto

It's a fact that I have the strangest and most vivid dreams.

Take last night's show for example......

It featured an opulent mansion that was the site of a fancy dress party. This mansion belonged to my best friend's ex. Emily and Richard Gilmore (of The Gilmore Girls) were my grandparents. I had to fetch a tuxedo from within the mansion, but had to convince the butler that I was actually performing a task for the lady of the house and not just trying to steal the tuxedo. The butler gave me a choice between the Berton (pronounced with a French accent) or the Burberry tuxedo. I chose the Berton. Upon acquiring the tuxedo I was informed that my essay (I apparently had submitted an essay into a writing contest) was chosen for publication. The four judges could only speak French, so we start having a conversation in French. After leaving the French-speaking judges, I enter the party inside the mansion. Within I find my high school French teacher. Also there are some of my Nordstrom co-workers, but I recognize them as classmates. I start having a drink to celebrate my win, but my former teacher informs me that no drinking is allowed at school functions. I apologize (still in French), but she allows me to finish my drink since it's a special occasion. At this point my friend's ex comes home and I follow him up to his room. I help him fold a large wool blanket and put it on his sister's water bed.

Then I wake up.

Someone make sense of this for me. I have no explanation whatsoever. Then again I can never explain any of my dreams.

Like the one where I am flying around in a little rocket ship. My ship is hit by an enemy missile and I crash into the water surrounding San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. I then realize that there is a shark in the water. I stand/float perfectly still so that it won't attack me. The shark puts its face right next to mine and I can feel one of its teeth graze my cheek as it wonders whether I'm actually alive. I woke up frightened and the physical feeling of that graze still present on my cheek.

But the most terrifying dream I have ever had was one that bothered me all the next day. I dreamed that my sister was late in coming home. My mom and I go out looking for her. We eventually find her on the driveway of some house, her body lifeless and limbs all askew like a rag doll. We discern that she was raped, murdered, and thrown off the 2nd story balcony of the house we find her at. I could physically feel my body tensing up as my mind registered the shocking image. Then my mother emits a blood-curling scream that is filled with such indescribable pain, disbelief, and rage. I woke up from this dream a sweaty and terrified mess. My poor girlfriend lying in bed next to me was just as scared because I practically threw her off the bed as I violently awoke.

Of course, not all my dreams are nearly this exciting. There was one where I simply stood at a sink and shaved. That's it. Nothing else happened. I just watched myself shaving. I woke up from that one confused and bored out of my mind.

What is the most bizarre/scary/vivid/boring dream you've ever had? I can't possibly be the only person with a crazy imagination.

Share with me, people.

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things I overheard #12

Was at work when I witnessed some Grade A cattiness. This short-haired blonde woman was checking out Reef flip flops while on her cell phone. She looked and sounded very Orange County. If you don't know what I mean by that, then just imagine the most haughty, egotistical woman you know.... and double it. That is what I mean by a woman that is so Orange County. A very Orange County guy is also haughty and egotistical, but blended with a large dose of douchebaggery. This place and lifestyle goes to people's heads and makes them believe that everything they do and say is oh so important.

That being said, on to the story. Imagine that every word reeks of overblown indignation.

"Oh my god, Lauren. Can you believe Kate didn't invite me to her wedding? Not that I would have gone anyway! But I should have been invited. *scoff* I know I didn't invite her to my wedding either. *sigh* I guess you're right.... Why would she want me at her wedding when I didn't want her at mine? But still! I should have received an invitation. I swear, some people are so petty!"

I was not shocked in the least by this woman's behavior. These are the kind of people that live in Orange County. I'm used to the BS. What I did do was try my best to contain my laughter.

Also, I could not help but be reminded of my own family. With the exception of one, all my aunts are just like this woman. The women my uncles married are the quintessential backstabbing, two-faced, hypocritical "frenemies." At any one time they are sweet talking one sister-in-law while talking shit on another, all while oozing self-righteousness from every pore.

I often get asked why I hate living here so much when it looks like one giant vacation resort with such perfect weather. Yes, it's pretty. Yes, the weather is pleasant. But oh this place, that has such people in it!

Welcome to Orange County.

Cheers,

- R

Friday, July 10, 2009

My raisin and me

I've been staring at this blank page for the past.... well, I won't admit how long I've been staring at this blank page. Let's just say it's been a while. Damn writer's block!

It's been far too long since my last post, so I will fix this situation by presenting another blast from the past. That's right, folks. "Classic Roberto" is back! It's been a while since the last one, hasn't it? If I don't have the time to write an original post, then I might as well bring out some of my past writings from limbo.

Today's piece is a bit of creative writing I did back in journalism school. We had to eat a raisin and describe the experience. It was supposed to teach us some sort of lesson about writing, but I'm not sure any of us actually learned something. All I know is that I don't care for raisins and here was this man telling me, "Here. Stick this in your mouth.*"

Enjoy!

Cheers,

- R

* Yes, I am very much aware of how filthy this sounds. I love a good double-entendre, don't you?


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I’ve never felt more self-conscious about eating a raisin. I’ve also never put much thought, or any thought for that matter, into my experience with a raisin. It’s not often someone tells me to eat a raisin and be in the moment. Moment? What moment? Usually I just put them in my mouth and that is the end of it.

Well, actually, I never eat raisins… unless they are covered in chocolate. I find that most foods simply taste better when they are covered in chocolate, or fried. But I digress. Back to the raisin.

It goes in my mouth and I realize how similar the texture is to that of a rubber band. “How do you know what a rubber band tastes like?” you say. To that I reply, “I was curious.”

I chew the tiny dark fruit for what seems like an eternity. It’s amazing how long you can make a single raisin last. Spending so much time chewing a raisin is also a bit awkward. I can feel the raisin’s tart gooey innards slowly seeping out of the wrinkly, rubbery exoskeleton.

The awkwardness continues as that same rubbery and wrinkly texture inexplicably reminds me of “The Golden Girls.” Now it’s just uncomfortable. “Oh God, I’m eating Sophia!”

I can never look at a raisin the same way again. At least, one that isn’t covered in chocolate.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I just had an orgasm



I just want to say that seeing these promotional shots for Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of Alice in Wonderland have caused me to spontaneously climax. I am now in need of new pants. That is all.



Cheers,

- R

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Manners are so last year

Why are people so damn rude?

I'm speaking to you, Miss Chews Gum Like A Horse Eating Hay. And you, Miss Never Gets Off Her Cell Phone.

I don't care if people chew gum. It's the people who chew gum like it's their job to ensure we see and hear them chewing it.

"So *smack* can *smack* I *smack* get *smack* this *smack* in *smack* a *smack* 6 *smack* and *smack* 6 1/2 *smack**smack*?"

I think I demonstrate a lot of restraint by not slapping it out of their mouths.

But worse are the people whose phones are permanently attached to their ears. If you are having that important a conversation that you absolutely cannot hang up, then you probably shouldn't be out shopping for shoes. Your attention should be soley on your conversation.

The absolute worst was one woman who apparently was having the most important conversation of her life. She came in talking on her phone. Grabbed the shoes she wanted me to get her. Used her fingers to signal the size she needed and walked off.

I came back with the shoes she so politely requested. She was still on the phone. I had her sit down to try on her selection, but I seemingly picked a bad spot because her reception cut out.

"Aww.. no reception," she commented. She gets up and finds herself a cell phone-friendly seat to continue talking. I bring the shoes to her new spot. She tries on her shoes whilst talking on the phone. Then, still talking and without really looking at me, hands me a shoe box and her credit card. I bring over her purchase and she walks away, still talking.

What. The. Hell?

Is it so bloody difficult to say, "I'll call you back"?

Apparently so.

Dear readers, I hope you treat other people with respect. Courtesy is neither painful nor a waste of time.

Cheers,

- R

Friday, June 26, 2009

Things I overheard #11

This is a very special edition of Things I Overheard. People, your children are perverted. The days of innocent and pure minds are long gone.

I am sitting at Starbucks, killing some time before my appointment with my hair stylist. There are two elementary school-aged girls sitting behind me; no older than 10, I'd say. One of the girls is asking the other riddles -- "I bark. I am man's best friend. What am I?"

But one of the riddles rocked me to my core.

"What pops easily?"

Being the dirty boy I am, I immediately thought the following: Virginity *chuckle*

Without missing a beat, however, the girl quickly answered:

"A cherry."

The two girls start giggling.

"You didn't let me finish... *giggle*... It's filled with helium."

"Oh. A Balloon." *giggle*

My jaw hit the table. I was in a state of shock. Did I actually just hear a little girl make a dirty joke?

What the hell are parents letting their kids do these days!? What kind of exposure are they getting that their minds would wander to the sexual?

I shudder to think how any child of mine would turn out! My poor, poor imaginary offspring.

Cheers,

- R

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dirty Minds



"Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce." (Burger King)



I know I have a filthy mind and am usually the one to take things straight to the gutter, but......

Wow. Just wow.

Oh, ok. I admit it. I wish I had come up with this. It's too funny. The possibilities are endless: "So I was downing a 7-incher last night..." "Guess what I had in my mouth the other day..." "Think I could fit the whole thing in my mouth..." "Mmm... *cough* *gag* *cough*"

Hahahaha...

Cheers,

- R

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's been a while

I have not written a post in quite some time. So let me get you up-to-date....

I work practically every day. On my day off (because I get one a week) I will either sleep/veg out or hang with Mariana. I've also been using my days off to review shows for various papers. I'll be covering several shows for the Orange County Register. The first one is Saturday ("Late Night Catechism" -- should be really fun), to which I will be taking Mariana along. Actually, she'll be accompanying me to all those shows. Yay for press tickets!

And that's my life in a nutshell. Not bloody exciting is it? Ok. Ok. The nights I get to be a theatre critic are pretty cool.

Oh, and one interesting thing has happened. I had lunch with my boss. It wasn't planned. He just saw me waiting in line at Wahoo's and decided to eat there too. I had a magazine with me (usually the latest issue of The New Yorker, but it was the newest Esquire this time), but decided to be social and invite him to join me. He did, and it was not at all awkward. He got to know me on a personal level, which is never a bad thing. I told him about my academic life, my life in London, my career goals, and how I am freelancing.

Though I occasionally can't face him due to my tendency to make stupid mistakes, my boss is truly a nice guy. He expects you to do your job correctly, but is otherwise a rather chill dude.

So that pretty much wraps up the update. Not all that interesting. I've become a very boring man since starting this all-consuming full-time job. At least the money's good.

Hope your life is much more fun than mine. And if it is, think of me slaving away in the shoe department of Nordstrom's. When you're happy and carefree, think of me climbing up and down stairs over and over and over again for 8 hours.

Cheers,

- R

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The feline in me

I've come to the conclusion that I am a cat. At least when it comes to girls.

Something catches a cat's attention. The cat is very interested in said thing. Then the cat becomes bored and moves on. I'm the same way.

A girl catches my eye. I'll flirt. Maybe I'll pursue something. Maybe I'll even enter into a relationship with her. But sooner or later I get bored.

I can't help it. It makes me sound like an ass, but I'm not a bad guy. I'm not a womanizer in any way. I simply have a short attention span. I get bored with younger girls (I realize this time and time again, and yet I never learn). I get bored with purely physical relationships (my mind needs attention too). I get bored when things get "comfortable."

A girl has to be amazing to really keep my interest. I need to be intellectually stimulated and she has to have a sense of humor. I realized, however, that it takes more than just having a great sense of humor. She needs to make me laugh as well. It's exhausting and rather tedious having to be the entertainer all the time.

"So why this confession?" you may be asking yourself.

My friend Leya and I were discussing our current crushes (wow... I haven't used the word "crush" since grade school). I mentioned this girl that has caught my eye. And she warned me: "Remember, Roberto. Younger girls don't keep your interest. You need to be intellectually stimulated."

After her warning I started looking at her in a different light. I immediately started losing interest. I started noticing faults. I realized she doesn't speak much. That's not a good sign.

We'll see if my interest holds.

I wonder if I'll ever find that one girl that will knock me off my feet. It's not that I am dreaming of the "perfect girl." I just feel that it will take the dream girl to make me start believing in love.

So to all of you who aren't like me, I salute you. Perhaps one day I too will know the happiness you feel or have felt.

Cheers,

- R

Monday, June 8, 2009

Take my breath away

This story started off as a Things I Overheard post, but Fate had other things in mind for me.

I was walking to work when I happened to pass an older couple with a younger man. I naturally assumed him to be their 30 year old son. They were discussing what to have for dinner that night.

"Well, there are plenty of options. We could have Italian, Mexican, French..."

"I don't even know what French food is!"

Me being the elitist foodie that I am (much like Anthony Bourdain reveals in his new book, I too was born elitist), I gasped from the shock of his confession. Not. Know. What. French. Food. Is?

Unfortunately, I also happened to be chewing gum at this point. So when I dramatically gasped I also sucked in my wad of spearmint gum. I was now literally gasping for air.

They kept walking. I was choking.

So this is how I'm going to go, I thought to myself while trying to hack up my minty adversary.

I eventually managed to dislodge the gum from my throat. I walked into work a little sweaty, a little out of breath, and happy to be alive.

The moral of the story: Being snob can be all fun and games until someone starts choking.

Cheers,

- R

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Decisions, decisions.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am one of the (if not the) most indecisive people they know.

Hamlet had nothing on me. He said "to be or not to be" and then moved on. If that was my soliloquy, it would have gone a little something like this....

"To be or not to be? Hmmm... to be? Not to be? Umm... To be. Yeah. To be. No. Not to be. Or to be? To be or not to be? To be or not to be? Oh, damn it all! Who's got a coin?"

It all stems from my overwhelming fear of failure. I so hate to make the wrong decision. Even when it comes to trivial things like wearing a blue shirt or a grey shirt. Which argyle socks to wear that day. I always pack for a trip the night before, but I spend the day (or occasionally days) making a list of every last thing I will pack. It doesn't matter if I am just packing a day bag. I will go over every possibility until I am adequately satisfied (because I am never completely satisfied) with my decisions.

And don't even get me started on my issues with ordering food or drinks. I have been known to just order what someone else orders, even if it's the complete stranger waiting in line in front of me. I always order last because I am never 100% sure of what I want. And when I receive my food or beverage I realize what I really wanted to order was something else. Or wish I had ordered what my companion ordered.

My best friend doesn't let me get away with it. "I'll have the same," I tell the waiter. "No, he won't," she'll quickly add. She will then make me order something different or order for me. I always keep my fingers crossed that she will order for me because a) she has excellent taste, and b) she takes the pressure off of me.

Perhaps one day I'll overcome this damn annoyance. Old dogs can learn new tricks, right? Right?

Cheers,

- R

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things I overheard #10

This one is pretty nuts.

Directly in front of me is a pair going over a business contract.

It is a younger man (30s, I'd say) and an older man (50+). I can't make out if there is a family resemblance between them without being caught, but they definitely know each other. Oh wait, he just called him "Dad."

The son seems to know (or at least thinks he understands) the world of business and business laws, but the dad is not completely certain of it all. The son is totally frustrated with his dad's naivete and lack of knowledge. He clearly had asked his son for help in working out a contract between him and some partner/associate/what-have-you. Big mistake. The son has no patience.

"These legal terms are business 101! Why do you find them so hard to understand!?"

He just whipped out his laptop to bring up an online legal dictionary.

Though awkward because they are close enough for me to steal their drink, it is too funny. For two reasons, and I'll explain.

Reason #1-- The cocky/douchebag-y son totally reminds me of my cocky/douchebag-y uncle who also fancies himself an ace negotiator/businessman. His impatience with his father is like listening to my uncle talking business with my grandparents.

And, I admit, it reminds me of past arguments I've had with my mother ("Just listen, Mom. I don't know how else to explain it!").

Reason #2-- I've previously discussed how people don't seem to care what they share in public spaces. Funnier still is people who have no qualms whatsoever about making loud exclamations or shameless statements when people are right next to them. This pair is one example.

Another is a pair of girls that were standing in front of me on the escalator at work. "Why deny who I am? I'm a bitch. I like to get drunk. I like to fuck random guys. So why the fuck should I pretend otherwise? "

At this point the other girl turns around to face me and observe my reaction to her friend's statements. I just look ahead. The shameless friend then comments, "See. Like right now. I don't care that he just heard what I said. It's all true, so why be embarrassed by it?"

So you see, eavesdropping is not always necessary. Sometimes you get to listen to/observe juicy stuff without any work on your part. It can happen right in front of you.

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tagged! 50 random questions

JB tagged me in her evil game of survey tag. http://blackthoughts-jb.blogspot.com/2009/05/tagged-50-random-questions.html (for some reason Blogger isn't linking properly, so am just posting the full link here).

I always sucked at tag.

So here are my answers to 50 random question.....

1. Where were you 3 hours ago?
Work

2. Who are you in love with?
Natalie Portman. She doesn't know it yet, but she is having my babies. Oh, and Shakira. She is also having my babies.

3. Have you ever eaten a crayon?
Nope, but I did try a bit of play-doh.

4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
Nope.

5. When is the last time you went to the mall?
Today. I work at a mall.

6. Are you wearing socks right now?
No.

7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000?
Yes.

8. When was the last time you drove out of town?
Today.

9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
Indeed I have. To see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Ricardo.

10. Are you hot?
I'd say devastatingly good looking.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Tea.

12. What are you wearing right now?
Shorts, shirt, and a hoodie.

13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
The rain does it for me. If I'm not feeling lazy, then I take it to the car wash.

14. Last food that you ate?
A croissant.

15. Where were you last week at this time?
Work.

16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
A tie.

17. When is the last time you ran?
Hahaha.... me? Run?

18. What's the last sporting event you watched?
Bits and pieces of the last Lakers game.

19. What is your favorite animal?
Hippo.

20. Your dream vacation?
Paris, France with Mariana.

21. Last person's house you were in?
Mariana's.

22. Worst injury you've ever had?
Umm... I guess when I sprained my elbow. Or perhaps when I ran into a pole and broke my front tooth in half.

23. Have you been in love?
Nah.

24. Do you miss anyone right now?
Of course!

25. Last play you saw?
Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
My wit and charm. ;p

27. What are your plans for tonight?
Sleep.

28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment?
No clue. Been quite a while.

29. Next trip you are going to take?
Who knows.... but I hope it's sooner rather than later.

30. Ever go to camp?
Nope.

31. Were you an honor roll student in school?
Oui.

32. What do you want to know about the future?
When I'll have my dream job.

33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
Versace Man.

34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
Umm.. not that I know of.

35. Where is your best friend?
At her apartment.

36. How is your best friend?
She;'s my favorite of all people.

37. Do you have a tan?
Naturally tan, baby.

38. What are you listening to right now?
"The Way You Look Tonight."

39. Do you collect anything?
It used to be state quarters. But I finished that collection.

40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
My family.

41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
Never. Knock on wood.

42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?
Of course! Always.

43. What does your last text message say?
"Love you too!"

44. Do you like hot sauce?
Nope.

45. Last time you took a shower?
This morning.

46. Do you need to do laundry?
In due time.

47. What is your heritage?
Mexicano.

48. Are you someone's best friend?
I'm thrilled to say that I am also my best friend's best friend.

49. Are you rich?
In my mind.

50. What were you doing at 12am last night?
Watching tv.


Tag. You're it!

* Ambika
* Brandon
* Ron

Tag rules for 50 Random Questions:

1. Name & link back to the person who tagged you

2. Answer & post the 50 random questions on your blog

3. Tag some bloggers to play along by naming them at the end of your post & by leaving them a comment on their blog letting them know that they have been selected to answer 50 Random Question

(I picked 3 people, but feel free to pick however many people you want)

Just keep it cool, boy

I mentioned in my last post that I went out for a drinks with a co-worker. In said post I also mentioned that he told me his philosophy for work, and that I would give it a shot.

The way he approaches this job and, indeed, any job he has ever held is to just relax. He is simply happy to have a job. He knows that there are so many harder jobs out there. With selling women's shoes, he knows that he has it easy. All we do is talk to women all day and bring out some light boxes. What could be easier than that? He doesn't obsess over his sales figures or let the job stress him out. He'll do his best to sell the woman a shoe, but he doesn't fret if it doesn't happen. He won't push or over promote a shoe because it sometimes turns off the customer. He just does his job in a relaxed and cheerful manner, singing random songs throughout the stock room.

Well, dear readers, it does work.

I've been approaching the job in the same manner for two days now. I have not been coming back comatose or in great pain. The amount of customers I have to deal with or amount of work has not lessened in the least, but it no longer stresses me out. In fact, I've felt like the past two days of work were great days. Before I would have been drenched in sweat and stressed to point of insomnia. But I've been good now. Although I have to occasionally remind myself to just be chill because my inner perfectionist wants me to be the best salesman.

This way of working is so simple. Why did I not try it before?

If you are not in your dream job or stress out like me, then I highly recommend you try this approach as soon as possible.

Cheers,

- R

Sunday, May 24, 2009

After-work drinks

Tonight I did something I've never done before. And that makes me a bit sad.

I went out for drinks with a co-worker after work.

It was really spontaneous and random. He was trying to guess my age (he got it wrong) and found out we were the same age. "We should get a drink," he said. I said we should, but then continued working.

After finishing our shift, he asked if I still wanted to get a drink with him. I hadn't thought he was actually serious. "Sure," I said.

We went to the brewery right there in the shopping center and had a great time. He had beers and I had my usual (gin and tonics). At first, we were making small talk. But we ended up talking about some rather deep stuff. We discussed religion, personal philosophies, and the best way to look at life. And, of course, there was talk of work, women, and sex. Common subjects in male conversation.

The co-worker in question was the guy I mentioned in a previous post. The guy who sings and talks to shoes. I thought he was just a chill guy, but he is actually a very deep thinker with an amazing outlook on life. He gave me great advice on how to approach this job of ours. I took it to heart.

I really like the guy. I can see us doing this again and often.

The fact that I'm writing after getting home from work is proof that it had a good effect on me. It energized me. I need to learn to relax and not let my work take control of my life.

Cheers,

- R

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cute

"Those are so cute!"
"Cute!"
"They look really cute on you!"
"So cute!"
"These are really cute."
"Aren't these cute?"
"These would look so cute!"
"They're cute, right?"

Cute. Cute. Cute. Cute. Cute.

I've said "cute" more times in the past week than I have in my entire lifetime. I've said the word so many times it has lost all meaning.

"Gorgeous" is too strong a word and I can't bring myself to say "fabulous."

At times I leave my body and look at myself in disgust.....

"Look at yourself. Do you hear yourself speaking? You disgust me! If I weren't so attached to you, I'd throw you down the stairs. Oh my god, you said it again! That's it. I'm leaving."

One thing is for certain. I now hate shoes. I will never go shoe shopping with a woman again. I don't care how much they tell me they love me or what unspeakable sexual favors they will perform. I will not go.

Oh, and my co-workers were right. You do end up hating women. Sports channel and beer hat, here I come!

Cheers,

- R

p.s. it's been over a week since my last post! This job is taking away valuable blogging time. Do you think I could convince the powers that be that I need to go on "Blogging Leave"?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Nine" - November 25, 2009




Words cannot express how wicked excited I am for this movie! I'm looking forward more to this than the remaining Harry Potter films. Big statement, I know.

This musical is, admittedly, flawed. The story is at times confusing and rather convoluted. But oh how exciting the score is. The music and featured performances (which, with the right performer, can be utterly amazing. Just look up Jane Krakowski singing "A Call to the Vatican" -- which will be sung by Penelope Cruz in the movie version -- on YouTube. You won't be sorry!) make this one of my favorite musicals.

With the exception of Kate Hudson (who has no business being in this movie, or any movie for that matter) and Fergie (whose rendition of "Be Italian" on the trailer I find very impressive), the cast is comprised of Oscar winners. Acting will be excellent, that is a given. Singing, I am praying will be good. Regardless, I am dying to see what Rob Marshall does with this musical. I can already see in the trailer that he used elements of the original Broadway production, the 2003 revival, and the source -- Felini's "8 1/2." Seeing as a lot of the musical occurs inside the main character's mind, Marshall should be in familiar waters as he gave Chicago a similar treatment.

Is it November yet???

Cheers,

- R

The muffin story

In a previous post, I alluded to my habit of talking to inanimate objects. I said I would relate a certain tale, if reminded. Alas, I was reminded (thanks, Bika) and must make good on my promise. And so another one of my embarrassments enters the public forum.

Back in college at UCLA I would commit the same mistake time and time again. The dining halls were the battleground. The dessert section my enemy. The battle began whenever I would get up to get a dessert. It's starting to sound like a battle against the bulge, isn't it?

I would peruse all the wonderful delicacies. What to get? What to get? Brownie? No. Rice Krispie treat? Gross. Ice cream? Hmmm.... maybe. And there it was. A tray of muffins. I normally don't like muffins, but these muffins appeared to be chocolate chip. You'll find that I'm all over anything with chocolate chips. I dislike pancakes, but put some chocolate chips in them and I'll gobble them up.

Now, you may have noticed I said "appeared to be." What I always discovered upon returning to my table with my bounty was that my chocolate chip muffin was actually a blueberry muffin. You would think I wouldn't make the same mistake so many times, but then I wouldn't be Roberto. I'm dense like that.

This one time, however, was a little different. I went up to the dessert section and reached for my "chocolate chip muffin." But I stopped. I was wise to the muffin's deception. I knew that it was a blueberry muffin in disguise. I was not fooled this time. But, me being me, I simply did not turn around and return to my friends. That would have been far too logical and normal for me. I confronted that deceitful pastry.

"Oh no you don't! You're not going to trick me this time, little muffin. I know you're actually filled with blueberries. Not chocolate chips. Better luck next time!"

I showed that muffin who was the boss. Unfortunately, as usually happens whenever I verbalize my thoughts, I forget that other people can hear what I'm saying. In this case, there was another student standing right next to me. I looked up to see him staring in disbelief. Had he really just witnessed a guy talking to a muffin? *sigh* He did.

What do you say in such a situation? Is there really a proper protocol for having been discovered in conversation with an inanimate object?

I grabbed my tray, put my head down, and scurried back to my table.

I'd like to say that I never did something stupid like that again. I'd like to say it, but then that would make me a liar.

Cheers,

- R

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Things I overheard #9

Just some quick snippets I overheard while having lunch or at work.

"I'm either going to get pregnant or adopt an Indian baby." (my favorite snippet of the day.)

"Not much has happened in bed lately." (the guy sounded so sad when he was telling his friend. lol)

"Do these sandals make my toenail fungus less apparent?" (*shudder*)


I had job shadowing today, so I wasn't as focused on the conversations around me. I actually got to do some sales completely on my own. It was pretty cool. Looks like I'll start selling on Friday instead of next week. Wish me luck!

Cheers,

- R

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should I be worried?

One of my new co-workers finally spoke to me. Others have, but I don't consider "Hi, I'm __________" much of a conversation.

He turns out to be a funny and very loud (in a good way) personality. He rather reminds me of, er, me. When he is working/bored, he sings random tunes that range from hip hop to pop to Disney songs. He talks to the shoes (considering I've been caught talking to a muffin [a story for another time.... if you remind me] and have been doing this myself, I don't consider this strange at all). Changes song lyrics to accommodate the task at hand (I do this too). Overall, a guy I will get along with.

But he did say one thing that stuck with me.

"Get out while you still can. Do you really want to get into this at this point of your life?"

Hmmm... don't know what to think about this comment.

Cheers,

- R

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just so you know...

As you know, I've started working in retail again. This is a pretty intimidating job. First off, I'm the new guy among a group of people who have been there for quite some time. That's always tough. I don't blame them for -- unconsciously or otherwise -- making me feel like the nerdy kid trying to get in with the popular clique. But what makes it especially uncomfortable is that they all have this vast specialized knowledge that I have to quickly acquire. I went to a vendor expo this morning and they were throwing out foot/shoe related terms and such that completely went over my head. I just sat there and nodded as if to say, "Ah yes, that turstack will help the neutrals and those who overpronate." I know they were all in my exact same position at one point too, but it does seem like they all were born the necessary skills and knowledge. Hopefully I'll get there sooner or later.

I reviewed another high school show on Thursday. I had 8 hours of stock room duty and then had to rush (I say rush, but I mostly was stuck in traffic) to the school. It was all pretty stressful because the assignment was last-minute and I had to book press tickets during my break. Then I didn't know how to get there, so I had to call around while on the road to find someone to give me directions. It's a shame my exhaustion and stress were all for nought because the show was terrible!

It was a production of My Fair Lady. The stars were rather excellent and it had pretty amazing costumes and sets, but everything else was painful. It is one of my favorite shows, but it seemed to go on for eternity. I never realized how long the show is. I just wanted it to end. There was so much bad acting, flubbed lines, technical difficulties, and missed cues. Then there was the soundboard crew who would not shut up. People kept turning around to look at them because you could hear their "whispers" and because, at one point, they called out to one of the actors onstage.

But the real "somebody kill me" problem was the singing, or lack thereof. The kid they had playing the love interest who sings a pretty (and famous) ballad had no business ever opening his mouth to sing. Not even his shower should be forced to hear him. Off-key, off-pitch, and just plain off the entire song. And he has to sing twice in the show! On top of that, the kid could not act to save his life. I seriously wanted the roof to fall on top of me and put me out of my misery.

I don't think I've ever run that fast out of a theater. I feel sorry for the stars because, like I said, they were quite impressive. This is the cast they give them to work with?

Well, that's all for now folks. I get to once again rush from work to a theater on Friday. Reviewing a high school production of Beauty and the Beast the musical. A pretty lame show, but I sincerely hope they make it bearable. At least I'll have Mariana joining me that night. The best part of being a critic is that theaters will give you whatever you want. In this case it will be two press tickets, one for me and one for my "associate."

Cheers,

- R

p.s. my posts may or may not arrive shorter and in lower frequency. It will all depend on my energy level. Once I get in the rhythm of things, however, it should all get back to normal.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

And so it begins...

Today was my first day at Nordstrom. I was the only male new hire. Why did I actually think I wouldn't be? The girls who are also starting are really nice. I really hit it off with one in them particular; went to lunch together and had a great time talking with each other. Before you go "Oooh!" or "Bom chicka wah-wah!" I must say that she has a boyfriend. So our interactions will be purely platonic. Not looking for a girlfriend anyway. But I'm not looking for one night-stand or cheap love either. Though physical love wouldn't be so bad, to be perfectly honest.

Well, this took a random turn. The point was to tell you about my first day. With the possible exception of the girl who will be working at the E-Bar, I doubt I'll be seeing any of these girls on a regular basis as they are all in different departments. Even the girl who works in kids' shoes is on the opposite side of the floor.

Assuming I don't get intimidated by all the super star sellers or crash and burn, I think this could be a challenging but fun job. And -- dare I say it? -- rewarding.

Cheers,

- R

Monday, May 4, 2009

Huzzah!

I am officially employed! *insert sigh of relief here*

Nordstrom called back and offered me the position. As I mentioned before, they hire on a temporary basis so I'll have to prove myself. After the two-month trial period they'll tell me if they would like me to stay on permanently or not. Here's hoping I can wow them. My goal is to be asked to stay on and, by this time next year, be promoted to men's apparel personal shopper.

Perhaps I'm reaching a bit, but it will keep me motivated. And perhaps I shouldn't be planning for a long-term career with them since I went to journalism school for a reason. But the times they are a-changin'! It may no longer be possible to have a traditional journalism career. I will continue to freelance and see where that takes me.

I guess I'll have to contact Union Bank and take myself out of the running for that job.

Cheers,

- R

p.s. I would still love to read your list of the 10 people in the entertainment industry you most hate. So, if you have the time and inclination, please share your rage with us. :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

10 most hated people in entertainment

My family was watching Fever Pitch on TV and seeing Jimmy Fallon filled me with such rage that it inspired me to create this post. Why did they have to ruin a movie about Boston by casting that tool as the male lead!?

So, without further ado, I present a list of the top 10 people in the entertainment industry I hate with every fiber of my being (with the exception of #1, the list is in no particular order):

1) Ryan Seacrest


I could dedicate an entire post to my hatred for this man. He insists on having his damn face, name, and presence on everything. If ever I was to kill someone, it would be him.

2) Jimmy Fallon


You unfunny, talentless tool! Why do you think you are so god damn hilarious!? And why do you still have a career??

3) Regis Philbin


He is Ryan Seacrest at 77. Enough said.

4) Nicholas Cage


Why are you still getting work as an actor? WHY!?

5) Elisabeth Hasselbeck


You idiotic Republican twit! You should not be on television and you seriously need to stop talking altogether.

6) Donald Trump


Oh just shut up, you ass. Money can't buy you realistic looking hair and it certainly doesn't make you the authority on all contemporary issues. Stop picking fights just for attention.

7) Dr. Phil


This big-mouthed quack needs to be fitted for cement shoes.

8) Ann Coulter


This hyper-conservative harpy needs to spontaneously combust and put the world out of its misery.

9) Spencer Pratt/Heidi Montag


Is an explanation really necessary?

10) Kayne West/John Mayer


Egotistical douchebags. Both of you need to realize that you are not as amazing as you think you are. Nobody gives a damn about what you have to say.



Ok. Rage vented. Now it's your turn! I would love to hear your list or comments on mine. You're welcome to disagree with me, but you'd be even more welcome to agree with me.

Cheers,

- R

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An update and an obit

First, the update. I finally got a call from Nordstrom. The guy who performed my second interview (he who would be my boss) called to apologize for not being able to follow up with me after my third interview. He also apologized for not getting back to me sooner. I thought it was a very nice gesture. Aside from the apology he wanted to let me know that I will know the store's final decision by Monday at the latest. So I may have job by Monday.

Now on to the obit. I just watched the final episode ever of Pushing Daisies. Perhaps some of you may be saying to yourselves, "WHAT!? It's back on the air!?" Well, it's not. Not really. The show was foolishly cancelled in the fall, but they finally allowed the network to air the remaining 3 episodes in the season. This, however, won't occur until later this month. "Then how have you already seen them?" you say? You can thank NinjaVideo and ITV. Another reason to love England.

Pushing Daisies is the most original, beautiful, and unique show ever aired on television in my lifetime. I'm sure you have your own opinion on the matter, but this is my opinion. And since this is MY blog, my opinion is the only one that counts. :)

Each episode was like a mini-movie. The cast was comic and completely lovable. The colors and design were beautiful. The aesthetic and style were reminiscent of Tim Burton's movies, particularly Big Fish (which I also love). The score was lovely and Kristin Chenoweth's singing was always wonderful. The overall story and individual episodes were full of heart and joy.

I could talk all day about this show. The love I have for it is unmatched. I will NEVER forget it. It's such a crime the writers were forced to quickly wrap up all the story lines because of the show's cancellation. The rushed ending does the show no justice whatsoever. I have my own idea for how the show should have ended, but I'll make due with what I was given. Besides, my ending would have been much more depressing and bittersweet than the optimistic ending written for the series. A sweet end for a sweet show.

So goodbye, Pushing Daisies. In the words of Dolly Parton, "I will always love you."



- R

Friday, May 1, 2009

Things I overheard #8

Some people (like myself) can eavesdrop on a conversation without anyone noticing. Although I have on one occasion been told by an ex-girlfriend that I tend to ever so slightly tilt my head in the direction of the conversation. Never picked up on this habit, but I suppose I do on occasion subconsciously do this.

Then there are others who might as well stand or sit next to the speakers because they are that obvious. Still others might as well ask the speakers to repeat a line they missed because they comment on the conversation in something other than hushed tones.

This post deals with both cases. A recurring customer at this particular Starbucks is a tutor. I've seen him on numerous occasions and so has one of the baristas. She strikes up a conversation with him while making his drink. She comments on how he is a regular visitor and what he subjects he tutors. Their dialogue is polite and friendly. Nothing to write home about.

So why are you writing about it now, you say? Because across from me was sitting a guy (who looked like a poor man's version of British comic Rob Brydon) who falls into the latter category of eavesdroppers. He was staring at the two and made a comment about something the barista had said.

Barista - "So do you tutor all ages? I think I have someone you could help."

Obvious listener - "Yeah right!"

I was looking at my computer screen, but knew he wanted me to hear his comment.

"She is totally flirting. She wants him and he doesn't even realize it! Am I right?"

I look up and give him a slight nod with a "heh." The "heh" acts as a chuckle and positive affirmation. In other words, "You're so right! Kudos on your observation." is what I try to convey every time I do that. I really hate small talk.

Plus, I think he was wrong. I'm a pretty perceptive guy and I really doubt that flirtation was what was going on. She honestly sounded like a girl looking to score a tutor for her niece.

As a sidenote, I meant to write about something that happened yesterday. Was sitting at my usual spot at my usual Starbucks when I witnessed an emo girl leading her painfully emo boyfriend into the bathroom with her. They did not come out for quite some time. I'd say they were in there for 10 minute or so.

Now what would a pure minded soul like myself think about such an occurrence in which a couple goes into a bathroom and doesn't come out for more than 10 minutes? I'll tell you what I thought. I assumed they went in for an impromptu passionate rendezvouz. In vulgar parlors, horniness overtook them and they went in for a quickie. For no particular or valid reason, I say all that went down was a blow job.

But I could be completely wrong! I could very well be slandering this young couple. Perhaps they just went into the bathroom to have a private and deep conversation that could not wait for another time. Perhaps he did something wrong like use up all her black hair dye or eyeliner and she felt like laying down the law.

I guess we'll never know.

Cheers,

- R

Thursday, April 30, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Allow me, if you will, to deviate from the current theme of my posts - my failures/successes at life and my endless search for a job. I cannot yet say that I am employed because I have not heard back from Nordstrom. They said I would surely hear from them yesterday, but it was not to be. This can mean one of the following things:

1) They haven't gotten around to it yet, but will do so soon.
2) They are interviewing other candidates.
3) I didn't get the job.
4) The manager saw something horrible in me, but didn't let on during our interview (I guess this one ties in to #3).

I am hoping that I will soon hear from them because she did say that I would be contacted pending a conversation with the two other people who interviewed me and not something vague like, "we'll get back to you." Although, I would not be at all surprised if I don't get this job either. It does seem to be the trend. Damn my bad habit of getting my hopes up!

Let's be honest, I have no real skills. I'm basically a talentless charmer*. I've gotten by on my personality alone. I've just come to this realization. I always curse those bastards who get what they want solely because of their charisma, but I (to an extent) am one of them. Take my first Union Bank interview, for example. Even though I lost to a current employee, I beat out the 9 other candidates who were immensely qualified. I competed against people with banking experience, math majors, a dude on his way to becoming a CEO one day, and other people with perfect resumes. If I were them and knew I had been the first choice (once removed), I would hate me.

*sigh* Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. And besides, there's still the possibility of getting that Union Bank job. Oh, Jeebus, let there still be the possibility of getting one of these jobs.

Now that that has been cleared, let me get back to my original idea. As you know, I am a theatre geek. Seeing as I have no one to discuss theatre with anymore (my Boston friend Lauren was the only one who could match my knowledge of all things theatre), I will occasionally use this blog to rant or rave about said subject. Only occasionally because I will not risk losing you, dear readers. We can all agree that theatre aficionados are few and far between. I've often wondered if I would love having a girlfriend who's into theatre as much as me. It would quickly become an expensive relationship. I would much prefer a girl with good taste in food. Food is my deal breaker; if you have crap taste in food, then you're cut. I simply could not deal with a girl (or person, for that matter) who considers Outback Steakhouse or Bertucci's/Olive Garden fine or delicious cuisine.

I know. I know. I'm rambling. And I may have also offended some readers by badmouthing their favorite restaurants. Sorry.

All I wanted to actually discuss was the upcoming revival of Bye Bye Birdie. I don't particularly like the show, though there are some catchy and enjoyable tunes. But I still have an opinion on it. It has come to my attention that they released some of the cast information, and I am livid. First, they have John Stamos playing male lead Albert. It seems like such random casting. Why Stamos? A perfect Albert would have been Brooks Ashmanskas! He is an underused talent (LOVED him in She Loves Me) who would be an inspired choice for playing the cowardly mama's boy. And then there's the matter of having Gina Gershon playing Rosie. Why can we not cast a Latina to play a Latina character?? Get Karen Olivo to play Rosie. She's already doing a fantastic job of playing a role originally created by Chita Rivera (Anita in West Side Story), so why not have her rock out this feisty Chita role (Chita Rivera was also the original Rosie) too? Nothing against Gershon as she made a pretty good Sally Bowles in the Cabaret revival, but the producers seriously should have just cast an actual Latina. Gah!

Ok, enough venting on trivial Broadway matters. I've taken enough of your time already.

Go in peace, my brothers and sisters.

- R

* Perhaps I should take up stripping. As they say in Gypsy, "To be a stripper, all you need to have is no talent [and a gimmick]."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jobs and stuff - part 2

Ron rightly reminded me that it is indeed tomorrow, so I should tell you how my interviews went.

Well, readers, they went very well. Too well, I think. Allow me to explain.

I went to the interview with Union Bank. It was a great interview. We talked for an hour. I knew right away that this was a manager I wanted to work for. I could tell that I would have a great working experience in the sense that I would be taught a lot as well as being among a good group of people. I have a feeling he might offer me the job. The manager mentioned that one of his employees had no banking experience whatsoever but hired her because he liked her as a person. At the end of my interview he told that he loved my personality and thought I was an out-of-the-box thinker who could be very coachable. I'll find out next week about his decision.

From there I went to my second Nordstrom interview; this time with the BP shoes department manager. The interview went very well. I was shown around the back room and introduced to some of the employees. Incidentally, one of my "future" co-workers is really cute. She and I had a total connection when our eyes met. She wanted me as much as I wanted her. Or at least that's the way it played out in my head.

Anyway, back to the interview. He had me do some role-playing. Luckily, he had me "sell" him some men's shoes - casual and business. He probably expected me to do fairly, but little did he know that I am an avid GQ reader and What Not to Wear viewer. I had him tell me where he will be going and what he plans on wearing. From there I recommended the appropriate footwear and what would best match his planned outfits. There was a salesperson in men's shoes who was listening in to my pitch and told the manager, "If you don't want him, I'll take him for my department." I did brilliantly. Lol.

After it was all over he told me to stick around because in 20 minutes I would be having a third interview, but this time with the store manager. That one lasted about 15 minutes. I mean, how much more could they ask me that they hadn't already? I basically regurgitated information for the third time. I find out about this job tomorrow.

So you may have deduced my predicament. I will surely get the Nordstrom job. Unfortunately, I think I want the Union Bank job. It will have less hours and I'll only initially make more at this job, but it's a team I want to be a part of. *sigh* I shouldn't be stupid though. The better opportunity for growth and income is at Nordstrom. If I get offered the position, I should take it. Right?

To be continued...

- R

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jobs and stuff

The job hunt continues.

I had an interview today with Nordstrom to, supposedly, work in their men's apparel section. After my last day at Toys R Us I shouted to the heavens, "As god as my witness, I will never work retail again!" Scarlet would have been proud. But that was before I left the world of academia and entered a world of economic turmoil. I can no longer afford to be choosy. I'm applying everywhere and hoping somebody somewhere takes me on.

But back to Nordstrom. I said I was supposedly interviewing for men's apparel. That is the department that claimed to be hiring, but, as it turns out, the only departments in need are women's shoes. Then why, I wonder, do they put up ads for departments that have no need for new employees? The interview went very well. I was all smiles and charm. I was looking pretty damn good (to hell with modesty. I need all the confidence boosters I can get... even if they come from me. But seriously, I noticed a head or two turning to glance my way). And I was spouting out so much BS you needed to boots to talk to me. I was a man with a plan.

Apparently, working at Nordstrom is no walk in the park. You start off as a temp, then you may get promoted to a regular employee in whatever department needs help, and then, after 6 months, you may just prove yourself worthy enough to be transferred to the department of your choice. So, assuming I get this job, you'll find me selling men's clothing sometime next May.

Anyway, the interview indeed went well because I was chosen for a second interview. I had not yet completed the drive home (25 mins or so) when I received a call from the women's shoe department at Nordstrom. He said I impressed the interviewer and that they would like to meet with me. So that is scheduled for tomorrow. And there is still the possibility that they'll require me to interview a third time. They really take themselves seriously don't they?

Speaking of tomorrow... I also have an interview with Union Bank. This will actually be my third time interviewing for this company. First I had a group interview and a one-on-one with a branch. I thought that interview went very well, but I obviously didn't get the job. But the kind recruiting lady said she'd find me another job opportunity. She kept her word. Moreover, she said I was what the company needed and that she would keep looking until they placed me.

What was really interesting was what she had to say about my first one-on-one interview. Turns out I was spectacular. I would have gotten the job, but then they decided to hire internally instead to avoid having to train someone new. "That's what companies are doing nowadays," she said. Then what was the point of my interviewing for that job or going in tomorrow? Also, she told me the branch manager thought I'd be perfect for the management training program. Considering I have no banking experience, I took that as a huge compliment.

So we'll see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully one of the two interviews results in a job. If, for some bizarre reason, both want to hire me (which I highly doubt), then I'll flip a coin to decide which job I take.

Wish me luck, readers!

- R

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quickies

Just some random facts in no particular order. Why? For no particular reason.

Drink of choice
1) Gin & tonic (Hendricks & tonic, to be specific) -- actually this is my #1 drink of choice.
2) Mojito
3) Champagne

Guilty pleasures [music]
1) Show tunes (I'm a straight guy who likes musicals. So what?)
2) To 40 cheesy pop (Britney, Pussycat Dolls, Westlife, etc.)
3) ABBA (for sentimental reasons. Reminds me of car rides with my dad.)

Guilty pleasures [TV] -- requires more than a top 3
1) What Not to Wear
2) Say Yes to the Dress
3) Project Runway/Top Chef/Shear Genius
4) Cartoons (I'm still a kid at heart)
5) Platinum Weddings/Bridezillas/Who's Wedding is it Anyway?

Guilty pleasures [movies]
1) Chick flicks

Movies I'm dying to see
1) Wolverine movie
2) Nine
3) The remaining Harry Potter films

Favorite musicals
1) Aida (actually, this is my #1)
2) She Loves Me
3) Les Miserables

Favorite plays
1) Othello
2) The Walworth Farce
3) A Midsummer Night's Dream

Favorite TV shows -- requires more than a top 3
1) Pushing Daisies
2) Fraiser
3) Golden Girls
4) The Simpsons
5) Gilmore Girls/Charmed/Xena (gone, but will never be forgotten) -- would also fall under guilty pleasures

Favorite words -- there are more than these 3, but I just can't think of them at the moment.
1) Bosom (fast or slow, the word sounds funny and tickles the tongue)
2) Indubitably (fun to say and it reminds me of Mary Poppins)
3) Blasphemy

Favorite articles of clothing
1) Sweater vests
2) Argyle socks
3) Sweaters/hoodies

OCD habits:
1) Collect all my fortune cookie fortunes. Furthermore, I believe you CANNOT open it until you feel you are completely finished eating your food and you MUST eat all the cookie or your fortune won't come true. I also believe that the first cookie you touch is yours (as in when you are eating Chinese food in a group); if you touch one cookie and then decide to grab another, then the fortunes are null and void.
2) Cannot begin eating my plate of food until I rotate the dish into what I deem is the correct alignment. For example, the chicken needs to be on the left or the fries have to be at a specific angle from my right hand.
3) Proper location and methods for all things. Toothpaste HAS to be pushed down from the end and NOT from the middle or items involved in shaving must be placed in order of usage before I can begin shaving. All my belongings have a proper place and it aggravates me when they are put in their incorrect location (e.g. iPod goes in the right side of the glove compartment, phone sits in the left cup holder, flip flops are always to the right of my sneakers, etc.)

I could go on like this forever, so I'll just stop now. Don't know why I began this list to begin with anyway. Just felt like doing it.

Cheers,

- R