Friday, May 19, 2006

5 days

i've worked at my new theatre for five days. very different work ethic than i'm used to. very much non-union. i don't know how long each workday is. when i come in in the morning, i don't know when i'm going to leave in the afternoon--moreover, i don't even know if i'll get a day off in the next month. some days its 9-6, others 9-8, others 10-3. sometimes lunch is an hour, sometimes lunch is twenty minutes. this whole theatre works like that. and whereas that's fine sometimes when there's a whole lot going on, that's been my introduction to how things work here--i don't know if it'll ever chill out or at least gain some semblance of regularity. some rules are strictly adhered to, others are disregarded. some techniques and terminologies i'm used to, some are completely foreign, and everybody has crazy accents that mean i'm spending most of my time staring at their mouths waiting for some recognizable syllable to come out. i had an easier time understanding folks in England. its the replacement of "A" with "oi" that gets me. the word "Ball" in the phrase "i'm having a ball" to me normally sounds like "ayme haaveeng ay bahl" but here its more of a "oime avin uh buh-ol" the whole thing almost sounds like a bad cockney, but the primary way in which it differs from Dick van Dyke's presentation in Mary Poppins is that you have to shove all of those unwritten syllables out of your nose. seriously--i think this may be one of several american accents that increase difficulty in speaking.

i think the biggest difference between academic theatre and non-union professional theatre is the attention paid to safety. in URTA theatres you better make damn sure everybody who is working around saws has shatterproof glasses on, everyone in an area where folks are cutting metal is wearing earplugs, every ladder has been inspected recently and is used according to its labeling, all scaffolding is put together properly with locked wheels when folks are on it, cables are dressed and any which may pose a tripping hazard are clearly indicated and floor matted (yeah, you cover them in carpet), and all paints and other materials that may emit fumes are used only in well-ventilated areas by people wearing respiratory protection. i don't know if this place even Has respirators. someone went out and bought safety glasses yesterday. the only way to get up where you need to hang curtains is by using ladders improperly and there's simply nowhere to paint except outside and it pours down rain here all the time. i've also gotten dozens of cuts and punctures from oversized screws poking through the back of wood and have tripped over countless ankle-height things on the floor in the dark. its just a matter of little things that i have to get used to.

Friday, May 12, 2006

So. I've been Busy

Hi, readership. Good of you to drop in, just to see if maybe that ranty girl has updated in the past month. To say the least, stuff's been going on. I shall do my best to briefly itemize those events here.

1. I graduated from university. Magna cum laude. This past saturday. go me. My grandma, a few other relatives, and some neighbors came, and we drank and had a good time. My dad gave me a banjo. I've been learning to play it but I've decided I don't like the way the book teaches it so I've been figuring out scales and arpeggios and working out where the notes are by playing old oboe music from high school. I still use the book, which does not teach scales or fret/string note correlations but instead focuses on plucking out tunes and building up speed, but I don't feel like i can really play the instrument until i know how it works.

2. My car blew a head gasket and died. Magna cum Suck. This past sunday. In the rain. On the freeway. With all my stuff in it as I was moving out of my house on campus. A bit of back-story--when i was in high school my parents bought me a car, and told me that all they really wanted it to do was get me through college. Now the car has blown out some belts and hoses, i've had to add oil to her every couple of weeks, and recently i've had to start adding water and coolant thanks to a new leak, but despite her 180,000+ miles and a few events on the side of the road my car has done pretty well for herself these past six years--better than perhaps she should have. Every time there was a problem this..mantra, of sorts, would be repeated--"just get her through college." It'll be fine if this car can just get her through college. Well. She got me through college--and not a second longer. The car actually broke down ten miles out of the town in which my uni was situated and started spewing smoke. "That's it," she said. "I did exactly as you asked. I ain't gonna move another inch." My mom came and got me, and now the car is in the process of being donated to the Kidney Foundation. (Its tax-deductable. The foundation actually sells the cars for scrap and makes money that way--unfortunately they do not replace people's kidneys with car parts.)

3. I'm moving to New York on Saturday for an internship in the Hamptons. I have a gig slingin' hammers this summer--perfect work for a college graduate. This will last until mid August.

4. I'm moving to San Francisco in August for a second internship, also in the hammer-slinging field, which will last a year.

5. This week i have done laundry, written thank-you notes, and generally just gorked out. I hadn't done that in a while so its been nice, but i'm ready to go do something now. I'm getting fat and inflexible again. I need to find somewhere to take yoga.