Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

blah blah blog.

More pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/sets/72157603836465565/
New ones start from "Freddy"

As per usual, the insanity continues.

First order of business: the show. Caravan of Amazement, or as we lovingly came to call it, Train Wreck of Amazement. Yes, it was one of those shows that you told your friends to go and see just so they could experience it in all its horrific, gruesome glory. Though I had fun leaping about on our grass stage, there were times when I whole-heartedly agreed with the cat calls of passing punk-teenagers: "Hey jackasses, your show sucks!" Why, yes, ear-plug bearing cretin, you're quite correct.

But in recognizing and embracing the utter mediocrity of our show, the cast bonded together in our 4ft high tent (thusly constructed so that it would not suffer the same fate of our first "caravan", which snapped in half due to the gale force Wellington wind). I would attempt to describe this nightly 1/2 hour of utterly abysmal theater, but I think the attached pictures speak for themselves.

In other acting news: I finally got to do that extra part for Avatar which was loads of fun. It's amazing how much effort they put into making you look good as a "background artist"; especially seeing as my greatest hope is to catch a glimpse of my left foot as the lead character gets pummeled on the floor in front of me. Two days of hanging out, wearing ridiculously red lipstick and being fed like a queen ain't bad though, I tell you what. The next acting gig I actually got to be the one being pummeled in an overwrought student film where I played the wife of a split-personality psycho. My part consisted of: lovingly embracing split-personality 1, lovingly embracing split personality 2, getting choked and dying. Move over Meryl Streep.

Beyond those gigs, I've also been practicing my rather impressive temping skills. No more door to door crap for me. Oh no, I'm half way respectable as a thoroughly efficient office-minion machine with filing, data entry and typing speed skills that could stun a yak. If there is anything positive about being a temp-bitch it's definitely getting to work in vastly different office environments. One day I was in the top floor, corner office of a life insurance executive in an office that had 5 of its very own espresso machines. The next job I was in the Ministry of Education, winding my way through the varying shades of second-hand cubicle walls and under the overgrown office plants of underpaid government workers. Ah, contrasts are fun.

But now it looks as if I'm leaving Wellington sooner than expected: after 3 months here and I take off tomorrow to meet up with my parents in the S. Island before picking up a couple more filming gigs. Yup, the parental unit decided to come for a visit and baited me with a ticket down to Queenstown to meet up with them a bit earlier than expected. As excited as I am to get on the road again, I know I'm leaving behind some incredible friends and some tasty opportunities. Last night was such an example of what I'll miss about Wellington: after the cast party I met up with my buddy Nathan to go to a gig in Thorndon, the most historic part of the city. After winding up circuitous roads we came to massive old town house with a couple artsy types smoking out front. "You know where to go, man?" They asked. Nathan nodded and led me through two huge entry rooms that seemed haunted by faded grandeur. And then suddenly the chords of good, kitschy folk music brought us into a pack of people gazing down at a sunken dance floor inhabited by an eclectic crew of musicians--complete with a piccolo player. Century old wall paper peeled from the wood-slated walls and port-holes peeked out into the lights of the harbor. Turns out this 1850s house used to entertain the sailors when they got into town. It has been handed down through the generations from one family member to the next and now boasts a rag tag crew of inhabitants who take care of the place and bring in home-grown New Zealand artists to entertain their buddies at small, word-of-mouth parties. As I gazed down from the gallery into the dance floor below I could just imagine the bawdy parties that went on 150 years ago.

And that's why I'll miss Wellington. And why, if one day I can think of nothing else to do, I'll be very tempted to come back.

But now's the time to leave and I'm looking forward to getting out in nature again before heading off to Bangkok on April 14. So wish me luck friends, and all the best!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Holy Schneikies

Well this certainly has been an interesting week...okay month...okay 6 months.

But we'll just stick to the last few days shall we?

So the whole "flinging myself at a job" thing wasn't exactly a drop in the bucket. But damn have I kept myself busy. Exhibit A-- cutouts of Carly Ann and I in various newspapers (the "hell" things are our fridge magnets). Though I am useless and jobless, I still managed to make it to press covered events...sounds very Paris Hiltonesque. Oh holy mother I need a job.

But it's not as if I'm lacking in things to do. Besides the opening parties, volunteering at the Fringe headquarters, rehearsing for our play (which is actually gonna be pretty freaking cool), overhauling the website so I actually look semi-legit (the results of which you'll see after the computer guy comes and works his magic on my ailing laptop), interviewing with various temp agencies/cafes/bars, going to callbacks, hanging out with random friends, running in the nearby park, writing bad poetry and the like...this particular week was interesting for three reasons:

1) The Kari and CarlyAnn $10 Budget for Food Challenge

2) The Sevens

3) My sales job

Okay, let's get started the Food Challenge.

So last Sunday CarlyAnn sat at her computer working through student loans and the like and by the end of her calculations laid $5 in coins on her desk. "This", she said, "Is all I've got for food for the week". Seeing as I'm a great roommate--and haven't really included tallying up a budget into my busy, unemployed lifestyle--responded, "Okay, then, me too." On our walk through the hills around our flat we discussed how it would be possible to spend $10 between the two of us on an entire week's worth of food. By the end of the walk, we were so excited about the challenge that we celebrated by blowing half the budget on ice cream cones.

We then wandered to the local grocery store, bought $4 worth of this lentil soup stock stuff and a lemon. Things were looking good. Let me tell ya, lentily soup stock can take all different forms: mix that sucker with cornmeal and you got yourself a patty. Stuff it between bread and it's like a tasty spread. Add some extra water and it's a very brothy soup. It certainly helped that we allowed for "found items"...such as the free bread that our roommate brings home from work every day and the meat in the freezer that I'm sure no one cared if we used.

I do have to admit, on day 2 I tried to sneak a $3 diet coke but the guilt so overwhelmed me that I broke down on day 3 and told Carly Ann of my transgression. I tried to argue that due to its lack of caloric density, it should not, in fact, count in the "food" budget. It was also bought for "medicinal purposes"--you see my stomach was slightly upset and I had to walk a full hour across town to get from the dvd printing studio to rehearsal and...and...yeah, even I was unimpressed. Fortunately CarlyAnn made a whopping $3 tip at her bar job (nontipping countries...pah) and I found $2 on the ground over the course of the week, so that cancelled things out. By day 4 Penelope, the other roommate, jumped on the band wagon with her $5 and we were just rolling in dough! And creative uses of random kitchen supplies. We're now so excited by the way things are going that we've decided to keep up the $10 a week challenge (well, now $15 with Pen on board) for as long as possible...and hoping to God that our various gigs will include many a dinner party.

Now on tooooo....The Sevens!! According to the website: "Staged at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium over two days and nights, the NZI Sevens involves 16 international teams competing for points that go towards the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series...blahblahblah"

Okay, so essentially hot men from around the world duke it out in a stadium and the whole city dresses in ridiculous costumes to go watch. Yeah. Costumes. See exhibit B (those Borat costumes were actually banned this year for...well...the good of the community).

Everyone then stampedes out of the stadium and straight on to Courtenay Place aka downtown aka 5 minutes from my house and parties it up all weekend long. Exhibit C is the hat that I commandeered from one such reveler who insisted that I take it from him. I agreed. In a city this small, the excitement is everywhere and you can't turn a corner without seeing a whole herd of people dressed up in some insane costume. Yeah, so I like rugby.

And now for....the job in sales.

Okay, so I'm looking in the Job sections of the newspaper as I do most Wednesdays and there's this ad for a sales and marketing job: no experience necessary, travelers welcome. That right there told me--this job is gonna suck. When the employer lacks any kind of standards for your employment, that is a bad sign. But desperation breeds compromise and off I went for an interview.

I walked up the stairs of a shady looking auto-technical supplies warehouse to be met with booming pop music emenating from the second floor. The cool looking, open plan office was teeming with attractive 20-somethings busily filling out paperwork, chatting and disappearing into important looking rooms. I immediately looked around for the paddle and wondered when the hazing would begin.

Instead I filled out a very short survey that essentially asked if I had a pulse and what my interests were. 5 minutes later a very toothy and attractive James #1 led me into his office. Turns out the company is run by three Jameses who all have an affinity for pastel colored shirts and hair gel. After an interview that was essentially a competition to see who could hold eye contact the longest, he invited me to go on an observation the next day with a girl that I would "really like. She's really bubbly". Bubbly. That meant he thought I was bubbly. I hate it when people call me bubbly. Even if it is true.

The only information I was given was to "dress professionally and wear comfortable shoes" as we were going to meet with "clients". That right there made me wary, but seeing as they offered free lunch, I was game. A dinner roll stuffed with ham later I was dumped in old-people-ville-suburbia to sell a new energy company to bored retirees. Yes, my friends, I spent the afternoon as a freaking DOOR-TO-DOOR-SALESMAN
...and I kinda liked it.

House #3 included a lady that had actually just retired that day from four decades as a nurse, so as we helped her fill out paperwork she buzzed about ensuring the cake and bbq stuff was all set for her party. House #20 had a newborn baby that I rather awkwardly attempted to entertain while the "bubbly" Kelly clinched in the deal and House #32's 12-week-old border collie and I definitely will be keeping in touch. It was actually fun getting to step into these people's lives for the afternoon--especially since I just got to chat with them while Kelly took care of the business side of things. By the end of it I was thinking: Hey, I could actually see myself being okay at this...that is if I was able to make it to more than two houses per afternoon. I tend to ramble on a bit.

...but then, with a job, how could I maintain my flashy unemployed lifestyle? Yup, despite my peaked interest, the killer hours (12:30-9pm) would completely conflict with my Fringe show obligations, and that just wouldn't be cool of me. But I gotta say, the people element of sales really does capture me. You never know, maybe I'll be bringing a revolutionary new vacuum to a door near you.

Yet despite all these stops and starts...I don't feel as if I'm in the wrong place. In fact, all of this is somehow clarifying. When I came to NZ, all I knew was I had to get here. I didn't really know what I wanted out of life and didn't have much in the way of future goals. But all these crazy jobs, friendships and adventures later, I feel like I finally have some clarity. I'm getting a good grasp of who I am, what I want and it's becoming clear that I really can get there. Even if it does end up I have to sell a few vaccuums along the way.

Oh and there are a few more pics up if you feel the need to take a gander: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/sets/72157603836465565/ They're not nearly as exciting as the south island stuff, but there's some cute shots of CarlyAnn.