Thursday, April 26, 2012

beatrix potter

Bonjours, dear readers! It is an uncharacteristically misty afternoon here in the city of angels. A girl can dream in weather like this. What with the chilly English rain and the comforting San Francisco-esque fog... 

... and alas, I'm at work. Luckily I'm very cozy at my desk, admiring my awkward view out the window: 

...thanks Bijon for obstructing my cityscape view. Well, now I know where to go if the IRS is giving me heck!

I love my new job. Great hours, solid pay, lovely people, a little free time to get some writing done, and my own comfy office where I can enjoy my Corinne Bailey Rae Pandora station all day. Hour long drive aside, it's a fantastic job. I'm looking into moving towards Santa Monica in August-- hooray! It'll cut down on commute time and... well... I'll be by the beach. I don't need more reasons than that. I don't know what it is, but I just love moving around. Ever since I moved out of my family's house when I graduated high school I've been in a different place every year. I suppose I'm not much of a settler. Ants in the pants.

...and that beach will be coming in handy... it's almost summer time! Ahh... summer in southern California is a beautiful thing. And speaking of that-- my birthday is next month! I've got that familiar feeling that I need to just move on to the next year already. It's getting weird saying I'm twenty-two. I feel like such a baby. Not that twenty-three makes me feel all that more old, but, ya know. I was planning on a big shindig at Medieval Times but alas, far too expensive. The plan is now to attend the original Renaissance Festival in its' hometown! Huzzah! What better way to spend the day than with a turkey leg in one hand, beer in the other, and happy friends around me while we all watch some good ol' LARPers do some jousting? I can't wait.

Yes, I am a happy girl. Things are starting to feel very adult-like. I remember reading magazines growing up directed towards the 'working woman'. Fifteen Tips to Tighten Your Tush While Sitting at Your Desk. Healthy Lunches to Make Your Work Week Delicious! How to Be the Boss at Work (while not losing your job!) 

You know, stuff like that. I remember thinking... "One day I will have my own desk and window. I'll eat homemade chopped salads and exercise on my way to the office! How exhilarating!"

And it is. I have to tell you I am absolutely thrilled each day. For a girl who hates a humdrum life, I just thrive in a fresh routine. I go to cycling and kickboxing classes in the morning, go home and shower, get to work early enough to eat some blueberries and oatmeal... and of course, a nice clean salad for lunch. It's pathetic... I know. But yes, very exciting for me. Turns out a full-time job forces you to work at your optimum performance. No time for pooping around and being dumb-- not when you're a working woman!

Speaking of pooping around and being dumb... I made it onto that musical chairs game show. I KNOW. I KNOW. WHAT. HOW. ME?!

I don't know how I feel about it. I'm not sure if they're scheduling some sort of special "awkward rejects" episode or what, but I made it on. I didn't even send in the follow-up video they requested, and then all of a sudden, I had a congratulatory email in my inbox. I emailed back and said that I wasn't exactly interested in being on the show, only to be called immediately after sending it. I was at work at the time but I received three phone messages and pleas to change my mind. (...I must've been incredibly entertaining). I haven't yet changed my mind. They say that it's just like Wipeout... which of course makes me wanna vom. Hilarious, yes. But only because it's not you being beat up by huge impossibly bouncy balls, right? Though it is rather comforting... my first LA audition ever and I GOT THE PART. Oh yeah. Too bad it was for an adult musical chairs game show. Start small, Jenny, start small. 

I had a lovely, lovely time in Arizona and Las Vegas. Dear LORD it's hot in Arizona. I've spent all of my life in Arizona, minus a year or so... every summer in Tucson... with cars that never had air-conditioning and college houses that only had swamp coolers... I know hot. But my goodness it is bloody hot there. My body completely forgot how to operate. Luckily there was plenty of Dairy Queen to keep me cool...

Alison and I enjoying our too mini blizzards. Way too mini.
...I only went there twice while I was there, which was quite the accomplishment. I magically fit in everyone and everything I wanted to see/do that weekend--- family, friends, Darwin, movies. Everything. It was perfect. Here's a little bit of the weekend in pictures:

Using my phone while driving. JUST BECAUSE I CAN.
Dan and Hillary and I before my first alumni DARWIN show!  
Helping Harald catch his chicks and relocate them to their 'big chicken' coop... I sometimes forget how much of a redneck I was growing up. I'm the ultimate chicken catcher--- three at once. It's okay to be impressed.
I finally got to eat at the famous PIZZERIA BIANCO in Phoenix! Quite delicious.
And then Las Vegas happened. Turns out being in Las Vegas was... just as awkward as I thought it was going to be. Luckily I have two great friends that actually live in the city, so that helped. They were excellent at letting me be a tourist while showing me some Las Vegas treasures off the beaten path. Only problem was between the hours of 2:30 pm and 9:30 pm I was completely alone. I've never been to Las Vegas and I am relatively uninterested in gambling or day-drinking by myself so my options were limited. I ended up wandering around the various hotels and casinos, shopping areas, coffee shops and driving by all the little white chapels. I could see the potential for fun and worthwhile-bad-decisions all around me. Drats. Don't worry, I'll be back. And next time with a full posse of semi-irresponsible twenty-somethings in-tow. 

This was as wild as I got... drinking water and betting $20 with my friend Katie after a hysterical hypnotism show. Don't worry. We made $30.30. And split it, change and all.
Speaking of semi-irresponsible... I bought an iPad. Don't forget I'm still a twenty-two-year-old, so I'm allowed to make reckless financial decisions (but only for another month, I slipped this in under the wire). This was purchased in celebration of my new job... before the first check even rolled in. ...I'm learning. Silly decision aside, I'm in love with it. I use it for everything--- watching shows, emails, reading, writing, etc. ...Is that all I had to say about it? ....apparently, yes. I love it. Moving on. 

What else have I been doing with my time? Last weekend my dear mother and I took my sister-in-law and niece out to a special birthday tea party!

Adorable and delicious. I have also been spending a lot of time with friends and frequenting my favorite neighborhood bar and performing terribly at pub trivia. 

...I'm kind of on an "Answer-Probation" right now with my team. About two weeks ago, during a round with mega points, I blew it. This was a special round that just focused on one answer: the sooner you answer it with the clues, the more points you get. What ensued was that all too-familiar situation where you're POSITIVE you know something when you absolutely do not. 
For twelve points... this English author was born in the late 1800's. She had various imaginary friends that she would write stories about...
Enter me in a hurried whisper... 
I know it! I know it! You guys!! It's Beatrix Potter!! I'm 110% sure it's Beatrix Potter! Oh my gosh IT'S BEATRIX POTTER!!
We quickly wrote down the answer and gave it to the judge. My friends were proud. I was elated. Look at me, knowing British literature from the 1900s. What a lady! The next two minutes held various high fives and bustling rounds of "For she's a jolly good fellow". We settled in with our beers to watch those poor other teams try and catch up with our magical twelve points that I had so honorably won. ...Only to hear this follow up clue:
...She then began writing scripts, namely her famous play, The Unexpected Guest...
My smile quickly faded. The lights grew dim. The faces turned. I was no longer a jolly good fellow. 

Agatha Christie. Damn, Agatha Christie!! (shaking fist)

...And now I'm scarred for life and must face the ridicule week after week. I mean, it wasn't like it cost us the game. We were lightyears behind our rival team, Lawrence O'Trivi-ay. But still. Lesson learned. 

Alright. A quick update but an update nonetheless. I'm going to see Hunger Games tonight to see what all the hubbub is about. Oh, and to eat popcorn. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

my year

2012 is going to be your year, Jenny. Your year.
I was told this on a flight to San Francisco this past December. I was feeling flustered and anxious (as I often do) about the trip, my New Years plans, returning to a very busy SAG Awards office, and the impending year. Lucky for me, I was sat next to two lovely fellow ex-Arizonans whom I quickly made friends with. We shared our love for desert skies and wide open car lanes over our complimentary beverages. I told them about my plans and goals and they told me about their early years together and family in Oakland. They were a lovely couple. We even waited for our luggage at baggage claim together and they saw me off to BART. They hugged me goodbye, looked into my eyes and assured me that this was going to be my year. MY year. They just knew it.

They may have been my guardian angels. Or they may have been two nice strangers who believed in me. Either way---if they're right, I better get moving--- It's already April. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?

Last I left you, I was preparing for an obstacle course for an adult musical chairs game show. Well. That happened.

I woke up far too early last Sunday to drive Johnny and I to a nearby college campus. It was the rainiest, coldest LA day I have seen yet. We parked the car and watched as other people approached the check-in tent in the rain.

Johnny and I were completely out of place and everyone knew it. For one-- I had unfortunately left my eight-pack abs and breast implants at home. Secondly I was the only woman without makeup on and I clearly hadn't given my 'outfits' enough thought. They told us to dress athletically--- which to me meant something I could move in comfortably--- a pair of dance capris I've had since I was twelve, an oversized white t-shirt with a bike and flowers on it, and a two-piece Nike bathing suit underneath. Apparently I should have been wearing a matching velour Victoria's Secret sweatsuit and a string bikini for the pre-swim segment and spandex booty shorts and a sports bra for the post-swim. Silly Jenny only had one athletic look. Johnny... well... here's what Johnny was wearing:

He's on the far right in the plaid. I should also point out that he left that jacket there--- never to be seen again. A moment of silence for the vintage shirt/jacket.  (          )  Johnny and I were certainly feeling like the awkward runts. We both thought about leaving but neither of us wanted to be 'the quitter'. So we did what any self-respecting-funemployed-adult-who-loves-a-good-story would do--- we did that darn obstacle course.

We signed in, got our numbers, and stripped down to our bathing suits. Yes, it was still raining. They then had us wait in line to race each other three at a time across the pool. Oh the wonderful things we heard in that line. Sometimes when you are watching reality television you think to yourself--- this must be scripted, nobody would say that. Oh no--- somehow it's real. Here are two of Johnny and my favorites:
Huge-ripped-man-with-cauliflower-ears-from-obvious-boxing: "Man I have to get in line first. I do NOT want to get in the warm pool after everyone else has gone in! I mean... warm water... cold air. You know!! (huge guffaw as he elbowed those around him) The pool is going to be YELLOW!! (more guffawing) (awkward chuckles around him from like-minded knobs)
I seem to recall this conversation... from my eighth birthday party.
Cross-eyed-huge-boobs-girl-with-dangly-belly-button-ring: "Oh my gosh it is freezing out here! I do not want to take off my pants yet. I mean, my nipples are already shrinking, I can't imagine what would happen if I take my pants off!!"
...Disturbing... and completely confusing.

Johnny and I were endlessly walking the thin line between entertained and irritated. Mostly entertained. After we sprinted across the pool (it was only one lap-- they really hyped that up!) we changed back into our clothes and headed towards the obstacle course. They set everything up inside which was nice. Johnny and I put on our elbow and knee pads and shared our naked person stories with each other. Of course, these people with their perfect bodies had no shame in walking around in the nude conversing with us in the locker rooms. Go figure. My birthday-suited girl schooled me in the proper way to dry out your bikini. Apparently wringing it out while naked does the trick.

Back to the obstacle course. Here was the sequence of events:
Run a suicide-- then sprint-- tires--- sprint--- leap over large mats-- sprint-- 25 sit ups-- 15 push ups-- sprint-- army crawl-- sprint-- sprint again-- hurdle over three massive mats-- sprint.
Doable. Right? Definitely. The problem was everyone there was a sexy triathlete. That and we were being timed. I ended up being in the last group and therefore the very last person to go through it (with plenty of "Go girl! You got this! Keep going honey!" hollered through the awkward gym silence) and Johnny may or may not have been beaten by a muscular girl. (Sorry Johnny. I'm digging this hole for two). It was crazy. We walked out laughing and panting all the while. Johnny assured me that if they were looking for two crotchety wet blankets we would definitely get on the show.

Actually, silly poses aside, I did get a call from them. I didn't follow through and send a video of my supporter (Nikolai) like they had instructed me to do, thinking that I didn't stand a chance to get on the show. Well... apparently they liked me. That or they got me mixed up with the naked bathroom girl. They thought I was funny and 'very likable'. Hmm. I still need to send in my video... More on that later. Maybe.

And now for a brief exciting Jenny news moment: I got a job! A great job! Hooray!

My flexible work schedule days have come to an end. I'm thrilled to have a full-time job--- and one that I love, too! And the best part--- it's an actual year round job, not a little freelance stint. Phew!

Just like when I started at SAG Awards it's best for me to err on the side of safety when writing on here... so for now I can say that I will be an Executive Assistant and I will be working with all of my favorite people from SAG Awards! I just love that office and everyone there. I'm so happy to be back. (And in my own office, too! Fancy!) 

I start there in just a couple weeks. My free time is ticking away slowly... I spent all of yesterday at the beach relaxing and I have quite the sunburn to show for it. Now I just have to get my life in order so when the time comes I'll be set for a busy schedule. Until then I have one last trip coming up for Bravo-- Tucson, Phoenix, and Las Vegas! A lovely last hurrah before my busy work-life begins.

My days have been filled to the brim with Camp Bravo promotional activities. I spent last weekend at the California Thespian Festival, sitting at a little booth, contemplating life in my solitude and watching the kids outside play "Ride that Pony" like I had played so many times.

I just love theatre kids. They're all so eager and brave and independent (and geeky). It was so great seeing former campers and reminiscing.

Speaking of reminiscing-- I just had the best weekend ever. Camp Bravo also owns a company called Bravo Student Travel and yours truly led her very first high school tour through Hollywood! I have a very soft spot in my heart for these trips as I used to go on them with my own drama class. So you can imagine my excitement as my first tour was with Sabino high school and one of my very best friends, Mr. Kissel, my drama teacher.

(sigh). Kissel has been one of the most influential people in my life, and I'm sure anyone else who has been his student would say the same. I spent four solid years-- and several of them up to six hours a day-- with Kissel in that Little Theatre.

Time for a little Kissel PSA: Sometimes people let you down, disappoint you, and frankly just end up being... not awesome. Kissel is the exact opposite of that. He taught me the art of living drama-free and the importance of creating your own family. Spending this past weekend with him and his students was just the recharge I needed.

I met them at their hotel, we stowed their luggage away, and headed out on the town. Our first stop was at Miceli's for italian food and singing waiters. Kissel of course was targeted:

Then we headed to see the musical, American Idiot at the Ahmanson Theatre. The musical is based off of Green Day's album by the same name and it was quite graphic and vulgar... to the point where a few older couples left. But you know what that means--- just perfect for entertaining high schoolers! They loved it. And so did I, despite my usual dislike of overplayed Green Day music on the radio. The music was actually my favorite part of the show. Well, that and the fact that CRAIG from DEGRASSI was in it!

I, being the old lady that I am compared to the kids, was all giddy like a middle-aged woman seeing Davy Jones. I used to be--- who am I kidding, I still am--- a huge fan of the Canadian teen re-make drama from the 2000s and Craig was always my favorite. Well, him and Jimmy, and we all know that he's doing well for himself:

Loveeee that Degrassi! Note to self--- must get DVD box set.

The kids had workshops the next day followed by a visit to Hollywood Boulevard, dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Universal City, and an improv show at Comedy Sportz. We also had a behind-the-scenes tour through Warner Bros... which was incredibly thrilling as it seems all I watch these days are reruns of Gilmore Girls and Friends

Isn't that magical?

One of Kissel's students ended up not being able to come on the trip meaning that they also had one extra ticket to Universal Studios! (Have I mentioned I love my job?) Here I was taking a picture of Kissel with the Mystery Machine to send to his wife and kids who are big Scooby Doo fans. I missed the moment here, Kissel posing at the same time the little girl with a huge cotton candy was. Drat. You get the idea though. It was funny.

So yes, I had a lovely weekend reliving the glory days of the Sabino Players! Kissel and I laughed and retold all of the old jokes that we had forgotten about. Who knew I would miss high school? The memory-filled weekend has set me up perfectly to head back to my hometown on Saturday. I can't wait to visit Tucson, the U of A, and catch up with all of my family and friends.

On my to do list: 
  • Visit my favorite Tucson bars-- The Buffet and Auld Dubliner. Perhaps make a karaoke appearance or two-- bust out the ol' Carly Simon perhaps.
  • Movies with Alison and plenty of popcorn. They just don't know how to make movie popcorn in LA!
  • Dinner with family. I'm thinking La Parilla Suiza or something Mexican and delicious...
  • THE CHARLES DARWIN EXPERIENCE! My first alumni show with the amazing improv group I was a part of at the University of Arizona--- complete with all of my hilarious friends that I have been missing.
  • Eegee's... of course!

Mmm. Tucson! I can't wait. 

Well, if this is my year I'd say I'm off to a decent start. Here's to nine more glorious months of awkward stories, hapless romance, and bizarre adventures!

Here's a sweet Green Day song for the road, When It's Time.

Feel free to say hi, okay everyone? I like comments.