Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sunday Top Ten, Part Two: I Thought, Therefore I Know

This's the second installment of: SUNDAY TOP TEN:

As you may recall from two days ago, when you read Part One ... (You did read Part One, right? It was really important. Like, would you just skip Kristy's Great Idea and go straight to Mary Anne and Too Many Boys? No, you wouldn't. Or: if you wouldn't read any BSC books, how's this: would you skip Genesis and go straight to Numbers? No, you wouldn't. Because Numbers is boring. Why skip the fun stuff, e.g., the creation of the world, for the more tedious stuff, e.g., the Law Concerning the Marriages of Heiresses, weirdo? Yes, I'm still speaking inside this pointless parenthetical statement. What if this whole blog was a parenthetical? I just LOLed to myself thinking about that. Ha. ha. That'd be a clever blog title, "Parenthetical." Someone write that down. Seriously. OK, just checked and it's taken by someone who hasn't updated since August of 2005. Shame on you, parenthetical slacker.)


[I'm gonna be on this panel on Monday for Audacia Ray's new book, which y'all would love, so buy it now, please. I'm quoted in it (totes pseudonym) AND it's good/engaging/relevant. Also, Ray's blog, Waking Vixen, is literally the first blog I ever read regularly: I've witnessed her whole evolution from relatively-unknown to totes-superstar-with-fancy-template, and it's really interesting/fantastic to watch that happen. Yay go her!]


5. "Film"-Making

My heart burst, then broke, when I discovered my new iBook came with "iMovie": I remembered poor ol' aspiring filmmaker me in the mid-90s with my 10,000 VCRs and 30 Video/Audio IN/OUT cords and all this assorted ghetto movie editing title creator/sound mixer/special effect madness I'd created basically out of popsicle sticks. Furthermore, I'd sunk hundreds into Adobe Premiere .005 and extra hard drives to create my 10-minute application tape for NYU Film School, which, for some reason I no longer recall, wouldn't output to video. I had a mental breakdown and decided not to make movies anymore.

Seriously, I made like, 400 movies, often requiring Lewis to don embarrassing costumes for music videos like "Heal the World" and "Roll the Bones." I hope he gets married soon so I can show these masterpieces to his new wife.

For your entertainment--okay--for MY entertainment, please check out a 1997 classic: "Von Gut: Raw and Uncensored." This's an example of what we used to do for fun. It's also an example of how my sense of humor hasn't really evolved since I was 15.

And then there's things like this, that clearly demonstrate:
1. I needed a tripod real bad. Usually I just set up my camera on a random surface and hoped for the best.
2. I cannot dance.
3. Hello: lesbian.
[Yes, I still identify as "bisexual," bi-rights peeps/agent representing my book about bisexuality, don'tcha worry.]
4. Lewis Bernard is The Supreme Soul.

4. Major League Baseball, 1987-1993
I collected baseball cards, played my Strat-o-Matic, was wholly obsessed, walls plastered in Nolan Ryan posters. Then, as I grew and my interest began to fade, the players sealed the deal by going on strike! I still believed in the love of the game and was shocked that the players cared so much about their paychecks. Why'd anyone strike, when they had such an awesome job? I'd play baseball for free. I already did, actually. Also, I wished I was a boy, so I could play baseball and not softball. Softballs seemed so cumbersome, like girlhood in general.

3. How to Fold Shirts, Sell Shirts, and Match Shirts to Pants
During holiday season at Banana Republic, our daily sales goals included an optimistic number of "credit card opens." That's code for convincing unsuspecting khaki-hunters to sign away their financial futures to Gap, Inc. for a 20% APR. Though I retained a few valuable apparel-related skills, I never mastered the art of the credit-card-"sale."

Supervisor: Marie, today your shift goal is $500 in merch, and for credit cards ... just open one credit card today. Do you think you can do that? Just get one person to open a credit card?

Me: [laughing] Um, probs not.

S: Okay, well, let's work on your pitch. Give me your pitch.

Me: Uh-- [as whatevs as possible, not trying at all.] So ... like ... do you want to open a credit card?

Supervisor: Well ... it's better to be a little bit sneakier about it, like when they're in the dressing room, just tell them: [totally getting into it:] Do you have a Banana card? Okay, well, let's get you one because you'll save 10% on all that if you open one today it only takes five minutes, I can even prepare the stuff at the register while you're making your final decisions, we'll get you all set up with that, only takes one minute, okay?

Me: [No intention whatsoever to listen to this advice] Right-o! Good idea, Janet/Kathy/Samantha/Rita/Lucy/Whathaveyou.

My major problem with retail in general is my overall inability to convince anyone to buy something I don't think they should buy, e.g., almost everything except food, and even then: I can talk someone into dessert, but I've never been good at making a table spring for fried mozzarella or some other cardiac-arrest-inducing atrocity. I think credit cards--especially store credit cards--are a really bad idea, and no one should get one.

I was in nearly $30K of credit card debt during my tenure at Banana, how could I ethically recommend another human dip their toes into the pool of misery that was dragging me to the depths of post-college angst?

So, over the course of my employment at Banana, I opened a grand total of zero credit cards. I feel pretty good about that. Obviously I didn't stay on past January, and I felt pretty good about that too.

2. Food/Nutrition/Calories

Seriously. Try me. Anything, anything, anything. This info's completely useless to me now, clearly, but friends who discover I have the golden ticket can't help but rail me for info, which I secretly love, 'cause then I can at least employ my smarts, and make them wonder if I'm crazy.

My Mom was a nutritionist, though she switched in '99 to social work ["I got bored of thinking about food all the time. I didn't even want to eat anymore." --Mom]. Living with a nutritionist when you're in a bizarre unqualified period of body-dysmorphic-disordered-what-have-you is like living with your father the CIA agent while having a schizo-manic episode. Mom had the literature. I am a very good student. I wish I could erase some of that information, though, namely the nutritional content of muffins. That was really disappointing.

1. Undergraduate Theater B.F.A. and B.A. Programs

Interlochen Arts Academy, my junior year of high school [1997]:

My best friend Ryan's doing calf raises on the cement steps of the Picasso dorm, eating Pringles from the can, his carefully gelled hair obscured by an oversized Stussy hoodie: "I'm dropping Theater, becoming an Academics major," he says, popping a chip, and, without a trace of irony, adds: "I can't act anymore. The only joy left in my life is food."

To illustrate, he crunches a whole stack of Pringles. He hands me a chip, I accept, and then he flashes his trademark earnest, wide-eyed stare, the imagine all the people face: "I'm becoming a monk, moving to Africa. Bringing the joy of food to the starving children of Africa."

The truth, of course, was less Ghandi, more Stagedoor: John'd gotten the part he coveted in Blood Wedding, which'd spiraled into this whirling discontent and re-evaluation of life priorities. Ryan was a senior.

His plan'd been to go to a top theater program, do the crazy-competitive-audition thing with other theater majors, but now: "I'll just apply to everyone who sends me a nice pamphlet."

And he does. Dartmouth, Brown, Ithaca, Sarah Lawrence, DePaul, Boston University, whomever. Thirteen applications. We hastily construct essays explaining his drop-out of Interlochen's program but insisting on a desire to pursue theater in a B.A. program. Though I chose to take the year off to focus on my academics, I feel this'll only enhance my understanding of the theatrical arts in an undergraduate setting....

The next year, Ryan's at Sarah Lawrence, I'm a senior, and my boyfriend's the school's best actor [the aforementioned John, natch. My roommate's an actress and both her and John shipping off most weekends to round after round of audition for coveted spots at top schools.

At campus, the student body's obsessed with who's getting into Juilliard or Carnegie Mellon, etc., who's advanced to the next round, who's getting interviews and phone calls and auditions. Obsessed to the point that I'm surprised more people did not jump into the lake when our admission/rejection information arrived. I was glad I wasn't a theater kid, I was stressed out enough about John and Ashley's fate.

Both years: I learn all about it, by proxy. Like, inside-and-out. Admissions stats, audition process, the point. What is the point? Whatevs. Showcases. Are you pretty? Do you know people?

And eventually? John's one of Carnegie Mellon's lucky 20, and now does Shakespeare in Oregon. And Ryan actually did take time off from SLC to go to Africa and re-build communities and feed children.

....and all the men and women merely players....


Lozo said...

i can't believe you spelled uncensored wrong in your movie. i don't even know you anymore.

i never understood people's fascination with strat-o-matic.

and just in case you ever consider jumping teams, i'm 6-foot-3.

Mercury said...

I love parenthetical statements. They are like my favorite kind. Especially when you have parentheticals inside of parentheticals inside of... etc...

I'd obvs go to your panel if I was rich and had a private jet to shuttle me there & get me back in time for work-is-school-is-hair.

I totes read the whole thing this time & also went back and read last week's 15 and enjoyed it muchly. Because today my brain is not malt... I had an awesome day. I made like $80 in tips, which is signifigant to me.

OMG the Banana Republic guy TOTLALLY DID THAT EXACT SME THING TO ME. and I totally spent like exactly $500 and also opened a credit card, (well, my mother did, and obvs never used it again) so if he had your goal, I was probs his favorite person that day. like the woman who tipped $50 was my favorite person today.

I was shopping there for low-rise black slacks and totes found them for $98/pair and obvs stocked up because they all draped excellently, and now I wear them like, every day, because black-pants-not-jeans & black-or-white-or-grey tops & black shoes is the dress code. ANYWAY... I had only been there once before to buy a secret santa gift for a girl who was all like 1000% the opposite of me, and I was like, "Where would I get something for someone who couldn't be more different from me?" and have never been back since. Hmm.

That was quite a monologue on the Banana Republic. Wow.

My mom has like 70 store credit cards and never uses any of them. She'll open one for any incentive, pretty much, and then she'll close it or just let it be there.

xscjaptt - excess CJ apt. This is either apt as in able, capable, or apartment. What is CJ in excess of? What is he apt at? Where is his apartment? So many questions.

credit card aid said...

I fully agree with you on the point of store credit cards - they are evil. If we disregard the thing that all credit cards (not onle store ones)are in fact evil, then you can find rather good credit card deals. But unless you firmly remember that credit cards are no real money and should never be treated is if they were, you'll be eaten by a great credit card debt.

riese said...

lozo: actually, now you know me even better, because you see my flaws. I'd also like to add that I was fifteen. And it's possible I didn't even write that sign. I can't really tell based on the handwriting.

Strat-o-matic was really complicated. It was like a combiation of math class and baseball. Most people think that sounds aweful. I thought it was AWESOME. Also I just liked playing old all-star teams like the Dodgers or Yankees in the olden days.

MERCURY: Every day I curse the stars that I haven' yet acquired a private plane for all of our urgent needs.

Thanks for reading the whole thing. [This's one of those posts that I wrote fully aware that most people would not read every one, which is obvs fine. But you might be one of the only ppl who can handle reading about Interlochen w/o drifting off into boredom.] And yay to yr tips, etc.!

Wanna know something funny? I OPENED A BANANA REPUBLIC CREDIT CARD. And actually paid it off within like, a month, but I still had all these other cards I coulda been paying off. I did not profit from that job, as they wouldn't let me wear any clothes I didn't buy from them.

I think your Mom has the right idea--that is the right idea for those things. Save the money, pay them off immediately. It's only a bad idea when you have other debts and end up not getting to it, after all.

um.."credit card debt," i don't know who you are but i hope you're coming to the panel!

Butch said...

Also, I wished I was a boy, so I could play baseball and not softball. Softballs seemed so cumbersome, like girlhood in general.

Great line! The feeling of a baseball in your hand compared to a softball in your hand is just astounding. You pick up a baseball and it feels like this living thing that wants to soar out of your hand... as opposed to a softball, which wants to get back on the couch and some TV.

Razia said...

OMG. If you are ever desperate enough to go back to retail, you MUST come to me for lessons in opening store credit cards, I hold the record for the most cards opened in a shift. The trick is not to corner them out of nowhere like your lovely manage suggested but to proceed with the transaction as per usual, presuming that they have a store credit card and when you tally it all up, you ask them for their store credit card, when they say that they don't have one you should act a little jilted and shocked as though the customer just threw up split pea soup at you and say "Are you sure? If you don't shop with the store card you'll be paying full price for these items..." and it goes on from there. I don't really think about the ethics behind it, which I believe is a characteristic that will assist me in finding success in finance.

Oh and those videos are hilarious!

Anonymous said...

totes probs whatevs totes probs

MoonKiller said...

I think I'm in the movie stage right now. Are all 15 year old Yanks that tall? Or is it us beefs are too short?

I used to collect soccer cards but then one bored day I decided to make a fire out of them. Them and my friends Pokemon cards. = ]. I have an unhealthy obsession with setting things on fire.

Jaime said...

Muffins, yes. If I liked scones, scones would be a bigger tragedy, but muffins. Only thing sadder for having too many calories is Amy's frozen pizzas.

riese said...

Butch: Thanks! The way you talk about baseballs and softballs somehow seemed slightly erotic. Could just be because my girlfriend is in the shower and I'm thinking about that, too. Hm. Feelings of things in one's hand...hm.

Razia: I think I'm at the point of unemployment which one may refer to as "desperate," yet I'm not sure that returning to retail would remedy that issue ... my paycheck was habitually paltry/inconsequential. Perhaps I could've done better if I'd worked hard instead of walked around and thought about what clothes I wanted to buy.

However, I'm impressed with your sales pitch! I fell for it just reading it on the blog. Like: TOTES PROBS would open it if you did that to me. It's like online role playing.

moonkiller: setting things on fire is always healthy. I wrote a whole novel about it, called "Firemaker." It was inspired by the Stephen King novel that I never read by the same name, where this girl was homeless with her brother and she met a boy named Fly and squatted and bagged groceries and got attacked. It was really good.
I was really prematurely tall. Like, 5'9, probs, in that video. PROBS TOTES. And Andrew was always really tall, too. For some reason, all my guy friends at that age were really tall, like 6' or over. They were 16 though, I was young for my grade. The other two girls are maybe 5'4? Hm. This's very unusual. Unusually tall friends, I had.

Jamie: Yeah, Amy's is sneaky cuz they claim to be healthy. Liars. I actually talked about scones in my first draft of this post! Like, transcribed a convo between my friend Krista and I about when I told her that the scones she consumed at a rate of 3/morning... yeah. That was a sad day for all of us. I think I want a muffin RIGHT NOW.

stef said...

amy's soy cheese pizza has milk products in it! who does that?

TB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal said...

The only thing I can comment on is softball. I played for many many years. I was a catcher. I hit home runs. I won't go on, 'cause no one likes a softball player. We were mighty unpopular. Probably still are.

Razia said...

Riese: Seeing that I just did my first shift in two weeks today, I totally see your point. I also don't know if retail employees in the US get rates as high as ours but I could be wrong. I always used to shop for myself as well, so I asked for a transfer to menswear. No luck, now it's more like "hmmm I can work these cufflinks"

tb: Yeah, the opportunities are there for those like you and I, who are smart enough to use the cards to get the deal and pay it off immediately. Not just as a means to shop while broke.

Word verification is "pipucko", I don't really have any insight to what that means but if I get another pet I'm naming it that.

MoonKiller said...

Riese: I'm like the shortest in my year (grade). I'm a wee 5 foot. But I hope I shrink before I'm 16 so I can legally be classified as a dwarf. = ] lol.

TB: Nah, I'm a 90's kid. But I wish I was a 70's kid. Rock n Roll and all that jazz.

riese said...

tb: I love that you addressed everyone, requiring everyone to reply to you specifically. Including me. Hi! See you soon, xo!

crystal: I think softball players are the supreme beings.

razia: At GapKids in '99, I got $6/hour. That was in a mall in Michigan. At Banana here, somehow I convinced them in the interview that I was such a promising employee that they'd start me at the unheard of (apparently) high rate of $10/hour. No commission or anything. That comes out to about $0/week.

moonkiller: Aw. I think it's good to be one step over midget. I'm like, one step below giant.

Razia said...

WHOA! I know commenting on old posts isn't all that common but I am just shocked....SHOCKED. We get 20/hr (which is approx USD17), but I get a higher rate coz i'm a "casual" employee which means that I give them days I'm available and they can call me or not for as little as 3 hours or as long as 12 with no overtime, I'm also not eligible for paid sick days and stuff. It's kind of like sacrificing being treated humanely for a few extra dollars an hour but even if you work under a contract the rates still aren't that low, they're 15/hour. American retail chains = slave drivers

Butch said...

The way you talk about baseballs and softballs somehow seemed slightly erotic.

Finally! I've turned a woman on with how I handle my balls!

Annie said...

Loved the vid. Just the other day I was thinking "Wow, Marie's awesome, but I wonder if she has a really annoying voice? That would suck. Nah, she wouldn't." And it turns out you don't! Totes relieved.

You are too much with that Blog-or-rhea thing. But it's a good idea. Now I just have to start writing real posts again and I am so IN.