Dramatic Monotony

Monday, June 30, 2003

Just wanted to share a few of my pictures. Not all of them are so great... but here are the highlights.

This is the Tower at the University of Texas. Before USC got into my blood, I dreamed of being a Longhorn. Actually, I'd still love to attend UT for graduate school. When my mom was in school here, this was the main library. It's also the site of the infamous shooting. Recently the administration re-opened the observation tower, but I believe you still need to make an appointment before going to the top.

And here's view of the Texas State Capitol from the base of the UT Tower. Beautiful, huh? Unfortunately I was the only one that wanted to poke around there. No one else was interested in the historical tour of Austin. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Mary Louise is going to kill me for this picture. But I couldn't resist. Anne's pj shorts are adorable!

We didn't want to get out of bed on Friday morning. It was entirely too early... but hunger finally drove us from the comforts of the warm blankets. Can I mention that Anne's mom makes the best coffee cake EVER?

I think this is a photo of Anne looking through my purse. But she appeared so serious... is my purse really THAT messy? We're waiting for delicious Tex-Mex-Hawaiian food from the Hula Hut!

Anna, Anne, and I are about to set out for 6th street... even though we ended up going to a club on 7th. Strange.

Anne was a wonderful hostess over the weekend, and I really had an excellent time seeing her. I've known her for YEARS upon YEARS upon YEARS. Since pre-k, actually. It's nice to know that I still have friends from that far back. And she's one of my favorite people in this world.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Okay, back from my trip. I'll do a nice long post as soon as I get some sleep... that drive back isn't very long, but it sure is exhausting!

One quick anecdote, though...

I was sitting down with my parents, watching a movie in the den. It was a surfing film, actually - set in Cornwall of places! Anyway, so I'm watching the main character walk along an ocean-side cliff. It's a beautiful day in the movie; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the waves break against the rocks. I thought, "Gee, I can almost swear that I'm at the beach. The water sound recordings are amazingly lifelike!" Then a couple of seconds later, I realized that the water sounds weren't coming from the speakers - they were coming from the laundry room! Water was gushing from the washing machine, flooding the whole room and part of the garage. An hour later, after attempting to repair the clogged drain and mopping the laundry room, my parents and I sat back down and watched the rest of the DVD. However, our ears were peeled for the tell-tale splashes of copious amounts of water flowing onto the linoleum. Not surprisingly, I think our paranoia took away from the film.

I suppose the moral of the story is as follows: Don't be fooled by a good home entertainment system; if you hear something that sounds authentic, it just might be.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Fun in Austin!

Right now, I'm typing on a friend's computer as she works on a presentation about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She's presenting it later in class at UT - and yes, I'm in the Live Music Capital of the World right now. I arrived yesterday with Mary Louise. We had a lovely drive; we saw rain, several traffic jams, lots of construction, and irate truck drivers. But I suppose that's par for the course in any road trip, huh? MLB and I made it fun. We talked the whole time about every subject under the sun. Then, we arrived at Anne's house, took the grand tour, and I left to see Matt and Kim!

I really had a good time. Kim showed me around her apartment complex. We saw the pool, the road, the dastardly hill, and a man walking his dog. We also heard a strange mewing noise. She thought it was a little kid; I'm pretty sure it's a kitten. Dinner was excellent. Matt made little individual pizzas with mozzerella, basil, and tomato, and Kim made a fruit salad with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. But the best part of the meal was Kim's gift to me... Orangina!! She remembered that I was a huge fan of this orange soda beverage and bought me a four-pack at Central Market. Despite her tough, no-nonsense outward exterior, she's really just a softy. Oh, yeah, and the kittens were rambunctious. They ran around, chased paper, tried to steal money out of my purse, and then attempted to climb Kim's prized abacus lamp. Twice. Overall, I greatly enjoyed myself.

Today we went to Players, a stereotypical greasy burger joint... needless to say, it was greasy. But yummy nevertheless. I'm not sure what we're up to tonight - MLB left with her father to go to Gonzales, but Anna is supposed to join us for the night. I'm planning on loafing around the University of Texas campus for a bit by myself while Anne's in her creative writing class. I think I'll take a few pictures, just to send to my mom. Maybe it'll remind her of the good old days when she was at the University of Texas.

I'm sure I'll update soon - and don't worry, I have lots of pictures as well!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

In memory:

Leon Uris died today, at the age of 78. He was the author of one of my favorite books, Exodus. So, in honor of Mr. Uris, I highly recommend this novel. It brings a bit of context to an age-old fight; it's surprisingly relevant years after its publication. Exodus a thick read, but the writing is so masterful that I hardly noticed the length. It has a marked pro-Jewish slant; however, don't immediately write it off if it doesn't fit your political agenda. The book still worth borrowing from the local public library. May God bless you, Mr. Uris.

I've finished Harry Potter!

It only took me twelve hours. I bought it at noon Monday... and I finished at midnight. Take that, 870 pages!

Overall impressions?

Harry Potter is kinda whiney. But I chalk that up to his being a teenager. Weren't we all whiney at fifteen? It seemed a bit longwinded at times - there was a lot more description of the summer than usual. However, I liked it, for the most part. I have a bit of a quibble with Dumbledore's actions... but I guess not even a great wizard knows everything.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Recently finished reading:

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

Recently viewed:

The Pillow Book
The Serpent's Kiss

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Quiz time!

1. Saturday night with Ian involves:
A) Wandering around Rice University in the dark
B) Eating leftovers accumulated over the past week
C) A case of of Smirnov Ice
D) All of the above

2. We watched what movie?
A) Velvet Goldmine
B) Kissing Jessica Stein
C) Braveheart
D) True Lies

3. Ian eats:
A) Everything except shrimp
B) Only vegetarian items
C) Only vegan items
D) Anything with lots of sugar in it

4. How many times has Ian smoked a cigar?
A) once
B) twice
C) thrice
D) never

5. Why do I like hanging out with Ian?
A) He makes me laugh
B) He buys me ice cream
C) He has good taste in movies
D) All of the above


D - Though why Ian wanted to wander around Rice University, I still don't quite understand. We watched a bunch of kids run around the campus after basketball camp. That was... um... not so thrilling. But at least it was something to do, right?

B - Ian didn't understand why I think this is one of the best movies of last year. It's funny, it's sweet, it exceeds expectations. Good stuff.

A - After ditching his vegan ways, he's now eating just about everything. Except he didn't like the shrimp in the leftover chinese food... I think that's a travesty! The shrimp's the best part!

C - He smoked the cigar while we walked around. I thought it was kinda silly. And I don't really like the smell of cigars either. Nasty things, I think.

D - I enjoyed my night with him. He's a really cool guy.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

I don't know if I've told a lot of you about the hell that is inventory. But now that it's over and my back has stopped aching so much, I think I'll describe the last three days for you. This has been a pretty consistent routine.

1. Wake up at 5am.

2. Get out of bed at 5:05am. Panic that tardiness will ensue after late start. Rush around the house until 5:25.

3. Race to Memorial City Mall. Arrive at exactly 5:40. Scarf down breakfast in car until 5:45. Go inside.

4. Clock in. Listen to John's stupid announcements for twenty minutes. Then go to an area of the store and start scanning items with a silly little scanner thingie. (That's the technical term, I believe.)

5. If at all possible, scan things that are about ten feet off the floor using a ladder that wobbles precariously from side to side. Almost fall down. Repeat until knees turn into jelly or until five hours has passed.

6. Count a lot. And then re-count a lot.

7. Go on hour lunch break. Sit in the food court at all the shoppers, thinking, "They look so happy. I wish I wasn't working. I can't feel my toes because of my back pain. Oooh, that's a cute shirt." In order to stop the annoying running commentary, read a book. In my case, I bought Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.

8. Go back to work. Scan some more.

9. Repeat until about seven at night. Then stagger out of Foley's, drive home, and go to bed. Dream about the beeps emanating from the scanning machines.

Highlights included:
~ being accosted by the Benefit salespeople
~ having a sketchy dude hit on me for three solid days
~ developing a new method for scanning folded shirts with a Taiwanese frat guy from UT; running around the store demonstrating our amazing technique
~ conversation about Carson Palmer's greatness with a manager
~ watching the mysterious hot dude at lunch - too bad he never said anything.
~ going home at night

As a treat for finishing this misery, I decided to join Mary Louise at a choir practice for Tallowood Baptist's college choir. Her boyfriend, Mark, is the head honcho of this operation, and he desperately needs more members. I'm a pretty pathetic alto who can't read music. However, I like singing church music, so I decided to help a friend out. The practice was actually a lot of fun. I met a few really nice people - in fact, my life is now indebted to a girl named Myra who helped me figure out what I was supposed to sing. After practice, Mary Louise and I sat in my car, gossiping until Mark came over, looking very forlorn without his Mary. I decided to let her out of my vehicle to rejoin her baby. Overall, it was a nice break from the monotony of scanning. I'm looking forward to the next practice!

Monday, June 16, 2003

I decided to accept the offer from ORGL.

I sent in my contract a day late, though.

And no one will return my calls or emails.

So, I still don't know if I'm an RA or not. And I feel really guilty and noncommital about the whole thing. But extremely excited and enthusiastic at the same time. Needless to say, I have conflicted feelings.

One good thing: If I go back to Los Angeles super early, I might be able to go on the Tahoe trip with the marching band! I've never been to Tahoe. That should be loads of good fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Oh my gosh.

I just received an email from the Office of Residential and Greek Life. I was officially offered a position as a Residential Advisor in Parkside.


I have a lot of questions... I want to make sure I can keep my roommate, Amy. I need to figure out how to sell my parking spot in Manor. I need to figure out what I should do about the Marching Band. But, as of right now, I'm extremely excited. And a bit shocked, if you want to know the truth.

It caps off the end of a mixed day. I had a lousy time at work... but I had an amazing time seeing Mary Louise. It's such a relief being able to talk freely with a friend. I can tell her anything, and she reserves judgement and respects me. You can't say that about many people.

Wow. I still can't believe I got offered the job. I wanted it so badly... and I resigned myself to failure in that respect. And now it's being offered. Wow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Concerning work...

I had an interesting conversation with Amy, my manager today. She asked me about inventory procedures at Express after she gave me a checklist of things to accomplish. I said something about everything being "spot on," and Amy exclaimed, "I haven't heard that phrase in years! It's British, isn't it?" This led into a conversation about our families. Evidently, her family is from Ulverston, a town in the Lake District of England. Coincidentally, my dad is from Barrow-in-Furness, a nearby city in the Lake District. We swapped stories about family disasters involving the "mad British relatives." It was quite a bonding moment.

Destiny is my fellow Foley's inventory partner. I like her a lot... she's had to deal with a lot of shit in her life, but she's a trooper. She had a baby at fifteen with a boy who refuses to associate with their child. But she still managed to complete her high school education, and move to Houston in order to attend the University of Houston. She's going to be a sophomore next year, and she has plans for a Ph.D in Psychology. She has a wonderful, kind fiancee who provides both financial and emotional support. Destiny's also a hard worker, with a quick sense of humor. She's "salt of the earth," so to speak.

When I got home, Sam started IMing me about her problems with Victoria's Secret. For details, you can consult her blogger. I used to work at Express, which is owned by the same company and has identical store policies, so I know exactly why she's frustrated. And I started to think... I never had such nice conversations with my managers at Express. I used to dread every moment I spent in that store... my feet hurt, my face hurt from smiling too much, and I ran around, attempting to sell credit cards to every man, woman, and child who entered the premises. Needless to say, a four hour shift seemed like eternity. However, my longer shifts at Foley's seem to fly by. I have just as much or more work, but the work environment is much more pleasant. I need another job after this is done... but hopefully I'll find a job that does not involve Express, Victoria's Secret, the Limited, Bath & Body Works, or any related company.

Monday, June 09, 2003

I feel like I'm missing something.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm having all of these disturbing dreams about loss. Loss of friends, loss of relationships, loss of love... these feelings are haunting me right now. There's nothing concrete about my dreams, but there's a consistent pattern to them. My dreams consist of something like this: I fall away from another person; I realize my mistake; I apologize; I draw an uneasy truce; and I wake up, realizing that this was all fantasy, and I haven't really reconnected with these people in my past. I'm still far away from everyone that I used to love.

I've been drowning myself in romantic movies and music in response to these feelings of melancholy. I know I've talked about Bend It Like Beckham... but did I mention Music From Another Room? Pretty In Pink? Little Voice? Kissing Jessica Stein? Some Kind of Wonderful? Stanley and Iris? At times, I feel like I'm addicted to the "dramedy" genre of film. None of these movies are particularly great... but they provide fodder for my soul. They feed my cravings for a happy ending. I watch two people fall in love and live a fairy tale. And for that brief moment, I leave my chair and drift in the clouds. And then the credits roll, and I'm wrenched back to Earth.

Do happy endings exist outside of the celluloid world? I'm sure they do. Despite these little bouts of uneasiness, I really enjoy my life. I've met some amazing people, done some extraordinary things, traveled to exotic locales... and I foresee multiple adventures in my future. Anything seems possible - higher education, a successful career (or several successful careers), world travel, even a hint of danger. I want to be able to tell my grandchildren about the life lessons I've learned and encourage them to reach out and grab experiences by the horns... I'd like to say that I've truly lived my life.

If I aspire to exemplify this sort of attitude, then why am I so hung up on my failures? Doubt and fear peek around the corner, always threatening every new venture. I can't help remembering rejections, embarrassing interactions with former friends, and yes, times where I've hurt others. My parents expect me to become successful in life; my friends expect me to behave in a certain manner; the church expects me to follow the minutia of its tenets. I juggle guilt and pressure and the realities of everyday life. Essentially, I'm desperately trying to move on from ancient issues, but the past drags me down with the weight of old pain. Sometimes I feel the only way to escape these thoughts is to leave the physical location of the memory. But I'm still hurting, even when I'm miles away.

When I step back to re-examine the words I've written, I can't help thinking how... trivial and common I am. Who am I to think that I'm unique? Every person in the world faces this sort of self-doubt; what makes me any more special than the next person on the blogger ring? Is the title of my journal, Dramatic Monotony, indicative of my entire existance? Did I just fall into a trap of my own design?

I can't answer that. There are a lot questions I can't answer.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

mowing and painting and scrubbing... oh my!

I feel like I'm turning into a laborer for my parents. However, on Tuesday, the bathroom will be complete, thank god. I will no longer have to spackle/paint/scrub, etc. It will be a welcome respite.

Jude Law is quite hot. I just wanted to say this. Did you realize he used to be a roommate with another hot actor, Ewan McGregor? Damn. Double hotness.

::re-reads that paragraph::

::feels ashamed at superficiality::

By the way, I was talking to a friend of mine from England, and he turned his personal webcam on while we were chatting. Boy, those things are addictive. He didn't really do much. Just sorta sat there and looked at the computer and occasionally smiled at something. But I was hooked. I'm a combination of a voyeur and a busybody. I could be a good cam girl... but I'll leave that discussion up to my friend Sepi.

Gosh, the summer feels so long. And boring.


<<------- That was me screaming. Did you enjoy it?

Saturday, June 07, 2003

I had a great night last night - I went to see Bend It Like Beckham, finally!

I also managed to hang out with an old friend of mine, David Zaga. We went to Europe together the summer before my junior year in high school. I met a lot of great people on that trip, but David's the only one that I still converse with. I like being around him; he's full of energy and strange opinions. I can be at my goofiest and do strange things, and he only encourages more outlandish behavior. I like that about him.

We went to the Edward's complex on I-10. This place has a huge movie theater, a lot of restaurants, shops, a Jillian's... It reminds me a bit of Universal CityWalk. Due to my foresight, we bought our tickets for the 7:35 showing when we arrived, at about 6:15. The lines were a LOT shorter, so this really saved us a lot of time. Then we went to eat at Red Robin, a decent burger joint. (I'd say it's comparable to Island's, for the Los Angeles folks reading this.) I had tortilla soup, a sandwich wrap, and some fries. I'm on a quest for the perfect bowl of tortilla soup, so if a restaurant serves it, I will order it. On a scale of 1-10, I'll give the Red Robin a 6 and a half for their attempts. We scarfed down the meal, tortured our waiter, and possibly scarred the children in the family dining behind us. We made our way to Cold Stone, where I flirted with the ice cream scoop who looked like he was still in high school. Oh, well, just call me a cradle robber. Then we went to Van's, a huge store/skate park/arcade. I'm not kidding you, I saw the most tortured pre-teens/teenagers in this place. If you're an adolescent skater, are you required to wear a black tee-shirt and a menacing sneer? I didn't think so... but that's the clientele. Finally, David and I ran back to the movie, and of course I needed to pee. So I stand in the ENORMOUS line in the women's restroom and hear a story about a knife fight in a showing of 2 Fast 2 Furious. That's comforting, especially when you're about to embark on a movie viewing venture.

Now, thoughts on Bend It Like Beckham?

I discussed this with Jay later that evening... but Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is hot. I would venture to say that he's hotness personified. If you don't believe me, just look at this picture.

Yeah, he's pretty dreamy. But the love arc is just one facet of the amazing parts of this movie. If you combine Billy Elliot, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Monsoon Wedding, add a dash of handsome actors and a pinch of London attitude, you will have a formula for success, ie Bend It Like Beckham. I'm not a huge football fan, but I really enjoyed the sporting aspects of this film. Also, I just can't get over how much I liked the Jess's family. There's not a bad guy or a bad person; there are just cultural differences.

I HIGHLY recommend this movie; in fact, I'm counting the days until I can buy it on DVD.

Monday, June 02, 2003

"Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay
And you're OK"
- Pink Floyd, "Money"

I may not have a job with good pay... but at least it's a job.

I'm working the next three weeks at Foley's, a department store here in Houston. For those not familiar with Foley's, it's owned by the May Company, which also owns Lord & Taylor and Robinsons-May. I'm not getting paid a lot per hour; however, they're giving me about 30 hours per week. That's pretty good, especially if you figure that I barely worked 20 hours a week at Express last year. I still need another job, but at least I'll have a little bit of cash.

One strange thing happened today. When I walked up to the front door, I noticed this well-dressed girl talking on a cell phone. I thought she looked nice, but nothing else crossed my mind. We ended up walking downstairs together, and I introduced myself. Her eyes got really big, and she said, "My name is Laila... didn't you used to go to Ascension?" Then I realized this was a girl who was in my first and second grade class! How strange... and random! It was fun catching up with her. She went to AWTY for the rest of elementary/middle/high school, and now she's at the University of Texas. Very cool.