Monday, April 27, 2009

A Few Notes on My Weekend

1. While originally intended to be a party of multiple members of an older generation and multiple members of a younger generation, Friday night ended up being just me and Kristina - so, at least we got one representative from each generation - since the Rebeccas were both busy, as was the Christine, the Courtney, and the Bonnie. Anyway, the purpose and intention of this gathering was to introduce the wonders of Newsies to the younger generation. Kristina, born in the year the film was released (oh, goodness I'm old!) had never seen the movie. As a girl who spent many, many hours of my teen years watching Christian Bale and David Moscow singing and dancing their way through the streets of New York (or, at least, Disney's version of the streets of New York), I felt it was my civil responsibility to correct the egregious error of Newsies omission in Kristina's education.

She liked it. My favorite moment of the evening: after telling me that she'd just recently seen The Dark Knight with her brother and his girlfriend, Kristina began to examine the Newsies DVD case. She pointed to a picture of Jack and said, "Who is this actor? He looks familiar." My reply: "Um, well, that's Batman. Much younger."

2. Friday morning when I got to work at five AM, it was thirty-five degrees outside. By noon on Saturday, it was ninety. This weekend, when I wasn't working, I spent time in front of fans and finding new things to freeze in my freezer.

3. Last weekend I mentioned to mi madre that I'd love to have some of the Tupperware popsicle forms that we had when I was growing up. She went to the basement, pulled out her two sets, and handed them to me. Thrilled, I packed them up and brought them back to Philly. I was not expecting to use them quite this soon, but I was glad to have them yesterday afternoon when I had apples to use up before they went bad, so I quickly made applesauce and then filled the popsicle forms with it. I've been eating applesauce pops for a day...they're delicious.

4. So far, with the applesauce pops, tank tops and shorts, the fans, and the shades down at every sunny window, I've managed to remain at a decent body temperature these past few days. However, I'm looking forward to Wednesday when the high is supposed to be sixty-eight.

And looking forward:

5. Tonight is Chuck's season finale. I live in fear that it will not be renewed. If that is the case, I will weep. Okay, maybe not weep, but definitely be sad. That said, I've decided that I would totally hire Zachary Levi to be in my coffeshop sitcom, if only just to hang out with him, 'cause he seems pretty cool.
A few random thoughts...and American Idol

Random thought # 1 - The cheese factor of signs in front of churches bewilders me. Is it really helpful to have a ridiculous saying like "Now open between Easter and Christmas!" on your sign? Does it bring people into the church? Oh, and how 'bout the one that I saw the other week: "Come early to get a seat in the back." Was that supposed to be funny, or just insulting to the regular congregation?

Random thought # 2 - On Monday evening I had one of the three worst airplane landings I've ever had. In a rainstorm. It was bad. I'll spare you the gory details, but it was gross, too. I sometimes wonder why I like flying. Is it really worth the headache of takeoff and landing?

Okay, there are the random thoughts I've had today. Now onto American Idol.

I haven't said much about AI this season, mostly because, though I've been following it, I haven't been enthralled by it. But, now that it's down to the homestretch, I thought I'd put down a few words about the remaining contestants.

Comments (in no particular order):

Allison - I like her. She's a great singer, and a solid performer. Of all the girls in all the seasons I've watched, she and Brooke White are probably the only two that I've really rooted for. So, there you have it. And I think Simon was being ridiculous the other week when he made some comment about her not being likeable. She's totally likeable!

Danny - I never really got into him. I didn't ever love him or hate him. There was all sorts of controversy early on about him using his dead wife as a pity thing, but I was just kinda "meh" the whole time. He's got a pretty good voice, but there's very little about his performances that make him stand out.

Adam - I will never have anything bad to say about his voice. The boy can sing. It's amazing to listen to the control and capability he has with his vocal chords. That said, he's kinda boring. He seems to have only two modes: manic and maudlin. One week he plays manic, the next he plays maudlin, then back to manic, then to maudlin again. Sure, no matter which mode he's in the vocals are great, but I would like to see some shades of grey in there.

Kris - He's been my favorite since the very start of the semifinals. Part of that is style preference; give me a boy with his guitar any day over the screeching rock stars or R&B soul singers. But generally, Kris has put in solid performance after solid performance, barely missing a step the whole way along, with good vocals, original arrangements, creative song choices, and great musicianship.

Matt - I've tried to like Matt more than I do. I mean, he's from Michigan, I think my friend knows him, he's kinda cool. I like him, just not tons. Probably it's because he falls into the R&B soul singer category, at least in the eyes of the show, if not in his own. I was glad to see him saved, if only because he certainly deserved to outlast Lil, but he's never completely hooked me.

My Rankings (from least favorite to favorite):

5. Adam
4. Danny
3. Matt
2. Allison
1. Kris

My Prediction (of the order they'll fall in)

5. Matt (could be 4)
4. Allison (could be 5)
3. Danny
2. Kris
1. Adam

It's kinda sad, really. I don't think Adam should win, simply because he hasn't shown range, only extremes. I think Danny should certainly go before Allison, but I doubt that will happen. Actually, I think Matt should outlast Danny because at least Matt has taken risks and tried new things, but for some reason Danny seems to be untouchable. Maybe it's some big fanbase in Madison, WI.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"With all due respect, Madame President..."

I discovered this week that one of my coworkers dislikes me so much that she's now quitting because of me. Evidently, I'm impossible to work with. I didn't know. I make light of it, and will continue to do so, because in so many respects she's being ridiculous, but at the same time, it breaks my heart. I've known she didn't like working with me, and I've walked on eggshells with her for months, but nothing has helped. Me being me is just too overwhelming, I guess.

I actually thought we were doing better than we had in the past. She was gone for a couple months on medical leave, and since she returned, I didn't feel the tension quite so palpably. Granted, I'm not a rocket scientist when it comes to reading people, but I thought we were doing okay. I was careful to be interested in her personally, and tried to talk to her as much as anyone one else we work with. I took care not to let my annoyance with some of her actions reveal itself, I just bottled it away and let it go (how's that for mixing metaphors?).

But then, Monday morning, another coworker informed me that she had called our District Manager about me. Wow, skipping the manager this time. I mean, when she was bothered by me before she never did talk to me, but at least she took it to the shift supervisor and store manager levels in order. So, my kind coworker just let me know that this was going on, so that I wouldn't be blindsided by whatever repercussions were going to take place.

I was a little stunned. I like our DM. He's really with-it, and I trusted that he'd have a level enough head on his shoulders not to take one person's side of the story without investigating further, but I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I was totally prepared for him to come and ask me for my POV on the situation. I actually thought through all the other people I've worked with at the store and had conflict or differences with, and thought about how we'd handled those and come through them as friends on the other side. I had a list of references for him to talk to. And I totally wanted to use Jack Bauer's line from this season of 24, when the President asks him how she can know where his loyalties lie and he just growls, "With all due respect, Madame President, ask around."

So, I waited. I didn't initiate any further discussion of the topic. I was pretty sure everyone else in the store knew what was going on, but I didn't ask. Then, on Thursday morning, I worked with my manager. Now, my manager and I aren't best buddies at all, but there's a certain level of respect there. Somewhere, then, in the course of the morning, she informs me that this disgruntled co-worker would be leaving us after next week. To which, I raised my eyebrows.

Then, piece-by-piece, the rest of the story came out. Pretty much, she'd called the DM, and complained about me, and he asked for some specific examples of what I'd done that was so offensive. When she gave him the examples, his response was something along the lines of, "Well, um, that is her job." He also had heard complaints from other people about her, which weighed in to his words to her. Whatever the whole conversation consisted of, the DM's pretty sure that what he said to her made her seriously consider quitting. Then next week's schedule was posted and we're scheduled to open together every single morning...and she quit. Now, supposedly she'll fill out her two weeks, so I get the joy of opening with her every morning this next week, and not letting her know all that I know, but who knows what will really take place? I'll keep you updated.

I still was holding my own counsel about everything at work, not wanting to say anything that would confirm my meanness, 'cause there's plenty of things I could say, but shouldn't, when yesterday, working with a different girl (someone who'd originally thought I didn't like her, approached me about it, discovered we'd just miscommunicated, and has since been a delightful coworker and friend), I got to hear about how this has gone down in the store scuttlebutt. Evidently (and this is exactly why I want to write a sitcom about this kind of job--the drama!), she'd worked with another person the night before, who was telling her everything that the quitting coworker dislikes about me, and my delightful coworker completely turned on this person and laid into them about how ridiculous the quitter is being and how I'm one of the best employees in the store and that the quitter could learn a thing or two from me, etc. She then went on to say that I was a better person than the quitter in so many ways and that when I leave a shift and the quitter is still working I'm barely out the door when she starts in harping on all the things I do that she dislikes, whereas when quitter leaves and I'm left she never hears one word about my frustrations.

I thanked her for the vehement defense, shared that I really don't want to be hated, and wish I could have done something to prevent it or fix it, but don't know how, or even exactly what I've done that's so horrible, and then smiled very broadly on the inside, glad that I'd kept my own counsel. I know I'm not perfect, and I'm sure I'm at fault to some extent, but it is nice to know that other people don't think so.

In other news, I got Slumdog Millionaire on DVD this week, and had my friend Courtney over last night to watch it...and loved it just as much this time around, and then today, when I put it in to listen to the commentary and watch the special features, discovered that they are missing from my disc. I got online to see what the issue was, and evidently FOX messed up and didn't get the special features on the discs (oops!), so there was a help-line to call, and once I proved that I did actually purchase the disc by reading random things of the disc and the box ("what does it say in the white box under the Special Features listing on the back of the DVD case?"), they told me they'd send me a replacement in the mail. Which is all fine and good, except now I'm bummed 'cause I have to wait longer to see the special features!