Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stupid Weather

I think the weather was stupid because it didn't do what it said it would do, which caused me to sit on my balcony reading for the entire day and get nothing done.

Perhaps I should explain this. I happen to be a thunderstorm nut. I love, love, love thunderstorms. Not only that, but they energize me - ozone from the lightning maybe? No, please don't all jump at once and give me scientific explanations of why this isn't right, because I will react precisely the same way I do to technological explanations, which is to go into my happy bubble and sing quiet little songs to myself until people quit explaining things to me.

Anyway. So the only damn thing the weather did today was to have one brief downpour (I originally typed brie downpour, which is an EXCELLENT idea) while I was in the kitchen, which was fairly useless because I happened to be eating, and by the time I had finished, so had that anemic little bit of rain with its one paltry rumble of thunder. This is not a thunderstorm, this is a tease.

But the weather forecast kept talking about strong thunderstorms, so I spent the day sitting out there waiting for them...and they never occurred. And therefore I achieved absolutely nothing today except reading and managing to make my bottom fall asleep, which is an extremely weird sensation.

Meanwhile, I have decided to drop out of a show I got cast in. I realize this will sound deeply strange to anyone who knows me (I do not normally drop out of shows), but there are several good reasons for it.

1. It is a membership company which wants to me pay $75 a month for the privilege of being in the show.

2. The show is double-cast, and I get three performances.

3. The show is also going up in Los Angeles, and the LA cast has been told that if they want to come to NY and repeat their parts, they may do so - see only three performances, above.

This is silly. You want me to pay you for the privilege of doing three performances with the threat of someone from LA turning up to do my role which I have to share with someone else to begin with? And while I like the play and the role, I hardly like it THAT much. Oh, and it isn't going up until late September, so I have to pay them $75 a month from now until October for three lousy performances. I don't think so.

Of course, given the way my luck has been running, it'll probably transfer to Broadway, but I STILL don't think it's worth my time. It's definitely not worth my money. Oh, wait. I don't have a spare $75 a month anyway. That solves that, now doesn't it?

Frankly, having made that decision, I'm quite relieved - this was going to turn out to be one of those companies that won't let you get on with it without playing theatre games and doing trust exercises and all that happy horseshit which one grows out of real quick. Save that for school, for heaven's sake. I'm WAY too old and experienced for it. So there.

So aside from hunting about for a new straight temp agency and taking any whacko job my crazy lady gets me, I guess I'll go back to auditioning for stuff.

Oh, and I think I've just upped my typing speed considerably - or anyhow, I'm about to. Sitting here typing has made me figure out one of the major problems with my typing, which is that I've been so excited about my long, long Dragon Lady nails (you have no idea how thrilling this is for a lifelong down to the first knuckle nail biter), it never occurred to me that I can't type properly with them. So tomorrow I am going to engage in some drastic clipping and filing. Hey, my life is one long thrill.

However, I do get what looks like it's going to be a pretty spectacular meal tomorrow - Sarah and I are going to Dovetail! It got a great review in the Times, and I can't wait!

Love, Wendy

Friday, May 30, 2008

Further Update

I was just reading back to see where I left off when the clouds of broke washed over me, and I discovered that I haven't brought everyone up to date regarding Mel and Rebecca and the trip to Arizona.

Well, a couple of weeks back I was blown awake at about midnight by Joshua screaming at the top of his lungs. I stayed firmly in bed, because whatever the hell it was, I sure wasn't going to leap into it.

Turns out that Joshua elected to throw the girls out - at midnight. By screaming at them. I don't understand this one at all.

First of all, I will admit that the house was beginning to feel a bit crowded, but it would NOT have occurred to me to go any further than gently asking precisely WHEN they planned to leave for Arizona (which I did). Secondly, had I been going to insist that they leave, it also wouldn't have occurred to me to insist that they leave immediately - at midnight.

Well, according to Joshua, he only lost his temper because Mel was screaming at him. Evidently, he feels that because he's deaf and loud, everybody else is too - since I was listening to all this, and poor old Mel never raised her voice. Joshua also says that she got very melodramatic and yelled at him that he was throwing them out to go sleep at Penn Station - and aside from the fact that Mel being melodramatic is about as far from reality as anything I've ever heard in my life, what I heard Mel say was something on the lines of, "Let's all calm down and discuss this in the morning." But then again, I've never felt that my cousin had ANY kind of grip on reality.

So now, all their stuff - including their mail, which looks very much like it includes credit cards - is still here, and what the hell they're doing for clean underwear I cannot imagine.

Joshua insists that he's called them...we'll see.

More to come, I this space!

Love, Wendy


Well, that was an interesting little hiatus.

I did my last blog, and all of a sudden, lo and behold, my temp agency stopped calling me altogether. This sounds like a complete non sequitur, but isn't - no temp agency equals no money - no money equals no paying of Time Warner bill which equals no TV and...NO COMPUTER! (Unless all I wanted to do was word process and play solitaire.)

So, to bring all my adoring fans up to date (thank you, Tiger Lily - particularly for the picture of the woman I love), you will be delighted to know that in the long dead reaches of these past weeks, I have done absolutely nothing, except be terribly depressed about having no money (and no computer). When I'm depressed I don't do anything. I spend all of my time sleeping and reading, which is restful but fairly useless.

However, last Saturday I got my lovely government incentive check! So I immediately felt MUCH better, and promptly went and paid Time Warner, and bought groceries, and lovely cigarettes, and Diet Coke (yes, I know the ice water I'd been drinking is much better for me, but when one is addicted to Diet Coke, one is addicted). Naturally, I'm now basically out of money again, but I have a house full of groceries and a working computer. Obviously, I'm better off than before.

And one of my favorite men decided to move back to NY from LA and took me out for some food and drinks last Saturday (no, no - just a good friend - one of the Richard III gang). So that was neat. And on Monday, Sarah, Seth, Caesar and I saw the man who makes me drool incessantly - INDIANA JONES! You've got to see it - it's pure Indiana Jones, makes no sense whatsoever, has wild special effects - and features Karen Allen as Indy's love interest again! God bless Spielberg or whomever's idea this was for realizing that a 65 year old man looks creepy as hell having a love interest who's 23. And God bless Karen Allen for being 56 and looking just great and being as feisty as she was in the first movie. Yahoo for all!

And yesterday I actually went out and earned 20 bucks an hour for 9 hours of work. Frankly, I think this job should have paid a LOT more.

This was one of my crazy temp lady's specials. 28 of us arrived at a PR agency on 40th and Madison at 5:00 am on Thursday (yeah, you read that right - 5:00 AM). Our job was to be driven to St. Bartholomew's at 50th and Park and there bounce around until 2 in the afternoon campaigning for Pillsbury's Campaign for a Sweeter America promotion. We were issued T-shirts and campaign signs, and the thing kicked off at 7:30 am with four of us going one by one to the microphone (of whom I was one) exhorting people to vote for our favorite Pillsbury product - cake, frosting, brownies or quick bread. Every fifteen minutes we lined the street shouting for our "favorites" and waving our campaign signs and jumping up and down and generally behaving like people in the throes of some terrible aberration.

Yeah. Every fifteen minutes. We got fifteen minutes on and fifteen minutes off until 2 in the afternoon. The only thing to eat was the Pillsbury products that were being yelled about, the result of which was that the day ended with me having an intense desire to get home and eat an entire shaker's worth of salt - I'm not much of a sweets eater to begin with, and when I DO eat them, I prefer creme brulee to boxed brownie mix. I kept having these vague dreams of popcorn, and Cheese Doodles, and potato chips...these dreams were vague because naturally, with a day like that coming up, my body elected to go into full insomnia mode the previous night. So I was being maniacally enthusiastic on precisely one half hour's doze. You must try that when you have a minute...or nine hours.

And when I finally got home, I drank an entire bottle of Mogen David! No, no, no - I lie. It was Ripple. Actually I came home, had a beer and finally got to the morning papers, and then took a two hour nap because I had to go to a coop meeting. Arrgggh. The ONLY thing of any interest whatsoever at the meeting was that our treasurer inadvertently mispronounced the name of one of our new owners...they're a nice couple named Andrew and Wei-Wei, and he called them Andrew and Wee Wee. Oh, dear.

And when I got home from THAT particularly soporific occasion, I had another beer and some nice kielbasa and sauerkraut (hey - I'm chic - Eastern European food is in these days) and went the hell to bed.

Anyway, since my actually well-paying temp agency has decided they don't want me any more, I guess it's back to the crazy lady...anybody who knows a good temp agency willing to take on a charming, elegant lady of a certain age with secretarial skills who is NOT, however, a word processor, for God's sake let me know. Until then, it's back to stuffing gift bags at the Apollo for Mom, here - but I don't care what the crazy lady says, I'm damned if I'm going to dress as a carrot for eight hours in August.

And in the domestic news, Joshua has decided that the cat box should be in the upstairs bathroom (I think I mentioned this) and that we should use the cheap litter instead of the clumping stuff, and the cats REALLY don't like this. They are showing their displeasure by doing disgusting things all over the place, and Joshua flat out refuses to move the box. Last night after he had gone downstairs, one of the cats decided to shit precisely where he would step directly in it as he came out the new door from downstairs. I almost left it there, just for the hell of it, but I didn't want to listen to him on the subject (or, as we all well know, any other subject). This means, of course, that I will now have to move the box myself and put up with his offended looks...but believe me, it's worth it. Cats do have their own little ways of telling you they're pissed, don't they?

But I'm back!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We Have Ways of Making You Crazy

Well, as expected, the test at the law firm was a total bust. But as completely unexpected, it went to hell before it even got started.

I got there and was ushered to a desk to begin with the vocabulary test and the grammar test, both of which I aced, of course. Then we came to the typing test.

Now, I have been typing since I learned on my mother's 1932 upright Royal typewriter, which weighed more than I did at the time. I have NEVER not typed. And I am a very good and accurate a matter of fact, I'm even an excellent statistical typist.

I wasn't even allowed to take the rest of the test because I scored - wait for it - 20 words per minute on this thing.

Let me explain. A typing test is either a sheet of paper with a couple of paragraphs on it, or sometimes it's onscreen and you type from that. The thing you type from when it's on screen is above, and you copy it below. All clear? Okay.

THIS thing was extremely bizarre (even my temp guy said he'd never heard of anything like it). The typing test is on screen in bright blue letters. You are intended to type each line below the one above it, like so:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy black dog.

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy black dog.

What you are typing appears in bright red, below the bright blue.

As you are typing, the lines you are typing from shift over (sort of - it's hard to explain), so that when you look back at them they're in slightly different places - i.e., the end of the line isn't the end of the line any more, there's a word or two from the following line tacked on. And just as an added extra attraction, you are allowed no practice time.

Imagine my surprise. I would dearly love to know who thought this piece of idiocy up, wouldn't look? I mean, when you are testing for a position, one would assume that you would be tested on things that are actually more or less relevant to the job, right? I don't know about anyone else, but I cannot think of ANY application this particular setup would have to anything. This is not a thing found in nature - in the nature of offices, anyway. Not to mention the fact that staring at those two extremely bright colors on a white screen gave me a blinding headache.

So I am now howlingly furious, because of course they wouldn't let me take the rest of the test, and I looked at it and actually could have done it! We are now merely adding insult to injury.

I am going to sit around and play solitaire and steam for a while.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oh, Well

I just noticed that I've been going on at great length about these damn computer tests. I don't mean to, but aside from the fact that I hate them with an unholy passion, they absolutely terrify me. I tend to lose every single bit of computer knowledge I ever had, and my computer smarts are WAY better than I think they are.

I mean, I can walk into an audition with a roaring hangover and without having looked at my monologue for more than five minutes on the subway, and get away with it...why the HELL can't I do the same thing with these tests? I know perfectly well how to do the better part of these things...

Argggh. Wish me luck.

Love, Wendy (whose brain is going "To manually mark Table of Contents, place your cursor between the end of the..." - riiighhht.)

I Hate Working

Not, you understand, that I am currently working. My bank account stands at - are you ready - $0.05. Yup, you read that right - one nickel. And I have fourteen dollars in my wallet. This is NOT one of your better situations.

And my temp agency is trying to get me more jobs. Unfortunately, there is a huge drawback to this, which is that these law firms want to test you.

Now, in the old days, you took a vocabulary test, a grammar test, and a typing test. That was it. Finis. However, we have the miracle of computers these days, and they want you to do all kinds of complicated maneuvers. Format a document. Make a table of contents. Rebuild a document (I always think this involves Lego blocks and am always disappointed when it doesn't).

I have spent the day going over and over no less than FOUR reference works on legal secretarial work. And I have practiced this, that and the other. In theory, (and for that matter, except for a couple of things, in practice) I can do all the stuff they want me to do. But here's the kicker.

NOBODY WANTS ME TO DO IT. The chain of command at a law office goes like this. The partner gets a case. He hands off the legal nuts and bolts to the senior associate, who slams something down on paper and hands it to the junior associate. The junior associate then sends the whole mess to Word Processing. Word Processing makes it look legal and then we start at the top again. Now here is where I come in, as a partner's secretary. I make the minor corrections the partner wants and back down we go through the chain of command again. Every now and then I type a whole paragraph or two.

Point is that as a partner's secretary, what I do is type letters (few), make lunch reservations, arrange for travel, answer phones. And do billing and diaries (the daily log of how the partner spent his time, apportioned out by client for billing purposes).

So unless it's an extremely special case (and I've never run across one), there is NO REASON why I should learn this stuff.

I have now spent the better part of the day going over and over technical legal formatting. I can do just about anything, but there is one small point that I cannot get my mind around, and that is a following dot leader. I mean, you type "Revenues........". There seems to be a method of getting the dots to turn up after the word, but I am goddamned if I can find it in any one piece of my copious collection of computer literature - including online help. I am flummoxed, and after four solid hours of attempting to figure this out, I have decided that if a firm doesn't want me because my dots aren't in the right place, to hell with them. This is silly.

Meanwhile, the girls are on their way to Arizona, in the most complicated fashion I've ever seen in my life. They found a lady who wanted to drive to Arizona with her seven show cats (don't ask me) to work in drag clubs out there (again, don't ask me), but somehow Mel got it into her head that it would be much cheaper for Mel and Rebecca to fly out to Arizona, pick up a car there, drive it back to NY to pick up the lady and the cats, and then drive back to Arizona. This doesn't sound right to me, but then I'm not doing it - I don't even know how to drive. However, evidently cooler (and less complicated) heads prevailed, so the girls are now out renting a car - or something. Call me extremely confused. And of course, Joshua, having invited them in to begin with, has now decided that they've been here much too long and is bitching all over the place.

And Mel tried to fix the towel rail in the bathroom again by setting it into a piece of wood so that Joshua couldn't yank it out of the wall as he usually does. Guess what. He yanked it out of the wall again...out of the wall and out of the piece of wood. So now we have a completely extraneous piece of unpainted wood on the upstairs bathroom wall. No towel rack - just a thick piece of wood. According to Joshua, this is because he simply had his hand on it while he was putting on his pants after his shower. One can only assume that Joshua puts his pants on while doing one handed pushups on a towel rail. I'm not quite sure exactly HOW you'd achieve this, but clearly he did.

I am going to bed. This STUPID test is tomorrow and I am going to get up very early and write myself a cheat sheet. Growl.

Love, Wendy

Friday, May 2, 2008

Memo to Self - Go Home Earlier, Damn It!

Yes, well, you see before you the wreck of what was once a woman. Last night's art installation thing sort of turned into a party and then went on doing so. First we sat around in the art installation (the "Waiting Room" was the piece, and that's what we were doing for four hours). Then the show finished at 9 pm, at which point some damn fool went out and bought rather a lot of beer, and then we went over to Peter McManus, an elderly Chelsea bar, and then...

I'm not feeling too well today - actually, that's wrong. I feel like death today. I have now consumed several Tylenol and a couple of therapeutic beers, and for some reason my lack of appetite totally disappeared for the first time in over a week, leaving me absolutely ravenous. Unfortunately I don't do absolutely ravenous quite right (you know, like normal people who decide what they're going to eat and then eat the hell out of it) I kept eating things and then deciding that I'd had enough and going to do something else (like napping). Then I would find that I was starving again and go eat a little bit of something else, then I'd decide that it wasn't quite what my body was telling me to eat...and due to the fact that my entire paycheck this week was a whopping $145, I didn't really feel that I could do what I wanted to do, which was order up a lot of sashimi and wolf that down. Why sashimi always seems to be good for a hangover is beyond me...I think it must be the fact that it's easy to eat and packs a huge protein wallop. I would, in fact, have gotten the sashimi (yes, I know everyone else in the whole world eats sushi, but for some reason I don't care for it - but boy, do I ever love sashimi) except that I have to go out and pick up a prescription tomorrow, and it's the most expensive one. Last time I got it the bill came to $87 bucks and change. 87 from 145 does NOT leave a sashimi margin. The other thing I considered was pizza, on account of the grease seems to sop up the leftover booze, but that was two blocks away and entailed getting dressed, which I assure you I had no intention of doing. So I ate some macaroni and cheese, and half a fairly bad Italian sub I got from the new deli, and just recently I finished the macaroni and cheese...maybe tomorrow I'll get another roll for the remains of the sub sandwich because it's sitting in the icebox, and I can't eat them the second day because the bread gets nasty and soggy from the oil and vinegar. If I pick up a Kaiser roll in the morning when I get the papers, I can put the ingredients on some nice fresh bread that isn't soggy. This is about the most in the way of intelligent thought I've been able to come up with all day.

And just to fill my cup of delight to the brim, one of the cats just threw up hugely on the rug right behind me. When one's innards are feeling slightly disturbed, this is not a useful thing for a cat to do. Particularly since I've never been able to train them to clean up after themselves.

I think I should lie down now...possibly for about a week.

Love, Wendy