30 September, 2009

Pa-pa-pah Poker Face

My love for Lady Gaga knows no bounds. Her total confidence, incredible voice, piano skills (who knew?) and lack of pants really comes together into a package that I am more or less obsessed with. Even hanging by one arm and bleeding over the VMAs this year, Lady Gaga looked cool. Now THAT is talent.

This is perhaps the best rendition of Lady Gaga's Pokerface that the planet will ever know. Her acoustic versions of her pop songs are polar opposites to the songs on the radio, and definitely worth a look.

In the clip below, you not only have Lady Gaga being all soul-ful and spiritual, but she's wearing a hairpiece that looks like a fox on top of her head. Enjoy.

**Correction: Matt says it is an elephant. As animal hairpieces are not my forté, I am going to go with him on this one.

18 September, 2009

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

I started my new job last week, hostessing at a tourist-heavy seafood restaurant. I wear "business casual clothing" (which, depending on the day and my level of clean laundry, involves whatever I own that is not a tee shirt or jeans. I've definitely got the casual part down). I get to wear a clear ear-piece that hooks me directly into the ears and conversations of the managers, which is fun and very CIA and on the first day incredibly overwhelming. I get as much free chowder as I would like. (But really, how much free chowder could you eat after a week of free chowder?)

A lot of our customer base here- or as we are instructed to refer to them our "guests" (but if they were truly my guests I would have just worn my tee shirt and jeans)- travel in from all across the world. Yesterday we had India, Britain, Scotland, Texas, and Australia represented. I find their origins incredibly distracting. Sometimes I don't even realize when I am asking them about their home country or telling them about my travels across the country. This may sound very forward for the hostess to be doing, but my manager recently commended me on my authentic "interest in the guests." Authentic? Yeah right. I just reeeeeally would rather be traveling to these places than seating them- the guests are just a gateway drug to my future travel. It's research for trips in the upcoming years. And it's paid! Just like a real job...

The restaurant works off a computer system called "Open table", where there are "scouts" that walk around with remote controls and let you know the status of each table (ie- partially seated, seated, dessert, check, bus... etc.) This translates to a computer screen filled with the 60-odd tables in about 12 different colors, all changing every 10 mins. It's kind of beautiful. I like to think of it like a video game- you try to fit the new pieces of the puzzle- the guests- into the existing amalgamation of colors and seats. If it's a game, it has to be fun! Right? This thinking usually gets me through.

The people that work in the restaurant are easily the most motley crew hodgepodge I could have ever possibly imagined. Have you ever seen the Dane Cook movie, Waiting? It's kind of like that. But classier. There are a lot of students working part-time, but also full-time waitstaff, many Mexicans, some Middle-easterners, and molto languages spoken in the Kitchen. I, as a hostess, cannot go into the Kitchen. Even to hear all the languages. (But maybe one day).

Almost everyone has been incredibly kind for a restaurant of over 100 employers. At least 40 have come up to me and introduced themselves, asking how I like the restaurant, my job, where I'm from, what I want to do. (What, I can't want to be a hostess?) My new friend, Abdullah, made me coffee from the FREE espresso/cappucino machine for the employees. I had been eyeing the machine for a while, and I suspect he thought I might break it. But I will take the kindness implied by his actions.

In order to ward off the boredom from repetition and to keep things entertaining, the staff is forced to exchange quick quips or conversations between tasks throughout the night. Which means an entire conversation, if you are having it with a busy wait-staff or manager, can take up to an hour and a half, if it's even continued at all. (But it does give you something to look forward to throughout the evening). There's also the interesting conversations that comes about when meeting new people. For example, my new friend Jess informed me, after just a few minutes after meeting her for the first time, that she and her friends are called "The Hot Mess Express."  And she didn't say it with any fanfare, it was just something to pass the time. Conversations like these, aside from making me miss college, do make the hours go by quickly. That is all I can ask for whilst seeking alternate employment.

If you're in the mood for affordably priced seafood near the Boston Harbour, I can be your hostess! I promise not to ask you too much about where you're from (but no guarantees).  I'll be the one at the desk with the stealth ear piece and staring longingly out at the Aquarium.

16 September, 2009

Career Builder better not be right.

In an effort to be proactive in the "what do i want to do with my life" game (of which i have been anything but proactive since... oh graduation), I went onto a recommended "career assessment" site from careerbuilder.com.

Over the course of a few minutes, I listed my strongest characteristics, like judgment/decision making, psychology, proficiency in the english language (whee), public speaking, group coordination, etc.

Of the top ten jobs that would fit me well, we had "Anesthesiologist", though I have no medical training and/or inclination, and "Amusement and recreation park attendant." Well, there I have it. Off to go seek employment at the nearest 6 flags...

11 September, 2009

The Soundtrack To My Life If It Were A Movie

I love making playlists. I suspect that I may just construct the world's most perfect mix cd one day, so I often make test-mixes in my Itunes. Sifting through my songs and making playlists has been the preferred method of procrastination for the better part of my life, during nearly every midterm, final, and/or stupidly long problem set. I have playlists for every occasion and emotion, from Angst, to Breakup Songs, from Dance It Out to the Bounce in Your Step/Walking Across Campus playlist, emolove (one word, all lowercase), Musicals/Singalong, summery melodies, and the best of my series- the 'i' emotions: Independence, Inspiration, Intoxication, Introspection (in order alphabetically, not chronologically.) So I've given these things a lot of thought. (or at least, a lot of time)

Naturally, the most important mix that one might compose would be what would go on the soundtrack to the movie of their life. You know, the biography that is to be released after you get rich and famous (or rich and notorious) and where you are depicted in a much more flamboyant, drug-ridden way by the actress (or actor) who is probably more attractive than you are. (This is true for almost everyone, except KG).

There are many good reasons for making this cd. You might give it to a potential suitor to check their relationship compatibility. You might just learn a little something about your self (like perhaps you shouldn't listen to so much Pink.) And lastly, it's an incredibly effective conversation starter or pick up line.

Get ready for genius.
The opening scrolling credits/ the obligatory car driving and scenery song: American Girls, by Weezer with Soul Coughing
The first intriguing meeting with the love interest (perhaps in a bar) song: Little Bit of Feel Good, by Jamie Lidell
The transitory dealing with life's changes montage song: Consequence, by the Notwist
The requisite indie song: For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti, by Sufjan Stevens
It's time for a misunderstanding to divide me and the love interest song: Breathe Me, by Sia
The "introspective, step back from the all the action to discover what's really important in life" song: High and Dry, by Radiohead 
The empowerment "I can do this" song: Three More Days: Ray LaMontagne
The "the love interest and i get back together" song: Petals, by the Honorary Title (or Look After You, by the Fray)
The "life is so sweet" song: Mother, We Just Can't Get Enough, by the New Radicals 
The song that's playing when everyone realizes it's all good/ ending credits song: Take Your Mama Out, by the Scissor Sisters

Pickle Surprise

Dear the 1970s,
I really thought you had something going on. The hippy-free spirited thing, the anti-war thing, and the incredible rock and roll were among many good things you gave to us. I was so into that! But even those things do not excuse the production of this commercial. I'm not sure I really get what the "surprise" is, but I definitely do not want to eat it. Even if there's ham.

Lastly, is this supposed to make you buy more of the 'pickle surprise', or is this like a competitor's slur campaign against you? Just curious.

an admirer,

04 September, 2009

Yes, Evan, it's definitely plugged in.

I am a girl. There have been many times in my life when I have embraced this fact. Being a girl means makeup to hide your flaws, the ability to enjoy cuddling, really cute shoes, and not having to pay for drinks (among many other things).

There are very few times when I particularly loathe being a girl, and it almost exclusively involves someone thinking that because I have a vagina I can not work technology. You can always tell when someone thinks you're dumb if you count how many words the other person uses that are larger than five letters, without the infinitive. Today, the Comcast tech support guy did not use any words more difficult than "connect." I'm really not sure how blondes put up with it because surely they get hassled more what with the stereotype and all.

Here's what happened. This morning our Comcast technician came to connect the tv and internet. He was nice, he was friendly, he connected "everything", he left.

Three hours later, our television and internet do not work. Suspicious, you might say, as my roommate and I paid someone an absurd amount of money to plug two large things into two smaller things, all in all taking up the span of maybe ten minutes, including the time it took to walk up the stairs. So I called the Comcast tech support and talked to two lovely people, "Marcy" and "Evan." Marcy was great, but deferred me to Evan. Evan thought I was a little slow. Our conversation went a little like this. (Abbreviated, because nobody wants that.)

ComCast: Ma'am, you're going to plug the power cord into the wall.
Me: Yes, it already is.
CC: You're going to connect the black power cord from the modem to the wall outlet.
Me: ...Yes.
CC: Ok, can you do it now? I'll wait.
Me (pretending to take up the appropriate amount of seconds to plug the power cord into the wall): Yep, plugged in.
CC: That's great. Now you should be set.
Me: ...No. Not working. The technician left, but there is no cable to get an internet source. I'm pretty sure we need one.
CC: Oh no, as long as you have power source we'll get it working. You're doing great.
Me: No, I really think we need a cable for the modem... Was the technician supposed to provide it? They said they were going to bring all the equipment we'd need.
CC: No, ma'am. My computer shows that your modem is receiving a signal. You should be getting internet. Thank you for calling Comcast.

This is about the time when I put on my adult voice. In person, I look younger than most other 20-somethings, and because I also have really big eyes coupled with a fondness for bangs it sometimes makes it difficult to be taken seriously. For things that require non-visual contact, like tech support over the phone, I deepen my voice. This way, I can have the advantage of pretending to be slightly older (low voice -> maturity-> added on years) but I also have the fun of imagining I'm a fierce no-nonsense modern woman who demands quality cable television and reliable internet. Win-win.

Me (lowered voice): Hold on, Evan. I'm still not getting any internet.
CC: Is it plugged in.

This was not asked as a question, but a statement. Do people actually call in and complain about their modem not working without plugging it in first? Really?

Me: Yes. It's plugged in.
CC: The power source is connected to the wall and also into the modem?
Me: As in, is it plugged in? Yes, definitely plugged. But there's still no internet connection. There seems to be a cord missing...
CC: Are the lights on on the device? Is there a flashing light there?
Me: No.
CC: On the receive button? It will look like a green flashing light.
(Who doesn't know what a flashing light looks like?)
Me: Look, I know I'm not a technician, but I think we need another cord that we don't have here.
CC: Is the power light on? It will be red.
Me: Yes. Because it's plugged in.
CC: That's great. Hold on a moment, ma'am.

I get called ma'am because of the lowered voice. I really liked how affirming he was, telling me that I was "doing great" throughout the conversation. Had I actually been performing difficult tasks, I'm sure my esteem would have felt even better.

Me (after ten minutes of silence): ...Is there anything I should be doing?
CC: One second, ma'am.
(Seven Minutes of silence.)
Me: Um... So how are things looking?
CC: Ok, you should have internet now. I boosted the signal. Are the lights flashing?
Me: Evan, there are absolutely no flashing lights.
CC: Hold on... And you're sure it's plugged in?

50 minutes later I found out we could either have a defective modem or an apartment that's not wired for internet. Either way, it was definitely plugged in, AND we still have no internet. Thank goodness for neighbors who "lend" their signal. But I really would want that hour of my life back. The deep voice is only good for so much, I guess.