Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

What a great, great day. Oh, no wait. What I did there was say the exact opposite of the truth.*

Last Sunday at work could be described in one word--awkward. I was awkward, the customers were awkward. It was just an awkward day. Then at the end I was enraged.

Incidents with customers

Incident 1: Employee tries to buy something from me. I didn't give her the employee discount.
Fault: Partially hers, because she didn't seem to understand the procedure to get said discount, but the fact that I didn't recognize her didn't help, and that's my fault. So, both.

Incident 2: A nerdy redhead girl with a Batman messenger bag buys a fantasy book declines to get a discount card, and then I forget to tell her how much said book costs, so we just kind of stare at each other for awhile.
Fault: Definitely mine. After I apologized, she jokingly accused me of being distracted by her beauty, but that's actually kind of what happened.

Incident 3: A guy buys a membership card from me, then returns it indignantly 20 minutes later because he didn't realize it costs money.
Fault: His, without a doubt. He claimed I didn't tell him how much it cost. Even if that was true (which I doubt), he had asked me how much he'd need to spend for it to be worth it, and I told him over $250. 10% of $250 is $25. It costs $25. Our conversation would not have made sense if he didn't have that information.

So far so goofy. By the end of this I was feeling embarrassed from the first to and defensive from the third. I took a desperately needed lunch break, with my dad at Pizza Solo, and then came back and relieved Susan from the front so I was by myself up there.

Incident 4: Things were pretty dead, so after 20 minutes or so I decided to go around the perimeter real quick and check on everything.
When I came back to the front, a woman in her fifties was waiting. I apologized for making her wait. She said, "You guys are all asleep tonight!" I explained why I'd been gone, and she nodded blankly. She then handed me a huge wad of books and told me she only wanted to buy one (a cheap paperback) and that I should put the rest on hold. She asked how long we hold things for. I said three days. She asked if that meant she could come on Wednesday night and pick it up. I said it's possible it would get reshelved in the afternoon. She glowered and said, "That's not really three days now, is it?" I said, "Well, sorry." She asked if I could make a special notation so that she could hold it for longer. I agreed.
I rang up her paperback. She paid with cash, I gave her correct change.
Just then, Susan came back. The woman called Susan over and demanded that she make the note for me because she didn't trust me. I reminded her that I said I was going to do it. Susan said she didn't mind, and I relented.
Then the woman decides that she wants to RETURN $10 THE BOOK SHE JUST BOUGHT SO SHE CAN IMMEDIATELY BUY IT AGAIN, with credit instead of with cash. I take the book back and slam it down on the counter. I call a manager to do the return (it's a complicated process).
The woman demands that someone other than me do this because she thinks I'm "too tired" to do a good job. Susan offers to do it for me and takes over my register. I stand there glaring at the woman. She's stopped paying attention to me entirely.
Even after all this, I want to make ammends. I tell her that the reason I told her about them reshelving books after three days isn't because I do it myself or approve of it but it is nonetheless what is done and I wanted her to be informed. She looks up at me with a blank stupid stare--totally oblivious to all the bitchiness she's responsible for, which I thought was very revealing--she wasn't just caught at a bad moment--SHE'S HABITUALLY HORRID TO EVERYONE SHE ENCOUNTERS.
Susan told me I should go take my last break (it was past time anyway). I grudgingly left.

I went to the cafe and ordered hot cocoa. I told Melissa, who works up there, about it, and she said if the woman came up there she'd fuck up her drink for me. I said she'd be easy to recognize, as she'd begin bitching again as soon as she got upstairs.

While I was sitting in the break room, sipping my cocoa and trying not to get too angry, Susan came in and told me that she didn't force me to break because I was incompetent, but because she didn't want me to go ballistic. While this is I suppose no less insulting, it's much more accurate. I told her it was fine.
And it was, though I still spent the next hour on the verge of tears and spontaneously cursing and had a hell of a time recovering.

Melissa's boyfriend ditched her, so she asked for a ride home to the Laguna area. She invited me to a bon fire which we be held at an indeterminate point this week, which could be fun.

But if that woman comes in again...
All the nerdy redheads in the world couldn't stop me from bringing on the pain!

*If anyone can figure out where that comes from, I'll owe them a soda.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Four legs good, two legs bad

Tonight I saw Margaret Cho at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center with my mom, Gene, and my mom's friend Lois.

She was in town in connection this gay pride event they're having this weekend.
She was funny, and the guy opening for her (one Bruce Daniels) was pretty good too. Overall, I really enjoyed it, though I can't think of any way to aptly describe what I liked about it, since I couldn't possibly tell any of it as good as her, much less in writing.
The thing that bothered me though was the way both her and Bruce would occasionally make halfassed political statements to gain applause. I don't think it's bad for a comedian to be political, but I think if they do it had better be funny.
Making a joke about how morning after pills should be given to you with your bill at restaurants just to make a point that Bush can't control women is funny. But standing in front of a crowd in town for a gay pride fest and saying, "I support Gay Marriage!" during a lull just feels like pandering.

Today I got paid, which was of course nice, and I bought the Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell audio book, so I have something to keep me entertained (yet not too distracted) while working on my comic. I just barely finished my pages for this week, but I did and here they are. God, I wish anyone was reading it. I don't want to be an attention whore, but it sort of defeats the point of doing something like this if no one cares, and they don't. In a certain mood I'm tempted to just put up a notice saying "Cancelled due to lack of interest", but I guess that's rather premature and childish.
42 people have this journal friended, and 5 have that one, which is way more important to me. I don't get it.

A few nights ago we watched the 1954 cartoon of George Orwell's Animal Farm, because Angelo wanted to see it. I haven't read the book, but I found it kind of captivating and ended up watching it twice in a row, the second time alone and with the commentary track. The movie was (allegedly) actually funded by the CIA, who chose to play up its anti-Communist message and downplay its criticsms of capitalism. This is most evident in a tacked-on ending where the pigs, representing communists, are overthrown by the other animals they've oppressed.

So, having finished that, I was happy to find that Hollywood had the second (and as far as I know, only other) adapatation of the story, done in 1999 with Babe-style effects courtesty of the Jim Henson Company and an all-star cast, with Patrick Stewart as Napoleon (pig-Stalin) and Kelsey Grammer as Snowball (pig-Trotsky). It's well filmed and well-acted, but manages to somehow be simultaneously less melodramatic and more heavy handed than its predecessor, which isn't a good combination.

Spoiler warning, for something written 50 years ago, but if you haven't read it I don't want to ruin it

When the Boxer the horse is sent to the glue factory in the cartoon, the donkey realizes where the van comes from, and chases after it baying in panic. The horse seems to bend the sides of the van as he hangs halfway out, thrashing back and forth in panic. The logo on the back is a skull and crossbones with the face of a horse.
In the live action version, the horse is calmly lead into the truck. Then they close the door and it says in giant letters GLUE FACTOR AND HORSE KILLER. All the animals look vaguely upset, and the van drives away.

But what really bothered me was the ending. The new one is actually MORE PRO-CAPITALIST THAN THE ONE FUNDED BY THE CIA.

The story is told through the eyes of a dog named Jessie (baaaaaaaaaaaaar). She flashes back to the main events of the story happening and then once everything important happens, she just tells us that the farm fell apart, with no real explanation. Then she goes back to the farm and her puppies, who had been brainwashed by Napoleon are, like, nice again somehow.
So far, stupid, but I can understand why they wanted it happy.
But here's the thing--
This Kennedyesque family moves in and takes over and Jessie says, "At long last we are free"

Apparently the lower classes need some "owners" to take care of them or everything just falls apart.
Even if you don't take the story as an allegory (which no one would do), it's still a horribly ending, because it means that all of the main characters' struggling was for nothing. Bleh.

I guess I should have been suspicious that the back of the box says, "Populated with a wide variety of barnyard animals, ANIMAL FARM is sure to leave the whole family squealing with delight."
Ah well.

Tomorrow I'm going back to Santa Cruz just for the night, because my dad and Jamie are going up there to see a concert, and someone should go try to keep Nikki's beastliness in check.

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Location: Oakland, CA, United States