Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Glamorous Normalcy

Clock in.  Clock out.  Clock in.  Clock out.

After snoozing my cell phone four times, I roll out of bed and groggily stumble towards the bathroom door.  I need to shower and get dressed for work.  I am less than enthused this particular morning, because it is my seventh consecutive workday and I desperately need a break.  My late start results in no breakfast or time to pack a lunch, so with a grumbling tummy I punch my virtual time card and begin my long eight-hour day.  Memorial Day crowds are intense, and it's popcorn popcorn popcorn all shift long.  As I fill up tub after tub of piping hot saltiness I can't help but feel like the majority of my waking hours is spent at the theater.  Working.

Although work threatens to consume me, my life isn't exactly all work and no play.  Blissful moments of fun pepper my life and enrich it.
  • Blankets tented over dining room chairs create the perfect fort for Brian and me.  Nestled cozily within our childlike wonderland amidst pillows and blankets, the two of us play games, read books, eat popcorn, and giggle gleefully.  Twenty-something doesn't have to be so old...
  • Pancakes, laughter, gossip, funny work stories and movie-related conversation.  Just a simple coworker get-together at IHOP.  Another one is scheduled soon at Denny's.
  • Tickets have been purchased, lights are down, snacks in hand, cinema magic flickers on the big screen.  Whether its Bridesmaids with Stephen and Lexi or Jane Eyre with Samuel, Brian and I enjoy seeing movies with friends.
  • Rain pours down by the bucketful, turning the view through the windshield into a watercolor of city lights and night sky.  The jeep stereo adds sound to the airy waterstrokes as we ride to The Cheesecake Factory.  Once inside we wade through the sea of clinking silverware, happy voices, and hurried waiters' footsteps towards the beacon of birthday balloons at the longest and fullest table.  It's our friend Quintin's birthday and we all enjoy a terrific meal together.
  • Old episodes of Sex and the City shine from a laptop as a small group of friends crowds onto a couch to watch.  Strawberries, pasta, whipped cream and delicious fudge brownies often make an appearance at our weekly "Sexy Sundays" at Quintin and Lexi's apartment, but the real star is Sarah Jessica Parker and Quintin's obsession of her.
  • Brian flutters about the kitchen like a caged butterfly, beautifully landing here then there as he whips up the most terrific and spontaneous meals.  A four-course French meal with the family and late-night Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine for only the two of us.  Just because.
My life is glamorous in its normalcy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chihuahua Comics: White

Although it's now acceptable to wear white in the fashion world (up until Labor Day) I wouldn't advise wearing white while playing baseball or working in the garden or going camping this summer.  Even barbecues can be risky with the mustard and the ketchup and whatnot.  And if it keeps raining like it's been raining here in Orem, Utah, you will soon discover that white becomes very transparent when wet...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chihuahua Comics: Leakage

This is a true story.  My butt was soaking the whole walk to work, and when I got there I had to put on my drenched apron and name tag.  I was pretty miserable about it too.  I have since learned to bring an empty water bottle with me and then fill it up with water at work.  Safer that way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Gleek Critique: "New York" Episode

The glee kids seeing the sights in New York City!  Image property of Fox.
So last night was the second season finale of Glee on Fox and I had to work!  Oh, life can be cruel can it not?  But luckily Hulu was there for me this morning, so I was still able to see the spectacular farewell.

The episode opens with the sexy saxophone wail of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue while showing us a glitzy shot of New York City's Time Square, ending on Rachel Berry standing in utter glee in the city of her dreams.  That's when the Glee title came up and I knew I was in love with this episode.  New York City, Gershwin, and Glee. Oh, I was in heaven!

So the kids are in New York City with Mr. Schuester for Nationals, and although they want to explore the city and have fun, Mr. Schu insists that they stay in the hotel room and write the songs they will compete with.  But feeling uninspired indoors, the kids sneak out anyway and explore the city!  But they aren't the only ones being sneaky.  Mr. Schuester still hasn't told the kids about his possible Broadway debut, and he sneaks off to rehearse onstage.  However, his secret doesn't stay a secret for long.  Dustin Goolsby, the coach of rival Vocal Adrenaline, finds out and tells the New Directions kids.  They approach Mr. Schuester about it, but he decides then and there that he's not going to leave them.  His true calling is teaching.

Meanwhile the boys convince Finn that he should ask Rachel out and tell her how he feels.  So he texts Rachel and tells her to dress up and meet him in Central Park.  She does and he surprises her with a date.  They go to dinner at Sardi where they run into Rachel's idol, Patti Lapone.  She tells Rachel to never give up on her dreams, also adding that Finn is "cute."  Finn and Rachel seem really happy later as they are strolling through the nighttime streets of the city, but when Finn tries to kiss her, Rachel says no.

We discover the reason behind this when Kurt takes Rachel out to stand where Audrey Hepburn stood in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  While eating bagels she reveals that she wants to go to New York after she graduates from high school, and she knows Finn won't want to.  She loves Finn, but she doesn't want anything to hold her back and keep her from pursuing her dreams.  Kurt then convinces her to break into the Wicked stage, where the guard lets them sing a song before kicking them out.  After singing on a real Broadway stage, Rachel is even more convinced that she belongs there.

The moment arrives for the big competition, and New Directions performs two original songs just like they did at Regionals.  The first song is a duet between Rachel and Finn, and in the heat of the moment, the two kiss.  Everything is silent before they move on to their next number and really knock it out of the park!  However, that unplanned kiss ruined their scores and the group doesn't place in the top ten.  The competition is over.

Although they are crushed by the loss, everything ends happy.  Back in Ohio, Rachel talks to Finn about the big kiss and makes it clear that she loves him, but will be moving to New York City in the future.  Finn understands, but figures they still have a whole year before that ever happens and he kisses her again.  Looks like Finchel is back.  Other happy endings include Blaine and Kurt telling each other "I love you" and the realization that Mercedes and Sam are now dating.  Brittany and Santana also have a tender moment together where they express their feelings.  The episode ends with the group celebrating their 12th place victory with the smallest trophy I've ever seen.

I cannot wait until next school year!

The Pros:
  • The episode was filmed on site in New York City!!!
  • The opening with Rhapsody in Blue.  I am in love with that piece of music!!
  • Quite a few original songs tonight!  Rachel and Finn's duet "Pretending" followed by the big New Directions number "Light Up the World" were both awesome.  The song "As Long as You're There" sung by Sunshine Corazon and Vocal Adrenaline was also an original song written for the episode.  And while Mr. Schuester's "Still Got Tonight" wasn't written for Glee, it wasn't a cover either.  It comes from Matthew Morrison's debut album.  Oh, and gotta love Brittany singing "My Cup"!
  • The opening mashup of Madonna's "I Love New York" and the song "New York, New York" from the musical On The Town was so colorful and fun!  It really made me want to run away and move to New York City!
  • Rachel looked unbelievably beautiful in this episode.  I couldn't get over it.  She was simply stunning on the date with Finn, in the blue dress with the adorable updo.  Who wouldn't want to kiss her?  And that rainbow coat she had on earlier?  So pretty!!
  • "Bella Notte" from Disney's The Lady and the Tramp was adorable.  Puck and Artie are fantastic, are they not?
  • Rachel and Kurt's duet "For Good" from the musical Wicked was also very, very good!  And it was filmed on the actual Wicked stage, how cool is that?
  • I am glad they didn't win Nationals.  As mean as that sounds, a win just wouldn't have been very believable.  Just making it to Nationals is a success in and of itself, and ranking twelfth in the nation is still pretty dang good.  They still beat out 38 other schools!  Besides, it gives them something else to aspire towards next season.  Maybe they can rank higher.
  • Finn and Rachel are back together and I love it!  Seriously, love it!!  The big surprise kiss where the sound disappeared and it was like they were frozen in time...in that moment.  Oh, just spectacular!
The Cons:
  • I would have liked more New York-themed songs in this episode.  There was just the one mashup.
  • I'm also a little annoyed that they flew all the way to New York without even knowing what songs they were going to sing.  In fact, their first assignment there was to write them!  I love Glee, but sometimes I just roll my eyes at how they never practice for anything.  Ever.
  • Plenty of character closure at the end, but they left out Will and Emma.  I would have liked to see her waiting for him at the airport or something romantic like that.  Mostly I just love Emma and wish she were in more episodes...
  • They also wrapped up the season without Sue.  I guess she had her big moment last episode... but it seems odd to leave her out of the big finale.  Maybe a scene at the end of her saying "Congratulations" to the kids.  That would have been nice.
  • Jessie St. James.  Annoys me every time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Movie Review: Zombies and Mermaids and Frogs, Oh My!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides movie poster.  Image property of Walt Disney Studios.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ADMIRABLE

I have to admit that I was very nervous going into the fourth Pirates movie.  I love Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow—what a character!—and I’ve always thought the movies were a lot of fun, but for some reason a fourth one just seemed… unnecessary.  Then the reviews came in and critic after critic hated it.  A couple of friends said things like, “it was long” or “it was a snooze,” which isn’t exactly the most promising praise.  Even some random sales clerk at a retail store told me, “If you go in thinking you’re going to hate it, you might actually like it.  A little.”

So I’ll say it again.  I was very nervous going into the theater.  But I have to say that I didn’t find it to be all that bad.  In fact, I thought it was really enjoyable and fun.  Director Rob Marshall did a pretty good job, in my opinion.

Johnny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow, who runs into an old flame of his named Angelica (Penelope Cruz) who happens to be impersonating him to recruit a pirate crew.  Why does she need a crew?  Well she and her father—the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane)—are in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth.  Sparrow soon finds himself onboard the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” along with “zombified” pirates, being forced to help Blackbeard and Angelica in their quest.  It’s kind of hard to say no to a guy who can control the ship with a touch of his sword and control your actions with the pin prick of a voodoo doll.

Blackbeard needs to get to the Fountain of Youth because there is a prophecy that he will die by the hand of a one-legged man, that man being no other than Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) of the previous films.  Barbossa  seems to have given up on pirating and is now sailing under the British flag.  You see, the English are now interested in getting to the Fountain of Youth simply because they know the Spanish are going.  They are determined to beat them there and claim it as their own.  Barbossa however has more personal reasons of getting to the fountain.  He lost his leg when Blackbeard took control of the ship, The Black Pearl, and he now seeks revenge.  He’s even coated his sword with poison from a frog… he’s ready.

So everyone is off towards the Fountain of Youth!  In order to obtain eternal life from the fountain, the tears of a mermaid are required.  And I have to say, I loved the mermaids!  They were beautiful and whimsical, seducing the men and luring them closer… before turning into vicious, fanged monsters!  Very cool.  They manage to catch one of them, Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), who seems to be a lot more docile than the others.  She has fallen for the missionary Philip (Sam Claflin) whom Angelica has brought along in the hopes that he will convert her father to Catholicism.  Philip develops feelings toward the mermaid as well, and is the only one upset that they are treating her harshly to get what they want out of her.

Speaking of missionaries and Catholicism, the movie has a lot of religious things to say.  It talks about faith and salvation, which seemed a little too deep for a Pirates movie.  Of course, the movie also has voodoo and mermaids and fables as well.  I guess it’s just interesting to see the Christian and the Pagan beliefs interwoven together.

All in all, I felt like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides lived up to the film franchise.  It fit right in.  There was over-the-top swashbuckling, plenty of cheeky laughs, fantasy elements and a little bit of romance.  Rush and Depp were great in their roles as always.  Although I've seen Cruz in more interesting roles, I thought she brought a lot of energy to the movie and she and Depp had some great chemistry.  The story might have been a little disjointed, but I found that it wasn’t nearly as confusing as the previous sequels and for the most part pretty straight-forward.  The action was well-choreographed if not a little noisy with the constant scoring, but I’ll forgive its overuse of music.  I also didn’t miss Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley.  Like, at all.  And casting Richard Griffiths as King George really made my day!  Very funny.  Sure, it’s not nearly as fantastic as the first Pirates movie, but it was a fun adventure that I didn’t mind going on.

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Movie Review: Crude, Crass yet Completely Compassionate

Bridesmaids movie poster.  Image property of Universal Pictures.
Bridesmaids AWESOME!

I saw this movie twice.  That’s how much I loved it.  It is hilarious.

Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, a woman who has hit rock bottom.  Her latest business endeavor—a bakery called Cake Baby—has gone under, her boyfriend left her, her car is a piece of junk, she lives with weird roommates that she dislikes, and her current job was given to her as a favor to her mother.  She spends a lot of nights going over to Ted’s (Jon Hamm) house for booty calls, hoping a real relationship might arise from this.  Of course it won’t.

So in the midst of all this crappiness, her lifetime best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has announced her engagement and wants Annie to be her maid of honor!  Annie accepts and is obviously very happy for her friend, but can’t help but feel a little envious of Lillian’s happiness.  Annie’s life just seems so much worse by comparison.  This feeling of inadequacy intensifies when she meets Lillian’s new friend and fellow bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne) who is rich, beautiful, classy and seemingly perfect in every way.  Annie can’t stand Helen, and feels like she is losing her best friend to her.

Needless to say, Annie makes a million mistakes while trying to plan this wedding.  She takes the girls to a seedy Brazilian restaurant where they all get food poisoning… She gets so drunk and disorderly on a plane that they get kicked off…  She goes berserk at the Bridal Shower and destroys everything…   Annie seems to be on a self-destructive path.  Not only is she destroying her friendship with Lillian, she’s also mucking up a potentially good relationship with a cop named Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) who she met when he pulled her over.

In the end everything works itself out, and Annie’s character finally gets some closure.  She realizes that she needs to take responsibility for her own life, and this realization comes from the oddest bridesmaid, the round and ridiculous Megan (Melissa McCarthy).  In what is arguably the best scene in the movie, Megan comes over and tells her to stop moping.  She wrestles Annie onto the couch, hitting her while saying things like, “I’m your life, Annie.  I’m your life.  Fight back!”  Funny to watch, but what a revelation!  Once Annie finally fights Megan off of her, Megan simply says, “You are your own problem, Annie.  But you’re also your solution.”  Words can’t describe how much I loved that scene.

Bridesmaids, to me, is a perfect comedy.  Every good comedy has elements of drama, just like every good drama should have elements of comedy.  This comedy is laugh-out-loud funny and not afraid to “go there.”  There is plenty of raunchy, crude humor in the true Judd Apatow style (who produced it).  The audience was in fits of laughter throughout.  But like a lot of Apatow’s movies, there is a very sentimental backbone that really grounds all of the comedic elements.  Kristen Wiig was one of the screen writers (along with Annie Mumolo) and her background as a comedienne really shone through.  The script was so funny, fresh and real.  I would say it’s one of the best-written comedies in a really long time.

And boy oh boy did Kristen Wiig put in a star-making performance in Bridesmaids!  I promise you we will see her in more leading roles, because not only was her comedic timing spot on but she proved to be a very talented dramatic actor.  She's so likable on screen and her character was so relatable.  She was essentially everyone who has ever felt lonely; who has ever felt like a failure.  Her character learns a lot and grows a lot in this movie, and I just can’t find the words to express how fantastic her performance was.  It really, really was.

I think I'll go see it again.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Movie Review: Infidelity is Okay as Long as Everybody’s Doing It

Something Borrowed movie poster.  Image property of Warner Brothers.
Something Borrowed AWFUL

Ginnifer Goodwin stars as Rachel, a sweet lawyer without a backbone.  I’m not really sure how she survives in her job since she has a habit of letting people walk all over her.  Like her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson).  You see, Rachel was friends with this guy named Dex (Colin Egglesfield) all throughout law school.  She harbored this secret crush on him but never had the guts to do anything about it.  Then along comes Darcy, who is not only flirtatious but highly assertive.  She sees that Rachel isn’t pursuing Dex so she puts the moves on him.  Rachel, of course, doesn’t say anything.  She just lets Darcy date the guy she likes.  Years go by and now Darcy and Dex are to be married!

Have you ever found out years later that someone you once had a crush on happened to have a crush on you too?  At the same time?  Well, that’s the case with poor Rachel.  With Dex and Darcy’s wedding quickly approaching, Dex decides to reveal that he used to have a huge crush on Rachel in law school.  What?  Are you serious?  Rachel reveals that she had a crush on him too!  OMG!  How did neither one of them pick up on that?  They only did everything together, laughing and flirting with sexual tension all around…  but who picks up on subtleties these days?

So what do Rachel and Dex do about this?  They kiss.  They do a little more than kiss.  And now we are caught up in a crazy love triangle of lust, betrayal, and secrets.  Although I don’t normally have a problem with infidelity portrayed in movies, for some reason this one bugged the crap out of me.  I think that the filmmakers didn’t handle the subject matter with the seriousness that they should have, and instead tried to make it all seem justifiable.  I don't know if we should blame Emily Giffin who wrote the novel or Jennie Snyder who wrote the screenplay, but the story lacks as much backbone as Rachel does.  Her character was always seen as “good” even when she was doing bad things.  Then towards the end—sorry if this ruins the movie for you—it is discovered that Darcy has cheated on Dex a few times, with a mutual friend named Marcus (Steve Howey).  Here we were all expected to breathe a sigh of relief and say, “It’s okay guys.  Darcy’s cheating too, so it’s okay that Dex was.  Nothing to worry about, folks.  They were both doing it.  Rachel is still a good person because Darcy didn’t really deserve Dex anyway.”

I really wish the movie had the balls to say this instead: “Look.  Rachel really did a horrible thing to her friend Darcy.  She really did.  Dex wasn’t in the right either.  Things between Rachel and Darcy will probably never be the same.  Maybe Rachel will be happy because she has found out that Dex has always loved her, and now the two can be together, but it doesn’t change the ugly truth that she was lying to her friend, betraying her trust, and sleeping with an engaged man.”

All that aside, I feel like Goodwin proved to be a likable enough leading lady.  Hudson, unfortunately, was more annoying than anything in her role and Egglesfield was more eye candy than substance.  John Krasinski, who played Rachel’s friend Ethan, was a bright spot for me although he felt a bit underused in this movie.  He can do so much more, I feel, than play the ignored best friend.  And one last thing, for a movie being advertised as a romantic comedy, Something Borrowed is oddly lacking in laughs.  I honestly don’t think I laughed once.  And with the drama of it being superficial at best, I didn’t cry either.  I didn’t laugh, I didn’t cry, I didn’t really feel anything.

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Movie Review: Witchy Mothers Ride Brooms

Jumping the Broom movie poster.  Image property of TriStar Pictures.
Jumping the Broom AVERAGE

Paula Patton stars as Sabrina Watson, an uptown girl who is tired of one-night stands.  In an annoying narration we discover that she makes a promise with God that the next man she sleeps with will be her husband.  God seems to answer that prayer by sending Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso) into her life.  She hits him with her car and then it’s love at first sight.  A little cheesy right?  But it gets better, I promise.  After months of chaste dating Jason proposes and the two instantly begin to plan the wedding.  Everything is rushed because Sabrina is supposed to move to Japan for work, and they want to go together as husband and wife.  Also they want to have sex.  Wouldn’t you?  They’ve been dating like 6 months or something…

Anyway, the wedding is happening so fast, in fact, that the big weekend comes and the two families are meeting for the first time!  And oh how these two families clash!!  Sabrina’s family is extremely rich living on Martha’s Vineyard, and Jason’s family… well, isn’t.  The movie focuses less on Jason and Sabrina’s relationship and more on class differences, family secrets, and ethnic roots.  Jason’s mother (Loretta Devine) can’t stand the Watsons mostly because she feels like they have forgotten their heritage and are taking her son away from her.  She is appalled that they once owned slaves and that Sabrina doesn’t even want to “jump the broom” which is an African American tradition, much like Jewish people breaking glass at their weddings.  Sabrina’s mom (Angela Bassett) looks down on the Taylors because they are poor, uncultured, and oftentimes rude.  However, the movie reveals a much less glamorous side to the rich Watsons as we discover some of their family secrets, which are much too juicy to reveal to you right now.

The movie is essentially a comedy, mixed with some drama of the soap opera type.  Some of the things that happen in this movie just scream daytime television and the set-up of the film isn’t exactly fresh—how many times have we seen polar opposites being forced to get along?  However, the movie managed to keep me interested in the characters and their predicaments.  Devine and Bassett were terrific as the two battling mothers.  Both of them managed to be both vile and contemptible, yet sweet and misunderstood in their own right.  Neither one was a cut-out villain but a living, breathing, multi-dimensional woman.  However, some of the other characters were less fleshed out, and some of their storylines were a bit unnecessary.  The movie could have benefited greatly from stronger leads, tighter control and focus, and maybe even a bit more humor.  Like I said, at times I felt like I was watching a soap.

Oh, and Julie Bowen who plays Claire Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family was in it!  She played the wedding planner and she was the only white character in the movie!  I love her!  Also Romeo Miller (Lil' Romeo) is super sexy in his small role.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sketchbook: Sack o' Flour '08

One of the assignments of BYU's pre-animation course was to animate a sack of flour.  Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the rough animation.  Sad day!  But I do have some sketches of the sack of flour in various poses.  It's pretty adorable, isn't it?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friendship, Happiness and Success

My sister's Facebook status recently asked, "What does it mean to be successful?"  It was funny because it wasn't much after I had posted the story "Smelling Like Popcorn" on my blog, expressing the very fact that I often feel unsuccessful.  I know that she's trying to move out and get her own place and car, so I'm assuming that independence is a key component of her definition of success.  I was curious to see what her friends had contributed to the discussion and read the comments that were given:
"To be happy."
"To do your best."
Feeling successful is tricky, isn't it? Doing your best is good.  But what if your best isn't good enough?  Does success have to be so hinged on our outward accomplishments?  And what of the "be happy" suggestion? Happiness does seem to be the obvious answer—and it is a good one, don't get me wrong—but figuring out what one needs to be “happy” isn’t quite so obvious.  

My friend Caitlin left me some helpful words:
"Jack, don't lose faith in yourself. We all fall into bad places from time to time where it feels like we'll never get out, but the truth is that each and every one of us has the potential to succeed. I have had experiences in my life that have torn me to pieces and made me feel like I could never succeed but then I look around and realize that I (like you) am a smart and resourceful person and I (like you) have awesome dreams that are totally within my grasp if I work hard and most importantly that I (again, like you) have a million amazing people around me who love and support me and will help me get where I want to be. Just don't forget who you are and all those people around you that love you. Life is what you make of it. Sometimes you have to make the best out of the bottom rung on the ladder."
Caitlin really emphasized the importance of a network of amazing friends.  Remembering that success is being happy, then simply having friends can be a success in and of itself.  It's not easy to maintain friendships!  To have friends one must be kind, generous, unselfish and compassionate.  If one can achieve these qualities, certainly he is successful!  Not everyone is kind.  Not everyone is compassionate.  By this definition, I feel like I am a lot more successful than I sometimes think.

And I do love making new friends.  Lexi is one of my newest friends, and yesterday she texted me saying:
"You are so genuine and sweet and you have such a wonderful gift with people!"
So is that where my success lies?  My ability and willingness to connect with people?  Being with people I love certainly makes me happy.  And I hope that I make them happy in return.  I'm in a loving relationship with a man I would do anything for.  We are happy together.  Maybe we aren't successful in any worldly sense of the word.  Maybe we have no accolades to boast of.  No newsworthy accomplishments.  No interviews on television, vacations in Paris or paparazzi at our door.  We can't be googled or found in a history book, but in many many ways I think Brian and I are already very successful. 

We're on our bottom rung, paying our dues, and waiting it out.  We are doing our best.  We are happy.  We are loved.  We are successful.  And I bet you anything, if you take a look at your life you will find that you are successful too.  It's just a thought.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chihuahua Comics: Mad Hatter

Truth be told, this particular drawing was never meant to be a "Chihuahua Comic."  A friend of mine named Chad actually commissioned me to do this for him based on a photograph of himself dressed as the Mad Hatter.  I'm mailing him the original, but I thought it would be a shame not to put it up on the blog.  It's drawn in the style of my "Chihuahua Comics" the only thing lacking really is the joke.  I thought maybe I could give him a speech bubble and have him say something hilariously witty, but I couldn't come up with anything...

But if you guys can think of something funny for him to say, please give me your suggestions in the comments.  I would love to hear what you guys can come up with!  The funniest one will win a prize!  How about that?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Smelling Like Popcorn

I saw the man standing obtusely through the popcorn popper’s oily glass.  Hands in his pockets, brows furrowed, staring at the menu board.  I was in the middle of pouring seed into the kettle, but realized I was the only one there to greet him.

“Hi, how are you?  Welcome to the theater,” I said casually as I pushed the oil button and stepped aside to where he could properly see me.  By the look on his face I could tell my mere presence was enough to annoy him, but I soldiered on with my smiling face and chipper demeanor.  “Can I get you anything?  Maybe a large popcorn?”

I was saluted with an eye roll obvious enough to make a blind man uncomfortable.  “Large?” he muttered under his breath along with something else I couldn’t quite decipher.

“What was that, sir?”

“Nothing,” he said.  I was positive that it was better I didn’t know.  “I’ll just have a small popcorn.”

“Okay…” I began, opening the popper doors and reaching for a small bag, “… but for just seventy-five cents more you can get the medium which is twice as big.”

The soft-spoken mumbler suddenly spoke loud and clear:  “HELL, WHY DON’T WE JUST MAKE IT A LARGE!?”

I was taken aback by this sudden outburst and for a brief moment thought he was serious.

“Wow, okay,” I said to him.  I put the small bag down to reach for the large tub, but soon realized that his unexpected outspokenness had been out of sarcasm.

“No, I don’t want a f***ing large.  I want a small.  I’m thirty-five years old—I can make my own decisions.”

Apparently you can’t, I thought to myself, if your decisions involve yelling at a complete stranger for doing his job.  God, didn’t he realize I was just doing my job?  Perhaps I should tell him.  “I’m just doing my job, sir.  We have to ask everyone or else we’ll be fired.”  I said this as non-confrontationally as possible, laughing at the last part to make it sound more like a throw-away joke than anything else.

He didn’t laugh with me.  Instead he looked me square in the eye and said, “Then you should get a different job.”  With that he snatched his small popcorn out of my hand and stomped off towards the cashier.

I merely stood there wishing some snappy retort would come, but none did.  Later I fumed about this rude customer to my fellow coworkers.  I hoped that telling someone would allow me to let off some steam and brush it off, but for some reason those angry words from an unknown man plagued me for the rest of the day.  Even after my shift ended I kept replaying the conversation in my head.

Why was this bothering me so much?  I encounter rude customers ten times a day or more… what was so new about this guy?  After a long night of mulling it over in my sleep I came to the realization that what bothered me the most were his parting words:  “Then you should get a different job.”

In general I like my job.  So I have to upsell all the time, big deal.  I don’t think that is any reason to get a new job.  That guy certainly did, but I’m sure there are worse things one could do for money.  It wasn’t like I was offering my body like some common whore or mugging an old woman in the street.   I was just using suggestive selling techniques!  All he had to do was say, “No thanks, the small is fine.”

So why did his words sting?  Because every day I struggle with the depression that comes with feeling like an utter failure.  I’m almost twenty-five years old and I have no accomplishments to speak of.  I am working in a minimum-wage position alongside high school kids.  I graduated high school seven years ago!  SEVEN!  And yet here I am still working a “temporary” job not any closer to landing my dream job than I was then.  Honestly, doesn’t that man know that I would work a different job if I could!?

Sigh.  Someday.  Someday I’ll come home without smelling like popcorn—like failure.  Someday.


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