Monthly Archives: July 2009

Ushering for the Big Guns

Ushering for the Big Guns

I quit ushering for the local community theater down the street from here. I had seen productions there in the past that I enjoyed, but for the most part, the caliber was really hit or miss. In the past few months, I had ushered 2-3 events, and my god, the volunteer experience was boring as hell, the other ushers were weird and not that social, and ultimately, the white top/black bottoms catering uniform drove me insane!! So I quit and instead decided to volunteer with the more upscale theater near my work.

They had some crazy 2-hour orientation even. And when I attended and saw so many blue-hairs, I grew skeptical that this would be a repeat crap experience. Last night, I dared to give it a try. Hey, at least the uniform was just all black (yes, much more doable). And turns out, there were a couple young people in my group. And the production? Fantastic. All I had to do was operate the bar code scanner gun (yup, really hard work) to zap the tickets before people entered the theater and then at the end, we just walked through the aisles picking up programs. Not hard at all and then I get to watch the show, whose tickets run about $45-50 pp! Not a bad deal.

Next month, they’re having a new works festival. I’m going to usher a staged reading that’s a psychological thriller… should be interesting to watch without the costumes, props, and stage dec. I just hope I don’t get too creeped out!

San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle

San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle

Last weekend, I drove down to San Luis Obispo to meet up with my friend’s mother. I honestly cannot remember the last time I drove alone in a vehicle for more than 3 hours. The last time I did that was probably grad school. I know, I really need to get out more, right?

So anyway, my friend’s mom had flown out to Los Angeles a few days earlier to visit friends. She drove up to meet me halfway. We stayed at a delightful B&B on the main drag, and the next day we went to Hearst Castle. San Luis Obispo itself was a very cute little college town, but so many of those small towns heading south start to blend into one another. Still, regardless, you gotta love the California weather. It’s so beautiful out here. The dryness plus the sunshine makes traveling/driving/outdoor activities so much better! It really is amazing what a difference the sun makes.

The next day, we woke up, had a terrific breakfast at the B&B, and then headed out early. Hearst Castle in San Simeon was awesome. I guess for the last 50 years, HC has been managed and operated by California State Parks. We grabbed a tour, and boy, docent was excellent– well versed, engaging, and knowledgeable. The tour was pricey at $24 pp but totally worth it, even if the house interiors are grossly extravagant. Interestingly, William R. Hearst was an uber micro-manager. Dunno how he juggled publishing, movie producing, and construction/design but he did. Gotta give props. Seriously, who are these people?

Session 4: Graduation

Session 4: Graduation

Haha, well looks like I’ve graduated from therapy again. Yup, only took four sessions, not that I was averse to continuing, but she just ran out of stuff for me. Partly, I was finally just calm, meaning I wasn’t flipping out about my expectation hangupsĀ or whatever, and I had settled on the status quo for the whole boss fiasco. Whatever. I just need to chill, so that’s what I did. And then suddenly, it seemed there wasn’t much more to discuss. So the door is always open she says, but oddly, I feel ok for now… which reminds me: I’m supposed to fill out some feedback card and mail it in.

In other news, this month has been extremely busy at work. We’re having our huge annual event at the end of August, so I’ve been gathering quotes for catering and such. Negotiated an awesome deal with last year’s vendors. I think I’m getting the hang of the negotiations game… they only increased the price by $1pp plus I got them to throw in a bunch of other free stuff. Cool deal, because honestly, without the concessions, we would have had to go elsewhere I’m sure. Budgets are tight this year for sure!

The weekends this month have been packed as well. Two weekends ago, my friend had a puppy bday party, which was totally fun. My friend is a super star decorator, so of course her backyard was an absolute doggie paradise with a mini pool and jumping hoop. Nine dogs total and it was a blast, except that it seems wherever Martin goes, there’s always one male dog that loves to lick his area. Yup, poor Marty never gets rest.

Session 3

Session 3

Ugh, I just got home from session 3, and goddamnit, I’m starting to hate this bullshit. Seriously, this is the third time I’ve left that place feeling worse than when I entered. I mean, who the hell thought up 50-minute sessions? Cannot accomplish shit in that amount of time. I’m so frustrated, I think I’m going to drop the whole thing.

I mean, I just feel like we’re moving at a snail’s pace. Granted, how much can you really know a person after three meetings but jesus, how to scoot this thing along? I mean, shouldn’t she get homework or something? Like maybe I should just send her my blog, and she can read up and get a better sense of what I’m thinking. Because honestly, is this arrangement really fair to me or to her? We need “office hours” in addition to class time.

So today the discussion deviated from the previous ones, because frankly, I haven’t been focusing on my issues recently. For one, I haven’t been going to open mics or theater performances so in a way, I’ve saved myself from the usual inadequacy triggers. But whatever, I’ve just started to get back into my activities and not worry so much about achieving for now.

So today I wanted to talk about this whole recent theme of disturbing news… and what does she say? First off, it would be highly unwise and inappropriate of me to broach these allegations with my manager. Her argument is that I don’t really know what happened. And either way, the damage has already been done to his reputation and to my level of respect for him. My argument is that if indeed the stories are true, his reckless, harmful behavior continues to wreak havoc on unsuspecting women and overlooking it is again just another way of letting people get away with shit… where is the accountability for their actions?

So then what does she suggest? She says to investigate deeper to see WHY I’m getting so worked up about these stories of sexual misdeeds (because I brought up the Duke story and Michael Jackson too). What the hell does she want me to say? I feel like she’s digging for some hidden secret, like I was molested as a child or raped as a teen. She asks why I’m not outraged about global warming or suicide bombers. Wtf? Believe me sister, I get worked up about a lot of things. Does she want me to put ALL of it on the table? Is it not enough to say that I am feminist, and violence against women (much of which is sexual) is closely linked to sexual discrimination and inequality? So annoyed.

And just because I’m childless, does that mean I should NOT be outraged by sex abuse of children? Fuck it, man. Who makes ANY progress with therapy? Jesus, I go into it believing/wanting it to work but in the end, it’s just like going around in circles. John says the only experts I actually have luck with are doctors. The others? I always think they’ll guide me to the light but more often than not, they just don’t seem to “get” me.

Conclusion? Status quo: proceed as usual and hope to god, women using online dating site are doing their due diligence researching their potential dates. Come on, people. GOOOGLE!!



The themes of duplicity and reprehensible sexual behavior continue this week… all this recent news of deception is causing me to doubt people with whom I interact even on a regular basis. Call it paranoia, street smart, skepticism, cynicism, misanthropy… however you want to term it, it’s causing me distress.

Last week, I dreamed that someone tried to rape me. To save myself some such an unfortunate incident, I busted myself out of a vehicle (moving at highway speeds) and rolled off to the side of the road. Then there was another dream about child abuse… thankfully, I can’t even remember the details. I don’t know what caused me to Google my manager’s name again, but I did last night.

My friend Pamela says I was “nosing” around for dirt. If you recall, I had innocently Googled him before, like a day or two after starting the new kickass job, and then I was unpleasantly surprised. What prompted me to search again last night? I don’t really know. Perhaps I had hoped to find the comments thread silent, and that would suggest his earlier reckless behavior had stopped. The original post had referred to incidents in 2004. A couple of people in the years following corroborated the claims, citing similar experiences. Then a post in 2008. Last night, unfortunately, there was a new comment, posted just last month with a link to a new site, Don’t Date Him Girl. The new site contained tons more information: detailed biographical information, place of employment, place of residence, current partner, etc. But mostly what bothered me– even more than the breach of trust with his relationship– was the careless, dangerous behavior. Seriously, multiple partners, no protection. And what I started to see was selfish and misogynistic conduct.

So today, we had our bi-weekly one-on-one, and again, I could not focus. In the back of my mind, I felt distrustful, suspicious. Now to be clear, he has never acted inappropriately towards me. I have noticed random absences during the work day, zippo details about the weekends (he never seems to do anything), various past travel stories with “an ex.” Nothing blatant. And his demeanor really comes across so harmless, and yet I can’t drop this other set of knowledge.

Today I called my girlfriend to discuss. Like John, she wondered why I searched out this information. In my defense, I felt like my action was motivated by a desire to squelch the uneasiness, to hope for the end of a hedonistic era. Or maybe my search was an act of self-sabotage. Nearly two years later, I still love my job and now I look for ways to torment myself with this hypocrisy. Am I too gullible? Is this just a matter of a few scorned lovers? Again, I don’t like to doubt women’s stories. Society dismisses them all too easily as is.

At the end of the conversation, my friend and I agreed that his actions seem to depict an illness, like alcoholism or addiction. So here’s my dilemma. He’s a great boss, the best I’ve ever had. Not perfect (in terms of professional leadership and development) but still, the best of the lot. I have had no issues with him professionally or through our own interactions. However, if the postings are to be believed, I would say his actions are misogynistic. So how do I, as a feminist, reconcile that he is fine to me personally, but awful to so many other women? I mean, this is an extreme example, but isn’t it like the Germans and other Europeans who disagreed with the Nazis but didn’t actively resist/rebel? Is this really just a case of compartmentalizing the professional and personal personas? It drives me nuts that these two personas are so contradictory. Ugh. I know, I am such a black/white kind of person. That’s why I’m not made for the complexities of this world!

So, what can be done? If indeed this is a kind of illness, perhaps I need to offer help or intervene? And how would this be done exactly? Do I risk losing my job? Do I quit? I am well aware that people think I’m getting worked up for nothing. But I am serious. Option 1 is to act like I don’t know and proceed as usual. After all, the job is kickass. But honestly, a part of me feels like I’m condoning the mistreatment of women by feigning ignorance.

And then where do I stand on rehabilitation? If he is sick, who has offered to help? Goddamnit, the naive side of me wants to believe that everyone is good, that people are bad because they are sick. And then I read stories like those about abusive priests and that fucking Duke official, and I want them all to die– screw second chances and reform. And really, why do I torture myself so? Why can’t I just focus on learning my fucking bboy moves and just get on with shit. I mean, I’m already in goddamn therapy for my own issues and now I have to climb into everyone else’s shit.

So what’s the conclusion for tonight? This is one for the big guns. Thank goodness therapy session 3 is tomorrow. I shall ask the expert, and perhaps she will have a brilliant strategy. Fingers crossed.



So here’s the deal I have with all the hoopla surrounding Michael Jackson’s death. Everyone is freaking out about the passing of a legend, a pioneer, an innovator, blah, blah, blah. Sure, no one is denying his impact on music. Me? I was never much of a fan… Thriller didn’t like change my insular pre-teen/teenie-bopper world. In fact, the video creeped me out, but whatever. My issue is: do all these people think he’s innocent of child molestation? I mean, yeah, he was acquitted on all charges, but is his verdict the same as the OJ case? You know, where the jury said he was innocent but everyone really thought he was guilty? Because I just cannot get my hands around the idea of celebrating his contribution… I can’t help but feel that all this ruckus only downplays his crime. I mean, if these people think he’s innocent, fine. Mourn away. Obviously, I think he’s guilty, so to me, his death makes one less child molester. Look, Neverland Ranch had way too many secret rooms and secret doors and secret locks– is all that “privacy” really necessary? And what of the child who described MJ’s birthmark in a very private area? Admittedly, I didn’t follow all the details of the case, so maybe I’m just ignorant, but from the limited details I did read, my gut is very unsettled.

I’m not saying we should be revisionists and deny his talent and professional contribution but please, don’t dismiss the very serious consequences of child abuse.

Speaking of child abuse, have you seen the story about the Duke University associate director of the center for health policy? Busted for pimping out his 5-year old adopted black son. This story has thrown me in an absolute tizzy the last week. I am just so disgusted and angry on so many levels. First, the deception. I mean, the dude is a licensed social worker who studied health disparities!! He’s supposed to be one of the good guys, doing work to end inequalities and injustice. He and his partner adopted two black babies and oh god, the details are just too much. He himself abused the child on numerous occasions, and he was sharing details on whatever deviant online community… meanwhile, during the day, he’s like teaching a course on disparities in healthcare or whatever.

And where was this story in the mainstream media? I first saw it on AP, but there were like zippo details. I had to go to the fucking News and Observer for crissakes. So the other crinkle is that he’s gay. And of course the mainstream media doesn’t want to give ammo to the psycho conservatives who will then insist that gay partnerships foster this kind of behavior… but I mean, this is a big story! And I am still so freaked out about it, because you just never REALLY know people. It’s a shame. Seriously, how can you have children in a world like this? Who is watching your kids? And have you met people who have been abused? They get all fucked up. Big time. This is no games.

I mean, my friend pointed out there’s all this outrage over Bernie Madoff. Where’s the fucking outrage against perpetrators of violent crimes and sexual crimes? Honestly, Madoff gets 150 years in prison. Yeah, it was a LOT of money but it’s money, and come on, 10-12 percent returns every fucking year for the entire history? Hello??!! Meanwhile, a rapist gets like max 7 years. This Duke dude, if convicted, will get like 25 years. Ugh. This world is crazy!!

Sometimes I just want it to be over. Global warming, nuclear war, whatever. We’re too fucked up. Just blast ourselves away already.

My parents have always struck me as being a little on the paranoid side, but when I read/hear about stories like this, I feel angry and scared and hopeless and depressed as hell. What is this world we have created.

Session 2

Session 2

So I had my second therapy session two days after my recovery from the stomach virus. The therapist had read my historical write-up, and I think she gained a better sense of the pressures I felt at a very young age. Only two weeks had passed since our first meeting, but I was in a more stable condition this time. Perhaps my body had already been exhausted by the fever and sickness, and I was just happy to be nearly back to normal.

I could tell from her questioning though, that maybe she didn’t really know what I was hoping to get out of therapy. As if I had already known what I needed to do… In part, I suppose I want a place to talk out loud about my insecurities and then I want a “reasonable” plan for working/striving towards things I want to accomplish. Finally, I’d like some kind of coping mechanism for me to not freak out or get frustrate during the process of this “reasonable” plan. Does that even make sense? Like I want to try to be ok with things but not be complacent.

Interestingly, she asked me “what are your two most important values?” It’s a good question I had never really considered. My answer? As contradictory as they seem: independence and dependence. In other words, independence in the form of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and dependence in the sense that love and friendship is so much about taking a leap of faith and trusting and relying on someone else. And so I find myself full of these kinds of opposing thoughts and feelings. Like I believe John and I have something very special, but I don’t walk around everyday declaring with full certainty that we will be together forever. We have a strong and I would say very balanced partnership, but I have always maintained my own bank account in addition to our joint account (he opts not to have his own account). Life is full of the unexpected and as much as I think I can rely on people I love, I only ever know myself the best. It’s funny. When I say these things, I feel a bit of paranoia, a la my parents, but you know what? Things can change, just. like. that. I value flexibility and versatility, because I want to survive change. I want to be adaptable.

My maternal grandmother lived a life of luxury as a child– she had the finest things, then one day, their home was bombed and just like that, her comfortable, secure life vanished. I look at my mother, and I see how much she depends on my father. He manages so many things– finances, health insurance, rental properties, travel, transportation… and I wonder what she will do when he passes. It’s a scary thing to see, really. Anyway, it’s yet another contradiction I have. I develop my skills to be versatile and then I criticize myself for not being an expert/specialist.

I know, the book I’m reading says to just stop. To stop beating myself up. That’s the answer. I’m ok with myself most of the time. I just have a fear of stagnation. At the end of my session, the therapist said… well, it looks like you have to have plans because your self-worth is tied closely with the things you cross off your list. So have that list, make a plan for things you want to get done, but just be sure to “enjoy your day.” Blah, blah, blah, but enjoy your day. I mean, I don’t necessarily think that I DON’T enjoy my day (that’s why I’m a dabbler in the first place), but I suppose I can see what she’s saying.

My conclusion (yes, I’m finally getting to it)? I’m going to just continue doing activities that I want to do, and just try not to demand becoming an expert at them. I’m doing them for the sake of just doing them, and whatever progress I make, so be it. So I’m going back to scouting out my activities… Session 3 is this week. We’ll see how it shows.

In other news, last week I attended volunteer orientation for a theater near my work– it’s a small theater but way more prestigious and cutting-edge than the one near home where I’ve been volunteering. In fact, TheatreWorks is doing a New Works Festival this summer with staged readings of new plays and pieces in development. Orientation was a huge disappointment, because I always go into these things thinking they are wonderful opportunities to meet new people with similar passions, but invariably the volunteers turn out to be the worst people– grouchy blue-hairs who are so SLOW, they have a billion questions, AND they’re really cranky/particular/anal/inflexible!! In the entire auditorium, I was like the only person in the 20-40 demographic. Ugh. Then again, I guess retirees do comprise the majority of volunteers. I dunno. Oh well, guess it’s just for intellectual stimulation, not for social interaction. Shrug.