Sunday, September 24, 2006

First and Final Cut

Day #2.

We were told to arrive between 5 and 6 am even though we wouldn't be allowed to our ticketed seats until 8:00am. This time the line was even farther down the block. Rumors were going around that 10,000 people were there by 6:30 am. Some people we talked said the instruction sheets they were given said to show up between 4 and 5 am.

Hmm, interesting. Sounds like a standard mob psychology tastic to me. Get people there early, testing to see who wants it and how much. Make them stand around and get hyped up by seeing how many others there are to compete against, stir gently with a pinch of self-permeating rumors and voila! You have full on hype and backstabbing competition. I asked around and I'm sad to report my theory was substantiated by several members of Crowd Management Services, the outside vendor hired to wrangle us "idolizers." Plus we were a captive audience for cheap plastic handouts emblazoned with tv series titles and Krispy Kreme donuts.

One thing I gotta say for Mob Psychology, it can be very entertaining. I took a little walk up to the front of the line where William Hung was being interviewed for the news. Here's the one picture I got from the day because I forgot my camera and after this shot, my phone got fried from the downpour. Savor this once I can upload from my now-non-fried camera.

Oh, did I mention it rained? yes, it bloody rained. Rained cats, dogs, and some very soggy sheep, I might add. We were among the few hundred lucky souls to be caught under a large canopy for most of the time, but the poor saps at the front of the line were drenched to their bones. This was really great once they decided to open the doors early to a very heavily air conditioned arena. What is it about Seattle and their distinct lack of decent hot air hand dryers? Lots of public sinks, lots of piss poor hand dryers. Some of these singers could have dried their hair and some portion of their clothes to avoid getting sick and losing their voices, but no. A very wet city doesn't think we deserve to by dry. Just be wet and deal with it.

Moving on from my rant, we were all schooled into a rousing rendition of one of the worst rock songs of all time, none other than Jefferson Starship's anti-climactic comeback song, "We Built This City." This was then followed with lots of loud cheering along with crane shots of the crowd spinning their wet umbrellas while singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," a song older than most of the contestants. But good aunties and moms sang along instead of their competing companions in an effort to save one more voice to be the future American Idol.

Then more cheers, crane shots and brilliant chants, like "It's okay, Simon, we like the rain."

Yeah, wow. I didn't see your $2K Armani out there getting drenched. But dutiful aunties, etc. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Poor Tonya was getting really tired by now. She still couldn't decide what to sing. They set up 11 tables down the center of the floor with little curtains between each table. Whole seating sections were brought down to the floor and lined up in 2 lines. Then the first 2 from each line became a group of 4 that was shuttled over to stand in line in front of a table where 2 - 3 judges were sitting. The judge would hear each person individually then bring everyone as a group and most people got sent out the "non-winners" exit where their special wristband was cut. The few who were going on the next round were given a yellow card that they then proceeded to wave about like a quarterback in the end zone while onlookers cheered.

It was really sweet to see how they'd react. One guy did several back handsprings and a backflip. I hope he was caught on tape. Another woman was forced to sing 3 or 4 songs while more and more judges came over to listen. She got a card.

Plus there were so many other characters - Black Uncle Sam, WonderWoman of Target, the girl with the long long braids.

Oh, yes, the part you are all waiting for. I was so totally fine - relaxed, calm, joking around with tired contestant niece and being dutiful and really loving it! Then our seating section was called. She stood up to go, big hug and kiss and off to her destiny whatever that may be. I couldn't tear my eyes off of her and even through my tears I watched her line up on the main floor, get sectioned with her group of 4 and stand, waiting to be judged. Everywhere that girl went she made friends. Everywhere! In line outside, while we were walking around listening to everyone practice, even right there on the main floor.

It came to be her turn and the judge nodded and smiled while she sang out her sweet little country song. He seemed attentive and kind while he called them all up together, thanked them and they all walked away.

That was it.

Outside, at the "non-winners" exit, girls were crying, seething, yelling "Prince is my cousin! my whole family got vocals!" or thinking they are no good because they didn't get picked for American Idol.

Well, I'll tell you, after going through all that, this sweet young girl said, "well, so I wasn't what they were looking for. Oh well."

She's 18 years old and she knows who she is. So, she may not be America's Idol, but she sure is mine.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

She's got Try.

My niece is in town to audition for American Idol. So, of course, I'm thrilled. Tonya is a really cool kid with a great attitude about life. She's just here to have fun and enjoy the experience. I still keep thinking about her *winning!* but I'm trying to just be cool and let her set the stage. I don't want to freak her out or make her feel uncomfortable or unneccessarily excited. But I still offered to camp out with her if that's what she wanted to do.

Lucky for me, she didn't. And the 4am wakeup wasn't so bad either.

The Set-up

First things first, Big Long Line #1: Registration. No lining up will occur before 6am. yeah right. We arrived at the Key Arena in Seattle Center at around 5:30am and were very lucky to find a FREE parking spot within a block. We had brought enough food to feed the Italian Army, if need be, but it didn't fit in her backpack so we'd have to hoof it if we were hungry. When we got there, about 2000 people were already there despite the websites repeated admonitions to any camping or lining up prior to 6 am. Turns out we waited almost exactly as long or less than they did, because the 1am arrivers weren't processed and able to leave until 8:15 am. We got there at 5:30 am and were done at 10 am or so.

Apparently, the order in which you arrive has nothing to do with the order in which you audition. We received tickets to be inside the Key Arena and our assigned seating area will be called randomly for audition. Tonya got a blue band, while I, her only supporter in physical presence, got an orange band. Apparently, we are not to take them off until after she auditions. They even said to "cover it in plastic when you shower." Hmm. Okay. I can't help but wonder how many girls took this line very seriously and just don't shower. Ew.

Tonya's so chill and fun, she makes friends with everyone around her. Here she is with Brittany, 17, from Portland. This is about 5 minutes after they met and they are already rockin' out to Tonya's iPod!

Although we didn't get get photos, I'd love to say hi to our early bird line buddies: Sri and her husband from Berkeley, and Sarah and her friend from Chelain. Hi! Y'all were really nice to hang out with - especially at 5:30 am.

Next step: Audition, we hope. Well, actually, line up. We are to report to Key Arena on Tuesday between 5 and 6 am. We will be let in to the Arena at around 8am, I think. And that is where things get vague. We don't know if everyone will be heard or not. Some say yes, others say no. There are a lot of things that fly around in line and so many different kinds of people are here to try out. It's all very interesing so far.

Rule of Thumb: Comfortable footwear!

I'll let you know how things go!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A more elegant life

Sean and I became friends at a very interesting time. He had been out of work for 6 months or so and managing barely to stay in his Palo Alto apartment. I lived down the street after - well, going through a big change. Let's just say, I had to leave town under a black cloud. So, we couldn't possibly be at our best as humans.

But difficult times have a way of bringing the best out of folks. I say that Sean struggled, but only because I imagined it must be difficult to be out of work for so long. I think it ended up being 11 months or so. But, he never broke a sweat and we spent our copious non-employment-full time walking my dog and drinking coffee. I still remember our lovely Turkish coffee maker who would see me coming and make it just like I liked it - extra cardamom! Now that's community! One day we had a discussion about "arriving to a more elegant life" which involved cafe au lait bowls.

Not long after, it could have been my birthday, or it could have just been "elegant life" day, Sean brought me 2 beautiful white cafe au lait bowls, the perfect size and weight for large hands or small.

I love that he remembered my small comment in a grandiose conversation sandwiched between yoga and French philosophy, I'm sure. I love that he wanted to give me elegance, to remember to live in elegance at every turn. I love that he felt I needed and would cherish these as a testament to our friendship and to living a more elegant life.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Cafe au lait

Cafe au lait with Dog

See two little green spots floating in the black?

And Cafe au lait with Blog

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The little things

I'm most amazed by very small things. Very small intricate trinkets are absolutely dazzling and I wish a had a huge display case with a kujillion tiny compartments and some sort of Rube Goldberg set up with magnifying glasses and a variety of lights to view each item at optimal settings. I'd like the kind of case you could get lost in; one that visitors, especially small children, might be scared of (if they're dull) or interested in (if they are the kind of child I am). Yes, that's what I'd like.

I'd like to have a collection of my name written on grains of rice by different artists I find at different touristy places. Each one would be set like a gemstone on a little silver stand with a tag saying the name of the artist, the location and the date. Maybe I could even include a bit of our conversation.

"Ok, miss. I do for you. What your name?"

"What do you think my name is?"

"uh, wh-?"

"What do I look like? I'm not sure what my name is. Maybe you could give me a name? What really fits me?"

I wonder how many rice grains would say "annoying bitch" in chinese.

This all started for a reason. I was washing dishes, sweeping, all those housewifey things and fixating on some small things. But by the time I'm ready to write, all that's left of that thought is "I'm most amazed by small things."

Small things that amaze me:

- How much pain can be caused by a tiny insect.
- Even small diamonds can have brilliant fire.
- A decimal point can change your life.
- A nuzzle from a loved one when you're doing dishes, even if you don't let it show.
Microchip Art
- cell phones that fit in my wallet
- voicemails from friends who live faraway (not a hint!)
- little mineral sparkles in water, flecks of mica in rock
- flashcards - for learning or for storing
- the hyoid bone - because it floats unattached to any other bone and because it's name is very lovely to say.
- my mom's dog, Sophie
- several small marbles rolling in my hand
- how finches pick around the millet to get the sunflower seeds, so few and far between
- LEDs
- baby goats

and, the thing that started this whole thing...

*trumpets blurt*

The first and immediate bite of any sandwich I've just made, especially grilled cheese and pbj.

I absolutely can not make a sandwich without taking a bite immediately. Even if it's my lunch that I have to eat in 6 hours, with 6 hours to wait again until the end of the shift. I can almost never even make it to lunch, because I keep thinking of the sandwich sitting like a perfect little friend, waiting for me. I think, how lonely is my little friend, hanging out in a bag in the dark. It doesn't have a book or even a radio to pass the time; not even a rosary should it find religion. Nothing but the thought that I'll be there later, to eat it and fulfill its wondrous destiny.

And I can't wait. I can't, I can't, I can't.

Ooh, I want a PBJ now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Labor Day Hike with Ray and Heather

We drove about an hour south and east to Snoqualmie Pass and took the East Summit exit to Alpental Road. Just a few minutes got us here:

Really lovely place! Very alpine look - reminded me of Switzerland while Ray was thrilled to see rocks and trees and to jump around the little mountain goat he is.

Ray and Heather show you the good stuff!

Mountain Goat, Banff, Canada

Mountain Goat, Alpental, Washington

must be something in the water...

The underwire in my bra squeaks when I walk. Or even when I sit at my desk and just hold my breasts up. Gotta take the pressure off somehow!

So much to learn, so few parties to blab my mouth off at...

I found an extremely cool website today!

Look for all your favorite bugs!

I was browsing around, convinced the body aches and chills I feel are associated with the little fucker I found on my bathroom counter. See below...

As you can see, he's pretty small. I'm assuming, of course, that he's male, because (as I have learned today from males are typically smaller in most tick varieties. I have yet to identify this little fucker. Note his black hard body and very long front legs, which are easily several times longer than his very stubby other six legs. The definite 8 legs tells me he's a class: Arachnida, but beyond that, I can't find any images on the web that match this little guy. Should you run into something, let me know. I'd sure like to know I'm safe from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Tick-borne paralysis!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A probability factor of...

While musing on art, 2 separate cars from 2 separate houses on my street drove away. It's 4am! and my street has about 6 houses on it! What are they thinking?

I'm up because I can't sleep. What's their excuse?

What is art?

I've been awake for about 2 hours now, thinking more on my collage. I played some more with some of the images in there. I feel like I want to deconstruct each small piece until it's barely recognizable from the original. Simplify so much it becomes something else entirely. What could I discover about reconstructing a relatively common shape. The star in torn paper or fabric. The outline, the interior. How do I mark the line to create interior vs exterior - with pen, stitching, crayon? I'm concerned about this because I wonder: What story can a line tell? Will it show a tentative nature or unabashed pretense? What makes a star into art? Is that the key that will unlock my art?

I woke up mad as hell at 1:43am.

I was being chased by a moose around a fortress, skirting the perimeter and ducking behind stanchions when I could. Now, I have a healthy respect for large, strong, tempermental wild animals. Meaning, a surprise viewing while walking in a forest is a gift.

Being stalked by one is an entirely different experience.

And he was stalking me. He would even hide when I'd look back. Then I spotted an opening and ducked down a hole, which luckily meant falling onto something soft.

I lay still, pretending to be invisible when a man [who seemed to be a strange amalgamation of an ex-boss and several genius techie friends, but with a truly mean sense of humor] showed up and laid cards over my body. I assumed there was something on the cards to attract the moose, because that's what happened. The moose pushed around the cards on my body gently while I grew angrier at this fool for scaring me so badly. There was no where to go; no way to get out with out this moose trying to get some action, and nothing to hit the jerkwad with for starting it all.

And then I woke up.... mad as hell, sleeping in the vary same position as I had been in the dream, but in my own bed.