Friday, June 26, 2009

A Spontaneous Adventure To...Glen Campbell's House?

Some of you might be aware that I am currently working two jobs now. In addition to Vans, I am now employed as a host at a Hawaiin-themed burger restaurant called Islands.

Having jobs over the last three years or so has prevented me from going to many exciting events and fun trips with friends, usually because I couldn't get the time off. The irony is, I was often prevented from doing such things because I didn't have enough money either. You'd think, if I'm so busy working, there should be cash left over for the fun stuff, right? But of course, life never works out in a simple, logical way.

Anyways, so this week, I was feeling particularly frustrated by my schedule, my lack of money, my lack of adventure and intrigue in life. Tuesday night one of my favorite bands, mewithoutYou, played in San Francisco (this is quite possibly their last tour), and where was I? Hosting "Kids Eat Free Tuesday" at Islands (trust me, it's as bad as it sounds. 50+ tables, all seated with at least two children? Tears and macaroni everywhere). So around 9 pm, when I got off work that night, knowing I wasn't scheduled again at either job until Friday night, I texted my good friend Alex, asking if he would be interested in spending a couple of days in Santa Cruz, CA, with me. He then informed that he'd actually been planning on making a trip to LA soon, to pick up a friend who couldn't afford the plane ticket home to the Sacramento area. I paused to think about this. Santa Cruz is about 4 hours away; LA is about 8 hours away. And Alex had to be back by Thursday night because he had somewhere to be Friday morning. But I decided, hey, it's an adventure, I feel like getting out of town, and this way, I don't have to pay for gas!

So at 9 am Wednesday morning, I embarked on a trip to LA. The drive down I-5 was, in and of itself, mostly uneventful (except for a brief moment where we were driving uphill, on empty, not knowing if there would be a gas station in two miles or twenty miles. Lucky for us it was closer to two, and we made it in the knick of time).

Now my friend Alex is actually a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, and is just home for the summer. So he is very familiar with that area, and once we arrived in Malibu, he pointed out a few important "celeb" spots. There was Cher's house (he has seen her on multiple occasions shopping at the grocery store), as well as a park that Pierce Brosnan frequents regularly to play with his daughters, a Starbucks where he saw Ashton Kutcher up close and personal, and so on. I'm not particularly impressed by these celebrities, or most celebrities, and the fact that I was only experiencing them secondhand, from Alex's memory, made it all the less interesting.

Around dinner time, when discussing where to eat, he informed me that we were invited to eat at Glen Campbell's house. I'm only vaguely familiar with Glen Campbell, he is not a popular star among my generation, but regardless, he is a famous person, and how could it possibly be that I was invited to eat at a famous person's house?

Well, as it turns out, Glen Campbell's daughter recently graduated from Pepperdine University, and happens to be best friends with Alex's cousin, another Pepperdine alumni.

And so, I found myself in a gated community of mansions in Malibu, and then, Glen Campbell's driveway. I paused at this moment to ask Alex if it would be inappropriate for me to take a picture of his house; Alex didn't think it would be a big deal, but I felt a little strange about it, and so decided not to, so unfortunately I have no photographic evidence of this event.

Glen and his wife unfortunately were on the road, so I did not get to meet them (though Alex has hung out there before, and spent plenty of time chatting with him), but I did go inside the house (very big, very pretty, very expensive) and met his daughter. In the end, we only stayed about 20 minutes and didn't end up eating there, we chose rather to leave with Alex's cousin and eat at a restaurant.

So really, this is all the story of how I almost ate at the house of a famous person whose music I'm not familiar with while he wasn't even home.

But regardless, it sure beats what I would've been doing back home in Sac-town. Right?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I <3 My Mommy

So it's Mother's Day, and of course, I can't let the day pass without paying homage to my wonderful mother (known throughout the blogging world as the Little Grumpy Angel).

(Picture taken by me with her fancy camera at the dog park)

I admire my mother for her extraordinary intelligence. My passion for reading can be directly attributed to her; I believe she gave me my first copy of Jane Eyre. She loves classic poetry and literature, especially Dickens, and moving to more modern works, Steinbeck. She's written her own poetry, and also has a talent for drawing and photography. And despite her affinity for the "artistic" world, she works all day with numbers and statistics, proving that she has a very logical side as well.

She is extremely creative, and some of my favorite childhood memories come from her fun activities for my brother and I. We bleached leaves so they were just see-through skeletons, she made a Humpty Dumpty doll out of a drained egg and paper, we made a tiny snowman while living in Reno and kept him in our freezer, and had many other mini-adventures with my mom.

When AJ and I were little, we liked to go to our parents' bedroom in the morning and hop in bed with them to cuddle. It was always a fight to get to be the one who cuddles with Mommy (but even then I was naturally very "feelings-conscious" and usually went straight for the middle, so that my dad wouldn't feel forgotten; my brother was much less aware).

I often tease my mom, saying that she's unfair because she gave all the GOOD genes to AJ (ie golden tan, perfectly straight teeth). But I'd like to think that I actually inherited a lot from her, such as my love for writing (I like to think I have a knack for it). Whether that was somehow genetically passed on, or is simply a result of her nurturing, I don't know, but either way, I'd say she has played a significant part in forming my interests and talents.

My mother, who speaks, reads, and writes English far better than most American-educated citizens, still has some quirky Filipino habits that make my family laugh. When speaking of people, she almost always reverses the gender (ex: speaking of "Johnny" and constantly referring to him as "her"), and still occasionally mispronouncing her share of words.

We have butted heads in the past because of her extremely logical nature versus my extremely emotional one. (When happy with me, my parents simply call me "tender-hearted"- when not so happy, the phrase of choice is "melodramatic".) Sometimes this has caused me to say that my mother lacks sympathy, that the way she expects me to "just deal with it" is cold. But I know this isn't true. My mom has a very kind heart that loves very deeply, but she has learned after surviving many very trying experiences in her life that the best way to deal with pain is to be strong, and not wallow in it. I hope to someday be as strong as her.

I love my mom. I love going out to sushi with her, I love watching our primetime soaps together, I love it when she sings (admittedly off-key) with Top-40 hits (shh- don't tell her, my brother and I make a point of trying to get her to STOP!), and so many more things that I didn't put in this blog.

I couldn't have asked for a better mommy :]
And I'm very grateful for her today, Mother's Day, and every other day of the year.

(Even if I don't always show it.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shoes, boys, and a tattoo

Contrary to popular belief, the life of a college student is really not that interesting, especially for college students who aren't living any sort of "sex, drugs, and rock n roll" lifestyle. In my free time, I read, I go on picnics, I go thrift store shopping in midtown Sacramento, and eat a lot of sushi. Needless to say, there really isn't MUCH to say about most of that.

However, my NON-free time is spent entirely at a store called Vans.

Now, I know that most of the people who read this blog are from Utah, and to be honest, I haven't the slightest idea if there are any Vans locations there, so you may not even be sure what exactly "Vans" are. First of all, they're shoes.

Our most popular style:

(Vans "Authentics")

Now, like I said, I don't know about Utah, but in California, especially in my town, everyone and their mother wears Vans. Before getting the job there, I'd never been a particularly huge fan of their shoes; I'm not one for sneakers. I've always been a classy ballet flat kind of girl, though lately I've become a TOMS girl:

(For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need.)

(Check out: if that's something that interests you. But I don't work for TOMS, and this blog is supposed to be about Vans, so-)

Anywho, basically everyone around here between the ages of 5 and 25 wears Vans, which means that, despite the current economic situation, business is BOOMing at work. I spend my days running back and forth, climbing up stock room shelves (they aren't very accomodating for those of us who inherited our mother's short genes), and on particularly busy days, literally not having room to BREATHE on the sale room floor.

But I LOVE my job. Genuinely adore the people I work with, the environment, the fast pace. It's busy, it's exciting, it's fun.

However, a few pet peeves: customers who interrupt OTHER customers. I'll be helping a person with shoes, answering their questions, and another person will walk up as if they don't see or don't care about the customer I'm helping and bark at me, "Size 8!" I generally wish I could turn to them and say, "...and your point is?" (But we've all learned to save our anger for the backroom, where we can freely rant about the customers. Consider your own shopping habits; do you think there's anyone angrily cursing about you when they walk away? Food for thought.) Then there are the customers who think you've got magic memory. "Hi, yes, I'd like to have this shoe, this shoe, and this shoe in size 7 in men's, and this shoe and this shoe in a size 7.5 in women's, and then this shoe and this shoe if you don't have that shoe and that shoe." Now, keep in mind, for every pair of shoes for every customer, you have to remember, not just the size, but the style and color. And we aren't talking Crayola crayon colors; if you see a purple shoe? Yah, that color is called "Liberty". Brown? "Espresso". Green? Possibly "Poison Green" or "Leprachaun". Navy blue? "Peacoat". And so on.

But you get used to it.

As I was saying before, though, I was never really a huge fan of Vans before I started working there. So why did I want to get a job there you ask? The answer is a little bit embarassing, but basically...the boys.

As long as I can remember, during my trips to the mall, I would make a stop at the Vans store, and nearly every single guy on the staff was unbelievably attractive. So, after my "high school sweetheart" dumped me a month after graduation, and my summer job at Golfland was becoming unbearable, I thought one day, "Hey, I probably won't get the job, but I might as well apply." And, lo and behold, I did!

But what they don't tell you in the interview is that, in addition to being very very cute, all of the men of Vans are taken.

A friend of mine used this analogy: Imagine that you are a chocoholic (maybe you don't have to imagine, most people are) and you find yourself presented with the opportunity to work at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! You're so excited you might burst! and you run into work on your first day, ready to dive into the chocolate river, and to your heartbroken dismay, you discover you've developed a sudden allergy to chocolate.

(Though, it would be more accurate to say that this chocolate is now allergic to you.)

I really don't mind it now, though. The guys are all my buddies now, who I can laugh and joke and hang out with, which really is much more fun and less complicated than if they were all "prospects" instead. (Plus, having good looking guy friends means that you get to...y'know...look at good looking guys all the time, no problem!)

I must pause now, though. Reading back, I realize this is making me sound significantly more "boy crazy" than I am, mostly because I equated my interest in them to a chocolate addiction. For the record, I very much enjoy being single, and the freedom to spend my time outside of work as I please. I just don't think there's anything wrong with positioning one's self in such a way as to make one available, in case, y'know, someone worthwhile actually happens to come along.

But I digress.
Anyway, one other prevalent part of the culture here: tattoos. And I'd say, working in retail, the one store where this is most visible is definitely Vans. Now, this isn't a blog about tattoos, or what your opinion of tattoos might be, but since I am talking about Vans, I thought I'd show a picture of one of my managers and I at work:

I'll leave it up to you to guess: coincidental resemblance to his tattoo? or did he decide to commemorate his favorite employee?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Uh-oh...gettin' a little artsy-fartsy

So when I decided to give in and jump into this strange 7th dimension of blogging, I felt like I was literally spilling over with subjects to write about! But I restrained myself, thinking, 'I can't just suddenly have a dozen posts, all from the same night, all covering a random array of subjects. I need to wait, space them out.'

But now here I am, thinking I ought to post something, and I can't really think of what I was so eager to say.

So instead, I've decided to do some show and tell.

Today's subject for show and tell?

Though I've always loved art, all forms of art, my obsessive interest in visual art (ie. painting) is fairly recent.

Now I know most of you, when you hear words like "art" or "painting", you automatically think of this:
Now regardless of whether or not the world's obsession with this particular painting is valid, there's no denying that the skill of Da Vinci pretty much surpasses that of any other artist in the history of the world.

But that's not really the sort of art I'm talking about.

Fear not; I'm not a Jackson Pollock fan:

(Although my Creative Writing teacher made a good point about that in class this week; people say, "My four year old could do that!" and his response to this is, "Probably...but he didn't." In which case, the proper response would be to accept the challenge, go home and allow your kid to dirty up a canvas with nonsensical splatter, and try and sell it for a few million bucks. Hey, it could happen!)

Anyway, so the art that I happen to like, includes artists like:

Audrey Kawasaki

Travis Louie

James Jean

Alex Pardee

Amy Sol

Now, a little while ago, I was sitting on my lap top at the dining room table, and my mom was in the room, and I thought, 'Y'know what? My mother's a smart lady, she's artistic, maybe I should try and share some interests with her, start a conversation.' So I start showing her some of the work of these artists, and a few others. Her reaction, you ask?

"That's nice." (In response to Amy Sol.)
"Eeeuughhhh" (Yah, that's pretty much what it sounded like- in response to most of the others.)


To which she says, "I don't know, it's no Monet."

Alright, alright alright. So I get that he's one of the greats, I've seen some of his work in person, blah blah blah, impressionism, water lillies. Got it.

But why exactly does my mother prefer Monet?
Her answer: "It just moves me."

Insert *sigh* here.

Anyway, something you might be wondering (if you're even still reading at this point...I just realized that this is an incredibly long post. I wouldn't blame you if you already left to go make yourself a sandwich. Turkey...Tara rambling about art...Turkey...Tara rambling about art. Can't blame you for your choice. But to those of you still tuning in-)

...back to what I was saying. You might be wondering if my interest in art translates into an actual hobby of, well, making art. The answer is yes and no. Yes, I try. No, I don't really succeed :)

I draw, but don't really paint. My painting supplies generally lie dormant, only to be occasionally dragged out, and then thrusted back into hiding in a fit of frustration when I realize to my unbearable dismay that I'm no Audrey Kawasaki.

However, a half decent drawing of mine:

Whaddya think?
Oh wait, no, no, let me guess-
It's alright, but it's no Monet.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Why "Into a Paper Cup"?

The Beatles. Duh.

That should be the answer to anything and everything, like on short answer exams at school.

"What name did Albert Camus give his brand of existentialist philosophy?"
The Beatles.

"In what year was Francis Ferdinand assassinated, thus bringing about the start of WWI?"
The Beatles.

"For which of his theories did Albert Einstein win the Nobel Prize?"
The Beatles.

Gosh, I wish that worked. (For the record, the answers are 1. Absurdism, 2. 1914, 3. No, not General Relativity. But actually "photoelectric effect". Whatever that means. Thank you History Channel documentaries.)

Anyways, in the case of the phrase "Into a Paper Cup" the answer really IS The Beatles. Specifically, the line in the song "Across The Universe": Words are flowing out/ like endless rain into a paper cup.

That being said, I think the reason I chose that particular phrase is pretty self-explanatory. (However, I'm very disappointed in you if you didn't catch the reference on your own anyway.)

ANYWAYS, I don't really know if I plan on consistently updating this blog, and I'm admittedly a tad bit worried that my mother's large following might sneak on to this page and start reading the ramblings of an unknown 18 year old...but I suppose that is the risk one takes when posting one's personal thoughts on the world wide web! So be it. But I promise I'm not that interesting.

Weird, yes.
But not interesting. Totally different things :]

Well, I guess that's it for now. No fabulous stories from the Golden State tonight, I'm afraid.
So, ta-ta!