Retail on the Holidays

Day five out of six in a row.

Last night, I got off of my work at 11. Today, I reported for duty at 7 am. I had a total of eight hours to drive my coworkers home (I do so for some so they don’t have to ride the bus so late at night), wish my sister a happy birthday (this year, she turns 23), sleep, and repeat this cycle over again. Working retail during the holidays, to put in simple terms, just drains every part of you.

I have no energy when I get home. Those times I planned to work out in the evening end up with me lying in bed, staring at the ground with a lack of willpower do push-ups. Plans to work on future projects are tossed aside as I try and not think about the man who’s screamed at me multiple days in a row.

I just don’t have the energy for the willpower sapped away as customer after customer comes at me like a never ending stream of self imposed misery as they put off their holiday shopping until the very last minute.

But there’s a certain moment that I catch that makes this all worth it. That smile forming slowly over the customers face as they finally found that perfect present.

That shy smile forming on a six year olds face as I present to him (at the behest of his mother) his early Christmas gift. He clutched it, gripping his new toy with such eagerness I find myself content. Happy to see his face turn into a shy grin.

Letting a customer know that yes, we do have that product still in stock, and their sigh of relief as I present that gift they would have scoured the entire Los Angeles area to look for.

It’s those times that make it worth it. That make me happy to be here. It’s having those moments where I know I’m tired but, I have my coworkers there to support me. Retail isn’t a fancy job, nor is it something glamorous.

Retail can make bitter husks out of people, and I’ve seen it happen. I would like to think that I’ve gained patience, understanding of the problems those face in the service and retail world. And I enjoy it- I just have to look for those small things that make the overall experience that makes it worthwhile. Or at least, tolerable.

note: I wrote this when on four hours of sleep or so. If I sound disjointed, my apologies. I will be writing more soon.

My sister and Rachael Ray

My sister and I have… a less than optimistic viewpoint on the famous cook, Rachel Ray. It’s not that we hate her- it’s more like… we strongly dislike her. Her fake optimism, the whole empire she built as a cheap Martha Stewart- okay, that’s beside the point, but either way… Imagine our surprise to discover that my grandmother has a subscription to Rachael Ray Magazine. My sister, being a good “adult” per se, started to deface the magazines as they arrived at my grandma’s house. Crazy point though- my grandmother has yet to notice. There’s a stack of magazines still in her living room with this artwork. I check on them occasionally, seeing what my sister’s latest mad works look like. Here’s a small taste:

Unibrow Rachael Ray

Chola Rachael Ray (that one is my favorite)

Derp Rachael Ray

By the way, she’s in her twenties. My sister is so special.

Screenwriting and the Script Frenzy

Countless nights. Countless days. I forced myself not to play video games- only playing Battlefield 3 when friends wanted to play with me. Games that I have been looking for, like Mass Effect 3, were barely touched throughout this month. My brand new Playstation Vita was only picked up twice, only to download new applications for it. There wasn’t a day where I was writing a screenplay. I couldn’t stop myself. And it was wonderful. Script Frenzy, at least for me, is now over, with a total of…

Total Script Frenzy page count: 178 pages! Fuck yes!

178 pages. 178 pages of script. I didn’t think I would write so much, but once I started… I couldn’t stop myself. Hell, there were times I wanted to slack off, where I kept saying to myself “Okay, after this page, I’ll stop and watch a movie or something.” But the movie never came. I just continued to write, write, and write. That night, I finished one of my screenplays, writing until 3 am until it was done.

The words “The End” never felt so great, but I was eager to just go back and start editing it. At that point, I forced myself to go to bed. I had work that day at 10 am. But I didn’t care. I felt like I had accomplished something new during that time, or rather, feel that sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt in years. I compiled all the pages I had written today- counting them up in one file. Right after I had counted it, I paused for a second, reviewing over the work I’ve done so far. And then I started writing again, pouring through my work. It felt fantastic.

I originally started to write in the sixth grade. I started writing some ridiculous screenplays back then. I still have them all- I pour through them from time to time to amuse myself, to see what I had come up with as a teenager with an overreactive imagination. Back then, one person was my biggest influence, my biggest motivator to continue writing screenplays. It was Taylor.

Taylor always cheered me on to write- back then, I mostly wrote silly comedies, things that I knew would make Taylor laugh. And I loved making him laugh- his face filled with glee as I read stories aloud to him. I remember riding along with him in his Black Mini- sitting in the passenger seat as I read hastily written scripts on lined paper. I would be watching for Taylor’s reaction- that sense of relief and joy I got when he cackled in joy, slamming his palm down on the steering wheel as he proclaimed his love for the screenplay. I could think of no other joy then that very moment. After his death, my motivation to write… dried up.

I would come up with ideas here and there, but my need to get it down on paper was nonexistent. I did write the last Script Frenzy in 2011, but even then, right after I finished, I would stop completely writing. It felt like an obligation back then. I feel like that’s gone now. I’m writing screenplays every day, even if its for only five or ten minutes. Maybe in the morning, as I’m reading my news headlines of the day, I’ll flip over to Celtx (the amount of love I’ve professed about this app is bordering on an endorsement deal. I seriously wish they would have paid me for the amount of times i’ve talked to people about the app) and start to write, or edit things. I’ve finished counting my pages for Script Frenzy, and I still want to write more. It’s no longer an obligation to write- I just want to keep writing and writing more. I love this feeling. During this month, I went to go to visit Taylor. I brought the iPad along, reading to him passages of my scripts to him. Passages he would have loved.

Reading to Taylor

I’m sure he loved it.

The Rose Parade

I’ve lived in the city of Pasadena ever since I moved here, back in 1994. Every year since then, I’ve seen every last one of the Rose Parades in person. It’s one thing to see the whole thing on television, but even today, HDTV doesn’t do justice to the pure beauty of the craftsmanship of the floats. It’s become tradition- no matter what, I’ll go see the parade, even if I had partied with friends to the wee hours of the morning the night before. I’ll be there with my family. But this year held a new challenge- with the parade being held on January 2nd instead of the 1st, my family didn’t have anyone willing to camp out for our spots on Colorado Boulevard (for example, my sister and her friends did it one year, and another year other families we share the spot with did the duty another year). My mother would have to do it alone. I couldn’t bring myself to leave an almost AARP-qualifying family member (I can totally make this joke here, because even after telling her the URL to my blog, my mom can’t be bothered to check it out. Mom, if you figured it out now, I totally had to do it. You know I had to.) out on the street overnight. I volunteered myself to spare her the pain. Sleeping out for the Rose Parade. #roseparade #newyears #socoldSo after waking up on January 1st to work at seven motherfuckingohgodthisisgoingtokillme in the morning, I proceeded to go home, nap, and drive out to the boulevard in the early evening to bundle up and sit out with my mother. There’s something to be said about the whole experience, though. The yearly tradition for those out on the street for the parade is to chuck marshmallows and tortillas covered in shaving cream at those cars brave enough to drive on the street. I sat there, in the california cold, just waiting, watching the festivities countinue ahead of me. Thankfully, I had my iPad, so I had a deluge of entertainment waiting for me. Those sitting in the reserved spot next to me threw tortilla after tortilla at cars, who retaliated with silly string (and in some cases) water balloons, which, more than once, almost hit me. I simply avoided the projectiles, and watched the videos I had loaded up in anticipation of the evening. A hidden air mattress underneath me provided comfort for me once I got ready for bed. I hid my iPad under my shirt and jacket, and slept on my stomach so no one could take it from me (my fat ass being the best source of protection for it.). I was surrounded by chairs for the next morning, a few anemities scattered across a little plot I had called my own for the rest of my family and assorted friends to join me at the next morning. I finally fell asleep around 2:30-3 am in the morning, the sounds of blaring horns and loud talking neighbors blaring in my ears even then. I woke up the next morning at seven in the morning, by my mother, who awoke me with her laughter and holding her iPhone to my face, taking pictures of me drooling in my sleep. I begrudgingly woke up for the parade (wiping the drool off), only to fall asleep multiple times throughout it, nodding off random times even as marching parades blasted music past me. At my point in the parade line is roughly about 2/3rds complete, so everyone marching already has a look of fatigue upon their faces (the spot where the television cameras are is right at the beginning, so everyone still looks cheerful there). My mother proceeds to troll them every year, screaming out “YOU STILL HAVE ELEVEN MILES TO GO!” (not really), and then proceeding to talk to someone on a horse riding on the pararde on how wonderful the movie *War Horse is (honestly, I could go into a whole book on how my mother’s madness shaped my own. It would have to be an epic that would be longer than the Lord of the Rings to explain). It’s an experience, time and time again, to see the handiwork of the hundreds of volunteers who make the floats. I reiterate-HDTV doesn’t do these floats justice at all– to see them up close and personal is some sort of magic for me still, 18 years later. Will I sleep outside again? For the experience?

Waking up on the blvd

Nnnnnnnnnope. I’m good, thank you.

The Rose Parade

Perfect Rose Parade
Ever since coming here from Mexico City in 1994, I’ve been to every single Rose Parade. I drag myself up at 6, 7 in the morning to a (usually) cold morning to see friends and relatives that only come together this day to celebrate a bunch of Volvos with dead flowers pasted upon them (I can’t take credit for that one- heard it on a local radio station). To stand the crowds of hung over (and still drunk) people waiting for the onslaught of sights and sounds that would cause any degree of hangover to worsen. (seriously- with the right hangover, after three marching bands, I would have murdered anyone who would have tried to mess with me). Friends ask me time and time again why I put myself through it, through the security checkpoints and the traffic to spend hours watching the Rose Parade- to wait in between gaps as floats break down. To put up with my mother as she yells out things to the crowd. It’s seeing such an event up close, to be able to have a level of interaction to which you would never be able to see on television is what makes it worthwhile. One of my favorite memories of the parade had an element of this interaction- back in 2003, beloved children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers was one of many of the Grand Marshalls that year. I looked forward to seeing him as anyone else that grew up with his fantastic television show. Upon his approach, his car had come to a halt, waiting for the float before him to start up again. In the time waiting, a small child ran up to his car- or at least attempted to, before she was accosted by his bodyguards. Mr Rogers spoke a few words to the guards, and motioned for her to come closer. The little girl ran up, full of glee, and handed him a rose. He reached down and hugged her. Everyone within eyesight cheered and clapped wildly as the girl hugged him. You would have never seen that on the telecast of the Parade. It’s moments like these that makes the whole experience worth it.

My second computer


Yesterday, I took apart my second computer to get it scrapped.
 
It was built by a small computer shop on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. It no longer exists.
 
I remember helping picking out the parts- a 500 mhz Pentium 3 CPU. 20 gigs of storage. Two optical drives in it. The green case, I picked out to “make it look more like an iMac.”. I started playing a bunch of games upon it- Starcraft and Diablo being my favorites.
 
I remember the immense pride I had in installing a second drive, when I was just in middle school.
 
After this computer died, I built my family’s first computer. The first one I named. This computer was never named.
 
See ya, lime green.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Posted via email from Daniel’s posterous

The Used iPod

I’ve been the only person in my household with any sort of MP3 player, my classic ipod mini still serving me well on my drives out and about. With my mother receiving a gift of an unopened iPod video, the only person left in my household was my sister, who had resorted upon mix CDs of various genres strewn about my mother’s car, and the terrestrial radio stations she deftly navigated for her favorite songs. After Christmas, my sister looked into getting her own iPod, using the gift cards for Ebay as her means to purchase a used one at a reasonable price. She finally settled upon the fatty iPod mini, to which she received with much glee, having found it at a great deal compared to most. She wanted me to take a look at it, so she waited patiently as i hooked it up to the mac in my room. She waited as i made the discovery of music already loaded upon the pink iPod- various punk bands and popular music that made her squeal in glee, things I would never have on my own music collection, Britney Spears and the like. It was only about 2 gigs worth of music out of the total 8 gigs available, so it was an added bonus to the cost of the iPod. I went back to the iPod status menu, looking at the bar at the bottom that showed the size of the various things available on the iPod. 2 gigs of music and… video? Thinking it was more free stuff, i quickly moved to the video tab, only to find porn. Porn on a used iPod, a title over 50 characters in length describing some act of sexual nature in great detail that I know would probably be illegal in Utah. I stopped, staring at my computer with a dropped jaw and incredulous smile as i called my sister over. “Teresa, you gotta see this!” I said with a laugh as i pulled open the title bar more, describing more raunchy things done with a latina (and a goat, but thinking back on it now, I think that may have been a joke). She looked in horror as iTunes generated an album cover, a random frame from the pornographic movie with the right asscheek of said Latina. “DELETE IT!” she yelled out, covering her eyes as I deleted the video. I wiped the iPod 3 times, to be safe. Be sure to check those things you buy on Ebay, mmmkay?

Adium+GLaDOS

I’ve been compiling a list of great OS X programs for a couple of my friends, and thought this is a perfect little tidbit to bring up. My chat program of choice is none other than Adium, a great, free little program. I love it to death, due to its amazing customization it brings. So when trying to find a perfect replacement for the sound effects, I came across this: http://www.adiumxtras.com/index.php?a=xtras&xtra_id=4996 The villain from Portal, GLaDOS. She spouts off little things like “Who are yoou?” when someone IMs me, or “Are you coming back?” when someone disconnects. I find it all too hilarious. My family, unfortunately, finds it too annoying. One day, when I left I accidentally left my Adium open. Coming home, i found my speakers on the floor, and the cables frayed. I freaked out, thinking someone broke into my room. As it turned out, I left the volume up high, so my mother kept hearing “ARE YOU COMING BACK?” and “WHO ARE YOOU?” over and over again and went crazy and trashed my speakers trying to get rid of the sounds. The speakers are fine. I kept the sound set so i can drive her crazy some more. I did get to change the adium icon set to Mia Fey from Phoenix Wright….

pride of the video game kind

I haven’t had my Playstation 3 over at my house for the longest of times now, and it’s only recently going to be placed into my room, as a small television is also going inside the already cramped room. I’ve kept it at my friend’s Primo’s house for a while now, leaving it in his care as a Rainbow Six: Las Vegas machine for him and his brother. Thinking about it, i feel an immense sort of pride. Not the fanboy type of pride, or else I’d be spending too much time trying to defend the system on some unknown site, which would be a complete and utter waste of time. My family hates video game systems. They find them too noisy, and i don’t try and play them much around them. They did get a kick out of playing the Wii, but that infatuation died pretty quickly. The only video game system that was bought for me was the Game Boy Pocket- it was a clear one, if i recall correctly. I lost it at Vons, a supermarket, after i forgot to take it with me after hopping out of the cart. I remember being devestated. Wanting another one, i saved up my money and bought the exact same model. I had pride, joy- i bought this all for myself, and i felt proud for doing so. This emotion held on as i bought the Game Boy Color, and the Game Boy Advance. I kept both the GBC and the GBA, not because I’m a pack-rat, but it’s a source of pride and memories for me. I had never had a console of my own- sure, I borrowed a neighbor’s nintendo 64 long term, but i had nothing of my own. Finally, after playing a friend’s Dreamcast, I wanted my own. Hell, my friend Primo and i used to walk around four miles as kids down to Sears, where there was a stand for playing Crazy Taxi 2. We would switch off playing the game, enjoying just the demo of it. I started to crush and collect cans, save my allowance, and whatever money I could scrounge. I was a smart kid, so i decided on a refurbished Dreamcast from Gamestop- it had a warranty, and it would do just fine. I saved enough money to get the system along with a memory card, and bought it on my own. I remember being so happy that when my mom asked what games I would play on it, i froze- i forgot to buy a game. She took pity on me and let me rent a game from Blockbuster- Shenmue. I bought the system late in it’s lifespan, but i didn’t care, i had my own console, dammit! And besides, there were plenty of games on the system to keep me occupied. I was enough of a Sonic fan that Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 (along with the subsequent purchase of Crazy Taxi 2) that made the system worthwhile. I did a similar thing with the Playstation 2. I bought it refurbished, and it lasted me a damn long while. When it finally died on me, I was incredibly sadded. I was able to convince a EB Games representative to return for store credit, at full cost- unbeknownst to them, the system didn’t even read disks anymore. I went a while without a system then, but I had a job that was playing awesome amounts, and I began thinking about another system- the Wii. I’ve detailed my Wii experience before (see previous posts) Now, the PS3. That was fun, as i had to walk a block after buying it, alone, trying to hide the fact that I had a giant PLAYSTATION 3 box cradled somewhat underneath my arm, wondering how I would be able to get past the various people i eyeballed and suspected to be theives (everything went according to plan- i still have my ps3.). I still have the same amount of pride as the first Game Boy Pocket I bought for myself. It’s not just a video game system for me, i suppose. it’s a sort of childish pride i still hold. I don’t know where i went with this. i just felt like writing it.