I grew up watching The Monkees reruns on KTLA, Channel 5 in L.A. I loved the show.
At one point I worked at Sam Goody, and made a friend that I kept for a while after I’d moved on to other things. When she was asked to work a 1996 appearance by The Monkees at the Sam Goody at Universal Citywalk (which, at the time, was a two-story superstore), she invited me to come along.
So began my first visit to CityWalk. I drove there, only getting slightly lost along the way. Oddly enough, I didn’t listen to The Monkees on the way there. I had Danzig II in the cassette player in the Volkswagon Vanagon that I was driving. And I kept rewinding the tape to listen to the song “Blood and Tears” over and over again.
When I got to CityWalk, I made my way to Sam Goody and was overwhelmed. I’d never been in a music store so large…the Sam Goodys that I had worked at were both in the same mall, and were a lot smaller…one was the size of one mall unit, the other was three times the size of that. This store was at least quadruple the size of the larger store I’d worked at. I found my friend and said hello, and then got in line to meet Davy, Peter, and Mickey (Michael was not on this tour, though the crowd held out hope since he’d made one appearance during the 25th Anniversary Tour, and played with them again at the Universal Amphitheater the next year when they got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame).
Davy had just broken his leg in a horse riding accident, and was in a walking cast. He and Peter were kind, and really seemed to love meeting the fans and signing autographs. I didn’t bring anything to have signed, so I just shook their hands and told them I was happy to meet them.
Mickey was too busy flirting with a girl who looked to be about 14 years old to bother talking…he’d just sign whatever was put in front of him while staring at her boobs and talking to her. Since I didn’t have anything to sign, I was ushered past him.
That night, I went to their concert at the Universal Amphitheater. I was in the first row of the balcony, but that venue is small enough that I still felt pretty close to the stage. Davy was up and walking around the stage on his walking cast, and told us that he owed us a dance, since he couldn’t do his signature move (which Axl Rose’s “snake dance” looks very similar to). At one point, between songs, Peter asked some people in the front of the audience to stop smoking pot because the smoke was bothering him.
I sang along, and had a good time. I bought a tour shirt on the way out. Sadly, I went to Burger King on the first day I wore it and dripped mustard on it. The stain never came out.
All that said, I’m sad that I won’t see them on tour again…they had actually just announced a 45th Anniversary tour, and were going to be in my part of the world in July.
That’s Davy on the right, as he looked a week ago. Peter’s on the left, and the perv is in the middle.
It means “I’m a fireman”. I shouted that in a smoke-filled apartment tonight while searching for trapped occupants at a fire. It’s a phrase that’s drilled into our heads in the fire service- at least where I live and work. There are a lot of illegal Hispanic immigrants living here. I go into their…
STOP. No seriously, freeze. And read this right now. It’s important.
I had the weirdest dream about Universal Studios today. I was telling someone what a great place it was to work (in real life, it literally almost drove me to suicide).
After Glenyrd posted a photo from the area, I suddenly realized that I could illustrate a few of the things I’ve talked about before on here using Google Maps. So, without too much retelling (or context), here’s a little peek at how I remember the place.
This (red arrow) is where I used to hang out with character performers, stunt people from the Water World stunt show, and one of my bosses. The big-wigs would never walk by here, so it was a “safe” zone.
The red arrow is another place where I would often stop to chat with a coworker or two over a cigarette, until a bigwig decided that it was a safety hazard (at the time, the set for the old Wild Wild Wild West stunt show was still there, and the ground in the show area was covered with wood chips. The blue arrow is where I would meet with other managers and a few security people for a break. The three yellow arrows are where I would sleep when I lived at the park. The left arrow was our manager’s office, the diagonal arrow connected to it points to the vacant space above a shop where I would sometimes move if I wanted to sleep later in the day, and the yellow arrow to the right points to the retail warehouse where I would put a towel down on a plywood shelf and sleep once the Entertainment people started using the area above the shop and had to walk through our office to get there.
This green arrow is where I decided to quit. At that point, I saw two options, and I spent about a half an hour on my last day debating whether to quit or take the other way out. Here is the sign that I was next to:
It’s probably a good thing that I was at a theme park in the middle of the day…I didn’t want to send families home with the memory of seeing a manager climb over this fence and jump.
Finally, this is a map of what I was in charge of at various times. The red dots are outdoor food locations that I was part of a team of five managers who were in charge.
Yellow dots are outdoor retail locations that I ran at the same time, but by myself. Blue dots are the stores I was an assistant manager for (underneath a manager who was shtupping an employee or two, making things really difficult as far as discipline was concerned) when I was promoted out of the carts department (less locations, more stress, and worse bosses).
And finally, green dots are the locations I was an assistant manager when I was moved from the blue dot stores…in these areas, I had a really good manager…when she showed up to work. On my last day, we had been given one day to turn the entire department around “or there would be big changes” (which we both took as “or you’re fired/demoted”). She stayed home that day while I tried to figure out how to throw the union contracts out the window to reassign people from other departments before deciding that this company, which preaches integrity, was ordering me to throw mine out the window.
So here’s to Universal Studios…the most stressful job I ever had. Sure, Disneyland had stressful moments, but it was nothing compared to the crap I put up with in Hollywood. I still pine for Disney; Universal can suck my left nut.
That sounds absolutely frightening. I have had dreams not of grinds but of objects that are not considered scary and I would wake up in fear. I do not think that was not very nice of the teacher to laugh.
I was embarrassed for even bringing it up when she laughed at the idea. But then, I had very few good teachers through my school years. There were a couple, but not many.
Sometimes in dreams, things are different. I didn’t get uneasy searching and choosing grid pictures to illustrate that (well, the very last one did creep me out a bit), but in dreams our fears can be totally rational at the time, even if it’s something that wouldn’t be a big deal (or just would be unrealistic) in real life.
Nowadays, when I have falling dreams, I usually stay in the dream when I land…no real-life bounce. I just realize that I have died, and the rest of my dream is darkness, but knowing that I’m dead.
I’ll say this much, though…even my nightmares are more interesting than my real life. I’m surprised I don’t sleep more.
Today, I was watching the news, and of late all the Australian news has been about is the political situation. So then I was thinking to myself, "I wonder if Australian politics make it to the American news". Then tumblr popped into my head and to me you seemed to be informed on a lot of things so I thought I would ask you. Does Australian stuff (the politics of late) make it onto/into the American news?
Not too much. Granted, I get most of my news from twitter and local stations, since all of our national news has a clear agenda to promote.
I am aware of Julia Gillard’s rift with the Labor party and Paul Rudd, but only on a rudimentary level (and I’d be surprised if I’m not in the minority of Americans who even know who they are). Our news is, sadly, still mostly focused on gay marriage, whether Obama is a Muslim, and playing “Which Republican is Smarter Than an Amoeba.”
In a town of Persia lived two brothers, sons of a poor man; one named Cassim, the other Ali Baba. Cassim, the elder, married rich and took it easy while saying that poor people just don’t work hard enough. He was contemplating a run for the presidency; but the wife of Ali Baba was as poor as himself: they dwelt in a mean cottage in the suburbs, and he was more of a 99%-er. Ali Baba was in the forest, cutting wood (I bet some of you who know how the story is worded here expected me to say something else, but no dice), when he saw a troop of horsemen approaching. He hastily climbed a large thick tree, and hid himself among the branches, thankful that the Chloe Memisevic-like frame his hunger had afforded him let him look like just another twig in the tree.
Ali Baba counted forty of them; each took a loaded portmanteau from his horse, wondered why they didn’t just call them “suitcases,” and, turning to the rock, said, “Open, Sesame;” immediately a door opened, and Big Bird welcomed them in, and then the door closed my itself, proclaiming that the opening had been brought to you by the letters B, V, and the number 6. In a short time the door opened again, and the robbers came out, who said, “Shut, Sesame.” The door instantly closed as a harmonica played in the background and an announcer said that the cave opening had been made possible by a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation.
Ali Baba ventured down, and approaching the rock, said, “Open, Sesame.” Immediately the door flew open. He brought his asses, and took as many bags of gold coin as they could carry, glad to finally be sticking it to the man.
Ali Baba told his brother the secret of the cave, because Ali Baba was an idiot. Cassim rose early next morning, and set out with ten mules loaded with great chests. He made each of those ladies carry big suitcases, too.
He found the rock, and having said, “Open Sesame,” gained admission, where he found more treasures than he expected, which made him forget the word that caused the door to open. “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street” did nothing. Neither did singing “Rubber Duckie.” Presently he heard the sound of horses’ feet, which he concluded to be the robbers, who instantly put him to death for stealing what they had rightfully stolen.
Ali Baba drove to the forest to occupy some more of Wallgrabar Street, and on entering the cave, he found the body of his brother cut into quarters. He took the quarters, and put them upon one of his asses, put his own ass on a donkey, and delivered the body to Cassim’s wife.
Morgiana, a female slave in his brother’s house, was sent early next morning to a poor cobbler, and gave him two pieces of gold to go with her blindfolded; taking him into the room where the body was lying, bade him sew the mangled limbs together.
Mustapha said “Simba, a king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun” before realizing that that was Mufasa’s line, not his. Then he obeyed, though he had been hoping for a WAY different experience when Morgiana had first approached him…he thought the blindfold had just been a kinky touch. Having received two pieces of gold, he was led blindfolded the same way back.
Cassim was buried with all due solemnity, as mourners were told that he had just died in a tragic sewing accident, and Ali Baba removed to the house of his deceased brother, because it was nicer than the place he had in the projects.
The captain of the troop of thieves decided that he had to find out who had blabbed to Cassim, since he knew well that Cassim was not smart enough to figure it out on his own, and disguising himself, went to the city early one morning, when, accosting the cobbler, he was told of the job he had, who for six pieces of gold, allowed himself to be blindfolded, and traced out the house of Cassim, which the robber marked with chalk, and talked at length about the overuse of commas, but basically sold Morgiana and Ali Baba out because he was still bitter about not getting a happy ending from Morgiana.
Buying nineteen mules and thirty-nine large jars, one full of oil, and the rest empty, the captain put a man into each jar (these were huge jars, not shrunken thieves, though that would have been interesting as well), properly armed, and then proceeded to the street where Ali Baba dwelt.
"Sir," said he, "I have brought this oil a great way to sell; as I am quite a stranger, will you let me put my mules into your courtyard, and direct me where I may lodge to-night?" Ali Baba welcomed the pretended oil merchant, offered him a bed in his own house, and invited his guest in to supper, because he was a sucker.
Morgiana, sitting up later that night than usual while surfing the internet, her lamp ran out of oil; she took her oil pot in her hand, and approaching the first jar, the robber within said: “Is it time, captain?” she replied, “No, not yet” (years of smoking had made her voice sound like a man’s); so she ran back to the kitchen, and brought out a large kettle (really large, in fact), which she filled with oil, set it on a great wood fire, and as soon as it boiled, she went and poured into the jars sufficient of the boiling oil to kill every man within.
Every man who apparently did not hear the screams of those killed before him, because these jars were pretty well soundproof, despite the breathing holes drilled into them. She boiled them all alive, one by one. Shoot, don’t even try to figure that one out. If Santa can get around the world in one night, this lady can silently pour boiling oil on 38 men and kill them within a matter of minutes.
Also, no fair pointing out that, since 39 jars were bought, and one filled with oil, this leaves one thief unaccounted for. If it really bothers you, then just run with the assumption that the leader of the troop really didn’t like him and put him in the jar full of oil.
The captain of the robbers arose to assemble his men. Coming to the first jar, he felt the steam of the boiled oil! He ran hastily to the rest, and found every one of his troop put to death, and looking like a large McNugget. Full of rage, he forced the lock of the door, and made his escape over the walls. Because he didn’t really want to use the door, he just wanted to break the lock on it. Going over the walls was better for his image, and helped him keep in shape.
Without letting any one into the secret, Ali Baba and Morgiana the next night buried the thirty-nine thieves at the bottom of the garden. The captain at length, however, determined to adopt a new scheme for the destruction of Ali Baba. He removed all the valuable merchandise from the cave to the city, and took a shop right across the street from Ali Baba’s house. Ali Baba’s son went every day to his shop, because the captain had decided to have video games in there.
The pretended Cogia Hassan soon appeared to be very fond of Ali Baba’s son, offered him many presents, and often detained him to dinner. He also introduced him to a game called “what’s in my pocket,” but that’s a story for a totally different type of audience.
Ali Baba thought it was necessary to make some return to these civilities, and he invited Cogia Hassan to supper; Morgiana carried in the first dish herself. The moment she looked at Cogia Hassan, she knew it was the pretended oil merchant. She sent the other slaves into the kitchen, and waited at table herself, hoping for a bigger tip for doing it without help; and while Cogia Hassan was drinking, she saw that it was a dagger in his pocket — he wasn’t just happy to see her.
She went away, and dressed herself in a G-string and a Hooters T-shirt. As soon as she appeared at the parlor door, her master ordered her to come in to entertain his guest with some of her best dancing. Morgiana danced several times before the assembled company, until, coming opposite Cogia Hassan, she drew a dagger from her girdle and plunged it into the robber’s heart. As a reward for her faithfulness, Ali Baba gave her in marriage to his son, and even bought her a Spearmint Rhino franchise of her own.
The moral of the story: If you’re going to steal from thieves, make sure your slave girl is a badass.
Oh my. Funny story about Beowulf…when I was in high school, just after I’d dropped from advanced classes to regular (I went for the easy A instead of the hard-earned B), my English class read Beowulf. It took us six months to get through it while the teacher tried to explain it. By the time we were done, I didn’t even know what it was about. We’d spent so long listening to the teacher discuss details that we lost sight of the big picture.
I don’t know that it qualifies as a short story (though public domain is indeed the case)…this one may be a long-term project! If I do it, it’ll be a chapter at a time.
I’ve been thinking of spoofing a classic short story just for fun (sort of like I spoofed The Bible not too long ago)…something in the public domain so that I don’t have to buy anything, or worry about getting sued. Nothing too long, of course.