Sunday, June 29, 2008

a little disturbing, no?

I'm at O'Hare, sitting amidst a sea of Germans waiting for their Lufthansa flight and my plane just landed at the adjacent gate. The pilot came off with his bag, totally stickered-up with silly things. The scary one was: Club Parrot Head. You know this guy is a total pot-head... it's frightening to know that he's allowed to fly planes.

okc is not ok

We're stuck here at the airport... ground stop in Chicago due to some storm. I swear, the Universe is really against me. It really is. I'm changing my name to "Charlie" as in Brown.

my new diet (with photos)

So, on this "tour" it's been mostly fast food. Originally I was all excited about being able to stop and buy my own food -- not just be relegated to eating from catering, or pizzas on the bus. I really thought I was going to eat two bag salads a day. Bahaha. This is more representative of what's been going on:
BEFORE

AFTER
To be fair, this is food for two people and Krystal Burgers are tiny (if you didn't know that already). Still, 5 burgers is a bit of pig-fest. My ass is so big I should get a prize (aside from new fat pants)!

happy trails to you....

Um. Flight delayed. Two hours. No explanation. Feh.

I'm sitting in the airport lounge and this woman brought her kids in to hang out. I'm about ready to strangle her... she's completely oblivious to their behavior and they're literally screeching. It's just about getting on my last nerve.

Urgh.

misery loves

In Oklahoma City today. We weren't sure that the show was really going to happen last night seeing as there was no backline at 6pm when the doors were supposed to open... I don't think they'd let Aly &AJ perform without their backing band -- it's probably not Disney approved. Oh well, the show did happen, albeit a little late, which just means that Jon and I got back to our hotels for a much needed sleep at 11pm. Le sigh.

I've got to pack up and get to the airport because today we fly to... Buffalo! I should've gotten Jon up and out early and taken the 12:15 flight, but I'm that tired and so unmotivated. We have a 3 hour layover at O'Hare so maybe I'll take that time to update my blog instead of working on my expense report. Yeah, I think that's a good plan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

mii + wii

There is an upside to this tour. Yes, I'm hugging my wii... I'm going to be a rare sight once I get home and get this puppy hooked up. I'm so excited. After my crappy day yesterday, I really needed this.

Another funny thing happened... I bought this really cheap throw at Walmart (which killed me at the time, and this story proves you should never shop there anyway) because Jon keeps the truck somewhere near Arctic temperatures when he's driving. Anyhow, it's not fair to ask him to turn the a/c off just to accommodate me when it's easy enough for me to cover up, right? The truck was disgusting when I picked it up and it's just gotten dirtier as we've gone along. Today is my laundry day so I thought it would be a good idea to wash the blankie.

OK, the tag says it's something like 40% rayon and 50% nylon but to hand wash and drip dry. Whatev. Synthetic fabric on cold wash and medium dry (I don't care if it shrinks, right?) no bother. Um. When the wash was finished (even after a 2nd rinse cycle... I know, I know, not good for the environment... nor was the detergent I used) I go to throw it all in the dryer and there's fluff on everything. The blanket was disintegrating in the wash so what do I do? Throw it in the dryer and put the clothes through yet another rinse and spin cycle...

Blankie done drying, open dryer (it's a stacked wash/dry so it was on top) and all I see is that the lint screen is overflowing. I don't see any blanket. I thought the whole thing had come apart, alas it was in the back, albeit deflated and puny and all the lint was up front. As I grab the first bulging handful, poof it all blows into my face, so naturally I throw the handful up to try to clear the fuzz from my face. D'oh! The clothes? Still fuzz covered. I hope the fluff cycle gets most of the fuzz off them... bahaha, laundry drama.

Just goes to show that lower prices might lead to a funny laundry story, but since I'm going to throw this blanket away in Buffalo they don't necessarily equal value.

Today's words: Georgia slips from my mind easily

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a conundrum?

Not really, but here's the thing. I'm miserable. I need this job, but I feel like my boss hates my guts. Do I stay or do I go? I stay because I don't want to go. I have a lot of sympathy for this woman, but it's really hard to like her when she's not helpful. I keep getting feedback through third and fourth parties and I'm miserable about it. I was at her house for three days a week and a half ago and I was subjected to her moaning about everything everyone does that's wrong and makes her life more miserable. I'll tell you what, it put the fear in me. I don't want to mess up and yet I have been... it's inevitable. It just sucks that I make an error and instead of helping me correct it, it's taken as a personal affront which then results in an angry, personal email.

Today was epic. It's like I can't cease to disappoint. When did it start... hmmm. Well, we did a physical inventory and our counts were off -- in the end we were OVER in total by quite a bit (boxed dozens being off... some short, some quite over), but that's all good. I was told that I wasn't labeling the bloody worksheet correctly... so that had to be corrected. THEN I was told by Jon that the Boss had called another person and he in turn called Jon to ask if I was "getting" the workbook. Um, no. I'm not. I mean I am, but it's niggling and fussy and some things don't work as intuitively as you'd expect. Part of this is that I was given a bunk workbook in the beginning = much frustration and more fear that I'll be drawn and quartered for adding columns to the pages which only had one column to begin with. Well... had I been sent the correct workbook in the beginning and a full product list, this problem could've been avoided. I know I can't even address this with the Boss because it'll put her out and I'll get another snarky email. Feh. So I have to take the third and fourth party inquiries knowing that the original message was, "what the hell is wrong with this girl? Is she a complete idiot? Was I an idiot for thinking she could handle this???" Great. I try to be like a duck, but it's hard. I don't belittle other people -- and when I do it to let off steam I go back and apologize because it's the right thing to do. I know I'll never get an apology. Do I care? Yeah, I do a little bit... but I also know she's incredibly stressed out. I just hope it doesn't get held against me... but I know it will be.

The next major issue is that I couldn't get in touch with a venue. She fixed that before I had a chance to. Great. Another strike against me and the count is in the dozens now.

The last straw was this Buffalo thing. Apparently I have to stop and pick up stuff in Buffalo. Good thing this came up because I had no idea... it was brought up innocently enough and I had a back-and-forth chat about it with Boss #2. It got back to the Boss. She sent a very snarky, not nice email essentially asking why I thought I was doing her job... and I'm not. I know she was blowing off steam, but steam burns, too. Feh. I'm trying to get over it because it's simply not worth being miserable, but I'm now counting down the days until I get home.

I also had to buy a new power adapter for my computer because the guy in Valdosta dropped mine and it doesn't work anymore. Grrrr. The block for my printer adapter is also jacked-up but that has to be ordered direct from Canon and I won't get one in time... I just have to pray that it doesn't fall apart, but in the meantime it also means printing out blank settlements just in case. Fabulous. I'll get yelled at for having hand-written settlements but I honestly cannot afford to plonk down $250 on a new printer right now... not out of pocket, not on principle.

OK. Tomorrow I have to mail stuff.

Words: Efficiency is not the way forward

Monday, June 23, 2008

welco me miss ga fore stry

For you non-believers:And quite possibly the most grim Waffle House ever:

atlanta... it's hot

Jon and I got to Atlanta yesterday afternoon... we're staying just outside the perimeter which is fine... I plan on staying inside the hotel for our three days off. We 'splurged' and got rooms at a long-term suite-type hotel, so we could cook for ourselves and live on the cheap for our three days off. This tour is killing me. Seriously. Between the long drives, having to learn a new way of accounting (i.e. THE WORKBOOK per show as opposed to my workbook with sheets/show) on the fly and just dealing, I'm so done right now. It usually takes me about a month before I have a break-down on the road and have a cathartic cry, but with these swag tours -- particularly the last two, it's a matter of days before I have my first cry. I've been fighting back the tears for days now, but this might be my day to have a good one.

I told myself what, two or three years ago that I'd never do a tour which involved me driving -- that I'd only do bus tours, but I was so desperate for work that I took this one. I was supposed to be the assistant originally, which meant that I could learn how to use the workbook, but wouldn't be responsible for the money, and even though I knew it was a self-drive tour I was willing to do it to learn how to get on this company's system... then the person I was assisting fell off the tour and I was bumped up. I'm not an idiot. I thought I understood how the workbook worked, but there are subtle nuances to it that I didn't even know I needed to ask about, so I'm struggling with it. Jon is supposed to sit down with me today and sort it all out, but I'm so tired. I don't know that I'll absorb much. And I hate feeling like a fuck-up. I really, really do. I'm not dumb, I'm completely capable and right now I feel like an idiot.

What further deflates my mood is that I don't have any other work lined up for the rest of the year... temping is an option if I can find a temp job, but my outlook is bleak. I doubt this merch company is going to put me on any other tours since I'm not getting feedback (not positive anyhow, just negative filtered through two or three other people). I'm trying to set positive intentions (hello, yoga) but I feel like I'm in a hole that I just can't or don't want to pull myself out of. Le sigh. Maybe once I'm home and able to get some regular exercise and healthy food, my mood will improve. One can hope.

Today's words: Lack of sleep breeds depressed state

Thursday, June 19, 2008

graceland to the alamo and all points in between


What a long drive it was from Michigan to San Antonio. Seriously. By the end of our days' drive I was pretty much ready to punch Mr. Jon. I know I have a long list of my own idiosyncrasies but still. Still. GRRRR. ARGH. That being said, we had a pleasant evening in Mount Vernon where Jon regaled me with a funny story from his last time in Denver where he lost himself across the street from his hotel. We've all done it on the road... it just happens. You don't even have to be chemically altered but when all hotels look the same, it's easy to get confused from one city to the next.

We only managed to miss one exit -- near Little Rock. Looking back on it, it's quite funny, actually. I was driving and asked Jon if we needed the circular... the 430 or something and he was like, "no" so I kept driving. After a good 20 minutes when it was clear we were off track, I asked him to check the map. Not a big deal... it was pretty funny. He, on the other hand, gets easily flustered when he's driving. Case in point: yesterday, Alamo, parking. We missed our turn-in to a parking lot because apparently I was supposed to be advising him... one simple detail overlooked: I wasn't told that I was to be looking for a parking lot entrance. D'oh! This after telling him we'd have no problems finding parking near the actual Alamo because there are plenty of tour busses parking up near there while he was trying to park near the Market... but whatever. I'm a girl, he's a guy... Venus/Mars, right?

To be fair, when we got stuck in a torrential downpour (seriously, semis were pulling over to the side of the road), Jon pushed on -- he found a semi with hazards on that he could see so we tail-gated him for 45 minutes going 30 mph through eastern Texas. I was seriously having a coronary, but he kept calm and got us through it.

I know he means well, but sometimes he's a bit patronizing. I keep saying to him, "I know you're thinking out loud when you're telling me what I need to be doing... you're not just telling me how to do my job, right?" But sometimes it's hard to tell. He's not lacking social skills necessarily, just the ability to monitor the tone of his voice so that it doesn't sound like he's shouting directions all the time. Le sigh. It's just hard work for me to not get wound up by it... because I know he doesn't mean anything by it but when I'm tired, it's difficult to remember that his intention doesn't match his tone... 9 more days, 9 more days.

So anyhoodle, Graceland. I was mildly disappointed by the mere fact that it's not as tacky as I expected. Sure there are white monkeys and skulls all over, but I was expecting full-on shag carpeting and gold. There was shag -- but it was pretty tame... and the gold accents were almost tasteful (as tasteful as possible in the 70's). The costumes didn't disappoint, though... what was surprising was how small Elvis was. He was just a wee man -- even in the "fat" years. Here's a monkey. I totally wanted to touch it, alas, it's all behind a velvet rope:And the Alamo? Points lost on lack of tacky, too. It was 104 in San Antonio yesterday... I honestly don't know how people live here. We have our show today and then a horrible drive (860 miles) to Bessemer, AL where we have to vend, under a tent, in the hot after our 13-hour drive... THEN we drive another 5 hours to Valdosta, GA (it's pretty much Florida) for our last in a three-show run which dumps us in Atlanta for four very hard-earned days off. I'm planning on hitting up the Coke museum finally. They better have snowglobes.

I'll tell you what... I miss 4-star touring doing Production and/or Wardrobe... next year better prove fruitful in that department or I might have to rethink my career path.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

you are getting very sleepy

OK, I'm getting very sleepy. Jon and I just rolled into Mount Vernon, IL. I'm going to see what the pool is like and then probably go to bed. It's been a long, long day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

and... omg...

Tim Russert died today. I'm sad.

second show = no show

What a long day St. Louis was. After the show in Sioux Falls... after settling... at 2am I couldn't get a taxi back downtown to my hotel to grab my bag and 40 winks before my 6am flight. Sioux Falls lost it's luster. I actually begged a stranger to drive me to my room -- I was going to pay this guy $20 to drop me 2 miles away, but he was dead set on going to the "bar" and couldn't oblige. The two taxis in town were otherwise occupied and I crouched on the curb, crying to my best friend about how miserably tired I was when a kind woman took pity on me and made her daughter drive me to my room. Ah, good feelings restored.

The upside to being so tired was that I didn't care whether or not the plane crashed... it didn't, if you haven't figured that out yet. We had a smooth ride into Chicago; my transfer was speedy... the landing in St. Louis was a little bumpy but otherwise OK. When I found out that a cab was going to cost $100 each way to the gig, in my hazy state I had the presence of mind to rent a car (which turned out to be a boon in my favor!) and drove (on less than 2 hours of sleep) to Eureka! (A side note: Eureka! should always have an exclamation point after... it just seems the right thing to do).

Yadda, yadda, yadda. Along the way I got a frantic phone call from the venue -- they decided to count-in without me and start selling early. Yay? Yay! It meant I didn't need to return until the settlement because our numbers matched and I was on my way to a hotel and a bed and sleep. Or so I thought. Because I didn't do my homework the night before (I could've stayed a mere 20 meters from where I was vending had I mapquested the venue) I decided to stay within walking distance from the park. What I didn't realize is that check-in is later and check-out is earlier at these places. So... I get to the hotel at 12:30 and check-in is at 4pm. No, ma'am, there aren't ANY rooms clean yet... we were sold out last night... yeah. um. I went to the mall. The mall I passed half-way between the park and the airport. 20 minutes back the other way. Le sigh. It was an OK way to waste time -- they did have an Apple store afterall and by the time it was time to check-in I had managed to feed myself and pick up a cute pair of earrings. Driving back to the hotel at 3:30 was the happiest ride ever -- I knew a bed was within my sights, and then the call came. The show, didn't I know, had been canceled. The band is stuck in Chicago... blahblahblah. Chicago?? I was like, "keep selling -- maybe they'll drive down." But they didn't and the park pulled the stuff so I had to go settle.

That was St. Louis. Typical. I think it's me. I think I'm cursed.

Jersey was good -- I finally saw The Shore. It's lovely -- Cape May is like a movie set. I'd love to go stay there and just spend some lazy days... one of these days I must do exactly that. I wish I had a big group of girlfriends who could take a couple of weeks off life and do just that, but my friends are all so varied - I don't know if it would be too much drama. Hmmm. I'll have to think about this more when I'm more awake and can plan.

I took no photos in Jersey. Yeah, I suck.

I'm now in Saginaw, Michigan... the arrival was something out of a B-movie. The colors of the airport are very 1974 -- very reminiscent of my childhood, but the thing is, I think that perhaps the airport was probably way ahead of it's time as all the fittings looked like they were from the early '60's. I stepped outside to find the "taxi stand" and there were no taxis. There was a kind older gentleman with a "taxi service" who was waiting for his fare, his fare who ditched him, so he agreed to drive me into town to pick up my rental. We got lost. Three times. Eh, he was a sweet man... but when I found him, he was standing on the curb talking to a policeman about his military days and San Antone and the most retro of Muzak soundtracks was trickling through the tannoy system. It was so odd. So, so strange.

Everyone here is incredibly nice... it's very much mid-western. I learned that Saginaw was a major automobile manufacturing town in the day and it's been depressed for a few while... still, they have a Qdoba so I'm a happy camper. Jon, my partner on this tour, is arriving shortly (fingers crossed). I'm going to check on my laundry and then drive my little big truck to the International Airport to collect Mr. Jon. God help us all.

Friday, June 6, 2008

oh no they di'int

So... I'm trying to hit the sack early (yeah, quarter to 9pm) and this shit goes rolling by:

video

If I weren't so amused, I'd be seriously pissed off. I totally don't get it -- but do you see the BBQ place over there? In the brick building? Yeah, I found it after I ate at the diner... I've already got it penned into my schedule for tomorrow. Hells yeah!

I must say that I wish I had brought my own shampoo and conditioner. I usually don't, but I typically get to stay in nice hotels and they usually have nice product. I'm doing drive-by check-ins on this tour and I chanced it... it's combo "conditioning shampoo" tonight. Urgh. I hate this kind of stuff because it's a lie... there's no "conditioning" in there.

Today's words: Flying frightening, sleep impossibility, humidity high*

*higher than in the 5280 anyhow. I was sweating just walking around and it's only 75 here... maybe menopause is visiting early?

so far... sioux good

Cheesy, I know. You'd think I'd have picked that up off a t-shirt or a shot glass or something, but the puns just come to me. It's a kind of gift.

So the flight to Sioux Falls wasn't so bad... until the landing. Again. It was really windy; I was in the last row (alone, thankfully... but the arm rests didn't lift) with the flight attendants. Even they made a comment about how "rough" the landing was. Bastards.

I'm alive and already I've ditched the healthy eating plan. First stop: diner. I had a "rachel" ruben -- the "healthier" alternative, but when you're eating diner food (at one of those reproduction railcar diners) it doesn't matter how healthy you try, you're jamming crap in your gob. I skipped dessert, that is, until I found a dollar store (for packing tape, I swear!) and they had Little Debbie treats. You know what I'm talking about... 35¢ crap sweets (I went for a Zebra cake and an oatmeal creme pie). I hate myself right now because I ate both of them due to the frustration of trying to connect to the "free wifi" in my room. On the upside, the other bands are here, so I didn't miss the show.

I promised to stop by the gig tonight but honestly? I'm shit-tired. All that stressing out about the flight really wiped me out. I'm going to bed now... yeah, before the sun has even set. I'll tell you what, South Dakota is on a whole other schedule -- there's clearly no rush to anything here. Weird.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

completely freaking out

About flying. It's going to be alright... just a short flight, but when Weather.com says there's going to be "wind" at the other end, I'm a little nervous -- particularly after my scary flight last week. Le sigh.

Today's words: panic packing, super slacking, skipping napping

reverse-psychology spam?

OK, the last two days I've been getting spam titled, "You look terrible amtours in this video" -- I know what they're doing... they're trying to get me to click-through and see what video of me is posted on the internet and how I look so terrible. I kind of like this new type of marketing; I mean, I don't need "more inches" or to "satisfy her longer" or any of that, but I might need to know how horrible I look on video.

Thank you. You are brilliant.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

did she or didn't she?

Is Hillary conceding? There are conflicting reports... I still think an Obama/Clinton ticket would rock, but it's not going to happen. Who will Obama pick? Hmm? Edwards possibly? It's finally getting interesting, people! If Hil drops out, they can finally start focusing on the issues and put McCain to bed.* Yay!

*although to be honest, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the yokels in my country put McCain in office. I don't know what I'll do if that happens... who would take me under political asylum? I hear Canada is turning Yanks away now... would France have me?

no sex in the city

No words for yesterday... it was too darn hot.

I went to see SitC last night with some awesome women (we get mega props because we weren't a group of dressed-up zombie sorority sisters with the same hair cut and designer handbags -- like so many of the girls in attendance) and I laughed... I cried. There were poo jokes and beautiful shoes (the kind meant to be seen, not worn). Don't judge me internets. I enjoyed the movie.

What I didn't enjoy was the lack of a/c in the theater. Isn't that the rule? That movie theaters are to run somewhere sub-zero for summertime relief? Yeah, I thought that I hit menopause somewhere after the opening credits -- the steady sweat drip from my scalp in conjunction with that horrible ass-sweat you get when you're just too hot made for an unpleasant viewing experience. What's up with that? When you pay $10 for a ticket, you should get sufficient cooling. I'm just sayin.

Today? My last day with the jail girls for a while... one of my favorites is being sprung by the time I return. I'd like to take her a gift, but I really just can't be bothered. It's too hot to shop!

I'm also spending longer periods of time panicking over my upcoming flights. The panic has bled into my tidy-time, so my house is wrecked... this just means that Thursday is going to be spent in a frenzy of packing and cleaning and I'm sure I'll forget to bring panties again. Or something equally important.

Today's words: thunderheads coming to town, doo-dah, doo-dah.

Monday, June 2, 2008

jazz in the park, yo

I went to my first J-i-t-P last night -- we didn't sit terribly close to the bandstand, which made it perfect -- the music was just in the background so conversations weren't screaming matches. Leah sent out a general invite last week and even though I had to force myself out the door, I really had a great time. The Yacobuccis were there, too -- with dogs and volleyball, but I didn't see them until the concert was over.

I actually rode my bike all the way to City Park for the show... by the time I reached Downtown (the half-way point), I was already winded and fraught over how I was going to manage the ride back home (uphill). I coped by drinking wine. I'm a lightweight, see, so a couple of glasses of riesling and I was quite jolly and actually looking forward to my ride home. Luckily Anne Marie and Aron just got a kitten, so I stopped at their place to meet Molly and Aron donned his chef's hat and made a ratatouille and tilapia dish which sated my craving for FOOD. I was going to backtrack from their place to Chubby's but I was sufficiently full and just hopped on my bike and made my merry way back to Edward Scissorhandsland.

It's so hot outside. I've been spending the morning trying to find a Sprinter to rent in Michigan to no avail. I'm already dreading this tour... urgh. Flights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mean I'm completely on edge -- I'm off to the pool to try and achieve a zen state -- even if it's only for 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

still too sleepy to update

...with stories of Maine exploits. In the meantime, physical proof that I actually DID go:

video

I have a funny nightmare of a plane ride tale... but that'll have to wait for another day.

Today's words: Jazz in the park commences today.

order now!

I think I'm a little in love with Core Rhythms. The infomercial is just so *sparkly*!