b3ta.com user sar
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Oakland girl living in New Zealand and desperately missing dill pickles, Gatorade and Reeses peanut butter cups (Breakfast of Champions!).

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» I witnessed a crime

star wars and robbery
We live in Oakland, California, birthplace of not only MC Hammer and his giant pants, but the drive-by shooting as well. We live in the ghetto, where you know your drug dealers by sight. Still, our neighborhood is filled with families, we've got a kick-ass place and I've never felt nervous about living there.
I'd just come downstairs at the ungodly hour of 10.30 in the morning when, walking through to the kitchen I notice all the cabinet doors open, my purses on the floor and a faint but obvious state of dishevelment about the area. Being the smartie that I am, I phone up my boyfriend at work and ask him what he'd been looking for, why he didn't shut the doors and what he needed from my purse, to which he replied, “Err.... maybe I should come home.” It hadn't occurred to me that we'd actually been robbed. He comes back, looks around the house and we deduce that around $700 in cash has been stolen (we were collecting masses of US state quarters and had random emergency money) plus our PS 2, XBOX, GBAs, DS, PSP, oldschool Lynx... – have I mentioned he's a video game programmer? -- and all the games in the house, including his collection of every game he's done since his first for Lucas when he was 18 (Indiana Jones. woo.).
Mother pusbucket!
He goes back to work, I'm home for the police. I wait a surprisingly short time for one of Oakland's finest, who comes in and comments on the cool space (loft with a full-size trampoline). He takes my details and is basically a total robotic pro – until he turns around. “OH MY GOD!!”. He's seen the Star Wars wall: a 30ft by 7ft display case with -every- classic Star Wars figure, lego and playset you've ever drooled over, which my boyfriend's had since he was a kid. The cool demeanor is gone as the cop literally runs over to point and mumble to himself, '...HOTH ICE PLANET! mom never let me... LEGO MILLENIUM FALCON!! aw man!...'. After about 5, 6 minutes (which is a loooooong time when you're watching a policeman spazz out), I clear my throat and he pulls it together, suggesting we look at 'the criminal's point of entry'. We head downstairs – and he sees the Addams Family pinball machine. Cue another freakout, albeit on a much smaller scale. The doorbell rings: it's the fingerprint guy. The cops are talking technically until the fingerprinter turns around: “OH MY GOD!”. Other cop: “I KNOW!”. Then they BOTH run to the wall and giggle, eyes glazed over remembering the ecstasy that was the original trilogy.
As to the crime itself, apparently it was kids; they'd robbed a place next door as well. The creepy part of it is they were there when I was upstairs asleep. Naked. We guess they made their way up, saw someone was home and ran, since nothing upstairs was touched. Funny thing is, the cops couldn't for the life of them figure why they only took money and machines when they had all of the Star Wars universe at their feet. Kids today, huh?
(Wed 20th Feb 2008, 4:50, More)

» Have you ever seen a dead body?

an occupational hazard
Being an actress, I have more than my share of gay friends, which means I have way more than my share of friends dead from AIDS. Bob was gorgeous, funny and a flailing, almost-bad dancer. He and I giggled our way through many rehearsals, secure in the knowledge that as the leads we could get away with our silly behavior. Make-up artists for Christian Dior, he and his boyfriend Glenn were among my most favorite people.
I had been on the road for 9 months playing Juliet across the US. I came home for a weekend by chance, and no sooner had I walked into my mommy's house the phone rang: it was Glenn, telling me Bob had AIDS, he didn't have long and he wanted to see me.
No one knew I was coming home - I hadn't seen Bob and Glenn in a few years - but somehow the Gods arranged for our schedules to converge. I drove to his place immediately. Bob was in a hospital bed in the living room, emaciated, covered in kaposi's sarcoma lesions, but his eyes were the same as when we giggled and danced those few years ago. I hadn't been there long when he began coughing up blood and with it, lung matter. I held him up in my arms, trying to clear the crap from his tongue, his mouth, his throat, in the process getting the gruesome stuff on my hands and arms. In a few minutes it was over, and when he was calmer and we were cleaning him up, I said, "Wow Bob, you sure know how to make a girl feel needed". After that we joked and laughed and gossiped, and mostly just looked into each other's eyes and knew we loved each other. I stayed there for a month, helping care for him. One day I was helping the home help raise him for a sponge bath, and with his arms around me I said, "Oh Bob, I've always dreamed of being in your arms!" his eyes, inches from mine, glittered and glowed as he whispered, "Don't tell Glenn!" and we laughed. Apparently it was the last time. I went home for the night, until the hysterical call from Glenn: Bob was gone. The night I left, Bob told Glenn he wanted to go home, to the green fields. So he did.
When I came into the apartment, he was laying there as always, but at the same time he wasn't there at all. It was as if he was a table, a box; a piece of incidental furniture, nothing at all. I looked at him and kissed his face, his hands, his hair. But he was gone - all that he was, was gone. Less than 1 month later I eulogized him in front of 2000 people. 1 month after that, Patrick, Steven and Justin were dead. 2 months later Tony, David and Carl were dead. and Ted. and Christian. and Miles. and Steve. and Ricky. And 4 months later Glenn went to join Bob in the green fields.
I had a dear friend who asked me how I could have stayed so long in "a death house" (as she called it), how I could've been bathed in lung matter and blood without fear for my own safety, how I didn't go crazy tending Bob, Carl, Miles, Tony, David, Glenn... all of them. I just shook my head; when you love someone, you'll do anything for them, and I loved them all.
(Fri 29th Feb 2008, 1:47, More)

» Customers from Hell

ah retail
i have fond memories of my time in retail. the days at victoria's secret dealing with the transvestites-in-hiding, asked daily to 'try this on you're the same size as my girlfriend', the packs of shoplifting moms looking for classy things 'like at frederick's of hollywood (tip to out-of-americaners: if you're looking for a subtle and seductive wedding night look, i've found the men's parrot beak cleverly placed over the man-u-lar unit to be simple but oh so sexy. fact).'

yes, fond memories all. but mostly bad ones. crate&barrel, which is really an excellent place to work with fab products, inspired a lot of copycat 'home stores' -- eddie bauer home, banana republic home, macy's home ---
crap situation #1: doing wedding registry (the task of walking round a store while the bride points at every. single. thing. and says 'I WANT THAT TOO'), while the bride fumes and storms away because 'even that shopgirl's ring is bigger than mine'.
crap situation #2:the horrid stereotypical Jewish ladies whose every ism was convincing proof that Hitler had worked in retail at some point early on. and of course the general jerks and dicks and weiners in the world being jerks and dicks and weiners. but i digress.
this story is one for the struggling sad wage earners just trying to hold down a job before they grow up. and here it is: i had had many department manager positions at C&B - and i knew my shit. want to know all there is to know about fine german knives? i'm your girl. temperature at which copper cookware is more effective? yep, me too. so: one day a woman (fake nails, bleached to the point of death blonde hair, and her bitch face on just for me - brought to me a platter and demanded to return it. we had a very liberal return policy so no problem, but i couldn't return it for her. she of course immediately throws a fit in front of many people, more gathering to watch, hoping to rubberneck a gruesome accident. i said it was simply that the product wasn't ours. WHAT? SCREECH? BITCH? WHATDOYOUMEANIT'SNOTYOURSOFCOURSEIT'SYOURYOUBITCHHOWCANYOUBESOSTUBESOSTUPPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

me: 'well ma'am this is stoneware which doesn't retain color as well as earthenware,the normal medium for this kind of platter. since the colors are vibrant they've been paiinted on instead of added during the firing period. our porcelain comes from portugal or spain, while this says 'bangladesh' on the signature beneath the paint, and as you can see, there is nothing else like it in our store - we normally sell these items in groups, so your platter s will match, etc -- and a quick look through the catalogs will show you we haven't carried anything like this in at least a year. she" 'IKNOW I BOUGHT IT HERE YOU J UST THINK I'M STUPID! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHERE IT COMES FROM??'
me: 'well, ma'am, for all the reasons i've just outlined, and because it says 'banana republic' on the back.
sweet sweet justice.
(Sun 7th Sep 2008, 7:51, More)

» Shit Stories: Part Number Two

soylent green is poopy!
Lo these many years ago, it is round about the end of the seventies, early eighties, and we are Small. My brother Mike and I are each minding our own business - most likely playing 'guys' (which any self-respecting kid knows is what 'action figures' are really called) or searching tv channels in the hope of finding a rerun of a rerun of a rerun (etc) of 'star trek' we haven't seen before - to this day the episode with evil spock (aka goatee-ed spock) eludes me. and yes, mine has been a tortured existence because of this, thanks for asking.
-- After a while it becomes apparent to us both that our elder brother Tim was no where to be found. 'Strange', think we, but not strange enough actually to look for him, which is fine in the end, because he found us.

"Hey you two, I have something to show you."

These are words to make any younger sibling tremble. A previous uttering of those same words found him, in a display of agility I'm sure was breathtaking to behold, holding us each down in such a way that I was forced to kiss Mike's buttcheeks, and Mike was forced to let me.
-- With that assault fresh in our minds, we were suitably frightened at what might befall us, yet incapable of resisting the lure of his siren call. Soon where he had been became all too obvious, as I'm sure dear reader, you've guessed.
-- Into the tiny powder room (fancy!) we went, and with a flourish that would've made the finest conjurer envious, he raised the lid of the toilet to show us his latest creation.
-- It was a sight to be reckoned with: form, figure, length, girth - it had all of these. It was an awe-inspiring poop. And it was green. -- not the green you'd expect from a fetid rotting colon, no. It was the green that makes the Irish pine for the home country. The green of childhood memory, of perfect spring days, of family and home. It was not merely green, but GREEN.
-- It seems dear Tim, as a good boy scout, had conceived of a fiendish plan and spent many days in carrying it out: he had been ingesting massive quantities of green food coloring: with every meal, with every snack; he even drank it straight.
-- I reminded him of this this past St. Patrick's Day, and though he's a big shot on the New York stage, he admitted he's had few prouder moments than what he created then, and the effect it had on us, his first audience.
(Sat 29th Mar 2008, 8:48, More)

» Phobias

heights, satan, plants and grocery store aisles
I'm afraid of heights. I think that's why I'm a shorty: if I were tall I'd be too scared to stand up. This is a benevolent fear. BUT...

... I have had dreams of epic battles with Satan since I was a child - little me battling futilely against all his malevolent force - and in real life his face would reach out of dishes, plants, my own face in the mirror, laughing at me and taunting me with my inability to defeat him. This had been my life until a few years ago when, hospitalized with severe depression, the doctors recognized schizophrenia when they saw it. Since being heavily medicated I rarely see Old Nick's face leering at me, thank christ, but I have developed many weird phobias:

1: walking down an already occupied aisle in a store. I will weave an endless trail for as long as it takes to find an empty aisle.
2: sitting next to anyone other than close friends. I will cower and shake if I am forced near a stranger. Crowded movies are especial nightmares.
3: answering or using the phone. My friends know that I will not pick up, listen to messages or call them no matter what. These things are done by intermediaries. My friends are very patient (obviously).
4: answer the door. I hide at the sound of knocking.
5: I have a documented fear of a certain town in the San Francisco Bay Area. I can't go near it without hysterically crying, hyperventilating, the works.
6: being with and talking to people makes me cower next to my mom, head down, eyes averted, silent.

Strangely enough, throughout all of this I have not lost my ability to perform on stage. Singing, acting in front of hundreds of people is easy for me. It's real life I have a problem with.

We moved to New Zealand not just for adventure and to escape King Bush the 2nd's reign of terror, but also to be somewhere I was not known as a patient, a mental case, less than I was before. While I'm still medicated (don't worry!) and struggling through my stuff, at least I know that others see me with an eye uncluttered by comparisons with how I used to be but see me as how I am. Somehow that's helping me look at myself that way too - even if just a little bit.

edited to add: sorry if it sounds cheesy :D
(Tue 15th Apr 2008, 2:03, More)
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