I Pay Rapt Attention

A Few Brief Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by Zoelle on June 9, 2009

First week of work was tiring and I don’t have much to say about it except politics are stupid, but it’s nice to be in an office again. I do fear that I’ll spend the whole summer staring at spreadsheets, but I suppose that comes with the territory, working in a data department. I also made the tough decision to forego a potential freelance writing gig- much as I really wanted/needed the money, I’m spending so much time working and preparing to apply to the HBS 2+2 program (deadline is July 1!!) that I have little time for anything else, let alone the reading list for my senior thesis (which I’m absolutely itching to start) or my own writing, which is pretty much all I want to do these days.

It’s funny- immediately following my observation of graduation this year, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to pursue creative writing as a career. I’m a pretty social person, and writing is a pretty solitary endeavor, and, to be frank, I don’t like things that aren’t easy for me. Offices and corporate culture are easy. They have easily defined rules, which I happen to follow pretty adeptly, and that makes the lucrative sort of office jobs that offer the security I want quite appealing. So– business school it was, and forget all this stupid writing nonsense.

Except as soon as I made that decision, I got the itch to write again- worse than ever before. I know it’s something I’ll never lose, but now that it’s not an obligation, it’s become the only thing I want to do. I find myself scribbling on the bart, during my lunch break, while I’m cooking dinner. Perhaps it’s a symptom of having few people my own age around, but seriously? This is getting a little ridiculous.

Regardless. This was intended to be brief, so I’ll wrap up with something more humorous and less obsessively dissecting my continuous quarter-life crisis.

Here’s what stood out (good and bad) from the 8-hour long new employee orientation I suffered through today. Please note that since I worked here last summer and am an intern, I am neither new, nor really an employee, and so 99% of the information I either already knew or couldn’t apply to my own situation (or both.) Oh well.

  • “History doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes” — a loose paraphrase of a quotation paraphrased by the historian who came to speak to us. This strikes me as an interesting concept. I like it.
  • We should indulge in “healthy pleasures”– the first one listed was sensuality. Last year, Alison Janney flat out told us in a radio spot to make love often and well. This company is apparently very invested in my sex life. Interesting.
  • If you show up 4 hours late to a presentation you’re supposed to make, everyone will forgive you if you teach them how to salsa (and look damn good doing it…)
  • Aroma Cafe cookies make everything better. Even hours of monotony.

In other news, Trader Joe’s Nonfat Frozen Yogurt rocks. my. socks. Forget my diet- until this stupid application is in, it’s eating as much of that delicious actively-cultured heaven at night as I want. I promise I’ll try harder in July?

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Commencement, Cookies, and California

Posted in Uncategorized by Zoelle on May 22, 2009

Commencement

It’s that wonky time between the end of classes and senior graduation, and in true Yale fashion the theater community (ok, really the Dramat) puts up a musical in 10 days. And, in true -me- fashion, I’m acting as assistant props master while also working full-time at my term-time job. That means that I work from 9 to 5 and then come to the theatre and glue and tape and disaster manage until anywhere from 1-3 am. Except last night, when I stayed until 7 am. Not fun. It’s astonishing how protective one becomes of pairs of scissors when said scissors are the only thing allowing one to do one’s job. I legitimately found myself yelling “you mess with Matilda [the scissors] and you mess with me!!!” into an empty theater. Not pretty. The show this time is How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and it’s… interesting, if nothing else. It’s based on a real book of that title that really does purport to teach you how to climb the corporate ladder (fifties style, of course.) While there are some gems in the piece (ie the song “Coffee Break,” in which office rats essentially become deranged zombies upon discovering that there’s no coffee,) it’s definitely not my favorite musical. There’s a song called “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm.” Though to be fair that song eventually becomes more ironic and sad, it’s meant sincerely at first, and that’s… oy. Just oy.

Cookies

Yesterday was my last Hebrew lesson of the school year. Though I’m not religiously Jewish, I am technically speaking, and I’ve always wanted to learn the language (if only because I like languages and being in a Jewish a capella group [completely inexplicably] I got tired of having no clue what I was singing) Regardless, I found someone who eagerly -wanted- to sacrifice 1-1.5 hours a week to teach me the aleph bet– for free– and I’ve been going pretty regularly for a semester. I can read relatively fluidly at this point, though I still don’t know what anything means.

None of this is particularly interesting except in that my teacher’s going away present for the summer was a box of aleph bet cookies. Which was AWESOME. I don’t know if they taste any good yet, but I’ll report back as soon as I open them. Which will probably be tonight after the show, because personal considerations preclude me from having a good time at the cast party tonight, and more importantly, because I have no self control.

Speaking of, only in the last two weeks of being at Yale and living in a house with a friend rather than in a dorm have I discovered just how much I hate dorm living. Give me a kitchen or get me out, as it were. Oh well, only one more year…

California

I’m going back on Wednesday morning. I’ll be returning newly-single, frantic about my post-graduation career prospects (Yes, that is in a year, but I have to apply for things now. And take the required tests. Ew.) and hoping to do some real writing. We’ll see. I’m trying really hard not to place unrealistic expectations on myself this time– every summer I make a ridiculous list of things I want to accomplish, and they never ever ever happen, and for once I’d like to feel like I’ve done what I set out to do- which means making sure that I’m being realistic from the outset. So, in the interest of putting this out (semi) publicly so that I have some accountability besides the tadalist account I studiously ignore, here are my (super loose) goals for the summer:

1. Get started on my senior thesis reading. (This is totally reasonable because technically I already have started so hah. It’s also the greatest reading list EVER. Perhaps I will post it here later. SO. AWESOME. Experimental literature, I love you. You too, digital literature.)

2. Maintain my hebrew. (It’s not that many letters or words. I don’t know grammar. How hard could this possibly be?)

3. Finish some writing samples. (I just have to do this if I want to go to grad school. Which I guess I do?  And either way, I should be trying to publish, so there you go.)

4. Take the GRE. (Ew.) Maybe the GMAT (but EWWWWW)

5. Learn to cook. (THIS HAS TO HAPPEN. The end.)

We’ll see. Pretty reasonable. My less reasonable goals include swimming regularly (but that would require buying a new swimsuit, ew); remembering to put on sunscreen; being successful at a slam (but that would require me to write some new pieces and actually perform! Haha funny joke.) and trying to write a play. In collaboration. Oh, the funny funny jokes I make with myself.

Maybe I’ll even resurrect Post-it Poetry. I mean, what else am I going to do with myself at the office? My job? Psh.

Summertime, and the blogger is back…

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on May 10, 2009

I feel like this blog is a timeshare I only use during the summer.

Well, so much for updating this thing while I was away at  school. Apparently Yale is enough to distract me from my internet duties. That, or maybe the fact that my laptop has been broken since Thanksgiving. It’s a quick fix (I just need to buy and install a new monitor because my old one had an unfortunate encounter with the corner gmat study book after falling off my bed and thus looks a bit like two-dimensional broken glass) but I’ve been either broke or lazy for the last 6 months, so there you go.

Anyways, my last final was yesterday, I only have one paper left (for TV and Media theory, which should be fun rather than soul-sucking, even if it -is- 25 pages…) and from what I can tell, the sun is out for the first time in a week and it should be a beautiful day in New Haven.

Oh,  New Haven. How I love to rag on you most days… my usual deal with New Haven is that it’s only good for two things: Yale and eating. Fortunately for me, both of these things are pretty high up on my list of things to do, but still! Occasionally a girl wants to entertain herself with more than a lecture or a piece of (admittedly delicious) pizza. And the weather pretty uniformly sucks most of the time. Yet I’m having trouble with that argument right now, because I have to hand it to this place– when it’s not oppressively humid and the temperature is over 50 degrees and it’s not overcast, New Haven can be surprisingly attractive. With the sky no longer an eerie burnt orange color at night, and spontaneous rainstorms apparently on hold, the New Haven green with its trees and churches and colonial buildings is really pretty. My school has gothic architecture. I live in a bloody castle! How can I not feel some fondness towards this place when it’s sunny and I have no classes to murder my soul?

Regardless, I’m staying for commencement this year, which means I won’t be back in California until May 27. At that point I’ll be returning to my job from last summer- the pay was too good for a girl on financial aide to look elsewhere, if you catch my meaning.  Besides, my coworkers were/are good people, and working 9-5 in Oakland means that I’m close to SF or Berkeley when I get off, and I know I’ll have my evenings free. Who needs that 12 hour workday bullshit my i-banking intern friends are dealing with this summer? 1) Who would want to work in i-banking in this economy anyway and 2) I don’t care if you make $20,000 for the summer, it’s still a shitty per-hour because you’re working 100 hrs a week to get it.  I’d rather make half for only 40% of the hours and get to have a life of my own.

So. If anyone out there still reads this, I’m back, and will be serving up thoughts about food, books, and anything else I happen to fancy on a semi-regular basis starting soon.

Sunrise, Swimming, and Summer

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on August 12, 2008

Sunrise

Today in the elevator, a well-groomed woman of no more than 35 turned to me, having just barely squeezed between the closing doors, and said

“Everything works so much better early in the morning, don’t you think?”

Now this struck me as rather contrary to what I normally hear- the usual gripes about the pain and suffering of any time before 10 am (or noon, if it’s the weekend.) Nothing is open. The commute is crowded. Coffee is required before social norms are conceivable, let alone followed.

And while I like my sleep just as much as the next gal, after a second, I almost saw her point. While I couldn’t find a seat on the BART this morning, I didn’t find myself wedged inside the throng of questionably clean and always cranky people who swarm the train around 8:30 every day. By virtue of the early hour, the elevator was desolate and lonely (besides that resolutely cheerful woman) and so I didn’t have to stop on every floor. Note that there are 27 floors in my building, and you’ll understand why that’s exciting.

But those conveniences aren’t the only reasons that I’ve recently come to appreciate the morning a little more- there’s also the matter of sunrise. And breakfast.

For whatever reason, my mother (whose house I’m stuck in for only 3 more days…) has been forcing entry to my room every morning at 6 am for the last three weeks, and dragging me on pre-dawn hikes. And while this annoys me to no end (I have a 9 to 5! I’m tired!) and I’m mostly sleepwalking, by the end, the sun slides across the valley as we’re descending some suicidally sloped hill, and the dying grasses flush golden, hemmed in by dying wisps of fog. It is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, and I get to see it every day

Dawn is worth the pain.

Also, then I’m awake enough to make breakfast. I am a new convert to the cult of breakfast foods. All of my life, I’ve avoided eating prior to 11 am. My teeth were freshly brushed, I wasn’t hungry, it didn’t seem worth it. And yet I’ve always loved omelettes and scrambles and oatmeal and pancakes- I just ate them for lunch or yes, even dinner. There’s a reason Denny’s is so popular, people, and it isn’t just the milk shakes. But being awake so early works up an appetite, and so I’ve been enjoying that too. It’s been nice.

Swimming

When I find something I like, I tend to research it to death. This is just a sad fact of my life. It started with Jelly Fish when I was 10 (and yes, I can still tell you all about them. Seriously.) and has continued through everything from bathroom graffiti to egyptology. 

Well, I’ve got a new one. The Olympics has ruined my life. I spend hours online searching for swimmer bios, reading their blogs, trying to figure out how those crazy commentators can tell when a swimmer is “hurting” or when they have weak body position. I’m resisting the urge to do the same for diving. I now know all about Michael Phelps and his totally adorable bulldog Herman. Ryan Lochte? Check. You name one, I’ve probably read as much of their life story as is available. It’s pathetic. It’s nonsensical. It’s endlessly entertaining.

At least it’s not like I’ve got a thousand things to do.

…Oh wait.

Summer

It’s ending. This isn’t an acceptable turn of events.