Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Boat Follows to NYC

Short tangent:

Today I helped my current roommate, who is a fashion designer (not obvious), with her photo shoot. Everyone there is very blase and over the whole thing. No one really wants to talk about how gorgeous the 19 (18?) year old Polish model is, or how strange that her job is actually kinda hard and seems totally boring but she is really good at it. Or how she looks like a terrifying and sick person in front of you, but is gorgeous in every photo. Or how the photos make her look like she has secrets and elegance and perfection, and the actual person made you think "are you bored?" and "do you wish more people talked to you?" and "are your feet bothering you?" She did very serious model poses and did not laugh and looked gorgeous. Like she pouted her lips and stood like Audrey Hepburn and stared into the distance. Also, I saw her underwear and nipples through her shirt. When she smiled for real, she looked kinda weird and like she was 9. A 50-ish older man met her and said "you should go to Paris. Go to Paris for the shows. Are you going to to go Paris?" immediately after she basically whispered that her name was Irina. That was a totally confusing morning. Maybe modeling plays perfectly into the character of an eastern european? I could never ever do that job. Which means part of me somewhere thought "I think I could be a model if I were ever really REALLY broke" which is insane.

I bring this up, because it is here that I met the hair and makeup woman, a fun, punk rock lady from Long Island named Teena. She wore silver Doc Martens and had fun tri-color hairdresser hair. People ask me where I'm from and I say "well, LA kinda" then explain the ship and the flapping around all over the place. People have various reactions, I did not expect her to get hugely excited and say "well, I'm part of the Cary Grant Fan Club." She took a 3 day cruise from Long Beach to Encenada on Royal Caribbean. This is usually a bachelorette/drinking run, but she didn't see any of that because she was "just with [her] fan club." 30 people, cruising together, and celebrating Cary Grant. I discovered he has 72 films (she has seen 71) and he was known for cruising on the Queen Mary. To the point that Teena spent a night on the Queen Mary in Long Beach and took a picture with the cut out of Cary Grant.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Steve Carell? Okay.

In case you were wondering, Steve Carell now knows Second City is on 7 boats all over the world. He knows this because I told him. 

Right afterwards, I went to my room to calm down so I could pretend I don't care. I saw myself in the mirror and realized I looked like a drag queen librarian.

I went to our college improv group's reunion. I walked in, hugged some buddies, and sat down to watch the current group and a cronie said "Steve Carell's to your right." And I said, "yeah, yeah, hahaha." He is an alum of Denison University, which is a teeny school in the middle of Ohio. And he was a member of Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Company, our improv group that was like all of our religion, if we were honest. And before the reunion, we all said "Steve Carell's going to be there, yeah, yeah, hahaha." AND THEN HE WAS.

He and his wife came and his agent made sure he could just be part of the group. He was the oldest alum, but some of his buddies were there. And since we were college+11 years, we had more in common with the people in their 40's. For this reason, I found myself sitting next to Steve Carell and his wife, Nancy Walls and talking to them about Second City and working on the cruiseships. And they were fascinated. 

They were not fascinated. But we had a topic of small talk. I wanted to tell him all of my fears and aspirations and failures and successes. This is insane, so I didn't, and I bet it happens to him a great deal. wierrrd.

Monday, March 30, 2009


The fact is, there are people who experience the miracle of birth, hold a tiny innocent newborn in their arms and say “let’s call him Igor.” There is an Igor who is the band master—he is a fratty, friendly looking guy from Ukraine. There is also a Croatian Igor who is 6’5” and looks just like my friend’s husband. So much like him that he gave her a pair of blue coveralls to give to her husband. Then I talked to him for a very long time and got the lowdown on hilarious items. Like working on a cargo ship (horrible. Igor “has 3 years. I dropped 20 kilos. I carry a picture of me from then, so when I want to complain, I look at that picture.”) and why you can’t work on cargo ships for too long (“you go crazy or you start to drink. Every one says ‘I’m not crazy [add twitch]!)’” Another engineer, Marius from Romania (we did not bring up gypsies) said he once spent 30 days solid at sea, with 20 other guys. Also, “I’ve seen most of the world, just not the places with cities.”


Igor also had a friend who got very excited to go work on oil rigs in the middle of the ocean because you make “one hundred, one hundred fifty thousand dollars.” You work one month on, one month off. The only problem is that the people on the rigs are “crazy shitbags.”


The Eastern Europeans are generally rather frustrated with Americans not having any idea about their countries. Do you know what countries are on the Caspian Sea? Or the Adriatic Sea? Me neither. Norwegian Cruise Lines never goes to Norway. The Norwegians find this very interesting and a pickup line for the girls who work on a ship. The Norwegians also say there are only 4 million people in Norway and Oslo is a dump, and they got the hell out of there. One of them lives in Brazil, another lives in the UK. I am getting the idea that being an engineer on a ship is not a terrible job. They usually work 10 weeks on, 10 weeks off. Sometimes more time off. I mean, if you told someone from central Indiana “do you want to be a marine engineer?” I think they would say “what?” or “shutup homo” or similar. What are these jobs? Chief Refrigeration Engineer? 2nd Engineer? We talked to the guy Ramie who is going on vacation and going to Thailand for a bit and then Carnivale in Brazil and then getting back on a ship.


Ashley and I went down and the Norwegians made us their standard sandwich that is not a sandwich. I said “sandwich!” and they humored me, barely. The guy looked at me like I just said “parking lot!” for no reason and like he wanted to hit on my friend. I think it is called “Norwegian Dinner” and I humored them, barely, like they said “parking lot!” and wanted to hit on my friend. It consists of Norwegian Mayonnaise, which is amazing and intense and balklasfjas;lfjsd;fl if you are from Norway and just tastes a little bit richer if you are American. They peel a bunch of tiny shrimp first, then get French bread, slather it with mayo, put a bunch of shrimp on it, then cover it in lemon juice. They said “if you are sick tomorrow, don’t blame me!!” We had white wine and pulled off heads and got legs and everything everywhere. The sandwiches were delicious.


The Bulgarian Engineer told us all about Filipinos, that they always sing mournful, romantic karaoke and eat the heads of shrimp. His Filipino assistant did a dead-on great Billy Joel and Tom Jones. We were one of about 4 women there.


We met the chief electrical engineer named Bjarte. His friend Ramie got very annoyed when we said “what” about 600 times after Ramie said Bjarte’s name because “Bjarte” is pronounced like a joke about a Norwegian name. “Bee-YOR-tee”—but full on Swedish chef sing song. Ramie told us the American pronunciation, which was “Bee-YORr-tee” and rolled his eyes about how dumb Americans are. Ashley was polite and I didn’t say “buddy, that is a really weird name.” Maybe my name sounds like “Blkkeioorpcl.”



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patty's

After two glasses of wine at a toga themed crew party last week, I made myself laugh really hard at the idea of a potato peeling contest for St. Patty's Day. I cornered the crew activities coordinator, an incredibly nice lady with a killer voice, and suddenly we were helping host the party. It did not get quite as OOC as planned, because we did not get full leprechaun costumes and we did not get the movie "Leprechaun in the Hood" to play on the tvs. Turns out, Cubans don't really care about St. Patty's Day. The Walgreen's in downtown Miami had only stuff for Easter. I did not understand this. This was unforseen. Mind melt. The people at a music and DVD place in downtown Miami had never heard of a Leprechaun. Further mind melt.

If you are Asian or from Central America, a random day where everyone wears green and there are weird green leaves everywhere and a green man on the wall and people pretending to be Irish is just weird. Two engineers said "what is this for?" and a random waitress said "party party!" One person said "birthday party!"

Ashley and I tended bar and put green food coloring in the beer and the Smirnoff Ice. People were totally grossed out. "Can I have a plain one?" or "Why is it green?" To be fair, you needed to mix the green to make it look good, and to mix it, you have to flip it and to flip it, you have to use your dirty mitt. 

I have a new camera, from Jason. It is wonderbomb. And enables me to show you Nerril, the regular operator of the crew bar. He saw us struggling to open and color enough beer for people. We are as efficient as anyone who works making sentences several hours a week. Unfortunately I could never understand anything he said. We'd say "what" a few times, then just go "hahaha okay." The result was, this guy is a machine. He can pull out a full 6 beers at once from a giant trashcan filled with beer and ice. So he can open a case of beer in under 5 minutes. Please notice his festive green St. Patty's Day beads.

Here is a cook, Eloy. He did not want green beer. Here is a good example of the dye results. We started stirring them with a knife later because it really does look like we are poisoning people. A castmate overheard a girl say to another girl, near the bathrooms "that dye made me sick." They are dramatic because it is just food coloring. Although...I thought I could taste it too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Barbados Fotos

Here's a chattel house. You build the first one, then if you have a family, you add on another one. You can totally dismantle it if you undo the screws in the corners. Weird.

This is the 5,000 year old Mayan handprints on the walls.

Would you like to see sheep that are indigenous to Barbados that are one day old with their Barbadian shepard? Okay.

Shopping Consultant

We are winding down the contract, so everyone is getting wistful and dramatic according to their personalities. We had breakfast today and saw dolphins jumping out of the water, heading towards the ship. One was swimming upside-down under water, just like they did for food, for us, in a tank. The ocean is incredibly weird.

A Story from the Shopping Consultant:

Ashley and I saw her after her talk. She was wearing two giant rings on each ring finger, a totally bling-ed out watch, an amolite necklace, a tennis bracelet, a weird bling-ed out grandma bracelet, and huge diamond earrings. The shopping consultants represent Diamonds International, which has a store in every port we visit.  She told us a story about working for Carnival Cruises and generally in her presentation: people will steal anything and everything from her, including her display of a huge fake diamond. On Carnival, people got so crazy that they would injure each other, clawing for the freebies she’d throw out. It got so bad they stopped her from handing out freebies, although she said “but I have to keep their attention.” So. She was the only one allowed to hand out freebies, however, she has to say “listen to me. I am going to hand out freebies. Do not hurt each other. If any of you hurt each other, you are not to complain, because I warned you.”

Additionally, we viewed the art auction from a balcony.  I have so little to say, except that if Picasso came and saw they were auctioning off his posters, he’s reenact Guernica. HEY YOOOOH. The auctioneer’s reading of the legal fine print before the auction was fascinating. A performance. The Manufacture of Nonsense Rendered as Such By Tone of Voice and Delivery. At the end, he said “got it?!” and everyone said “yeaaaah.” “I saaaid, ‘got it?!’” “YEAAAAH!” I think he maybe was saying “the appraisers of the art are our appraisers and they are only checked and kept in line by our appraisers.” People were not bidding enough, so they did a practice bid with fake money using the other art auctioneer. This included dancing and jumping around and spanking of himself. Also a photo of him presenting his bottom. The girl who took the photo said “wait—“ and he had to pose again, and pose better. Fascinating.

I am back in my room again in the crew hallway. Or my palace. Fortress of solitude. You can see sunsets from the window and wake up to sunshine and the sound of waves. It is so peaceful. You can do a lot of good staring.

In other news, Meatheads have joined us. There are terrifying meatheads from the football team of the University of Alabama. One castmate is already thinking of insults to arm himself. There are also screaming youngsters from IU. We are in the thick of Spring Break. Paris Hilton’s influence is far reaching.



Saturday, March 14, 2009


I just lead the adult workshop. Frequently we have to co-lead them, or one person leads and another is the silent peon. It is hard to be the silent peon, but you just astral project yourself and think about how you are a beautiful martyr. It is not hard to lead them. Turns out I enjoy it immensely, although I may describe them as “a mess” when I am in charge. Insofar as I’m like “why are you acting weird” to my silent partner peon and then realize what I’ve said is “clear as mud!” as a passenger told me, which was accurate. They got the general idea and I had fun time 6000, which is important because they are going to ask these questions, which they did ask: “so what’s next for you” “how do you support yourself” “do you have a significant other or do you just kinda do whatever on the ship.”

We do a warm-up exercise where you stand in a circle and throw imaginary balls to people in the circle. The first ball is a red ball. You make eye contact with person, say “red ball.” Throw ball to person. Person catches it, says “thank you red ball” then does the whole sequence with someone else. Then we add another ball. What color is it? Blue. Hahaha. I am holding 2 balls in my hand. Hahaha. I know where your minds are. Hahaha. Blue balls blue balls blue balls blue balls blue balls blue balls blue balls, hahahahaha, I’m dead inside. I am currently resisting going on a 6,000 word diatribe about balls and people saying “balls” and intrinisic humor about balls and whether or not our civilization is broken at the foundation. ANYWAY. Normally we add another color, and then add a “monkey ball” and then have to laugh until we explode because the inherent humor of balls is exponentially improved with the addition of a monkey. However, we made it instead throwing a live monkey. Then we added another thing, which was pushing a large column. So people were saying “red ball,” “thank you red ball,” “blue ball,” “thank you blue ball,” “monkey ball,” “thank you monkey ball,” “column,” “thank you column.” The column made everyone confused because “where’s the column!” “did you push the column at me?” “I have the column and a ball I think.” I have a very vivid imagination, so I saw a 50’s-ish friendly African-American lady with a giant white column in front of her saying “how did this get here?”

My months of keeping my silence also meant I insisted on playing something called “documentary” (I think), where people sit in a line and you interview them. My roommate said “don’t you think that’s a little advanced?” and I informed her she didn’t know anything. My silent peon partner doubted me as well, to which I gently informed him he didn’t know anything either. I figured maybe 6 would want to participate. Instead, there were about 12. My silence and positive faith in the success of the exercise meant that I just said “so just like, pick a character and if you can’t think of anything, do your mom, hahaha” to a bunch of people who probably work construction or are retirees. This translated into the following characters: Scarlett O’Hara, Brittany Spears, Jimmy Conner, Carl Sagan, two guys swapping identities (“I’m Seth” “I’m Bryan Sanderson”) and others. The second to the last guy was in a wheelchair in real life and clearly had something wrong with his legs. Another person in the line chose the character of Dr. Bob Richards. The gentleman in the wheelchair said he was Scarlett O’Hara’s gardener until Dr. Bob Richards threw him from his tractor and ran it over his legs and “now look at me! Look at these legs! They’re useless!” which I would call Very Uncomfortable for everyone but the guy talking who was having a great time.  Also, being Carl Sagan and just saying “billions and billions of stars” is technically wrong™ but thank God he did it, because otherwise it was Crick Ets.

After the workshop, a guy came up to Nate and his first words were “am I stupid?” because he didn’t get things from the show and wanted to find out why someone ate a brain and why people found that funny because “I thought it was a comedy show and that was…” He actually thought we made sense when he was just noticing the things we did that made no sense. And it turns out he’s from Hershey and will be delivering donuts to my mom’s college.

Then a hilarious woman insisted I go to Tampa Bay because she took a great improv class there and there is a really great gay, lesbian, transgendered community there with things like poetry readings. So.