Saturday, June 28, 2008

Camp is Camp is Here Again.

Well, the reason I haven't been posting in a while is that I'm back at my summer job, the Dance Director of a sleepaway camp that is obsessed with Israeli dance. I know you wouldn't have thought such a thing existed, but you would have been wrong. I have three assistants working just for me and all four of us are busy non-stop all day every day.

However, it was last summer when I was at camp that this whole blog thing actually got going, so it doesn't seem right to be silent all summer this year. Perhaps more blogging will come soon after my performance next week at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, rehearsals for which are making me extra-double-tired after already being camp-exhausted because I have to leave my dance job to drive 25 miles to dance really hard at rehearsal for 2-5 hours and then drive back to camp. Starting Wednesday everything will be easier, right?? Right.

Um, adding to the tiredness is the fact that after leading dancing last night for 300ish people from 9pm to 2am, approximately, I met some friends at 5:30am to go on a hike up to Nipple Rock, which was gorgeous and wonderful (and completely out of character for RDB, except when she's at camp), and we got back in time to shower and make it to breakfast at 9, so it's been kind of an intense day. In an utterly camp kind of way. I love it.

AAAAAaand, I know it's never a good or interesting idea to do this, but: I owe you the Princess Story. It's fabutastic.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One-way mirrors, aka two-way mirrors. (Flammable/inflammable, anyone?)

So, there are things in movies that you wish existed in real life, and there are things in movies that you kinda wish didn't exist. I mean, if you're me. So I've always been a little fascinated (by which I mean terrified) of the one-way mirror. Without getting too deep into the dark recesses of my psyche, let me just say that, as a child, before undressing in clothing store dressing rooms, I would occasionally (always) check the edges of the mirrors, trying to determine what sort of mirrors they were, and leave it at that. Ok, maybe one more step - I would occasionally address the person supposedly watching from the other side of the one-way mirror to let them know they weren't fooling anyone, even though I had no choice but to go ahead and try on the clothes even though I knew they were there. I had an active imagination (and extreme self-consciousness).

As I was saying, I've always found the one-way mirror thing to be intriguing and a little bit scary, and I'd count it as one of things I'd just as soon not have exist. Are they used outside of psychology experiments and police interrogation rooms? Are they used in actual police interrogation rooms or just in Hollywood ones? I am here to tell you that they really exist and they are really out there - just this week in my own small life I've encountered two of them.

I was about to describe each and start out by saying that the first isn't that freaky, but come on. It's a one-way mirror; it's freaky.

So, there is a dance studio in the Valley where my dance company sometimes rehearses (as do some of the contestants on Dancing With The Stars! Yes, I met Mario. Yes, these are the perks of living in Los Angeles.). The large studio at the back has one stretch of mirror that is actually a one-way mirror, and there is a small sitting room on the other side of it. It's great - when you arrive early for your class or rehearsal, you get to sit and watch without disturbing anyone. Except, that whole idea is disturbing!

And just now, I am actually sitting in a cafe (in San Diego today, not LA, more on this later[0] if you care...) with some grad student friends. While they type away at their dissertations, I'm surfing and blogging and being otherwise unproductive, yay me! So I just went to the restroom, and in the space over the sink where a mirror should be, there is a one-way mirror. Ok, to be very clear, it's set in such a way that the pee'er can look through the window side and see the patrons of the cafe at their tables, NOT the other way 'round. But freaaaaaaaky! You walk in there and realize there's a window, and you fight the overwhelming urge to walk right back out and look in the window... and you lose that battle, so you do walk right back out and around the corner and there is the same plant you just saw through the window, but it's in front of a mirror, not a window. Allow me to say it again: Fuh-Reak-EE.
(Click the pic to biggen.)

[0] So, on Thursday afternoon I met someone for ice cream, and from there I met another couple of friends that were out to dinner, and from there we went dancing, and when that ended at midnight I went to another friend's house and played Guitar Hero for four hours (I LOVE Guitar Hero. Make no mistake. If you were in the mood to buy me a little something to brighten my day, that would be an excellent choice. But then, I may never leave my house again). After that, at 4:30am, I drove down to San Diego, I arrived at 6:30 or so and crawled into bed with my bestest friend. You'd think I was trying to get in a whole summer vacation in the three days before I go off to work at sleepaway camp or something. That is how I ended up in this cafe with the one-way mirror in the bathroom, this lovely cafe that has as many laptops in it as people and has free wi-fi and yet apparently no website. It's in South Park and it's called Urban Grind, if you care. The turkey-and-brie panini is fabulous. The grilled veggie sandwich less so (even if you get it with pesto instead of hummus (which, speaking of which, are like the two most anti-social foods ever. Either it's green specks in the teeth or terrible garlic-breath, yeesh. Who invented these things?) but if you're going to try to pick the little green pesto bits out of your teeth, don't use the mirror behind the plant... someone is probably looking right at you from the other side!).

OMG UPDATE: Since not everyone will read the comments or follow links from there, I had to update to include this link to these public toilets with one-way mirrors - I will tell you the truth; I do not think I could do it. Thanks, jjd!


Most amazing review ever.

Dude, I wasn't going for any contests; I was just being narcissistic. WOW. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What They're Saying - where "they" = "this one guy I have never actually met"

Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! says
" Funny.Short.Brilliant!"

The Best of Everything says "Writes and thinks the way I would write and think if I was good at writing and thinking."

Thinking The Lions says " For once, a title that captures the essence of the writing."

AfterDark says "like poetry, only fun to read."

Have I mentioned how much I like this guy?

Also, thewunderblog used to call me "opinionated" but doesn't anymore, and back when it was at its old home, my blog was described as "The most defenestrate blog out there." I can't argue with that. Any other descriptions of my blog out there that I haven't seen?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another day in L.A.

So, this morning I had a gig in Claremont, which is near Pomona, which is where the County Fair is held. I explain it in this way because it is the only way I know how - my internal map has one thing situated in Pomona and that is the fairground, and under "Claremont" the entry in its entirety reads "near Pomona". As for how far away these are, these locations all read "about an hour". Thanks for visiting the inside of RDB's brain.

As I was saying, this morning I had a gig in Claremont, and on my way home I passed signs for the L.A. Arboretum, which signs I have passed before (probably on my way home from the County Fair - which is in Pomona, have I mentioned that? I love County Fairs). I didn't have anywhere to be for a while and I had a book with me, so of course I got off the highway and followed the signs and decided to explore. This is what I do, what I love to do.

I may have snuck in without paying. I say "may have" because I'm not actually sure that's what I did and it's certainly not what I meant to do, but when I got there I reallllly needed to pee, so I sort of ran into the visitor center and asked where the restrooms were, and when the girl pointed the way I just went. I never really stopped to take note of the ticket prices, but it did register that there were ticket prices posted... maybe they were just for tram rides and things. If I accidentally used this ruse to slip in without paying, I hereby apologize. My mistake.

As I was saying, the first view of these unbelievably beautiful grounds (after the restrooms) was breathtaking: a peacock in full spread. Now, I have lived with peacocks for months on end, and either the ones I know are never in the mood or I was never around during the right week or I don't know what, but I have never seen even one tail display like the one that greeted me in the Arboretum today and in fact, as I walked around, I saw peacock after peacock all fully laid out. It was amazing. For example, here is my friend in a little back-side-front action (click to biggen, of course):

This may be my favorite shot of him (pretty good for cellphone pics, no?):

I had a lovely time wandering around and checking out the waterfall, the rose garden, the ponds and trees...

...the sun's rays warming the ducks:

and on my way out, yet another peacock in full regalia, but a mini-version:

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I've just read The Discomfort Zone, a memoir by Jonathan Franzen (previously mentioned on my blog here) that I believed, until page 30 or so, to be a novel. Once the realization hit that it was actually non-fiction, I felt a deep disappointment, though if I had been enjoying the read, and I had, what did it matter? It mattered because I had been expecting all the bits of life I'd been ingesting to ultimately Lead To Something, the way they invariably will in a good piece of genre fiction, narrative fiction. A good Tolstoy, where all those different lives would ultimately been seen to be inextricably intertwined, a good Dickens in which the handsome stranger in part two is later proven to be the son of the widow of the powerful landowner sent to jail in part one, a good John Irving in which the beating begins in the first paragraph and doesn't ease up the slightest bit for the next 250 pages. I'd already read The Corrections, after all; I knew what to expect.
No, it's a memoir, and I still enjoyed it and read it to its finish, but without the expectations of It All Coming Together, and of course, it didn't. It wasn't fiction, it was Life. And the realization that accompanied all of this, that Life is actually life and that my own too, will be a memoir and not a novel, well, out of this hole I have not yet climbed.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Um, open your mail sooner, loser. You almost missed it.

Wasn't I just talking about this? I've been a little overwhelmed with crap to do lately, so today I finally got around to opening the stack of non-urgent mail I had piled up on my desk. Look what was in it:

(And, unrelated to the above and as behind the curve as I may be, you might be interested to know (but why would you?) that I am currently obsessed with this song.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Just wondering.

If it is true, as it sometimes seems to me to be, that I identify to a ridiculous degree with whatever novel or memoir I am currently reading, that I become so truly lost in a good book that the real emotions of my real life are felt less keenly than those absorbed through the fingertips, if indeed I am what I read, for the duration of the reading it, then why, well why, for what possible reason, do I read so many lonely and depressing books?