Holiday Hellride

I sit in the car as it idles. I glance down furtively at my phone as if there will be some message that reads “turn back”.

But I’ve come too far, I think to myself. So I turn the key, open the door to the biting cold and step out onto the grass. I trek up to the Wickham Park Senior Center and walk inside. I am greeted by a herd of elderly women in Christmas sweaters who shuffle about aimlessly.

“Hello there!” yells a woman in a lime green sweater. “Are you here to volunteer?”

Today is the Holiday Hayride and for some reason I am here to volunteer. “Yes, I’m Sarah. I’m signed up to work the craft table.”

“O.K. sign in on this sheet,” replies Green Sweater.

I sign in. I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing and Green Sweater senses this so she escorts me into the great room where the games and crafts are to be held. She introduces me to Mindy who checks her very important schedule and points me to my table. By the time I have finished haphazardly gluing on googly eyes to my first felt mouse, Mindy walks over.

“You wouldn’t mind working the hayride would you?” she asks.

“No, that’s fine,” I answer without thinking. She leads me outside to meet the motley crew of fellow volunteers where I introduce myself and then immediately forget each person’s name. While we walk the half-mile or so down to the hayride, I try to make small talk, but no one is feeling very chatty at the moment so I drop it.

Then it starts to rain.

I check the time on my phone for the sixth time since I’ve been there. It’s only half past five. A plump woman walks up with a cardboard box in her arms and sets it on the grass. She tells us that we are to put a baggie of sand and a flameless candle in each festive paper bag and line them along the sidewalk. This does not sound like a hayride to me. 

Obediant little volunteer that I am, I kneel down and start assembling the bags. Soon after, I notice that people and their kids have started lining up to go on the hayride. One little girl in a bright pink coat scampers over to me and kneels down at the box.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“I’m putting these in bags,” I say holding out a bag of sand.

Without giving it a second thought she said, “I’m going to help you.”

Apparently I have no say in the matter because she started grabbing fistfuls of sand bags and thrusting them in my direction. I take a few of them and put them into paper bags and she says matter-of-factly, “We’re best friends now.” Shit, I think. This little girl is going to latch on to me like a succubus.

“Come over here now, Mikaila,” calls who I presume to be the little girl’s mother. Fortunately she obeys her mother and I am free. For now.

At six o’clock the Christmas lights come on all around the park and it is time to start loading people onto the tractor-trailer beds lined with hay bales. I am the first one onto the trailer and head to the back to sit down. And who is the second person on that trailer but the little succubus. She came straight to the back and sat so close to me she might as well have been on my lap.

“I hope you don’t mind,” said the girl’s mom.

“Not at all,” I said smiling. Get this little . . .

Just then the truck started up and we were taking off on the hayride through Florida’s own “winter wonderland.” My job was to make sure that nobody leaned on the flimsy PVC pipe railing and fell off the trailer. As I was vigilantly doing my job, the girl kept chattering on and on: “I go to big girl school and my brother’s name is Todd and it’s fun being best friends and . . .”

Suddenly, I looked down and the little monster was throwing fistfuls of hay on me!

“That’s not nice,” said the mom. The girl stopped for a few short minutes and then started throwing it again. How soon our relationship had changed.

Then the mom snatched her up and berated her quietly. The little girl started to immediately wail at the top of her lungs and didn’t stop for the next fifteen minutes until the ride was over. And so the name Holiday Hellride was born.

United States of Tara

U.S. of Tara is by far my favorite show on television.

United States of Tara, U.S. of Tara, Toni Collette

Tara's personalities from left: Buck, Alice, Tara and T

I’m not a huge TV person, so that statement might not carry a lot of clout, but take my word for it. It’s awesome. Written and created by Diablo Cody, the creator of Juno, U.S. of Tara is extremely well-written and much deeper than her previous work. Now in its second season, the show airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. on Showtime. But no worries, if you’re poor like me, you can watch it for free online here, but you didn’t hear it from me.

Tara (played by Toni Collette) is a woman and mother of two with dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The subject matter is very similar to the made-for-television movie Sybil (1976).

U.S. of Tara, Toni Collette, BuckBuck is Tara’s gun-loving, beer-chugging, redneck alter personality. He plays a huge, plot-changing role in the second season.

U.S. of Tara, United States of Tara, Alice, Toni Collette

Alice is a parody of Bree from Desperate Housewives. She bakes non-stop, interferes with her kids’ school lives, and even washes her daughter’s mouth out with soap.

United States of Tara, T, Toni Collette And finally we have T. This is Tara’s teenage gum-chewing, thong-wearing alter.

Tara’s personalities are all very different, but somehow strangely relatable.

If you’re new to the show, I strongly recommend starting from the beginning. Since the show is only in its second season, it won’t be hard to catch up.

Although Tara’s alters are fairly one-dimensional, that’s O.K., because the rest of the characters on the show are very complex. Episode four of the new season shows a whole new side of Max, Tara’s husband (played by John Corbett).

As with any Showtime series, there is a lot of stuff going on, many plot lines interwoven, but they’re all so interesting and subversive, it’s easy to catch on.

Labeled by critics as a “dark comedy”, Tara is completely original in that it picks up where other movies like Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve leave off.

Those movies end with the patient being diagnosed and struggling to cope. Tara, however, opens with the fact that she’s already been diagnosed and is living happily. Happily until she goes off of her meds.

The second season is just as awesome as the first, especially the most recent: episode four. It had my stomach flip-flopping and caused me to bite off all of my barely-there nails. I won’t give away any details, but there are some major plot twists in that episode. I mean, wow.

United States of Tara is like no other show I’ve ever seen. With all the remakes and cover songs being produced today, it’s nice to know that there is still original content being written.

Well done, Diablo Cody.

Savannah Shore

Last weekend, my friend Melissa was star struck on Broughton and Bull streets in downtown Savannah. She was sitting there sipping her Starbucks when she spotted The Situation and Pauly D from the MTV show “Jersey Shore.” Here’s the proof:

The Situation, Jersey Shore, MTV

Pauly D, Jersey Shore, MTV

I was really sad that Pauly D had a hat on. His hair was possibly my favorite part of the show.

Melissa walked up and asked, “Is this The Situation?”

To which he replied, “Yeah, yeah, what’s up?” When Melissa asked if she could take a picture with The Situation, he was a little reluctant and then said, “Yeah, as long as the man don’t see you,” as he pointed to the camera man who wasn’t looking.

Then she asked Pauly D for a picture but he wasn’t smiling. She said, “Come on, at least act like you’re having fun.” At that he smiled.

My friends went out hunting for the Jersey Shore cast members that night, but to no avail. At least we will forever have the proof of the biggest stars to come to Savannah. Ever.

The Life: Spring Break 2010

After the extreme fun and excitement of deleting my Myspace account, I decided to head outdoors and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Although the days were warm, the nights were a bit chilly and I was kicking myself for only bringing a light sweater to protect me from the 58 degree frozen tundra.

My Spring break went a little something like this:

Thursday 3/11/10: Juarez $2 happy hour margaritas, dancing, writers’ party, Congress St., closed down the Jinx, and a warm shot of well whiskey that resulted in a quick puke. Off to a good start.

Frozen Margaritas, tequila, watermelon

Pay no mind to the watermelon.

Friday 3/12/10: Drive home to Melbourne, FL.

Sunday 3/14/10: Margaritas by the pool.

pool, Florida, palm tree, palm trees

Tuesday 3/16/10: Surf day. Oz and Dave decided to paddle out.

surf boards, surf, wax, sex wax, long board

surfing, surf, Melbourne Beach, Florida

I stayed behind to catch some sun. Unfortunately the clouds came out and the wind picked up, so I shivered for the entire hour. While I was shivering, a pelican landed about eight feet away from me.

Pelican

So that was pretty cool.

Friday 3/19/10: Badfish concert, House of Blues in Orlando. Badfish is a Sublime tribute band. If you close your eyes while they’re playing, it almost sounds like Bradley Nowell is up on stage singing his heart out. What an awesome experience.

Near the end of the concert, the lead singer, Pat Downes, walked off the stage. Just when everyone was like what the fuck, Downes rolled on stage in this contraption:

I found out later that it’s called a Zorb. If you have $1300 lying around and would like to purchase me one, that would be fantastic.

Saturday 3/20/10: Oz, his cousin Terry and I headed to down Jupiter, FL (about an hour south of Melbourne) where Terry lives. For the next couple of days it was fish city.

puffer fish, Jupiter

First catch of the day: Oz caught a little puffer fish. It was cool because you could hear the fish make little sucking sounds while he puffed up to ward off the predators (us).

Red Snapper

Second catch: Terry and his beautiful red snapper.

sting ray

sting ray

Shortly after, Oz reeled in a little sting ray. The ray was pissed and was whipping that tail around left and right. [Insert Steve Irwin joke here.] To unhook him, we had to pin his barb down with a broom. He was happy to be back in the water after that ordeal.

The next day, I caught what the boys thought was a perch. I really have no idea what it was but it was fun to catch.

*     *     *

I hope you enjoyed my adventures. It’s sad to think that now that I’m graduating college I’ll never have another Spring break again!

Attention: Job seekers

With graduation right around the corner, a lot of us have begun to embark on the job hunt. This post will [hopefully] be helpful to anyone looking for a job in non-profits, writing, editing, marketing/PR, and/or journalism.

I’ve compiled a list of job websites that I’ve found so far and have included a short description of each one and whether or not they are worth a damn.

Non-profits (big thanks to Elizabeth)

Jobs and Internships

  • Ed2010.com – This is my favorite for editorial jobs, internships and freelance jobs. They tend to have the coolest magazines like Inked and Interview.
  • Mediabistro.com – Great for jobs in Marketing and PR, as well as writing.
  • Folio.com
  • Studentcentral.comThis is SCAD’s Job Magnet Web site. Allows you to narrow your search in many different ways. I found an internship on this one that led to my first publication!
  • WashingtonPost.com – This one is site specific, but very good if you’re looking for jobs in the D.C. area.
  • Monster.com – Don’t forget about this guy!
  • Yahoo Jobs
  • Craigslist.comOf course. It’s a great idea to look for jobs in the cities you want to live in.

Travel Journalism

Government Jobs

  • USAJobs.com – This one’s great if you want to work for the man.

NPR lovers

It’s also a good idea to look at the newspapers’ Web sites of cities you want to live in. Of course, these are just a jumping-off point to get you started. I want to share the love because we’re all in the same boat right now.

Happy hunting!

Ever wonder what writing majors do in class?

If there’s one thing I can say about the writing majors, it’s that we pay very close attention in class. Not necessarily to take notes on the lectures (although we do that too), but mostly, we wait for our professors to say something hilarious so we can write it down and savor it, or for many, Tweet it. These one-liners are what we live for, and they make the 12-hour day of classes go by much faster.

Here is my collection of quotes from this Winter quarter.

Lough:

  • “It’s like comparing apples to oranges and that’s not very fruitful.”
  • “Smells like tuna, tastes like chicken.”
  • “It’s a dumbass religion” – on Rastafarianism
  • “I just thought of a band: Sudan Somers.”
  • “How can you turn down billionairism?”
  • “Hyenas have dildos.”
  • “Jesus could not drive a stick.”
  • “This is one big incest fest: Incestival.”

Beth:

  • “Travis doesn’t play Second Life. He’s barely interested in his one life.”
  • “This is like food porn” – on thisiswhyyourefat.com

Griffith’s class:

  • “They’re men, all they need is a pulse.” – Kama

Oregon Fail

Get ready for a blast from the past. It’s 1994 and you’re back in elementary school. It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to go to the computer lab for activity. You have your choice of three games: Reader Rabbit (weak), Math Blaster (super weak), or everyone’s favorite–Oregon Trail.

It’s funny, I never remember actually seeing the cover of the game at school, but when I looked it up on Amazon, I was astounded at how awesomely detailed the illustration is on the front compared to the graphics of the game.

One of the best parts about Oregon Trail is that you got to name all the people in your wagon after your friends. So when the inevitable “Jenny was bitten by a snake” pops up on the screen, you can laugh and point at Jenny. Or you could just name your characters “Poop” and “Boogers.”

There were always crazy things happening in the game:

  • You ford the river every time, no matter how deep, and lose all your shit because you’re a cheap-ass and don’t want to pay for the ferry.
  • Suzy gets a broken shin bone.
  • You never buy extra wheels, and then, of course, you break a fucking wheel.
  • Somebody always gets typhoid fever and you spent all your money on hookers, so you can’t buy medicine for them.
  • You go out and shoot 50,000 buffalo like it’s fucking Duck Hunt or something. Then all your meat goes bad and you get dysentery.
  • You catch a venereal disease from one of the Indians.
  • You smoke peyote with Chief Black Foot and he jacks all your shit.

But it was always the best when this message came up:

No matter how you played the game, you never fucking made it to Oregon. And if you did, everyone hated you. In fact, we still do.