10

Internet University

No, this post is not about Trump University.

Now that that’s out of the way…

I’ve noticed a trend, and bear with me on this one, because it might sound extreme, but…The Internet. Today, at dance class, when someone had a question about a samba step, our instructor said that she does it one way, but on YouTube you can see it done another day. When I asked some other people in class how they learned West Coast Swing so well, they responded “The Academy of YouTube.” And yes, I fully admit to using Google Translate to help me understand words in different languages.

But think about it. If you have an Internet connection, you have access to the equivalent of several college degrees:

For Classics, Project Gutenberg has tons of public domain books. Put that down for Literature, Theatre, and Philosophy as well. Didn’t go to cosmetology school? Beauty gurus exist on YouTube. Want to study historical films? Amazon Prime has that. How about discovering your inner Freud? Psychology Today. And of course, for current events and political science, there’s everything from Buzzfeed to The Huffington Post, and you can even cross-reference sources. There’s probably even more out there.

And if you want to get hazed by a fraternity, hey, there’s always Chat Roulette.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about student loans or course registration or segregated fees that go to constructing new stadiums and new condos for sports coaches…

That’s totally it. Colleges are a giant money scheme set up by football coaches. Illuminati, confirmed.

What am I doing with my life again?

20

Just One Of Those, One Of Those Days…

…when you get the call that it’s too hot to do jewelry booth so instead of getting up you go back to sleep.

…when you’re in pajamas until noon, move to a new shirt at 2, and move to pants at 3.

…when your big excursion is to the dollar store.

…when you spend an hour at the gym, an hour dancing, and then go out for drinks.

…when you plan to write an insightful blog post and this is what you come up with.

34

Two Interesting Things That Happened to Me Today

You decide which one is more interesting.

First: I went to Staples to pick up a few things. I was flipping through the college ruled notebooks, when all of a sudden, I found a wide ruled one in the bin. I turned to the cover and did a double take: the words college ruled were on the cover and wide ruled on the inside. I called over a service rep, and there were a few more in that bin that were misprinted. Whoops.

Second: I was driving to Whole Foods and turning from University onto Hill and almost got hit head-on by an old lady driving on the wrong side of the road.

2

Flip the Script Friday: Fiona Peek, Salt

 

Happy Friday! I’ve been feeling a little salty lately – I don’t know exactly what that means, but it’s a good segue into this week’s Flip the Script Friday: Salt by Fiona Peek

Basics

Salt premiered in the Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, UK in 2010.

Characters

  • Simon – a lawyer, age 41
  • Nick – a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist, age 38
  • Amy – an art gallery curator, age 38
  • Rachel – an orchestral musician, age 40

Setting/Plot

Present day, a kitchen, usually Simon and Amy’s, sometimes Nick and Rachel’s. Simon and Amy are a successful couple with steady jobs, several children, and expensive tastes. Nick and Rachel are their friends – a little down on their luck and desperately trying to have kids. Nick’s writing career is floundering, so Amy, who’s been Nick’s friend for a long time, convinces her husband to lend the other couple some money. After a discussion of ethics, morals, and the future, Nick and Rachel reluctantly accept the money, and things change in a direction nobody expected. Friendships and alliances are made and broken over wine, cheese, shrimp, chili, and an array of other dishes over five scenes and several months.

My Thoughts

At first glimpse, oh, it’s another Friends/Seinfeld tale of the angst of young white urban professionals (although nowhere in the script does it indicate anyone’s race; in fact, in my mind, I pictured Nick as Italian and Amy as Hispanic.) but it’s really not. We really get to know each of the characters as individuals and in pairs, other than Simon/Rachel, who have a bit less of a life connection than any other pairing. It also really gives life to the concept of the kitchen as the main place for the development and carrying out of relationships; not the living room, dining room, or coffee shop; things like selecting dishes, setting the table, pouring drinks, and preparing food become stand-ins for broader concepts, like emotions and ideas. Plus, when you add glass and knives, who knows how much fun you could have.

How I’d Flip It

I imagine it a lot like God of Carnage, only warmer and less stiffly formal. Peek indicates that the table is “rhomboid, not square” and that there is a certain pattern/dance towards setting the table in each scene. You could really play around with that, for example, in terms of speed, duration, tempo, body movement, and even the types of dishes used. Though the title is kind of misleading – the concept of “salt” comes up maybe once – it’s a solid play that asks big questions about the little things in life.

 

15

Here’s to the Ladies Who Munch…On A Donut

Weird title, I know, but I think it’s warranted for a weird book like Company by Max Barry.

She frowns. “But then to get promoted, one of you has to climb over the other. No, no, it’s much neater if you understand who’s boss from the beginning.”

This makes a kind of sense. Jones wonders if he is losing his grip on reality. Then he realizes he is being seduced by a woman with a throat infection on a bed dotted with used tissues, so the answer is probably yes. (254)

I finished this book tonight, and even though I didn’t understand all of Barry’s capitalist extemporizing, it was as much of a fun trip as his previous novel, Jennifer Government. In this novel, we are thrust into the world of Zephyr Holdings, a company steeped in mystery, especially to those who work there. We follow the main character, Stephen Jones (often just called “Jones”) as he enters Zephyr on his first day of work, and as he meets and befriends his co-workers, he starts to look for answers that nobody else seems to know or care about. After one snap decision, he is no longer the same cog he was when he was hired; his relationship with the company changes, and so does his worldview until it spins out of control. This adventure into the inner workings of business is one full of secrets, lies, and uncertain allegiances that you wouldn’t think would exist in a glass-paneled, unobtrusive, 20-story office building.

Though characters are hired and fired at warp speed throughout the book, we get to know a few of the ones who fall into Jones’s clique throughout the story. His main cohort includes Freddy, a Ron Weasley-type character who just wants to do his job; Holly, a lonely corporate assistant who uses the gym as her outlet; Elizabeth, a mild-mannered sales rep who makes a startling discovery about herself; and Roger, a sneak with a megalomaniac streak and an affinity for baked goods. There’s also Eve, the receptionist (or is she?) and Daniel, the janitor. All in all, though the threads of the characters are sometimes difficult to follow, the fact that they’re all drones in the corporate world inverts its own stereotypes by making them more and more individual with each passing page.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It starts off quickly and picks up speed, so fast that even if you don’t fancy yourself a business person, you’ll be finding yourself punching the clock to read more.

This book review was brought to you by procrastination on my prelims and the jewelry booth.