Date Archives January 2008

Happy F’ing Birthday, LEGOS.

I used to work at Legoland. Believe me when I say it was the WORST. JOB. EVER. I’m already not a kid person…but wait, there’s more! If you clocked in more than three minutes early, you were written up. If you clocked in more than three minutes late, you were written up. So basically this meant I’d need to get there upwards of 15 minutes early (as you can never plan on the traffic in San Diego) and then just wait to clock in. There’d always be a little line of us waiting…if it was a busier shift, there’d be a long line of us. The people at the front of the line would start clocking in at exactly 3 minutes to the hour, and if any people started taking their time about it, or, god forbid, make a mistake with their crazy-ass punch codes, the people at the end of the line would start grumbling and heckling–because regardless of how long the people in front of them take, if they clock in more than three minutes late….. You get the picture.

The same time standard applies to lunch breaks. If you worked out in retail ‘carts’ like I did–which is basically their name for the kiosks you are bombarded with every time you step off of a ride that try their mightiest to deplete your bank balance with MUST HAVES to complete your ENTIRE EXPERIENCE or you have FAILED AT VACATION–you sometimes got a break, and sometimes did not. It depended on many factors (the weather in the Amazon Basin, the position of the stars as relative to planetary alignments..), but mostly as to whether or not the manager felt like getting off his/her ass and actually walking (*gasp!*) to your location to cover for you. If you were especially lucky, you’d work at one of the carts that was far far far away from any of the two designated break areas, which were, of course, fenced in to prevent escape. You’d then spend 10 minutes walking to a break area, and, allowing for a 10 minute walk back, you’d have a whole 10 minutes to try to focus on anything other than quitting your job. The second you managed to do that, you’d have to hurry hurry hurry back to your post, lest you be more than three minutes late!

The uniforms were ill-fitting, uglier than a circus clown on crack, and vile besides. The first pair of pants issued to me had holes in the crotch coupled with the knowledge that you were nestling your sweaty summer junk in the same place so very many other people had nestled their sweaty summer junk. It didn’t matter how many times you washed the shirt with a boatload of detergent, it still smelled like stale sweat. I always wore another shirt underneath to keep as much of it as possible from touching my skin. But I especially enjoyed how the company threatened that if you didn’t turn in the uniform upon termination of your employment, they’d charge you for it. Who in the hell would want to keep it?

I worked mostly on the photo bus, as I was one of the only employees child-like enough in stature to fit inside; however, even I could not stretch out to my full height of 5’1″ without cracking my head on the ceiling, so I’d spend my days hunched over like So-Cal Quasimodo. Here, I’d take a picture of a kid for $5, and it would get made into a little laminated driver’s license. The camera would take two pictures per polaroid sheet, and the second picture cost $2. If the parents didn’t want a second license, the picture was thrown away. I cannot tell you how many bloody times parents asked me to give them the second picture for free. The logic trail goes something like this: “Hey, what’s that other picture for?” “If you want a second license, you can have it for $2.” “hmm..well what if I don’t want it?” “Then I throw it away.” “If you’re going to just throw it away, why can’t you give it to me?” “Because it costs $2.” “But you’re just going to throw it away!” etc etc.

Sometimes these conversations would go on for what seemed like forever. What I couldn’t tell these parents is that as tiny as the photo bus was, Legoland managed to cram in 3 surveillance cameras to make sure I wasn’t stealing from the register, or, even worse, giving away pictures that were destined for bigger and better things (like the landfill).

It was also very important that employees never refer to the products as ‘Legos’. They emphasized that ‘Lego’ was the company and ‘bricks’ were the product, so they were correctly referred to as ‘Lego Bricks’. Get caught calling them anything else on three separate occasions, and you could kiss your job goodbye. Even if the customers called them ‘Legos’, you could never fall into their vernacular–instead, you must gently correct and instruct them like that obnoxious nerd in high school that everyone hated who was constantly sneering about grammar.

Much like Office Space, I had somewhere around eight different bosses, except I never met approximately six of them. I believe this was done on purpose, so that these mystery bosses could pretend to be customers and try to get me to give away second pictures or catch me saying ‘Legos’ so they could write me up. They never fooled me, though–for as much as I hated the job, I was a good employee. But still…they HAD to enjoy giving disciplinary action and terminating employees. Otherwise, why would they try so hard to make employee’s lives miserable?

On slow days, I used to fantasize about jumping the tiny protective fence and rampaging through miniland like Godzilla. Whole cities would crumble beneath my crushing feet of destruction! None would be spared–tiny lego men, women, and children would ALL fall victims to my RAGE ATTACK.

…Actually, I still fantasize about it.


Life is a banquet, darling, and most poor fools are starving to death

Last night, courtesy of Arena, I saw the Seattle Symphony perform Play! at Benaroya Hall. The pieces played were overall a little Squaresoft-heavy, but that’s to be expected, as the maestro for this evening is the same person who conducted the ‘Dear Friends- Music from Final Fantasy’ symphonic concert.

This is something I was excited about all day yesterday–I’d never been to the symphony before. By the time I finished getting dressed up and got in the car, I was so keyed up I could hardly stand it.

The set list was as follows: Final Fantasy VII – Liberi Fatali Super Mario Bros Shenmue Battlefield 1942 Final Fantasy VII – Aerith’s Theme Sonic the Hedgehog Metal Gear Solid Kingdom Hearts


The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Final Fantasy Series – Swing de Chocobo Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross World of Warcraft Silent Hill 2 Halo The Legend of Zelda Guild Wars Final Fantasy VII – One-Winged Angel

Now, I understand that I was there on the kindnesses of others, that this was a videogame-thmed event, and I really shouldn’t judge…but judging is what I do. Here are some of the appalling behaviors I witnessed that YOU should not replicate:

1. The symphony is not a rock concert. You should not whoop and holler during performances, even if the pretty, shiny overhead screens show (oh my god) something you recognize! You may have spent a lot of time playing Guitar Hero, but under no circumstances is it EVER ok to shout ‘play freebird’ to an orchestra. Your mouth, as a matter of fact, should STAY SHUT throughout the evening. If you can’t handle that, walk the few blocks to Pioneer Square and argue loudly with the homeless. They will appreciate the attention, and symphony-goers will appreciate the fact that you’re gone.

2. Turn off your cell phones. Seriously. If you are too important to turn your phone off, you shouldn’t be wasting your time with frivolous amusements (and ruining them for others). Go! Go! For the good of the city! Out into the street! In front of a bus!

3. Leave your Utilikilt at home. Not appropriate. Your ‘dress jeans’, no matter how acid washed? Not appropriate. Coming in some sort of full-regalia black mage costume that you’re obviously SO PROUD of? NOT APPROPRIATE. Leave that shit for hippie festivals, Bon Jovi concerts, and nerd conventions, respectively. If the performers are all in tuxedos, the least you can do is put on a suit. Seriously.

If gamers really want video games to get respect as an art form, we need to show an equal amount of respect for other valid art forms, instead of behaving as if we’ve never left the house before.

Trick or treat, smell my feet

I’ve been enjoying the hell out of my gym membership, and things are going the way I hoped they would–the combination of the exercise plus actually eating throughout the day as opposed to one large meal at night has put me on a much more even keel. It’s all well and good that my coworkers can go all day without eating, but this little experiment has shown me that I do and feel much better when I don’t follow their lead. Any improved fitness is just a chichi bonus to FEELING better; not so much like a snarling tiger all the time. The next step is to get myself to a doctor to see if I need to go back on thyroid medication, and from there on it should be smoooooth sailing.

Last night I did a few fitness classes in a row (I find them to be more engaging than the equipment, at least for now)–first up was the pretty pretty ballerina dance class, then salsa, then power yoga. The salsa instructor kept saying “Oh, it’s SUPER CUTE when you move your arms this way when you dance” and I couldn’t help but laugh–I am focusing way too hard on not tangling my legs and falling over to have any brain cells left over for trying to look cute. I can safely say she was the ONLY one who looked cute and springy while doing this dance; the rest of us looked confused and irritable while we labored through the complicated movements. You know what I bet was SUPER CUTE? The thoughts other people were having about me when I took my shoes off immediately after the dance class for yoga.