Friday, December 31, 2010

It's time to talk about Walmart.

This post may appall and infuriate many of you... Those kind of feelings just help to remind you that you are alive, so... You're Welcome!! 

Before I started this trip I was not one of the people who was adamantly opposed to Walmart, but it wasn't my first choice; in fact, it was generally my last. The small college town I went to University in had very few options for shopping at the time that I attended, and Wal-Mart was the best option, especially because I didn't have a vehicle and had to mooch rides to get anywhere so the prospect of one stop shopping was very alluring. 

During my post college years I lived in San Francisco. There is no Walmart there and I'm sure, because of the amazing amount of anti consumerism/anti capitalist activism that goes on there, Walmart will not be allowed to set up shop inside the city limits. Plus there are about fifty million other, better options to get the wares that one might need. In the decade that I spent in the bay area I went to Walmart (in Oakland) twice, to escort my Pop who swears it's his favorite store. 

One night, just before I embarked on the RV adventure I went out with a friend who drives a VW Westfalia camper van. We were out very late and didn't know if we would make it all the way home. He saw a Walmart and remarked that we could always stay there. I thought he was just saying that because they have a big parking lot and that it would make sense that we could stay there. It turns out that Walmart (corporate, each Walmart gets to write their own policies on the rule) has a policy that people can use the Walmart parking lot for overnight parking. That probably seems like not that big of a deal, but I dare you to find a place to park at 2 am in the middle of a medium sized city while driving a vehicle that obviously has a bed or two inside. It isn't impossible, but it is very difficult and nerve wracking especially when sleep deprivation is at play. 

So, since embarking on the cross country adventure I now call my life I have stayed at over twenty different Walmarts across the United States. I know that many of the anti-capitalists are appalled that this corporation has taken over so much of America that it's nearly impossible to pull into a town without spotting a Walmart, and that's valid. However in the case of my life, it is brilliant. I have a place to stay almost anywhere that I go. Not just anyplace either, a place where one can get almost anything in the world (consumable) for ridiculously low prices. 

Before I get rolling eyes or mean comments please know that I understand the policies for which Walmart has gotten a bad name, I understand that the business practices and employee treatment deserves the fire that it gets, but every cloud has a silver lining.

There is another aspect about staying in the lot that makes it easier to acclimate to the particular place we are in, and it is that every Walmart is a little bit different based on the demographic that it serves. I know that probably seems obvious, but, for example:

Some Walmarts have guns and ammo, those are the places where the boyfriend and I have to put all traces of queer in our pockets or risk having the way our faces look by the fists of rednecks
Some Walmarts put the make-up section right next to the food and the baby section just behind that. Those are the places where the boyfriend and I don't drink the water for fear of falling victim of the overwhelming patriarchy and unplanned pregnancies.

There are a few that have extensive craft sections. These, in my experience NEVER have guns or ammo, have brighter colors of makeup and nail polish and tend to have a more vibrant display of produce. The boyfriend and I tend to make friends easily in those towns.

In towns that are surrounded by farms and/or many other small towns, Walmart tends to be a little more sparse. They tend to carry bulk food items (like 20 lb bags of sugar) and the fashion options are jeans, overalls and sweat suits. 

I think it would be fair to say that the boyfriend and I have become Walmart connoisseurs. Though there have been moments where my future looked bleak waking in the parking lot of Walmart for the fourth or fifth day in a row, all-in-all I'm happy about their policy and glad I always have a place to stay. Walmart even says it on their sign. 
Thanks Walmart!

Tune in next time when I Zia Sophia sing the praises of McDonald's, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Halliburton. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Miracle.

This Christmas has been filled with joy and happiness. This morning was spent doing interpretive dance to traditional Christmas carols, watching a yule log burn on a laptop screen, drinking peppermint mochas and eating homemade crepes. Something about all the love and togetherness makes me feel more alone. 

It seems a lot more likely to me lately that I would prefer living all alone with occasional visitors and consistent internet access. I understand agoraphobia more than I ever used to. Does one get disability payments for having agoraphobia? I'm not sure that it has hit actual "phobia" level yet, but I think it has some pretty great potential to get there.
I'm still at the "preference" level I think.

Throughout my tiny human years I thought that the route to happiness was surrounding myself with admiring fans, constantly, and by any means necessary. That seems like a healthy phase to grow out of.

I have been spending the last few days since my last blog update catching up on my alone time. Which means that I have been watching embarrassing  television shows and crafting. 

Here are some of the highlights:
I created: 

*a new Etsy account which has nothing on it currently, but will soon

*an 18 pocket wall length organizer for tiny things out of a curtain and a pillowcase (total collaboration w/the boyfriend) looks cooler than it sounds, see?

* 6 homemade stockings (also a collaboration) (here are mine and the boyfriend's)

* 18 peppermint chocolate cupcakes

* 2 new pairs of earrings

* 2 barrettes

* and a miracle for a 9 year old named Mackayla
That's right, I created a miracle. 

Oh yeah, and since last update I fixed my digital camera (maybe that's obvious?) and I got a speaking role in the movie. I get called a fucking husky bitch... A-mazing.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Shopping

This year, although not much different from every other year, I am totally broke. 

Last year I spent the holiday with my Dad and his family which was very nice but pretty ritzy. They were very welcoming and didn't expect anything from me, but nothing reminds me that I are broke more adequately than being the weird girl in thrift store dress at a formal dinner party. To add insult to injury, the family members gifted each other with computers and home sound systems and other high priced goods, and I brought the homemade chocolate covered pretzels in a jaunty aluminum pan with snowmen on it, and I didn't even buy the stuff to make them myself. Yeah, pretty comfortable saying that there has never been a Christmas where my poverty was so out of place. They seemed to like the pretzels, and they all needed something to eat while playing with their new playstations and computers. Plus I put a little love into them. Come to think of it I gave best gift of all. Yay me!
So this year, I am spending Christmas in my RV that is parked in the driveway of very dear friends. It seems they might invite us in for a cup of apple cider or something, but probably, there is no formal dinner party where game-show-prize-like gifts will be exchanged 
(Grandma, tell her what she's won... A NEW HOUSE!!! complete with home sound system, state of the art robot maid and a three car garage already loaded with 3 NEW CARS!!! Merry Christmas Jane, thanks for playing)

So I made some cards and was very excited that I was on top of it this year, I had them ready for stamping and addressing before Easter... (big deal for me, I am usually at least two holidays behind) I proudly went to the post office ready to buy some Christmas stamps. The handmade envelopes are white with red detailing and I was hoping for a stamp that could match the childlike charm of the envelope. 
The person at the post office desk boasted that there were several options for Christmas postage this year, so I took one of the cards out of the bag so I could visualize the perfect stamp. 

Here were my options:
Virgin Mary, holding Jesus
Virgin Mary, holding Jesus (slightly different color scheme)
Virgin Mary, holding Jesus (old fashioned, renaissance-type styling)
Virgin Mary, holding Jesus (abstract-ish)
pine cones

Many of my beliefs in the magic of Christmas blinked one last time before extinguishing themselves permanently, and I bought the stupid pine cone stamps. I really wanted Santa Claus or Elves or a Reindeer, jumping, anything except Mary, Jesus, or pine cones.

Besides those cards, I sent only gifts that are at least two holidays behind. I sent my pop a gift that was supposed to be for Father's Day, but I missed it. I reassigned it to his birthday but then I missed that too, so in my usual fashion he's finally getting it for Christmas. I think it makes it better anyway, because some people wouldn't get a gift on say, Labor Day or St. Patrick's Day but you might if you are on my gift giving list. Sure the card will say Happy Halloween! or Happy Birthday! but you get to open it on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am very thoughtful. 

Happy Friday everyone!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

On a serious note.

I've been thinking lately about censorship, the personal kind, that we do to ourselves everyday. I put on different standards for the places I go or the people that are going to be there. 

Writing a blog makes me realize how much I keep hidden from the world. There are thoughts and events and ideas that I feel compelled to share but when I realize the diversity in the audience that might be reached I realize that my self censorship spikes out of control. 
It's very rare that a person would say the same thing to their friend that they would say to a lover or a parent, but I want to be able to break that wall. I want to be able to say what I want and not fear the judgment or persecution of the groups that are brought together by my writing. 
Honestly, it's probably not a big deal since only about 4 people read this. It is probably a safer medium for my personal thoughts and feelings than the journal that I hide under my bed. 
I have been feeling very disconnected from myself lately and the little voice that keeps my identity and social safety in check has been letting me know that it's time to try harder to "be myself" 
That time honored quote that gets passed down from generation to generation that has virtually no meaning. It seems that one has no choice but to be oneself. Though often a person finds that the oneself  thought to be is not as shiny and good and acceptable as they would like, reluctance or guilt does not make anyone less authentic.

I have been living in a perpetual state of trying to please other people with my words and actions, and it seems that no matter what I try to do there is always at least one person dissatisfied with my attempts. Obviously the only solution is to be sure that I am satisfied with each attempt. 

So, stay tuned as I, Zia Sophia take on the open road, and allow my authentic self be good enough for me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My name in lights

I did it! 
After only a few small (and not so small) hints I was able to secure myself a part in the movie.

We filmed on Sunday and I was a smashing success. I played the (very important) role of Diner number 3.
I didn't have any lines and I may have been directly behind the lead actor so that his head probably obstructed any view of me, but I was there. I know it and now all of you know it. I'm going to be FAMOUS!

The job hunt is still on, I found an adorable children's shoe store today and will apply there tomorrow when I am more appropriately dressed. Somehow I think it may dissuade them from hiring me if they can see my ass through the hole in my tights that is visible because the length of my skirt makes cheerleaders seem prudish and conservative.
Also, the whole job hunt may prove to be a moot point anyway because after some famous big-time director sees the corner of my face behind the lead actors head, he may call and arrange for my direct ascension to stardom. 
I'll go ahead and apply tomorrow anyway, just in case. 

Yesterday I came down with a 24 hour bug that had me bedridden all day. I had a fever and felt generally unwell. I have always used that excuse in order to get out of school commitments or work so that I could nurse a hangover or go ride rollercoasters, I had no idea that a 24 hour bug actually existed. 

Next thing a dog will eat my homework, a unicorn will come by to offer me a ride to the end of the rainbow where a leprechaun will be holding out his pot of gold and Santa Claus will come down my chimney bearing gifts.

Until next time, I Zia Sophia will attempt to take on the golden road to fame.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

No Business Like Show Business

I have officially become involved with the movie business. 

I know that many of you have found yourselves seething with jealousy. I would've too, before I got involved. It all seems very glamorous from the outside. 

Here is what I've been doing as a production assistant (fancy title right?) for the past 2 days:

Making Coffee
Setting cold food out on a table and trying to keep it cold.
Setting hot food out on a table and trying to keep it hot.
Making Coffee

We were parked on location (that's movie business talk for a Public Storage parking lot) and from the RV served food and coffee. Sometimes (not often mind you) we are called upon to move something, otherwise though, my days have been spent killing time until someone wants to eat. 
Yesterday I had a bit of a thrill when the Public Storage employee came over to see what we were up to. I thought there might be some drama and intrigue, I thought we might have to fight her and lock her in the RV bathroom so we could stay parked there. 
I forgot though that I am involved in the most glamorous thing possible. After informing her that we were set up to cater for the movie that was being filmed only feet away, her eyes lit up and she immediately wanted to be BFFs with us. She told us to let her know if we needed anything. 

Damn, that had great potential for some time-killing drama.

Today was a long one. I gave a little too much attention to a bottle of Jameson last night and far too little attention to my bed, so the incessant waiting and lack of drama got to me. I had no other choice and had to start picking fights with the boyfriend. 

When the cast and crew finally came to see us (they were there for the food and coffee but it makes me feel important to say they were there for a visit) the boyfriend and I couldn't stop spewing sarcasm at each other and some of it splashed onto them. They may come to visit even less frequently now, or maybe they'll come more often, with chairs and popcorn.

The film shoot is set to span three more weekends, Friday through Sunday. I have let some subtle hints out toward the director that I wouldn't mind filling in for any actors that fall through. I'll keep my fingers crossed for that. 


Stay tuned as I Zia Sophia take on the open road, and now the movie business too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting Paid to be Zia Sophia

I have a new goal. Well, I really only have the one, but it's new...

I want to get paid to be Zia Sophia. 
Kimya Dawson wrote a song in which some of the lyrics describe how she always wanted to get paid to be herself and now she does. That is a worthy goal. 

I have been job hunting for over a week now, and I realized that I just want to do what I do and get paid to be awesome. My fancy dad (fancy dad = step dad) says that it's highly improbable that anyone would want to pay me to just walk around and look at things, but Rachel Ray gets paid for it and she's pretty dull. 

I don't have any brilliant ideas for how to insure that people know I exist, which I believe to be step 1. 
I'm on facebook and I have this blog. I travel around the country and talk to people, but mostly I talk to poor people. They would probably pay me to be me if they had any money but... they may need showers more than they need to support my lifestyle.

Someone suggested that I put cameras in my motorhome and have a live internet feed that people can watch, but I fear that the boyfriend and I would need to produce more drama... we may need an evil twin or a stalker in order to provide intrigue, and then it would be more like getting paid to act rather than earning a living by simply existing. 

Maybe I could wear a sandwich board that says:
Hi, My name is Zia Sophia, I would like you to follow me around and tip me if I do something you like. 

That might at least get my foot in the door. I wonder where I could walk around wearing that. A business district? 

Now that I have decided to settle for a little while in Austin I bet I could gather a following, literally. 
I guess that I would need to set up some boundaries, like not following me into the bathroom or into the RV, but some of my best work is done there...

Hmmmm, If anyone has any brilliant ideas I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gone Fishing

I spent all day yesterday fishing. 
A couple days ago I was talking to a friend and she said that she asked her boyfriend to treat her like a queen, he laughed and said that he'd take her ice fishing. 
She thought that sounded romantic until another friend told her that it was just an excuse to sit on a frozen lake and get wasted on cheap beer.
That was pretty much how my day yesterday was, except we were on the bank of a lake that wasn't frozen. 
I polished off a six pack and then lay down on the rocky bank to work on my sunburn.
There was a young guy set up near me who must have been a fish whisperer, he put his line near the water and caught fish after fish. The boyfriend went to bribe some information out of him with a slightly warm can of heineken. The man gave the boyfriend a lesson that went something like this:

Man: See, to catch a fish you have to put a worm on the hook and then put the hook in the water
The Boyfriend: Oh, I see. 
Man: Then you wait a minute, they like to strike while it's sinking or else when it's been in there awhile
The Boyfriend: Right, right

At this point I can't imagine how the boyfriend was still listening. I think that either I am terribly rude, or he is terribly polite. If it were me talking to the "all knowing fish guy" who told me that I have to fish in order to catch fish I think I would have told him to enjoy his warm beer and have been out of there. Or I may have asked questions like; "So you need a pole?" "What is that clear string you have on the pole? Is that important?" "Oh you put a worm on the hook, that makes so much more sense." The boyfriend (who is a better person than me) stayed to hear the rest. 

Man: Then you set down the pole and when they bite, you'll know.
The Boyfriend: Okay
Man: Oh, see? There's one now. 

We had been trying with similar bait, in a similar spot all day and caught nothing, he put his line in the water and, presto, like magic, another fish. I'm pretty sure he was Jesus. He spends most of his days fishing, bought a condo on the lake for ease of access and fishes because he likes to cook. He was a fascinating man.

Three hours later with the helpful advice from Jesus, The Boyfriend (finally) caught a fish. 
It was a white bass. For those of you who don't know, the white bass is a particularly hearty fish...

The Boyfriend had to muscle it onto land, it was a fighter. 

--I picked up all my fishing lingo from the boyfriend, Jesus and an old fisherman in Cascade Idaho. For those of you who don't know, when a fish is referred to as "a fighter" it means that it had a will to live. That fish did not just jump onto shore, coat itself in bread crumbs and jump into the frying pan. Another important note about "fighting fish" is that the fight gets bigger the older the story is, same is true for the size of the fish. I share this with you because it took me a few (some embarrassing) attempts to use my fish lingo correctly with other fisherpeople. Anglers, like everyone with a hobby, enjoy believing that they are special, and therefore have a secret code. Probably why people have hobbies at all, because they like having secret codes--

So back to my story, the boyfriend got it onto land, after a hearty fight.


He took the hook out, strung it onto the string so it couldn't get away and hit it HARD on the head with a rock. Nothing happened. (it was supposed to die) So he truck it again HARD, nothing. 
This went on for a several more attempts. The whole time he was excitedly yelling at me that there were indeed fish in the lake and that I needed to get my line back in the water to catch them.

After about nine failed attempts at killing the fish the boyfriend decided that though it was cruel to make the fish suffocate, it couldn't be any worse that repeatedly beating it about the head with a rock, so he left it on land and continued fishing. 
About an hour later, after the sun went down and I could no longer feel my fingers or toes (I was in sandals, which apparently, even though Jesus (the real one not the guy who gave fishing lessons yesterday) wore them, they are not appropriate fishing shoes, unless one wants to be laughed at) we went back to the RV.

We put the dead looking fish in some saran wrap and stuck it in the fridge. We drove to an RV park about two hours away. We played a game of Skip-Bo and once the water was hot the boyfriend was ready to clean the fish. The fish that had been out of water and in the fridge for hours.

The boyfriend put it in water and it breathed. It scared the hell out of him, and then he cut off it's head as fast as he could. We never meant to torture the fish, but obviously we underestimated it's will to live. 
The head was cut off and inside a plastic bag in the sink, I walked past it and it moved. One of the fins was rapidly going and it's eyes were moving around. 

I screamed something like "It's eyes, aaaarrrrrhghghghg! Oh my God. Why is it moving?!? And then I did the only logical thing; I stood in one place and jumped up and down while flailing my hands at the bottom of my outstretched arms. 
Then I realized the actual logical thing to do and I walked away so I didn't have to look into the moving eyes of the fish head. Once the head was wrapped up in the bag and thrown away I went back to fillet the fish.

The fish tasted good, Yum!

Today, I take on the open road for a short jaunt to Austin, 46 miles away.