Friday, June 30, 2006

pretty much the best volunteer job ever

so last saturday i hardly got any sleep, getting home late from san jose and getting up early to volunteer at a baby contest. now, i'm not really sure what i think about the idea of a baby contest, where parents subject their infant children to the scrutiny of strangers [college kids with no formal human-classification training]. on the other hand, the kids are too little to understand whether they are judged to be a 'good egg' or otherwise, so it can't be too damaging. [reportedly, there were some 18-month olds who could do sign language....]
my job was help with the stroller congestion. i made myself a sign that i clipped on my back and a smaller one for my front, saying 'my name is jeff and i can take your stroller for you.'
may i say, i was a darn good stroller patroller.

now this weekend, i'm working with the stadium of fire. the same girl who got me involved in the baby event helped us sign up for the stadium of fire and promised us 'cool jobs'.
man, did she come through in spades.

i didn't get on as an assistant stage manager, but me and my friends are on the props crew. the morning was kind of slow, as we didn't really know each other or what we were supposed to be doing. but i did like the perks like having giant coolers all over the cougar stadium full of drinks for us to take at our heart's desires, the cool official passes that hung around our necks, and the occiasional golf cart drive.

the run-through rehearsal tonight, however, was aweseome.

me and mark [my new roommate] got ourselves some radios also, making us look that much cooler and official, so much that some teenage kids asked us how they could get passes like ours.

but we didn't have time to talk, as we made our way through the crowds down to the tank.
yes, a large, real tank.
we made sure it was able to move around without killing anyone as it drove onto the field to fire at the end of the opening patriotic number.
and to the credit of the adolescent dancers on the field right in front of it, only one girl lost her poise when that thing blasted.

from there we rush back to the other end of the stadium and help set up for the family competition, hosted by raven symone. on our way, american idol winner taylor hicks passes us in the hall, and he looks me in the eye. i've seen about a total of five minutes of the show that brought forth his fame, so i feel a little sheepish about bandwagonly thinking it's cool to see him,
but he does have one heck of a strut. i would have voted for him for that alone.
why he looks at me, i cannot say for sure. but i have been told for many years that i have a very distinctive walk [though i think it has changed over time] and i think he can sense that in me.....

the actually competing families will not be playing the games tonight, leaving the amazing props crew to enact the bedlam for the rehearsal.
raven comes out and is pretty cool, being a genuinely good sport while reading from her cue cards that seem rather inaccurate as she introduces the families.
game one has mom putting a hot dog in a bun, then having child #1 shooting 'ketchup' from a classic-style bottle across the stage onto said hot dog.
mom passes to dad, played byy me, child #2 repeats with 'mustard'. i then run over
to raven who slops 'relish' on the hot dog and places it on the tv tray.
whomever has the most at the end wins that game.

we won, and i left rather soaked. i'm very grateful that tonight was just water, and not the corn-syrupy condiment concoction that we will be making for tomorrow.

something happens on the main stage, but i forget what.

game two involves dad [again played by the author of 'sheep go to heaven'] being dressed in several layers of clothes, each family member adding a different layer. we again whalloped the other family, and got my picture with the former 'cosby show' actress.

attention then goes back to the main stage for battle of the oldies tribute bands. this exhibition is made up of 'majesty' the queen wannabes, 'still surfing', channeling the great beach boys, and 'almost abba', who are almost swedish.

what makes this really kind of fun is that each act also has a group of groupie-dancers down in front of their stage. while i have respect for queen and all those who try to be them, and the beach boys' 'pet sounds' is my #1 'desert island' cd, it's 'almost abba' who really does get me
dancing for all of this.
with 'dancing queen', 'waterloo', and 'mama mia',how can i resist you?

then mr. hicks comes out and sings his songs.
sure, whatever. i like some of kelly clarkson's music that i hear on the radio, but never have gotten into american idol.
this dude does play a mean harmonica, though. that's really cool.

us prop crew peoples are hoping he'll be a little more of an entertainer tomorrow night when there're actual people in the seats.

but we just hang out with raven on our little side stage.
now, i do feel a little guilty about this.
see, i know her mostly as that cute little girl who said cute little things to the legendary bill cosby on what is probably the greatest television show in history.
but she's done a lot since then, evidently even having some show where she has psychic powers [works for me....] and being friends with hilary duff. this means there are lots of cute teen and pre-teen dancer girls all around us who would give their right foot to talk with raven, yet the
security people keep them away from her. while we all sit and talk about american idol and how none of us really know much about it.

said she, 'for someone who's a tv personality, i don't watch much tv.'

i feel better for not having seen her eponymous show.

please don't imagine us sitting there in normal clothes. rather, picture me in a clear poncho, wearing safety goggles [raven gets trendier-looking safety glasses] and a hat that looks like a rather shallow bucket with large nails coming from it, for that is indeed what it be.
see, for game three, the family members throw water balloons at dad, who attempts to harpoon them and catch the water in the bucket-hat and dump it into another bucket.
as fun as it sounds, and our family won again, getting me on camera with raven all over the stadium's nu skin big screen in my goofy get-up.
you really don't imagine these moments in your life, but when they come, you treasure them forever.

we used water today, but for the actual event, it will be a goopy corn syrup mixture.
goo, indeed.

yes, i'm rather sad that i missed an invitation to go to lagoon, but this was a seriously dang evening.
i'm excited for tomorrow.

[i'm in the red shirt in the back, there....]


Em said...

Wow Jeff, you may have just managed to become cooler than you already were.... which is a stretch.
I congratulate you on appreciating your opportunity and noticing things about it that were worth noticing. And for managing to share the whole experience without ever once flirting with becoming a braggart.

-->jeff * said...

thanks, em.
you always manage to brighten my day, especially when i need it the most!