Monday, June 25, 2012


Spurred on by some recent events, but just in general, after being able to fly, of course, these are my chosen superpowers:

- When someone is driving below the speed limit, I could use my mind to make their car go faster, and consequently freak them out while easing my commute

- The ability to instantaneously turn fat and ugly (or perhaps just frumpy and plain) when doing things such as passing a construction site, walking past homeless people, or standing outside waiting for something near a roadway to avoid catcalls.

- Some way of projecting both my bank balance and my credit score to store clerks when I'm just browsing and they keep bothering me.  Same thing for homeless people.

- Be able to give one single look that scares every single misbehaving child on the planet into becoming quiet and respectable

- Emit some sort of gross smell or irritating sound frequency that targets only ugly guys considering hitting on me, and it gets stronger the closer they get to me

- A force to physically get me to an exercise site and make me exercise

- Some sort of magical shower device that cleans my body and hair, but I don't have to take all the time to redo my hair and makeup

- If someone doesn't use their turn signal at a necessary time, their horn will blast for 30 seconds without being able to stop it

Monday, June 18, 2012


Yesterday I got myself out of my house to go on a hike through Griffith Park.  Being outside makes me feel infinitely better, and I figured exercise couldn't hurt.  That and it's free.  I hike up the hill to the Griffith Observatory, which, for those that aren't familiar, is a planetarium overlooking LA that was built in the 30s and has lots of exhibits on space inside.  It, too, is gloriously free, and the view is amazing, so I make it up there about once a month.

Walking around the exhibits, I start reading about the sun, types of stars, meteorites that had been found in the US, and other space things.  I usually don't stay too long, since it's usually pretty crowded, but yesterday was different.  I got a lot more engaged in the exhibits than normal.  As you walk down this ramp to the lower level, there's a whole wall of star-shaped jewels, pins, earrings, and other shiny things that have obviously been collected over the years from lots and lots of people.  The line of stars goes all the way down to the bottom of the ramp, which is a good half of the circular building, and it's to represent the big bang and the things that have occurred in the time since that.

It goes through probably 40 feet of sparkly stars before you even get to the creation of the Milky Way.  Then, within a couple of feet, you have the sun, planets, and present day.  That 40 feet represented BILLIONS of years before the earth even existed.  And considering the earth is what, 4.6 billion (could look it up, but too lazy) years old, it kind of blows your mind.  Then there's the amount of time earth existed before life of any kind came about, which is longer than life HAS been around.  On the lower level, there's also a scale model of the solar system, showing each planet in relation to the others.  Earth next to Jupiter is so insignificant.  And then, in reality, Jupiter is insignificant compared to stars, which are insignificant compared to our galaxy, and so on out to other galaxies and space that we only guess what might exist.

I have been feeling relatively depressed for the past month due to lack of employment and other issues arising out of said unemployment, and suddenly to realize just how insignificant I was in the realm of space and time was almost a comfort.  What happens in my life is as insignificant to the universe as what happens to one particular grain of sand (with which I may never come into contact) in my lifetime.  The fact that the earth exists is fairly inconsequential to every other star and every other galaxy, so the fact that I even exist is not even worth mentioning in the grand scheme of the universe.

So how can something so insignificant have problems that seem so large?  That was definitely a lesson in perspective.  I'm just a conglomeration of particles with electrical impulses that to me turn into pain, suffering, happiness, and excitement...and we don't even really know what that means yet.  The mind hasn't been completely figured out.  Because I am nothing, my problems are nothing.  One person being unemployed versus a giant star dying and sucking millions of planets and other stars into its implosion?

It may baffle some people that this thought relaxes me.  That something I do wrong really affects nothing in the whole grand scheme of the universe.  If I fail or if I succeed, I have changed nothing relating to anything of consequence in this ever-expanding universe.  Even on earth, did the fact that one t-rex ate a particular small dinosaur do anything to affect history as we know it?

Some people turn to religion to feel comfort in times of hardship.  It comforts them to think everything is "god's plan."  I don't really find it comforting to think that some puppetmaster decided Johnny the hobo was destined to sleep under a bridge and get beaten to death by some crackheads.  I'm comforted by science because not only is it simply fascinating that we exist, but how awe-inspiring something as large as the universe is, and how everything is just a piece of something else.  I'm not aware of the life of a particular electron in my body, and I'm like that electron in the universe.  Necessary for some reason, but still inconsequential to nearly everything.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Dear Life,

First off, I would like to thank you for the fact that I got into my master's program and that I got a nice chunk of scholarship money from USC.  That was probably the best thing that's happened in my life since I moved to California.

While I appreciate the magnitude of awesome that was presented to me in the way of school, I don't think it's quite the caliber of luck (say, winning $10 million) that would justify YOU SHITTING ALL OVER ME for my remaining 80 days as a non-student.  Seriously, I got the picture.  Once is enough.

After my minor breakdown and extreme necessity of a trip to visit my parents, somehow you came through with airline points to get me a free flight, despite it leaving at 1:35am.  I'll take what I can get, no complaints.  The vacation was nice, and restful, and I was ready to face you head on when I returned home.  I wasn't, however, ready for all the fun you had planned for me.

I'd only been en route from Columbia to LA for 8ish hours when I finally reached my car and was prepared to drive it home and crash in my somewhat uncomfortable but at least fully reclined bed, but I found you left me a surprise - every electrical device in my car was dead.  No lights, no electric locks, no pushing the alarm button, no turning over of the ignition.  At first this didn't seem like a huge problem, since it was my (WRONG) assumption that I knew at least one human being in this town with jumper cables.  In fact, I do not.

Adding on to that fact, I also did not have roadside assistance coverage through Honda, through my insurance, or through AAA, which I had cancelled because $50 a month is not something I can be throwing around all willy nilly.  45 minutes later, I'm finally attempting to dial a towing service in hopes they can come jump my car, and right in front of me pulls up a man in a car, who GETS OUT JUMPER CABLES, and attaches them to another car 10 feet away from me.  Life just threw me a bone!

With Archie's help (the retired gentleman who lived across the street, and was moving his car for street cleaning the next day), I was able to charge my car and get home.  I breathe a sigh of relief and get home to bed.  But you're not done, are you?  Of course not.

The next morning I wake up and send emails to the two companies I'd been waiting on to get back to me about legal temp work that they said they had coming up.  Within minutes, BOTH companies wrote back and said that they were either cancelled or severely cut back, and I wasn't going to be working anytime soon.  FAN FUCKING TASTIC.  I have $46 in cash, an empty gas tank, a $500 check to deposit, and two days off my meds to make me feel that much better.  I stop at the pharmacy, spend the $40 on my prescriptions, get $6 in gas so I can make it to the bank, and go deposit my check, which is promptly sent to Honda to pay for my car payment I missed 2 weeks ago.

I'm feeling shit on again, so something makes me stop at the corner store and use $3 in quarters to buy 3 scratch off lotto tickets.  In the magical moment I had there in that corner store, my first ticket gave me $20!  The rest did nothing, but I was happy I was $17 up.  Then I get home and find an email from a friend asking me to do a few hours of work for her company the next day since I'm painfully unemployed.  I agree and begin to think things are turning around.  HA.  HAAAAAHAHA.

The next day, I make it to the office and begin doing the postage work I've been hired to do, and then I go to load my car with my finished boxes to take back to the post office - and to pick up more customs forms.  In the process of loading my trunk, I thought it would be a good idea to set my keys down IN the trunk, and then shut it.  I stand in awe for a second at the marvel that is me getting shat on for the eleventy billionth time in 48 hours, and walk down the street to ask the guys at the auto body shop for some help.

It turns out I drive the safest car on the planet, because with all the lock popping tools in the world these guys cannot unlock my car.  It takes them 45 minutes and about 50 different strategies before they end up being able to pop my trunk, at which point I am so grateful/feel so bad that I give them the $20 bill I so gloriously won in the lottery the night before.  This feels especially obnoxious since I gave them $20 (well-earned, but still) for 45 minutes, while I'm making $15 an hour.

When I finally load the car with the boxes, I have the pleasure of driving to the post office that is less than 1 mile away during some sort of manhunt with cops and police helicopters shutting off lanes of traffic.  It only takes 20 minutes to go a mile.  I'm so flustered at this point that I take the boxes inside, get them shipped, and walk out WITHOUT more customs forms - which are required for me to finish my job and actually get paid.  Don't realize this til I get back, and once I do, I pretend I just want to take more boxes to the post office, turn right around, and get back in the 20 minute traffic jam because I'm a dumb piece of shit who can't remember to get a stack of forms when that is ONE OF TWO things I'm supposed to do on an errand.

I walk back in 40 minutes later and the boss asked me "Did you get shot?" referencing the shooter the police were chasing through the neighborhood.  No, I replied, but it might have been easier if I had.  In fact, I started thinking - had I gotten shot somewhere like the arm, I'd have a few days in the hospital, it wouldn't be a part of my body that would be especially painful to have disfigured (unlike my face, torso, or legs), and I'd get fucking disability so I could actually pay for my life until school starts.  But of course, Life,  you wouldn't let me get shot.  That's too easy.

I'm actually scared to see what you'll come up with next.  I'm hesitant to leave my house, in case my car gets towed, catches fire, dies on the freeway.  I'd consider becoming an alcoholic or some sort of pill addict, but I'm too fucking poor.  I can't even buy a whole tank of gas, let alone drugs.

 So please.  I know I've had a streak of luck this year, but good lord, it was only a couple of things.  I don't need to be beaten down every single day to be grateful for it.  It's kind of funny now, but a couple more days of this might send me to the mental hospital, or jail - depending on how I handle it.  Let's just not push this too far, mmkay?  That'd be great.  Thanks.