Thursday, December 31, 2015

ASPIRING IDIOT

Seeing as New Years is, well, right now, I felt the urge to get off my ass theoretically (which requires me to be physically on my ass, since typing standing up is weird) and write some shit.  You can't expect to make a dent in "being a writer" if you don't actually write.

My recent excuse is that my life is not particularly interesting right now - which is quite true, if you ask me what I did all day.  But if I look deeper, I can find the funny.

For Christmas I got a Fitbit, which turned many of my close friends and now my mother into raging lunatics who walk in circles in the kitchen so a computer will know they took 10,000 steps a day and send them a congratulatory email or an emoji of a happy donut.  I'm hoping that it will turn me into some sort of insane person who moves more than I do, because currently my life pace is that of "sloth," and not the cute kind you see in Facebook videos.

I knew it was working when the first day I got it, the Fitbit told me I had walked about 3,000 steps and slept 10.3 hours.  At least I knew I didn't have to send it back and now believe in the scientific accuracy of its abilities, since that was exactly what I did on Christmas day.  My parents kept asking me why I slept all the time when I was home, but they didn't seem to notice that my room is about as bright as coffin and my bed is as comfy as the dead people make coffins look.

One of the myriad problems with being a single female living in a studio apartment with two cats, aside from the obvious ones, is finding someone to look after them when I go out of town. I don't get out much, as one would imagine, so the times I go out of town are exactly the same times others do.  Yes, cats are self-sufficient, but I'm more worried about them somehow setting my apartment on fire than dying of starvation while I'm gone.  Seriously, it's happened before.

This time, I had a friend who wasn't leaving until Christmas Eve, and I was returning on the 26th, so I thought that those twoish days would be no problem for my animals that sleep even more than I do, but I've been wrong before. Like the time I came home and found that Rudy (the fat one) had managed to TURN ON THE GAS STOVE, complete with flame, while I was gone TO WORK for EIGHT HOURS. My apartment was 90 degrees inside in the dead of winter when I arrived home to the "tick tick tick" of the burner lighter that had likely been on nearly the entire day.

He has also managed to cause a sequence of events that started with knocking over golf clubs and ended with my lantern being ripped from the ceiling by its cord (during a weekend away) and locking himself IN the room with the litter box while consequently locking the other cat OUT, resulting in an odd-but-explainable cat shit in the bathtub drain.

This time, after arriving 45 minutes late to LAX around 1am and watching Charlie Sheen smoke with an airport cop while waiting for my Super Shuttle, I wasn't quite prepared for what awaited me.  I walked into my apartment and it looked like someone had sprinkled the entire place with cat litter, like some sort of fucked up fairy dust, my Hello Kitty stuffed animal was across the room from where she belonged, one of the cats (Rudy, no doubt) had taken it upon himself to scrape litter out of the box and onto the floor in front of the box thereupon making a second makeshift litter box on the floor that confused the other cat into using the floor instead of the actual box, and multiple unimportant things were on the floor instead of on counters or shelves where they belonged.

This all happened in TWO DAYS.  It's like leaving a fucking teenager alone with the liquor cabinet for the weekend. I'm not sure how they punted a large stuffed animal across the room or how the coverage of cat litter was both thorough and evenly distributed across the apartment, but it took me about an hour or vacuuming to feel as though I wasn't living in a zoo cage with monkeys that throw shit at you.  And I KNOW if Rudy had opposable thumbs that bastard would throw shit at me and then want to come cuddle.

Happy New Year, me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

THIS ISN'T FUNNY.

Tonight I was waiting in the subway station as I do nearly every day when I have to work downtown (yes, I still live in LA, for those of you who are questioning my riding a subway). I like taking the train because it's fast and I can avoid traffic. I hate taking the train because of the people on the train. There are 50 different varieties of homeless people, from the ones that sleep across two seats and smell like piss to the ones that decide to make the captive audience their personal donation fund, walking back and forth spouting the same bullshit about needing change.

There are elderly Asian women and teenagers of all races, tourists and locals, people like me who have jobs downtown and people who were just given a Metro card on their way out of the county jail. Despite the cast of characters, I've never once felt like my personal safety was in jeopardy or that I was likely to be robbed. However, there are plenty of people, both crazy and "normal," who try to talk to me. I don't like this. Usually I put my headphones in with the cord attached to nothing inside my purse just so it looks like I'm listening to something so people won't talk to me.

I left my headphones at work today. It was a deliberate decision, not an accident - I thought "why roll them up and put them back in my purse when I won't use them until I am at work again tomorrow?" This was a bad decision.

It was 8:30pm and the metro station wasn't full like it is in rush hour. I walked down the stairs and stood waiting for the train as I played Candy Crush on my phone. There was a homeless dude sleeping on the bench, a group of mid-twenties black kids with skateboards and big headphones, and an older woman who may or may not have been homeless but was wearing a knit cap on top of a hood, which was just weird.

I'm going to address this because it exists and it's relevant to the story: I am not racist. I'm not "scared" of black people. I don't pull my purse closer to me when I see a group of black kids. I take all my cues from the way people act, regardless of race, and base my actions on that. In fact, the woman with the double head-warmer had a sketchy look in her eyes and kept getting close to me so I decided to avoid what I feared might be a potential pickpocket and moved away from her to stand near the group of black guys because they were simply talking amongst themselves like normal people.

I'm playing Candy Crush for about two minutes when one of the guys approaches me. I look up, and he says something I can't hear because a train is coming through. I ask him to repeat it. It was something along the lines of "You look pretty." I politely thanked him and went back to my game. But he kept talking. Telling me how nice I looked, how he thought I was just super cute, how he loved my hair. I thanked him again, because I do honestly think he was being sincere and I didn't feel threatened by him - just uncomfortable to be singled out.

It, to me, was the same as someone whistling at me on the sidewalk, or catcalling me as I walk by. I shouldn't have to justify what I was wearing, but for the record it was jeans, a long-sleeved striped shirt with a high collar, and a gigantic shawl/scarf wrapped around me for warmth. It was possibly the least slutty thing I could've worn. While he wasn't being vulgar at all, he was only talking about my looks, over and over again. Then he went a little further and started full on talking about how we should hang out, how I should take his number, how he wanted to touch my hair. Other than the hair touching part, nothing he said was really over the line. I think he just honestly thought that was how you get a girl to go out with you.

Now here's the caveat - had this guy been a white guy, I would have shut him down with snark in a hot second. If you're bothering me and making me uncomfortable, I have no problem walking away and being a bitch. This goes for people on the street, on the train or in a bar. However, I felt like I needed to be nicer because he was black. I didn't want him to think I was racist, or that I was rejecting him because he was black. I have witnessed friends who were either hit on in a vulgar way or catcalled by a black guy and when they ignored him (because his comments were inappropriate and warranted no response) they'd yell "Oh it's cause I'm black, huh?" as we walked away.

I was rejecting him because he made me uncomfortable. Because I have no interest in meeting a potential date in a subway station.  Because he treated me like I was just something to look at. Because my polite refusal to give him my number didn't deter him. Because I have severe social anxiety and don't like to talk to ANY STRANGERS. Because he either couldn't see or ignored the fact that I was getting progressively more uncomfortable. Because he would not leave me alone.

When the train came, I got on a different car than he did, and he yelled "You want me to come sit with you?" I shook my head no and quickly found a seat next to an older woman. I felt so vulnerable because I let it go on so long. I was angry at myself that I let race factor into my decision not to stand up for myself in the likely bitchy way I wanted to. And because of that, the comments started to make me feel like less of a person. Not a 3-degree-holding attorney, but a delicate flower that exists only for the amusement of men.

I almost had a panic attack on the train. I felt like I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. It was tough to hold the tears til I got to my car 10 stops away. Was I weak? Was I racist? Why am I so uncomfortable with people? Why did he choose to talk to the one person in the train station that had crippling social anxiety? Why do I look approachable?

I've been catcalled and I hate it, but this was like catcalling a captive. I couldn't escape. I was trapped.

Why do men think this is okay? How can you not tell you're making me uncomfortable? Why do you keep going until I want to scream "GO AWAY"? Why do you then think it's okay to get angry with me?

Is there somewhere other than Asia where this is not a thing? Because Asia's awfully far away. Maybe I need to get back in the courtroom in my suit and fuck some shit up.  I don't know, but something needs to change.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

THE 7 TYPES OF FACEBOOK STALKING

We all Facebook stalk. It's just a thing we do. But Facebook stalking isn't just for that guy or girl you're hoping to date - there's a whole slew of different reasons to stalk:

1. The classic "I have a crush on you so I'm going to look at every photo of you from today back to when Facebook began even if it takes all damn night"

2. The "you look like you got plastic surgery and I'm going to go back through your photos to find out when the drastic change occurred and how long you've successfully hidden it" - the best is when you find conclusive proof and show your friends how great you are at sleuthing.

3. Everybody's favorite "who the hell is that girl/guy in your photo and are you dating them?" Why do you have no relationship status up? She's not in your profile pic, she can't be that important. Maybe she's just a coworker but I'll be damned if I don't find out more.

4. "Are you pregnant or have you just gained weight?" The key for this one is looking for alcohol in photos - is she the only one without wine in that girl's night photo? Bottle of water at a music fest when everyone else has beers? Preggo, for sure.

5. "You blatantly photoshop every picture you post of yourself so I'm going to find one you're tagged in by someone else and figure out what you REALLY look like." Inches off the waist? Hair longer? Eyes that are a cartoonish color of blue? I haven't seen you in years but I'm going to find out what you're hiding.

6. The "very subtle name change (i.e. from Sally Jones to Sally Marie with no last name) and many recent pictures alone that seem to indicate you got divorced" - of course you have to go see if they still have their wedding album in their photos, that's the key.

7. "We just started dating and I want to see if you're a complete psychopath/who my competition is/if you're a raging alcoholic/etc"  Hmm, so you dated that girl in 2009, she's only a 6. How come every pic of you has beer in it? Why do you have a beer in your hand at a baby shower? Maybe that's a red flag, combined with the picture of you passed out with a penis drawn on your face and the one where you can see how nasty your apartment is in the background...

Friday, September 11, 2015

I. AM NOT. A SCREWUP.

Ok, let's get something clear. I am not a screw up. Sure, I feel like it sometimes, but let's look at things in perspective. I am not addicted to drugs. I've never been arrested. I do not live in my parents' basement. I have, at one or more points in time, been gainfully employed and been good at what I do. I have attended and graduated from not one, not two, but THREE top 50 universities.

But I'm unemployed. So all of the above go flying out the window and I'm officially a terrible person who is lazy, incompetent, untrustworthy, dishonest and doesn't deserve happiness of any kind until I can be a functioning member of society. Well guess what? That's not MY decision. Someone has to hire ME. Do I wish I could walk in to Barnes and Noble and say "Hey, I'm gonna start working here today, hope that's cool with you" and walk out with a check and hopefully a discount on books (duh)??  YES I DO. Can that happen? NOPE.

Since everyone seems to think I make terrible life decisions, let's go through them individually.

1) Going to law school

Never once did I regret this. Not even when I was trying to not be a lawyer. Law school gave me confidence, knowledge, and the ability to form logical and coherent arguments that have helped me immensely in the years since I graduated. Not only that but I made fabulous friends with whom I still keep in contact. It was an amazing experience regardless of what my potential career might be.

2) Moving to Kansas City

If anyone DOESN'T know about the toxic work environment I left when I quit the prosecutor's office in Texas and moved to Missouri then those people are not allowed to judge ANY PART of my life. And although I moved without a job, I got one within a few weeks, passed the bar, and was hired by my second prosecutor's office within three months.

3) Moving to LA

Here's where people get on my shit. "Oh, you shouldn't have moved to LA without a job." I left my job at the prosecutor's office in January, and I didn't move til July. Guess what I was doing all that time?  JOB HUNTING. People aren't super willing to hire someone who can't come in for an interview the next day because they have to catch a plane. They also don't want to pay moving expenses, not that I ever expected that. But I also didn't expect that I would HAVE to move in order to be considered for jobs, which was something that I talked about with my parents at length and they agreed I had a better shot if I was local.

Do you know how many people move to LA without jobs every year? Probably more than any other city in the WORLD. And many of them don't even have degrees, let alone two.

I tried SO HARD to get a job here not being a lawyer.  SO HARD.  Hundreds of applications.  No calls. I did film extra work when I could get it and attempted retail (but the way I was treated by my boss wasn't worth $10/hour and it cost nearly that much to get there from my apartment). When I got my document review jobs, I was angry they were in law, but I kept them because they paid money.  The nature of said job is that it is NOT STEADY.  However, comparing $30/hour for a few weeks a month versus $10-15 for a steady part time job is a no-brainer when it comes to how much money I could make, so I stuck with the less-reliable work that could pay my rent in one week.

4) Going back to school

At the time I saw no other option. I had stuck myself in a very specific corner of a very specific field and I had no experience doing ANYTHING else.  No one would hire me.  It took two years of looking for jobs before I realized I had to go back to school so I could get some skills and the career services office and networking potential I needed to get a job.

Regardless of whether or not I intend to do PR ever, grad school was a very necessary turning point in my life - I would never have been diagnosed with PTSD if I hadn't had panic attacks my second semester (thanks, accounting) and I wouldn't have been able to get on the right medication and therapy to finally figure out that it was not LAW that I was averse to, but the fact that I had been severely bullied at my first job so badly that it actually affected how I performed any job after that.

So going back to school was necessary for my diagnosis and subsequent recovery process.  Despite my uncertainty, I still applied to HUNDREDS (yes, I kept some count) of marketing/PR jobs all up and down the West Coast. I didn't even limit myself to LA.  I was being very open about moving, getting a new job, starting over...well that shit didn't happen.

When I was called in August of last year to work on a doc review project for $32 an hour, I jumped at it, knowing I could still apply for other things and leave if I got a real job.

5) Taking the bar

Ok guys, this is where I got my shit together. Getting my shit together means forming a plan, having a path and an idea of what I am going to do with myself, readying myself for potential jobs, studying my ass off (about as much as I did for Texas, which was a decent amount) for two months.  This is where you cannot judge me anymore.

When I took the Texas bar, I was completely unemployed.  I spent the whole time either studying or laying by my pool. 90% of the time I was studying for the California bar, I was employed full time. Yes, employed.  So I studied AND worked AT THE SAME TIME. If that's not NOT LAZY, I don't know what is. People seem to forget the employed part because it coincided with the other big event in my life.

Now that the bar is over, I have to wait. I don't choose to wait, I HAVE TO. I won't know if I passed or failed until November 20th, and NO ONE will hire me before that. That is not an exaggeration. Because of how hard the CA bar is and the low pass rate, literally no one will hire me as an attorney until I have confirmation that I passed.  I had friends in Texas who had a job immediately after the bar that just trusted they would pass.  That doesn't happen here.  Ever.

There are many many jobs out there that I am qualified for and can apply for once I pass the bar. It is not my fault that the graders take 4 months. It is also not my fault that the doc review job I had ended the week after I took the bar and they haven't had anything new since. I do not control the ebb and flow of document review.

As for people telling me to get "any job," let me break it down for you - I either a) leave everything on my resume and don't get called back or b) take everything off my resume and don't get called back because I have a gap of 11 years (assuming I keep college on there). What the fuck was I doing for 11 years?  Was I in prison? Was I in a mental hospital? What am I hiding?  Do you see why they wouldn't want to even bother with me when they have Tom who has a very straightforward resume that says he worked at Best Buy and Coffee Bean?

Also LA is PRIME for people without degrees having way too many skills in a certain area - see: waiting tables. When I first got here, every single place said they wanted a year of experience to wait tables, some even to HOSTESS. That's because there's too many actors who have been doing it for 10 years and are really damn good at it to hire someone like me and have to train me and then watch me leave in six months when I get a "real" job.  Bartenders always need 5+ years experience. I'm not shitting you guys.  The most competitive industry out here is the service industry because people work in it for years before they move back home realizing they're never going to "be discovered."

I'm sorry you don't agree with my "lifestyle choices." I'm sorry I don't own property, or have a retirement account, or even a savings account.  I'm sorry I don't fit the correct mold of what a 33-year-old should be doing. I'm sorry I bitch on Facebook. That doesn't mean I'm looking for your opinion of how I should live my life, I just need to vent. Or maybe someone would see it and be like "hey, my job has a part time opening, I can put in a good word" - THAT is helpful.  Or "I'm sorry you're having a tough time, it'll be over soon."

Let me tell you something. My parents, despite all that I've needed them for way past the time I should have needed them, are PROUD of me.  They tell me this.  I tell them I'm a screw up and they tell me I'm not.  My grandma is PROUD of me, and trust me, that woman would tell me if I was screwing up.

You know who matters? They matter. They know what I've been through and how hard I've tried at everything. They've seen my whole journey for 33 years and know EVERYTHING. They have the right to judge me because they have all the information - but they don't. They just love me.  And a certain few special friends who have been at least understanding throughout this whole thing, you don't know how much I appreciate you.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

IS IGNORANCE ACTUALLY BLISS WHEN IT COMES TO ONLINE MEDIA?

I was in line at Whole Foods today when I did something I hadn't done in a long time - something I used to do nearly every time I was at the grocery store.  I picked up a physical copy of Los Angeles Magazine and tossed it in with my hummus, crunchy hippie bread and sliced mangoes.  I just saw my secret best friend and life idol Mindy Kaling on the cover and decided at least one article of the many needed to be read.

Since the "dawn" of new media, I've always kept with the old ways. I still read physical books, would watch TV news programs when I had cable and always enjoyed a lighthearted beach read with Cosmopolitan or Glamour. When I graduated from undergrad in 2004, Facebook hadn't yet been opened to my school (the University of Texas) for more than perhaps a month, and the new "trends" talked about in my advertising classes were that of movie theater advertisements and even commercial text messages.  Even these ideas were somewhat offensive to me - was nothing sacred? Would I be sold something at every turn in a few years?  It's actually worse than what I imagined.

While I'm not bombarded by branded toilet paper or receiving unsolicited text messages from car companies, the new way of getting information really and truly is driving me crazy.  I was worried about advertisements, but I had no idea what I was going to be dealing with was the unfortunate access to all humanity - including the racist, idiotic, uneducated and infuriating masses to which I had never been exposed.

I used to enjoy reading the news online. It would be one of the first things I did when I arrived at work or on a break during law school, to catch me up on current events and get a general glance at what was happening in the world in case someone decided to pull out some political trivia at lunch and I didn't want to look like a giant moron.

Now I hate it.  I haven't gone to the homepage of an online news site in months, likely because everything is already splashed across Facebook for the world to see.  I don't get to pick and choose articles by title; I cannot avoid the pictures and headlines that follow the cute video of my friend's new puppy.  The worst part isn't even the article, it's the COMMENTS.

I moved to LA to be around like-minded people.  So far, it's been working out well with regard to actual physical humans in my proximity.  Sadly, however, the bigoted, intolerant embarrassments of humanity I sought to escape by hiding out in a liberal haven have been able to follow me - through the glorious world of the internet.

A typical "morning" (in quotes because during phases of unemployment, the time I wake up is rarely in the actual morning) for me starts with checking my email (jobs) and checking Facebook (friends who live as far away as Abu Dhabi and Singapore).  Unfortunately, after a mere twenty minutes of browsing, I'm already stark raving mad by the time I get up to brush my teeth.  In between the vacation photos and life updates, I sometimes stop to read articles that look interesting.  This is a giant, GIANT mistake.

No matter what news site it comes from or what the topic is, inevitably the comments section will make me hate humanity.  Since they're hidden behind the protective wall of the internet, the racists, homophobes, gun nuts, right-wing crazies, Jesus freaks and general trolls start spouting off inane bullshit that is not only horrifying but generally has the spelling and sentence structure of a seven-year-old's book report.  I try so hard to avoid the comments, but it's like a train wreck that sucks me in.  By the time I put my phone down and actually step out of bed, I'm infuriated and pretty much hate the world.

Yes, I may have an anger management problem. Yes, I probably shouldn't worry about what other idiots are posting on the internet.  Does that help me stop?  Nope, sure doesn't - because it's THERE.  I generally leave most comments sections grateful for LA County gun laws because I'm milliseconds away from buying an assault rifle and killing most of the people I just saw post inane shit on the internet.

So when I sat on my couch this evening and picked up my shiny new LA Magazine with lovely Miss Mindy on the cover, I was in for a surprise.  One of the first articles I read was about the airBNB and rental crisis in LA, with the article mentioning differing viewpoints. I felt myself getting anxious and didn't understand why. When I finished the article and turned the page, I felt an odd sense of relief.  I just read an article about a somewhat controversial subject and I didn't have to hear ANYONE ELSE'S OPINION.  It was a magnificent feeling.  The next page wasn't filled with angry, unsolicited comments that strayed so far off-topic that you forgot what the article was about, it was, in fact, a lovely fashion spread of clothing and accessories that each individually cost more than my rent.  But in comparison to the feeling I got whenever I finished an online article and even just glanced at the comments section, I will happily indulge the editors' obscenely priced idea of fashion - especially because it's also not followed by a diatribe from readers about body image and the lack of plus-sized models.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion, I just strongly prefer not to hear it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

MY SPARK OF MADNESS

A year ago I was sitting in a windowless room with four other people staring at a computer in a bored daze when one of my coworkers announced "Robin Williams is dead."

I refused to believe it so immediately I began my own internet search for news articles, which had just begun popping up without having a complete story to report.  I read all of them.  Things became more clear, the press started getting more information, and I had to suddenly come to grips with the fact that my lifelong idol had taken his own life.

About an hour later, it was reasonable to believe someone was leaving for lunch, so I silently picked up my things and left. I drove home from Century City over the hills back to Sherman Oaks, and as I began the descent with the view of the Valley in front of me, something came on the radio that just made me lose it.  I don't remember what it was.  I got home and just cried. 

I ended up emailing my boss and saying I had family issues which was why I left, because who's going to actually believe someone needs to go home when they find out a celebrity has died?  I couldn't cry in public, and I took the next day off too.

My love for Robin Williams can be summed up in the post I wrote once I put myself together enough to form complete sentences (When You Lose Your Hero).  I could rewrite the same thing over and over, or I could show how my life has changed because of that day.

Last year, I had graduated from USC with a master's in PR, expecting to get a job in marketing or communications.  I had been unemployed for over two months while applying to (literally) over 100 jobs in multiple locations on the West Coast.  I was lonely, miserable, completely broke, and finally ended up taking a temp legal job that had started the week before this happened solely to make ends meet.

I began questioning what I really wanted to do with my life.  I had wanted to be on Saturday Night Live ever since I was way too young to be watching it, and my only creative outlet was this blog.  I'd been so miserable for the past few months that I couldn't even find anything funny to write about.  I knew something needed to change.  I considered going to Korea to teach English, which was my way of running to a fantasy world I saw in Kdramas and where I didn't have the same problems I had at home. I'd move there and become someone else.  Or I could stay here and become the real me.

By Christmas, I had decided to start taking improv classes at Second City, a place I'd heard about since my youth which was basically the "breeding ground" for all of SNL's most beloved - Aykroyd, Belushi, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Chris Farley, Mike Meyers, Tina Fey - the list is as long as this post.  It'd always been something I wanted to try, but I never really thought of actually doing it until last year.

Now, eight months later I just finished my first class in the Second City Conservatory, a program that you have to audition to get into, and am so much happier than I was.  Not only have I found something I love to do, but I found a place I can be myself - every last weird face, noise, curse word or unicorn reference I have in me.  And I've found there are people like me in the same way.  We're like the Island of Misfit Toys, and we're all perfect for one another.  My mom calls it "group therapy" because I'm always so happy on the days I go to improv class.

I also just took the California bar exam, but not for the reason one might think.  I didn't "re-find my passion for the law," I just realized that my passion (improv) requires money and the best way to make it was doing something I was already experienced in and qualified to do.  So instead of a $40k marketing job, I need a decent-paying legal job that can fund my interests, unless (or until) my interests can fund themselves.

Last December I got a frighteningly gigantic tattoo that I had wanted ever since Robin died.  A quote I'd seen in many of the tributes to him - "You're only given a little spark of madness. You musn't lose it."  I was given that madness, and I hadn't used it in years.  He had sparked it in me as a child, and I knew I had to step up to the plate and turn my life into what I had always wanted for myself.  Even though I had figured out I wanted the tattoo shortly after he died, I knew I couldn't get it before I was ready or I'd cry through the whole thing. One night in December as I drove home, I just stopped in to the tattoo shop I'd researched, alone, and had it done.  A couple of the artists talked about him when they walked by and saw what I was getting. The big, burly guy getting something added to his body of art (literally) even wanted to see it.  The whole place kinda changed tone for a second as I looked at the finished product.  It appeared that Robin Williams really did touch everyone in some way.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy for you to realize what's important.  A job is a job, and it's there to make money - if you love it, great, you're lucky - but if you don't, you can still do what you want to do and find a job that can provide the resources to continue to follow your dream. I couldn't let what Robin had made me dream of doing just fall away in the background while I tried to look for meaning in a "real job."  I realigned my priorities and, despite still being broke, I'm happier than I have been in years. I belong to something.  I'm finally being me.

RIP to my hero.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

HELLO, I'M A 33-YEAR-OLD WOMAN-CHILD

It occurs to me on various occasions that I'm an adult. When my parents were my age, they already had been married for five years, owned a home, and made the decision to stop having fun and start having kids.  Most of my friends have "real jobs" and "disposable income" and have "paid a lot on their student loans."  I sit on the floor of a studio apartment eating popsicles and watching XFiles reruns.  I am not a successful adult.

Really the only people that consider me an adult are members of the government (dude, 18? 21? No WAY those people are adults), children, criminal defendants, theme parks (I do NOT need to pay that much more for a ticket, thank you) and baseball parks that refuse to give me the "kid's" promotion because I'm "over 15."

I enjoy studying for the bar exam because it's like school and not work.  I have had real work, for like two and a half years, and it was weird.

I considered myself an actress playing a part. Every morning I would wake up and put on my lawyer costume (a suit and heels), drive to the courthouse, pretend I was a mature professional, interact with other adults awkwardly and eventually get to go back home and put on yoga pants and an ancient sorority tshirt while watching Family Guy.

When I was a prosecutor, I never let the real me come out. The real me is not "appropriate for a courtroom" or really any place that doesn't serve alcohol.  I blame the fact that I haven't gotten a "real job" (after trying to not be a lawyer) because people can see I'm putting on an act in the interview. I really want to talk about cat videos and say "fuck" a lot, but I have to pretend that I'm "able to control myself" and "won't embarrass the company." Instead of the real me, they get nervous, formulaic me so I won't scare the everloving shit out of them and thus am relegated to the pile of other nervous, boring people.

When I'm unemployed, other than trying actively to remedy that situation, I have no idea what to do with myself. I'm seriously like a child, but I live 1500 miles away from my parents, all alone, and have managed to keep both myself and my cats alive (and two plants!).

Seriously, how do I do it?

I have called my parents to ask how to bake a potato. MORE THAN ONCE, BECAUSE I FORGOT.  It's not like a cake, potatoes don't come with a little sticker that tells me how long to bake it, it's not MY fault.

I've left my debit card in ATMs not once, but TWICE. One of those times was yesterday, and I had to wait until today for them to get it out of the safe for me.  Because of that, I did not have ONE DOLLAR to see a required show at Second City.  I WALKED AROUND MY COMPLEX FOR 15 MINUTES LOOKING FOR PEOPLE'S DROPPED COINS.  I AM NOT SHITTING YOU. When that failed, I took a nap, because I'm an adult.

I do my laundry about once a month because I wait until I have no pants left. Then for the next week, I draw my outfits from the pile of clean laundry on the floor of my apartment because I HATE putting it away because I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH DRAWERS.

Sometimes I open my fridge and all I have is an egg, some water, maybe some hummus and various condiments. The grocery store is likely still open, but because I hate interacting with people and going to places where I have to  push around a large cart down small aisles and generally get anxious, I go to In N Out.  I'm actually angry that there aren't more types of food that have drive thru windows.  CHIPOTLE I'M LOOKING AT YOU.

I may or may not use Hello Kitty stickers to mark the times I use the gym on my calendar.  I may or may not have a LOT of unused Hello Kitty stickers.

If it was feasible and not painfully expensive and unhealthy, I would either microwave or eat out for every meal.

No matter how long I have to do it, I can never wake up before 10am without snoozing my alarm 4 times.  Except for the bar exam, but a) I had adrenaline working for me and b) I didn't have to wear real pants.

I made my bed today for the first time in months, only to get under the covers and take a nap ten minutes later.

I bought a coloring book (IT SAYS IT'S FOR ADULTS, OKAY?) and markers at Barnes and Noble and now I color while I watch crime shows on Netflix.

I only want a job so I can make enough money to take vacations from said job.

I have to text my friends to ask them what kind of accessories I should wear with a certain outfit because I was not given that part of a female's brain.  I know something is important or formal if I'm not allowed to wear flip flops.  I only learned how to dry my hair and brush it at the same time four years ago.  I own and wear a shirt that features a cat eating noodles with chopsticks. CATS DON'T EVEN HAVE FINGERS.

Yet somehow, some way I'm not 1) dead, 2) in jail, 3) on probation, 4) living in my parents' basement, 5) 19. 

I feel like I should finish this by asking how to "be an adult" but honestly, I can fake it when I need to and being a grown up looks SUPER lame.  And by that I mean being a workaholic who has no time to enjoy herself and too many responsibilities (children) so that life just becomes the same thing, day in and day out.  But I also don't want to be a 23-year-old and expected to use terms like "on fleek" or "bae" and not be taken seriously as a person by anyone.  I guess it's nice to have an on/off switch - I just prefer my adult switch to be off.

Monday, July 13, 2015

EATING HEALTHY SUCKS BECAUSE...

It's not the food.  Healthy food can be (and in the case of my meal plan, IS) good.

It's not feeling hungry all the time.  I got over that in about two days, and honestly I'm perfectly satisfied with the amount of food I'm eating now.

It's not that I'm craving cookies.  Ok, I WAS craving cookies, and I may or may not have eaten a couple (TWO but it was TWO DIFFERENT DAYS.  ONE COOKIE EACH), but that craving has finally subsided as well.

It's not that I can't have fun at parties.  I had a lovely time at a party on Friday, and I didn't stuff myself with food as I usually do when I drink booze (with diet Coke).  People who know me know I don't even like booze that much so it's a great excuse NOT to drink.

It's because I. FUCKING. HATE. COOKING.

Before I started this diet/exercise plan, I didn't care for cooking.  I found it a mere annoyance, but also realized sometimes it could be fun.  I don't put baking in the same category as cooking - I used to love to bake and not particularly care to cook.  Now I have an active (and growing) hatred of cooking.  Why?

1. I have to cook EVERY DAY.  The way the meal plan is structured, I always seem to be preparing something, whether it be multiple servings of lunch that I'll take to work or a dinner I'm going to eat right away.  Even though I get 2-4 portions out of each cooking batch, IT SEEMS LIKE I AM NEVER NOT COOKING.  JUST ONCE I'd like to heat something up in the goddamned microwave and sit on my couch and be eating within 2 minutes.

2. If I have to chop another fucking onion I'm going to throw myself in front of a bus.  Every goddamned meal takes onions, AND I LIKE THEM but SWEET JESUS half my day is spent chopping them.  Or bell peppers.  Or bok choy.  OR EVEN FRUIT.  I'm developing carpal tunnel in my cutting hand.  There's a reason I pay more for the pre-chopped broccoli and cauliflower - I just wish there was a pre-cut option for every goddamned fruit, vegetable, animal, meat substitute, or whatever else I have to eat.  I will pay top dollar for you to come over and fucking cut all my produce for me.

3. IT'S TOO HOT.  Maybe it's just me, but having the stove and the rice cooker and the crock pot and a curling iron and a mechanical cow and a flame thrower all on at once makes me sweat like a dirty old man.  I have my AC on and it's 70 outside because my apartment has taken on the ambient temperature of whatever the fuck is on my stove.

When my meal plan says something like "Snack: apple and cashews" I get so fucking excited because there's no prep involved.  I've never been excited about a goddamned apple before.  Bake chicken? Fuck no, that shit's going in the crock pot, where I can leave it and go do something.  That and I've never baked a piece of meat that didn't turn out too dry, undercooked or shitty in some other way.

Here's a list of things I like better than cooking:

studying civil procedure
cleaning the litter box
driving on the 405
going to the dentist
cleaning my apartment
waking up to go to work
not being able to eat cookies
looking for parking in West Hollywood
sitting next to a hobo on the train
having a hangnail
doing laundry

However, cooking still tops:

anything to do with needles
being around children
the existence of Justin Bieber
Country music
90% of the drivers in LA county
people with ironic handlebar moustaches
Arkansas

Monday, July 6, 2015

GETTING OFF MY LAZY ASS, WEEK 1

During my recent bout with the black plague, I finally decided I needed to go to a doctor when I got winded and lightheaded walking back to my car from work and had a full-on coughing fit.  Before he forced me to take electronic bong hits of Albuterol and some steroid to fix my ailing lungs, he did what all doctors do - he weighed me.  For the last, oh, year, I've been avoiding weighing myself or seeing my weight at the doctor, and doing a pretty damn good job of it.  I figure if my clothes still fit and I'm happy with how I look, I don't need a number on a scale to make me feel bad.

Well, my clothes are fitting too tightly and I don't like how I look right now, so I suppose it was time for me to actually (accidentally) look at the scale.  And boy, was I large and in charge.  I was 10lbs heavier than normal and had reached a number I swore I never would, and at that moment I decided I needed some serious motivation to actually eat better and work out.  Such motivation for me comes in the form of either a) lost income or b) shame.  I chose both.

My lovely friend Manda (who has a blog, This Fit Blonde) moved to Singapore like a jerkface, but luckily she's still accessible via FitOrbit, an online training and diet site.  When it comes to accountability, I'm vaguely scared of her, EVEN FROM 20 HOURS AWAY, so this was perfect.  I plunked down $60 for a month of her telling me exactly what to eat and how to work out, and creepily monitoring me from another continent in the process.

I started on July 1, nice and easy to remember.  It's been almost a full week.  Here's my current outlook:

Day 1 - I get a grocery list emailed to me so I can get the foods I'm supposed to be eating in the next week.  I spent like 20 minutes in the produce department.  Seriously.  I started to worry that the employees thought I was stealing things, because I just kept picking up more and more produce like some sort of zookeeper.  Some of the things were normal, like strawberries and cucumbers and broccoli, and then there were the not-so-normal.  Ginger root? No thanks, I've got powdered ginger in my spice rack at home.  That's going to do whether you like it or not.

When I get home I realize that I have to take this food to work, since Starbucks and the fast food Indian place aren't on my meal plan.  So I have to start cooking.

If you know me at all, you know I hate cooking.  I'm not bad at it; in fact, I'm pretty good at it, but I despise taking the time to do all the little nuances of making a meal.  To me, "cooking" is putting things in the crock pot and turning it on.  Having to make different things in different pots is just more than I can fucking handle.

At one point I had a rice cooker, a sautee pan and something else all going at the same time.  I kept telling myself "you're cooking for 3 days, you get to heat and microwave this for the rest of the week!" but it wasn't necessarily making it better.  You know what's the easiest thing to make?  FRUIT SALAD.  You know what's the most annoying thing to do?  CHOPPING A FUCKTON OF FRUIT.  Ugh.

The meal plan even tried to make me cook every day.  Oh hell no, meal plan, I'm eating the same thing for 3 days and then I'll make the new thing, like hell I'm cooking every night.  And my laziness got the better of me a few times - steamed broccoli? That takes too long.  I'm just eating it raw.

Exercise - I may have mentioned I just recovered from the black plague, which took quite a toll on my already weak-ass lungs.  I have an inhaler now, which would normally be for exercise but instead is for any slight exertion that causes me to cough uncontrollably.  Not great for someone who is looking to get in shape.

The first workout was spin class, which I thought was a little heavy for someone who had just nearly died and also hadn't worked out in a hot second, but I went for it.  I made it through 30 minutes before my coughing began to cause people to look concerned, so I left in shame and hit the inhaler.

I'm still (5 days later) coughing when I walk up too many stairs or walk too quickly, so I'm not sure how the cardio portion of this is going to go - but I can do weights just fine.  Hope that works.

THE COOKIE - Despite being very good and sticking to the diet nearly verbatim (with exceptions for the 4th of July), I have been hit with an unshakeable craving for a chocolate chip cookie.  At all times.  I would shank a man to get a cookie.  I think about them in my sleep.  I think about them at work.  I think about them when I eat my fruit - my deliciously inadequate fruit that no matter how hard it tries, cannot become chocolate.

The food they have me slaving over is actually quite good, and after the first day of nearly dying of hunger I do now feel satisfied after most meals, so I can't complain that I'm eating only raw oats and a single stalk of celery, but DEAR GOD, THE COOKIE.  It's like heroin.  It follows me wherever I go.  Pictures of cupcakes are becoming like pornography, and Pinterest is nearly out of the question right now.  Before the diet I would crave an Indian buffet or pad thai, but never desserts.  But sweet merciful mother of god, cookies are all I can think of.

Thankfully, no cookies have been in my grab area (criminal law joke) since I started, but all it takes is me asking a Starbucks employee very nicely to remove one from behind the protective glass from whence it sits.

Do I have the willpower??

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS

I have lived many places, with many different kinds of drivers - all of them bad, but in different ways.  Specifically Dallas and LA, likely because they're both ginormous cities that revolve around highways and poor public transit.  People in Dallas are aggressive and stupid - the kind of driving that leaves a 40 car pile-up in its wake and the driver has no idea because they're so oblivious.  People in LA fall into two different categories: assholes and pussies.

First let me comment on why I'm qualified to dissect and judge other people's driving habits: I'm a fucking fantastic driver.  In the 17 years (holy god, I've officially been driving longer than I HAVEN'T been driving, I'm so old) I've had a license, I've pretty much driven everything except an 18-wheeler. 

Most people learn to drive on their mom's Camry that's semi-old and kinda cushy, with easy steering, brakes and not a lot of extra thinking required.  I, however, learned to drive in a really large and horrifically unsafe steel box, otherwise known as this beautiful creature:

Yes, this was my first car.  A beautiful seafoam green 1966 Ford Mustang.  The amenities it came with were 1) being awesome, 2) factory AC (rare and wonderful for that time) and 3) doors.  It had no power steering or brakes, no airbags (which nearly sent my mom to the nuthouse) and at first, a very slow, weak engine with 170,000 miles on it. 

As a 100lb 16-year-old, I got quite a workout driving this thing.  To turn, I had to make approximately 60 complete rotations of the steering wheel, and to brake I had to anticipate things that might happen five minutes in advance while using all of my weight and both feet to bring the car to a screeching halt.  Needless to say, I had to be on my game.

Fast forward two years and I leave my beloved behind to go to school in LA with a new Beetle.  Being one of the only freshmen with a car, I quickly became the dorm taxi.  Basically when you land in LA and you've been driving for a year and a half, you're thrown into some crazy shit.  Six-lane freeways?  Yep.  Crazy assholes driving 80mph?  Yep.  So my survival instincts kicked in and within weeks I was a pro at driving like a west coast asshole, which became pretty funny when I moved back to Austin and scared people by changing lanes into a spot barely a car length long.

So at this point I've driven a car that I practically had to pedal and also driven in the craziest traffic city in the US. Let's up our game a bit here by getting a stick shift.  Yep, that's right, my next car was a manual (upon request, no less) Mercury Cougar that I had for seven years until random parts started falling off and I had to get something more "practical."

In recent months, I've also had some interesting driving experiences, which include driving a 12-passenger van on a one-lane road through the hills of Napa Valley, and doing it so well that I became the REQUESTED DRIVER.  Yes, that's right, people trusted my driving skills.  They even suggested I be a bus driver, which actually flattered me.

So you pretty much can't outdo me in knowing how to drive unless you're one of the boys I hung out with in college who had fast cars and taught me how to do such things as "apex a turn."

Alright, so here are my driving tips:

1) MOVE BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY

Seriously, going under the speed limit?  Not acceptable.  I have shit to do and places to be, so get the fuck out of my way.  If you don't know where you're going, TOO BAD, find a place to pull over but most definitely do not slow down to a crawl as you try to read the addresses on buildings while I desperately attempt to change lanes while people speed by.  Get out of the fast lane on the highway.  Just go ahead and don't even get on the highway if you can't fucking use it right.  And here's another tip - the speed limit is the flow of traffic, and if the flow of traffic is going 70, SPEED THE FUCK UP.  Can't handle it?  Take a bus.

2) TURN SIGNALS

USE. THEM.  I'm not kidding.  You will NEVER get over in front of me without signaling, I will make SURE.  One person at a time I'm slowly teaching the world to signal by NOT REWARDING BAD BEHAVIOR.  Going to turn right?  Well you're gonna get honked at like a mofo unless you have your signal on because it looks like you're about to just slow down and stop in the middle of the road.

3) SKIPPING THE LINE

Pretending you don't see that arrow that tells you the lane merges into one?  Nope, not gonna happen.  If I have to tie my bumper to the car in front of me by god you will not get in.  Getting over at the last second?  Nope.  My friends that I've never met and I are making a beautiful unbreakable chain of cars that you will not penetrate because you  DIDN'T WAIT YOUR TURN.  I love the camaraderie of joining together with strangers to screw over an asshole.  It just warms my little heart.

4) RAIN

I'm going to say this once and only once: IF YOU HAVE NEVER LIVED IN A PLACE WHERE IT RAINED/SNOWED/HAD WEATHER AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, JUST DON'T EVEN TRY TO DRIVE.  I had to learn how to drive in the snow on my first day of work when I moved to Kansas City.  Guess what?  I made it.  You assholes keep sliding off the road or going 2 mph or running into shit because water falls from the sky.  You don't deserve the privilege of driving.  Go home and let the big kids drive on rainy days.  You're a danger to yourself and others.

5) WRONG TURNS

Guess what?  Sometimes we miss our exits on the highway.  It happens.  There's an easy solution that doesn't involve killing 7 people and stopping traffic for hours - TAKE THE NEXT EXIT AND TURN AROUND.  Wait, WHAT?  Yes, I said it's ok to take the NEXT EXIT.  If you're in the far left lane and have five lanes to cross to get to your exit in ten feet, YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.  1) you should have been paying attention, so it's your own damn fault and 2) it's not like that 20-mile stretch in Louisiana on the 10 where you literally cannot exit because you're 20 feet above a swamp and are likely to get eaten by a gator - there's another exit in ONE MILE.  Jesus people, COMMON SENSE.  And I know half of you use GPS - SIRI WILL REROUTE YOU.  I PROMISE.

So pretty much everyone on the road falls into one of these categories, which means that everyone needs to go practice in a parking lot until you can fucking handle yourself and your giant torpedo of death.  Now let me drive JUST ONCE without having to curse you out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

LEARN SOME GODDAMNED GRAMMAR - RIGHT HERE IN THIS POST

I seriously cannot fucking take it anymore.  I'm friends with some very educated people on Facebook and in real life, and even though they can speak three languages and build robots, THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND ENGLISH GRAMMAR.  You know, that language you were RAISED SPEAKING??  I see the same damn mistakes all the time, and I honestly want to know why I was the ONLY ONE listening in class that day, because some of you fuckers were IN CLASS WITH ME.

Here are the most common offenses - once you're done reading this your life will be changed forever because you'll magically know how to speak.

1. POSTING PHOTOS.  "Mom and I at the beach"

NO NO NO NO.  I know that whatever grade we were in when we learned to say "and I" made it seem like it's ALWAYS "and I," but NEWSFLASH: IT'S NOT.  In fact, the MAJORITY of the time it's not.  Sometimes "and me" is correct.  I know, it hurts to say that, BUT IT'S TRUE.

CORRECT ANSWER:  "Mom and ME at the beach."  How did I come to that conclusion?  Easy.  What would it be if you were at the beach alone?  "Me at the beach."  What about your mom alone?  "Mom at the beach."  It would never be "I at the beach," so why is it suddenly "Mom and I at the beach?"  You're making this too hard. 

Always ask yourself: What if I was a lonely loser (which you will be if you keep up that goddamned grammar)?  What if it was JUST ME in this picture?  Keyword: ME

Other wrong photo titles: "John and I with a celebrity"  "My sister and I at Christmas"  Or perhaps you're posting something that you share ownership of - I see this one a lot too:  "Brad and I's new dog!"

NO.  Stop. Think.  SEPARATE.  "Brad's new dog."  "My new dog."  "BRAD'S AND MY NEW DOG." IT IS NOT THAT FUCKING HARD, ASSHATS.

2. APOSTROPHE ABUSE.  "Skirt's for $10!"

When I say "dog's," what do you think of?  If you think of MANY DOGS, please go hit yourself in the face with a metal pan.  You should think, "the dog's WHAT? What belongs to the dog?" because that, my friends, is what apostrophes are for.  Not "that's what apostrophe's are for," you stupid fucks.

Pretend we're in a war and our ammunition is made out of apostrophes. Now RATION THAT SHIT and think "WHOA, hold up now, do I REALLY need to use a valuable apostrophe in this situation?"  The answer is almost always NO.

But Grammar Goddess, WHEN DO I get to use apostrophes??

I'm glad you asked.  Does something in the sentence BELONG TO ANYONE mentioned in the sentence?  Does your mom have tomatoes?  Then they are "your mom's tomatoes."  Does anything belong TO THE TOMATOES?  NO, because tomatoes are inanimate objects, you jackass.  Therefore, your mom gets an apostrophe and the tomatoes do NOT.

RIGHT:  "My aunt's house"   WRONG: "All of my aunt's will be there"
RIGHT: ****I'm looking at YOU, Chipotle on Figueroa and Jefferson**** "Choose your greens!"  WRONG:  "Choose your green's!"

Also, on a side note, when engraving gifts for a wedding, REMEMBER THE APOSTROPHE RULE.  Jim and Jane are "The Smiths," not "The Smith's."  Jim and Jane live in "The Smiths' House," NOT "The Smith's House."  The latter implies that they're already living separately, do you really want to do that to a marriage before it's begun?!?!

3.  LESS AND FEWER  "15 items or less!"

There is one beautiful store that has a "15 items or FEWER" sign and I can't remember off the top of my head, but I wanted to write the management a beautiful thank you card for FINALLY getting it right.  This one is trickier, so here is a correct usage of BOTH:

"There is LESS coffee in my cup than there was an hour ago."
"There are FEWER cookies than there were an hour ago."

Here's the trick: CAN YOU COUNT IT?  In the first one, can you count coffee?  Not CUPS of coffee, but just COFFEE?  Would you say "there are three coffees in my cup?"  Nope.  You cannot count coffee itself.  If you CANNOT COUNT IT, the proper word is LESS.  Less sugar.  Less pink.  Less painful.

Can you count cookies?  YES YOU CAN.  Would you say "I have three cookies?"  YES YOU WOULD.  If you CAN COUNT IT, it's FEWER.  Fewer cats.  Fewer clowns.  Fewer items.

DO YOU GET IT NOW?  There cannot be "two less" - it's "two fewer."  There cannot be "a little bit fewer" - it's "a little bit less."

Now go, use this new education to brighten the world, teach your kids the right way to speak and write, and for god's sake always use it around me at least.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

CABIN FEVER

I'm stuck in my apartment. Seriously, stuck. I, at the moment, am unfortunately job-challenged (my new PC term for unemployed) and I have NOTHING to do. It's awful and I just want it to be Tuesday everyday so I can leave and go to improv for 3 hours.

I can't complain about my apartment, really. I live alone in about 550 sq feet, which for a studio is pretty big.  I have a memory foam bed, a good-sized TV, a DISHWASHER - yeah, it's the life, man.  But I find myself dreaming of my apartment in Hong Kong.

When I had the glorious joy of living in Hong Kong for two months a couple of years ago, I wasn't exactly sure what my living situation would be like.  I knew I would have my own apartment, i.e. not sharing with anyone, but also knew space was at a premium and there likely wouldn't be many amenities.

Let me take you on a tour of my place. I'd take you on a visual tour, but it was so small it was literally impossible to get photographs of the apartment from any angle.  How small?  Oh, approximately 85 sq feet.  No, that's not missing a zero.  Have you ever been to Alcatraz?  Any prison?  (Am I the only damn person who tours prisons?? Is that weird??) Picture the cells.  Take the bars away and that, my friend, is approximately how big my "apartment" was.

It came with such luxurious amenities as an IKEA wardrobe with seven hangers, assuming that I would need no more than that.  Right next to the wardrobe was a tiny "desk" that fit a desk light, my 15lb laptop, and two charging phones - my iPhone, for use with the ever-present wifi around HK, and my local phone, which cost about 30 American dollars and was an exact replica of a Nokia I had in 2002.

About an inch to the right was my bed, which had drawers underneath and a mattress made of what I can only assume was granite.  If I plopped down on the bed too quickly, it actually hurt.  There was a small window whose only purpose was to provide a place for an AC unit, and in the few inches above the AC I could see that I was not only looking directly at a wall two feet in front of the window, but also one immediately to the right and  another a few feet to the left.  With all the lights from the windows and the city, I honestly was not able to tell if it was night or day, like ever.

At the foot of my bed, there was a small flat screen tv attached to the wall that played only three channels - one was news in Chinese, one was incredibly random nature programs in English and the last was 24 hour Cantonese opera.  I left it on that station a little too long when I was on muscle relaxers for my back a few weeks after I arrived, and it is like no sound you have ever heard.  Well maybe you have, but you don't want to.

The tv wall separated my bed from the bathroom, which was completely tiled, floor and walls, like a shower.  Likely because it WAS a shower, with a sink and toilet inside.  All three of those things were normal, except for the fact that there was a drain in the middle of the floor and you straight up showered over your fucking toilet.  You know your life is awesome if you store your shampoo and face wash on the top of the toilet tank and have to put your TP outside the bathroom as not to ruin it when you shower.

Complicating this further was the fact that no towels were provided.  The bed came fully made, so I didn't think to look before I showered and ended up having to towel off with the clothes I had just worn on a plane for 15 hours.  I promptly remedied that after dressing by going down the street to IKEA and picking up some $5 towels, which upon my return I realized were larger than hand towels, but not large enough to actually wrap around oneself as you tend to do post-shower.  Whatever, everything else was small.

Despite the size of the bathroom, they only put in a pedestal sink and had a small face mirror that was, get this, TOO TALL FOR ME TO SEE INTO.  Yes, this Hong Kong apartment had a mirror that a 5'5 westerner couldn't see into when I towered over most of the population by at least 4-5 inches.  That was, of course, the only mirror in the entire place.  So doing my makeup consisted of dumping all my products in the sink and standing on my tip toes to see, and doing my hair was pretty much by feel.

Oh, I forgot to mention!  I had my own (mini) fridge.  It held approximately 3 large bottles of water and two microwave meals (for use in the COMMUNITY MICROWAVE).  Above it was a small shelf with a hot-plate-like thing and a water boiler kettle, because you DEFINITELY wanted hot stuff before/after/during going outside or even thinking about going outside. That, and the instructions were in Chinese and I don't really trust myself with hot things that I DO know how to operate.

The best part was that if I got bored or hungry or needed anything at all, I could just walk outside and there it was.  Hungry?  The egg waffle man had a stand next to the apartment entrance.  Next to him you could get some sketchy noodles in a bag for 1 American dollar, which I did multiple times.  Turn the other way and BOOM you have heaven, which in Asia is known as 7/11.

7/11 in America is where you go for slurpees, lottery tickets and gunshot wounds.  7/11 in Asia is where you go to get SO MANY GLORIOUS THINGS.  Pineapple beer! Haagen Daas in weird flavors like taro and green tea but no fucking chocolate! Hello Panda! Pocky! Microwavable fried rice, noodles and dim sum! Gallons upon gallons of bottled, unsweetened oolong and jasmine tea! Hello Kitty bandaids! Pocari Sweat (Japanese Gatorade the color of soapy water, but tastes like regular Gatorade - not, fortunately, sweat)!

Across the street there was a park, there were hundreds of shops within a mile of me, fantastic Engrish hunting, Sasa - the cosmetics store of the gods... Here there's a gigantic park filled with children's soccer games and bouncy castles, a Burger King and, if I'm feeling super crazy, a Yogurtland three blocks away.  If I moved to another part of the city, I might live close to a bar or maybe a mall, but never EVERYTHING and never things that DON'T CLOSE.

The only thing I missed was having small furry animals to sleep with, and they'd likely be rather unhappy about the long flight. 

So yeah, get me the hell out of my house, PLEASE.  There's only so many times I can go to Starbucks to read or the mall to browse with no money.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A TALE OF TWO DATES

I figured I needed to get back in the swing of things, blogging at least, even though I haven't been "dating" for a while.  I did have a somewhat interesting experience that, for me, lasted 2 dates, but for him lasted 2 months.

Way back in a land before time (March), I had been perusing my "Coffee Meets Bagel" dating app - the only one I have allowed myself to look at for probably a year now because it doesn't make me want to rip out my own eyes and swallow burning oil.  It's based on your Facebook profile and your interests and friends, so often it'll find you a person with whom you have friends in common.  I approve of this.

I had spent the early part of the year binge-watching Korean dramas, so I decided "Hey, I should date a hot Asian dude!" My thought processes when dating are generally even less logical than this, so it could be worse.  I get on my app, browse the matches, and find a couple of decent looking Asian dudes who seem to be witty and able to interact socially.  One of them likes me back, so we begin chatting.

Eventually we exchange numbers and start texting, and then he makes a terrible mistake - he CALLS ME ON THE PHONE.  TO TALK.  The only thing I hate more than talking on the phone is probably being nude in public, and luckily the latter has never happened.  I try to explain my phobia to him and he brushes it off. Not cool, but our conversation wasn't terrible - no awkward silences, so I figured I'd give him another chance.  We decided to meet for drinks the next week not too far from my house.

On date day, I had just paid my credit card, and I kept checking to make sure it went through and I had money.  Luckily that afternoon my balance showed $0 and I had a full credit limit, so I thought I was good to go.  I didn't really expect to pay for anything, since it was a first date and that's pretty much never happened before, so I wasn't super worried.

The date was relatively uneventful, except that we had a couple of beers each and he kept ordering appetizers.  Like six appetizers.  I was both grateful and wary, since I was starving but also not too keen on him running up the bill that much if he planned on splitting the check - we'd talked and he knew I was, at the time, not currently employed and living off my tax refund until a job came through, so it's not like he was ignorant of my situation.  He, on the other hand, was a fully employed attorney at a decent-sized firm.  Either way, I thought I was prepared since I'd so responsibly paid my credit card.

Sure enough, when the bill came, he wanted to split the check, which irritated me.  Then the worst thing ever to happen in public on a date happened - the waitress said my card was declined.  I flipped out and re-checked my balance on my phone - yep, it was COMPLETELY PAID OFF. But the company decided to update their website but NOT TELL MY CARD IT HAD MONEY.  I was so angry I could barely hold it in. 

Not only did I look like a financially irresponsible ass, I now felt I owed it to him to go on a second date to "pay him back" by buying his meal.  No "don't worry about it, I got it" or "it's fine, I should buy the food that I ordered on a hungry whim on a first date anyway." 

The date wasn't bad so I wasn't super upset about seeing him again, but when he texted me about going to brunch and actually MENTIONED (in a joking manner, but still mentioned) that I was supposed to "take him out" I was bummed.  He suggested a place in Brentwood that I'd been before and I knew it was reasonably priced, so I was mollified for a hot second and we agreed to meet on a Saturday. 

I arrived at his apartment and he needed a few more minutes to get ready (WHAT? I'm the girl, weirdo), so he invited me in and I sat at the kitchen table and played on my phone.  Oh, and I had to fight off the advances of a gigantic bulldog puppy that hadn't been trained in any way, shape or form.  Did I mention I was wearing white pants?  I mean, it was spring, and brunch.  I had no idea I'd be wrestling a large dog before we got there.  The damn thing weighed nearly as much as I did, and the second I stopped petting him he'd jump up on me, soiling my beautiful pants and simultaneously shoving me against a wall. 

Despite the commotion, my date didn't come out to rescue me from Overzealous Dog, and looked surprised when he walked out and my pants were covered in weird streaks from his paws and slobber.  "Are you okay?" he said, and when I responded that I was fine, but I wasn't too sure my pants had survived, he dragged the giant animal into his roommate's room and shut the door.  WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST DO THAT WHEN I CAME IN?? WAS ME TRYING TO SHOVE HIM DOWN OFF MY BEAUTIFUL, NOW-DEAD PANTS NOT A SIGN FOR YOU??

Then he drops another bomb - "Oh, I changed where were going, I made reservations at *insert snooty restaurant here*"  So we went from casual brunch to a place that served bone marrow at noon.  One of those places that asks you if you'd like sparkling water or (with a judgmental frown) water from the tap.  I don't often appreciate those places anyway, but especially not with someone I've only met once before.  If you're my boyfriend and you want to take me somewhere fancy, I'm not opposed, but this just looks like you're trying too hard on a second date. Or you're making ME try too hard, since I'm paying.

He tried to order like two "small plates" (i.e. overpriced appetizers with 3 pieces of food on each) in addition to our meal, but I talked him down to one by telling him I wasn't that hungry.  Still, with an appetizer, two meals, my tap water and his solid gold bloody mary, the bill ended up being $70-something before tip.  I nearly shat my pants.  It was fucking BRUNCH for gods sake, I could've had $8 pancakes across the damn street and to tell you the truth, I was craving pancakes.  I fake-smiled and handed the waitress my (working) credit card and thought about that tank of gas I wouldn't be able to afford at the end of the month.

To be honest, I wasn't that into him regardless of the dates - we seemed well-matched at first, but our conversations got forced and it seemed clear to me by the end of the second date that there wasn't a love connection.  Hoping he felt that way too, I left and continued my life.  He, however, was not done with me yet.

Mid-week I got a text from him wanting to hang out again. Luckily I had legit plans that weekend, so I told him I wasn't available.  He tried again the next weekend.  I made something up.  He tried again THE NEXT WEEKEND.  That time I just didn't respond. Yeah I know, I should have told him I didn't want to go out again, but I fear confrontation, even in text format, and I knew I'd never have to see him again (unlike a friend of a friend or something).  This character continued to text me every weekend FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH after I ceased all contact.  And not "Where are you? Why don't you text me back?" - it was literally like "Hey stranger! What's up?"

Now I have to be careful of when I go to the gym because his office is in the same building. And shut up, yes I go to the gym.  I went Thursday.  So ha.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A HOBO IN A PINK SWEATSHIRT RATES FASHIONS FROM THE MET GALA

Welcome back, all. It's that time of year again - the time when I find out that there has been some unnecessary gala and lots of ugly, expensive shit has been worn and photographed.  This time it was the Met Ball, which I found out today while getting my hair salon is for the Met Museum in New York, and each "ball" has a theme based on an exhibit coming out - this year's theme was "something something China something."
 
So as I sit here on my couch in a neon pink hoodie, tshirt and clashing pink gym shorts, I'm going to give my opinions on how these rich people chose to present themselves in public this weekend. Ready?  Good.
 
Anna Wintour. She's like the queen of fashion or something and rules a kingdom where she decides whether or not you're well-dressed.  Well, Anna, I'm going to strip you of your title because of the giant Mexican paper flowers you are wearing as floaties.

Beyoncé. Yes, she's practically nude, no I don't understand it, but yes, it's awesome. Beyoncé could cover herself in strategically placed patches of horse shit and she'd still look amazing, because Beyoncé.

Presenting three of the dolls from the last room of Disney's "It's a Small World." Don't worry, they were returned to the ride shortly after the gala.

Chloe Sevigny.  You're already odd looking, but it's even worse now that it looks like your clothes are slowly slipping off your body and you don't seem to notice or care.

Whoever you are, FLATS, PANTS and a BLACK TUBE TOP? You're at the Met Ball, not McDonald's, get your shit together.

Dear Dakota Johnson - I wore a very similar dress to Las Vegas in 2011. It didn't look great then nor does it look great now. Also, where's the China?

The look on the left was brought to you from the David's Bridal sales rack.

This looks like a project for a fashion student whose only instructions were "You're getting married in 1984 and have only your grandmother's curtains and 37 minutes.  GO!"

JLo.  Generally you can pull off semi-nudity, but side-ass really isn't as becoming as side-boob. That's just too big of a hole for me to consider this a "dress."

I wore this in 2007, except it was for Halloween and called "Sexy Ninja."

Ok, we have Katy Perry.  The dress is just weird enough for the Met Ball, and the matching purse spray can is clutch (PUN INTENDED), but to go so crazy and NOT be on theme?  Not sure about this one. Maybe your invitation was for the wrong year.

I know you're having a difficult time and all, Kris Jenner, but that doesn't mean it's ok to break out your formalwear from 1986 in its entirety.

I hope, for Rhianna's sake, two things: a) that she has something on under this giant robe because she seems to be clutching it as though she doesn't, and b) she has reserved five seats for herself and her large yellow guest.

Who are you?  Why did you make your dress out of kindergarten cutouts of bodies? Why do you have a pink penis? Also please expect a letter of reprimand from the People's Republic of China for the great offense you have caused their people and history.

Um, matadors are Spanish. Your Uber driver got your destination wrong, go join the Cinco De Mayo crowds down the street at a bar.

Oh, Solange. So many things wrong here. The theme was not "Mars Attacks."  Someone forgot to cut a head-hole in your dress.  It actually may be on backward.  Also why are you standing like that?  Can you move your arms?  If so, please use them to take that dress off and set it on fire.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF DESTINY'S CHILD'S "BUG A BOO" AND WHY IT IS THE MOST DATED SONG OF THE NINETIES

 

Back in 1999, my high school dance team choreographed a dance to the new hit "Bug A Boo" by a super vintage four-member Destiny's Child.  I never really listened to the lyrics, I just liked the beat and tried my damndest to remember the choreography.
In a recent spurt of nostalgia, I created a "high school dance" playlist, which includes Bug A Boo among other classics like the Thong Song, Ghetto Superstar and No Scrubs.  I may or may not listen to this playlist every day in my car.

Most of the songs have relevant themes - I mean, people still wear thongs and I most certainly don't want no scrubs tryin' to holler at me - but Bug A Boo made me feel about as old as those Buzzfeed lists of "toys you had as a kid" because THIS:

1) "You make me wanna throw my pager out the window"

Whoa, PAGER? Yeah, I had one, shut up.  It was awesome and transparent blue and it was used for such awesome things as my friends texting me "BOOBIES" in numbers (5318008, duh) and trying to find other words to spell because the only people who ever paged me were generally people I was already with. It was also necessary for everyone to KNOW you had a pager, so you didn't keep it in your backpack, you clipped it to your front jeans pocket like the pimp ass bitch you were, screaming "I AM SO IMPORTANT PEOPLE NEED TO REACH ME IN ENGLISH CLASS, FOOLS."

Pagers were a thing for like two years, because cell phones became more omnipresent and why would someone page you if they could just call a phone that was also clipped to your pocket?  We are a lost generation.  Probably only 30% of people alive even know what a pager is, since older people never had them and anyone younger than 30 skipped right from being a child to having a cell phone.  And yes, I know Ice Cube had a pager that kept blowin up, but pagers were also a thing in the illicit drug trade for longer than we're probably even aware.  Maybe Beyoncé's boyfriend was a clingy drug dealer.

2) "Tell MCI to cut the phone poles"

My next door neighbor worked for MCI.  I have neither heard about nor thought about MCI since the last time I saw said neighbor, which was likely around high school graduation.  A quick Wikipedia search told me that MCI changed its name to WorldCom in 2000, so if MCI is in charge of your phone poles, it's last century dude.

And let us not forget that phone poles are things that were used to bring telephone wires into your home so that you could PLUG ONE UP and ONLY ACCESS IT AT HOME.  Yeah that was a thing.  I understand her frustration, especially before caller ID was invented.  When was the last time I had a land line?  Um, probably my college dorm?  I used it practically zero times because I had a cell phone when I went off to college, and I don't think I could call long distance on my dorm phone.  LONG DISTANCE.  That was also a thing!  CALLING ANOTHER AREA CODE COST MORE.  What?!  Jesus I'm so old.

3) "Put your number on the call block"

Ok, serious question, can you still do this? I know it was a feature of landlines at one point, like the aforementioned caller ID, but can you block a number from your cell phone?  My own personal form of call block is the beautiful red "ignore" button on my phone, but perhaps there's an easier way.  But yes, CALL BLOCK. Some weirdo calling your house?  Block their number.  Boom, easy.  Phone stops ringing. 

I have a need for call block at this point because a dude I went on two dates with continues to call and text me every week or so even though we have not spoken FOR OVER A MONTH. I don't want to accidentally answer his call because I'm in a crowded store or something and thought I saw a different name on the screen.  SERIOUSLY, even I'm not that bad.  If a guy doesn't respond to my text twice, I assume he never wants to see me again.  It's a pretty safe assumption, since I'm now living that situation. 

4) "Tell AOL to make my email stop"

AOL, LOL. Those were the days. "You've got mail!"  If you still have AOL as your email address you're either 90 years old or a member of some crazy cult that doesn't allow access to the outside world.  I guarantee you if you put an aol.com email on a resume today you'd get laughed all the way into the trash can, even if you can build a robot that makes waffles in bed for you every morning and you're applying for a job of "robot maker."

The still-packaged AOL CDs became projectiles, the most common form of litter on the streets, akin to a Jehovah's Witness handout that's thrown immediately on the ground upon receipt.  I wonder what happened to all the children in Asia who made billions of AOL CDs for years when AOL finally gave up on that idea. 

I mean, this is still a crazy lyric if it were Hotmail, but AOL just cements the 90s-ness of this song.

And as for the fashion in the video, I did have a furry blue leopard print cowboy hat because for some reason novelty cowboy hats were in fashion for approximately three months.  I remember thinking I was cool when I wore it to the pool. Nothing I did in the 90s was cool.  Nothing.

While the overarching theme of crazy stalker ex-boyfriends (and girlfriends) is timeless, nobody could pack in the obscure 90s references like Destiny's Child.  And for that, we thank you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

WOULD I EAT IT? PART 2

I have been a royally shitty blogger for a bit - I noticed I haven't posted anything in OVER A MONTH.  Dear lord.  I can attribute it to the fact that I've suddenly taken up cross stitching rap lyrics for fun and profit, and despite evidence saying women are natural multitaskers, I can't multitask for  shit.  I also frequently forget what I'm doing, or about to do, as this blog should have come weeks ago immediately following my friend's post over at This Fit Blonde. 

So Amanda, my completely insane yet awesome friend who runs FOR FUN and consequently made me run Ragnar for her bachelorette party (surely you remember my two-part tale of that adventure - Part I and Part II) decided to review running food - in particular something that goes by the incredibly creative name "Gu."

If it doesn't look offensive to you in the packaging, I'm sure it will once you attempt to take it out.  Gu is LITERALLY just flavored goo that you shoot into your mouth while running so that you can keep running further than a normal, healthy amount of energy would allow.

Pros:
- apparently it makes you run fast.  Or something.  I haven't tried it because I would never voluntarily run long enough to need food and NOT STOP FOR FOOD.
- the packages are fun to play with before you open them, kinda like a stress ball - squishy and oddly shaped.

Cons:
- I don't fucking run.  And when I was forced to, where the fuck was this shit?  She said it was pretty much pure sugar, which I REALLY could've used to attract bears or other carnivorous animals to eat me and put me out of my misery while stuck in Sonoma meth country.  I'd have covered myself in said goo, drawn a large gooey circle around myself and laid down in it awaiting certain death by a bear or mountain lion or gang of raccoons.  But I did not have any of this, I just had a cell phone that didn't work and a trail of my own tears.
- If I did run, the last thing I'd want to do at any point in said run would be shoot some artificially flavored "Espresso Love" down my throat (yes, innuendo intended) while STILL RUNNING.  "Hey, want to make this thing you hate even worse?  Here's something gross to put in your mouth!"


So, as obviously outlined above, I would NOT eat this.  Its only appropriate use is to lure animals into eating you, or perhaps getting in a really gross goo fight with a friend.  Also, likely most of those flavors look like poop.  The last thing I want to think about while eating is poop, especially if I'm running and likely HAVE TO poop, so no, these are just a big no.

During my unpleasant tenure as a Ragnar race participant, I ate a large variety of things.  I don't remember offhand much more than the burger that I kept burping up during my impromptu reenactment of the Temple of Doom, but the one greatest thing I ate during that whole race was the Klonopin I took immediately after removing my blood-stained shoes that allowed me to pass out for a really really ridiculously long time.

My recommendation: stop running, go get a steak, take a nap.  You do not need to eat Gu.

Monday, February 23, 2015

THE ZAGAT GUIDE TO THE FLU

Now I've had the flu before, quite a few times actually, so I wasn't expecting anything particularly spectacular when I found out that I would be trying out and reviewing this year's strain.  I had built up a considerable dent in my immune system, what with attending a three-day wedding drink-a-thon the weekend immediately prior, so I think I caught it at its best.

The initial impression I had wasn't akin to past flus, since they sometimes lead you on with minimal symptoms for days before smacking you in the face with the good stuff.  This one, however, came in like naked Miley Cyrus riding a sparkly wrecking ball - unexpected and a little too long.  Tuesday morning I felt fine, then suddenly around 3pm I must've walked outside, stood on the 101 and waited for a semi to hit me because it was at that moment that my entire body started hurting and I decided I was likely on the fast track to the county coroner's office.

While often the flu hits me without warning, I do find that it hits me with everything at once - body aches, headache, sore throat, head cold, cough - but not this time.  This year's glorious visit was marked by specific days dedicated each to their own special, but wildly different, version of hell.  As with a multi-course meal, I shall review this flu in each of its "courses."

Course 1 - This Must Be What Dying Feels Like

My sudden crash into the flu's first stage had me laying in my bed and wondering if this is what cancer patients feel like in their last days.  My head ached, my body ached, my JOINTS ached - I couldn't even sleep because every position, other than "dead," was just too uncomfortable.  I was very thirsty, but my intent to hydrate was derailed by my bladder's intent to stay empty.  As I lay in my bed, convinced I had parasites eating me from the inside and that soon I would simply cease to exist, a mystery for my family and friends to solve and put on Dateline later this year, I wondered where the rest of it was.  You know, the sore throat, coughing, head cold, snot - the works.  But as we know, what is the answer to most dilemmas?  Patience.

Course 2 - Are You Fucking Serious With This Shit?

Course 1 lasted what I would consider slightly too long - both Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated entirely to my bodily pain, while honestly I would've rather just skipped that altogether.  Thursday revealed a great surprise - my body once again felt normal, but my throat had begun hurting and I could feel the snot building a wall to block my breathing.  This flu was no multi-tasker - it put everything it had into each one of its reigns of hell.

At this point I called my parents to tell them that their initial hypothesis of my being hungover was wrong, and I definitely had the flu and how do I survive without my mommy?  My dad's answer to anything is "orange juice and aspirin" while my mom said a lot more things that I don't remember.  Suffice it to say, Thursday was also spent in bed, but only after a hearty dose of cold meds, orange juice, and a rousing game of "shoot saline up your nose and see what comes out."

Course 3 - Just GO Already.

Friday and Saturday presented themselves without a sore throat but with worsening snot problems, so I felt like I could venture out in to the world.  Not for anything spectacular, I just needed food and desperately wanted someone else to prepare it.  I thought getting outside would be good for me.  Instead, my three-minute drive to Chipotle combined with eating and my three-minute drive home proved to be more physically taxing than climbing the Himalayas, so I napped away the day out of exhaustion instead of my regular boredom.

I also got started on the most addictive medication on the planet - no, not morphine - AFRIN.  Nasal spray.  It clears you up oh so well and then when you feel the congestion coming on, nothing else will suffice.  I knew it was a gamble but I do so love breathing that I took it.  I have yet to know if I will regret this decision.

Now at the end of its run, I am currently only battling slight congestion and extreme exhaustion, which sounds terrible but based on the above is actually rather lovely.

Conclusion

This year's flu was nothing spectacular.  It didn't provide the 8-hour fever of the 2011 flu, nor did it have anywhere near the efficiency of any of the most recent strains.  Drawing it out to a week was petty and unnecessary, but those first few days did pack quite a punch.  My sore throat only made it to "mild" pain and my congestion was simply an annoyance.  Going forward, this flu should focus on extending its efforts to all areas instead of concentrating them at the beginning, or hell, just going for it all in a couple of days so I can get back on my feet more quickly.  Will it be remembered as a bad one?  Not particularly.  Mediocre at best, I'll likely forget about it in a few months.

I give this flu two thumbs down.