Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don't Start With Me, Homey

'Tis the season to enjoy the 3 minutes shaved off my morning commutes since people are taking off for the holidays. I can feel the presence of Our Lord Baby Jesus on the freeway.

This is my last week of super-hyper-crazy-full-time work until the new year, since my boss will be out of town for the holidays. I'll do a little bit of telecommuting, but ultimately the next two weeks are going to be a combination of enjoying time off and finally addressing the mountainous accumulation of to-do's work has kept me from, like buying food and shaving. Seriously, my 5 o' clock shadow is more like a 5 o' clock eclipse. Gentlemen...?

In terms of today: today was a frustrating day of running errands and ultimately not getting much actual shit done, which sucks, because in addition to just making me look bad it also guarantees tomorrow won't be a pocketful of posies.

So. Meh. Meh. I'm just working for next week. Next week and the sweet, sweet temporary liberation it promises.

Speaking of weekends, this past one was pretty good. I went to Christmas parties both Friday and Saturday; one with college friends, one with high school friends. The college one was definitely a good time; we had a white elephant exchange where I made off with this thing:

*made out with
Does your flask have rainbow fur and giant googly eyes? Oh yeah I forgot, you don't have a flask.

And then Saturday was a classic holiday theme party involving an ugly sweater competition which, frankly, I don't understand how I lost.

True Life: my shoulders are quintuplets
Nicholas Cage is like the ultimate trump card for ugliness! Whatevs, guess I'll just have to try a different angle next year.

Because my friends are anti-Semites, get it?
It was cool hanging out with my old-time high school peeps, especially in a casual setting that involved lots of people and alcohol. My conversation skills follow a very nice little bell curve correlating with how much I drink.


Remember how in my last post I basically outed myself as a snobby hipster who wants their dining experience to be as much 'experience' as it is 'dining'? Well. I went to a place that I've heard about and is also somewhat close to where I live last weekend, and I must say I was pleased on all fronts. No, there was no patio or courtyard, which I'm sure we can all agree is a darn shame. But what it did have was everything else going for it. I went to Homegirl Cafe, which is a mindfuckingly delicious and small-scale-trendy cafe/bakery located on the outskirts of China Town.

I know, I didn't know there was stuff there either. Mostly because there isn't. Except for this place.

The menu features lots of very delicious and healthy permutations of Mexican dishes, but all organic-free-range-feel-goody shit; shit in the sense of, "Damn, this is some good shit." They also have a lot of vegetarian and vegan items, which made me happy as a soy clam.

But I haven't told you the coolest part about this place, which is that it operates out of Homeboy Industries. You guys, I cannot explain how about this I am. Homeboy Industries is a job placement and rehabilitation organization that provides a million and one services to former convicts and gang members. Homeboy Industries does virtually everything you could ever want as a former-whatever, from substance and domestic abuse rehabilitation programs, to tattoo removal services, to running one of the best damn cafes I've ever eaten at. And it's completely staffed by people in the program-- that is, former convicts and gang members. So in your head you're probably imagining a place that looks something like this:

I'll have a bowl of nails... without any milk.
But it actually looks like this:

And then there's THIS:

Slip me some cupcakes, homegirl!
And (almost) needless to say, everyone there is very friendly and welcoming.

This place is perfect because I can enjoy my hoity-toity food, be relatively healthy about it, and ease my sense of privileged guilt since I'm supporting an incredible cause. Everyone wins!

Especially me, because I'm a white middle class female.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Caffeine for the Work-Stressed Hiker's Soul

Today started off pretty all right with a 6am hike in Griffith Park. I don't know if I've properly bragged about my new leisure/physical activity, so let me take a moment to milk the sweet udder of self-congratulation.

Macy and I have pledged to do pre-work morning hikes, as of now only once a week, but who knows what the future holds. We've gone about 3 times already, and so far it's been great. I wake up super hackin' early at like 5:30am, we meet up, and hike either around Griffith Park or the trail/park behind my apartment for an hour or so. Of course, when I say "hiking" I mean walking in places where there's trees, but there is a little incline involved. And descending the dirt trails in the Hollywood Hills? It's like Survivor Man out there. Okay, maybe Survivor Fetus (coincidentally also the name of my new pro-life reality series), but in the end everything circles back to one infallible argument: what exactly did you do at 6 this morning?

The unexpected bonus is that Macy has work before I do, which means we finish up in time for her to get ready for work, and I have time to go about my morning routine in a luxuriously slow manner. Or, more commonly, completely defeat the purpose of these hikes by going out and getting breakfast before work. In this situation it's very easy to justify "needing" coffee, but not so easy to justify the sumptuous baked good that inevitably goes with it. Not to mention I've just become a snob about dining experiences in general. I'm living the coziest possible version of a poor person's life in the sense that I go to places for the ambiance and then order the cheapest thing on the menu. I've reached that point where I feel like I'm cheating myself if I get coffee from 7/11 or even Starbucks... I have to go to some froofy little fuckin' "niche-y" cafe that's decorated to look like a cave behind a waterfall so anyone who goes there is really just embarrassing themselves if they're at all shocked or disgruntled that the danishes are $6 a pop.

Mitt supports overpriced pastries.
SO OF COURSE let me tell you all about the froof cafe I went to today. I decided to try it out because it was close to my work in Santa Monica and Yelp said it had a patio. Mentions of a 'patio' are always a good sign that a place is going to be smugly quaint and charming, which is exactly what I look for when I'm going out for coffee. the place was called the Coffee Connection, whose patio I would go so far as to say is actually a courtyard. And man, courtyards are the next level-- even better than terraces! Any ol' pizzeria with enough space to put chairs outside can have a patio. But this place had a whole enclosed outdoor area shrouded in vines and greenery and, best of all, a great number of outdoor heaters. I was thoroughly charmed, and sat outside with my organic coffee and my ballin' warmed-up vegan blueberry muffin just reveling in the constructed tranquility.

Yeah. You WISH you had a medium vanilla soy latte with freshly-ground cloves.
Assuming I don't get fired from my job, I will be back.

Speaking of which, the update on the job is that it is still really really hard. My fuck-ups have not been the same magnitude as last week, when I regaled to you a very tidied-up version of the emotional crisis I was undergoing with regards to my work. But I still feel like I'm constantly messing up and for every step forward I'm doing one bunny hop back. The 16th will be the one-month anniversary of my full-time employment as a PA, and I'm dreading the prospect of a "chat" about my work so far, since there's no possible scenario in which I see that going well. There's no way to put it other than I'm still a complete n00b and multi-tasking isn't as inherent in me as I hoped it would be. I keep telling myself that I've only been doing the job for a month, and I should try not to take all the criticism so personally. It's just hard because it's the kind of job where it's hard to see what I've been doing well because the only things that get noticed are the things I do wrong. That takes a toll. It's like if someone was keeping track of how often I fart, and every time I did they sent a mass email to everyone telling them about it. Over time people would think, "Wow, it's disgusting how often that Jessica chick farts." But they're not seeing all the hours of the day when I'm not farting. And of course, I can't go ahead and email them an update every second of the day that I'm non-gassy, it just doesn't work like that.

...And beans are a good fat-free source of protein and fiber. A gassy vegan is a healthy vegan, so you should be happy for me.

That had nothing to do with the metaphor, it was just a side note. And kind of a defense, to no one in particular except maybe me because I'm the only one I have to ride in a car with.

Well, now that I've gone ahead and written all that, you can add it to your ever-growing catalogue of your overall impression of me. To recap:

1. Hikes in the morning
2. Eats breakfast like a hipster
3. Criticizes self very harshly
4. Farts

Oh, and in my seamless segues from one topic to the next I didn't know where to include this, but it was amusing enough to me that I decided to append it here. I asked my co-worker if she had been to Coffee Connection, and she said, "Yeah, but I dunno... it's kind of gaudy."

I was pretty confused because if anything, the place seemed the opposite of tacky and stuffy. It took me a moment to realize she had actually said, "It's kind of God-y" ...because it operates under some sort of church or fellowship. Which I totally didn't realize until after I had ordered my coffee and muffin. Epic miscommunication pun.

Or should I say miscommunicat-pun.
Or should I say mis-communion-cation.
Or should I say mis-communi-stations-of-the-cross.

Out of common human decency and the desire to keep what little reader-base I have I'll stop there. But just know that I could keep going.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Trip to the Port of Long Bridges

It ain't easy being a personal assistant. And I'm not saying that in the "It ain't easy being cheesy" way. Clearly there is nothing easier for Chester Cheeto than being cheesy. However, it is legitimately extremely difficult to be a personal assistant, and to be honest, the past few days I feel like I've been drowning. Had I taken so much as one course or workshop on business administration I might have a clue as to what the hell I'm supposed to be doing. But nope, I just had to take "Monotheisms" and "The Films of Clint Eastwood."

While there is definite credit to learning something completely through hands-on experience, PAing has got to be one of the most challenging ways to go about that. I seem to only be figuring out what I'm doing right or wrong by making mistakes. Mistakes are healthy and normal, sure. But these mistakes aren't endearing little, "Ohh, you set the margins too wide on this report, but now you know for next time" ones. They are fuck-ups in a person's life schedule. HER LIFE IS IN MY HANDS PEOPLE.

In this example, Hades is the new phone whose voicemail she can't figure out how to access.
Missing doctor appointments, saving all the best typos for emails to wealthy investors... it's no bueno. Which is why I just spent the past hour reading the first twelve Google results for "how to be a good personal assistant." The top thing they all stress is confidentiality, so maybe blogging about everything I do has been my biggest mistake so far. I guess when you're a personal assistant you're not supposed to talk about it. What if 90% of the world population are actually just really really good personal assistants? I have no way of knowing.

Though in this political climate it'd probably be closer to 99%AMIRIGHT?!

That's right, I push the limits with my satirical political humor. Look out.

I've spent all day stressing at work so I'm going to attempt to decompress from that for a bit. Hey, let's talk about that thing that happened when I missed my exit heading down to San Diego this weekend.

Don't ask me how, but one second I was driving on the 110 and the next I was looking up ahead and seeing all these massive curved bridges and thinking to myself, "Whoah, that would probably be super trippy to drive on." And sure enough, 30 seconds later the freeway curved around and my little car was hoofing it up the spine of these gigantic brontosauri. Over water.

Driving Home Alone... 3
Yessir, as it turns out I had somehow navigated myself straight into the Port of Long Beach. For anyone who's never been, it looks like a ship-themed level in a video game... or maybe it just looked that way from the heavy dose of acid I ingested about a half hour prior. It was definitely a weird-looking place of intimidating size. Like if Texas opened a Splash Zone. Everything was just so... big. The bridges must have been several hundred feet high and stretched across open water for close to a mile. Don't believe me? Check out this cRaZy AeRiAl pHoTo:

Yes, Super Stock, we all see you.
And on either end of the bridge were cement platforms stacked with thousands of massive/plentiful cargo crates.

What is in there?! Cheese? Taxidermy buffalos? High-quality imported pornography? There's just no need for that much high-quality pornography. The people have spoken and they want the free cheap kind!

The experience was a little thrilling and terrifying, if not solely because I had no idea this would be the day I would tour the Port of Long Beach. Driving over the bridge was kind of gnarly... but I was braver about it than I probably would have been had I not crossed this bridge earlier this summer:

At least we're in New Orleans, where I know I have nothing to worry about.
It was a very symbolic moment of crossing bridges and achieving new heights, and other things I'll include in my article about children's education.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hoggy Thanksblogging

Sorry. Sorry. So sorry. I know you must have been waiting around all night long for a good ol' Vida Local post yesterday. But while you were sitting on your ass staring at a computer screen, I'll have you know I was doing that same exact thing for work. My boss figured she would make up for the enjoyment of having the next few days off by having me work long-and-especially-crummy days on Monday and Tuesday. It was just two days of doing the most obvious thing one can do with a Mac, which is hate them. Now, I can use a Mac just fine, but this week the fire got lit under my ass to do all sorts of fancy formatting projects on one, and the whole time that I was scrambling around on that god forsaken contraption I was dreaming of the hour when I would be reunited with my lovable, intuitive, albeit-kind-of-heavy PC (it's okay, I like 'em with a little meat on their bones).

But that's done. Until next week. For now, I am happily lagoon-side at my friend's pad in Carlsbad, eagerly anticipating tomorrow's Thanksgiving festivities. In recent years, Thanksgiving has gone from my least favorite holiday to among my favorites. It all clicked once I realized that Thanksgiving is really just a day set aside for eating shameful amounts of food and feeling you earned some American badge of honor for doing it.

"But it's also a day to remember all that we're grateful for and how much we love--"

No. Shut up. It's about food.

And also the past few years I've fallen into the tradition of Friendsgiving, the noble practice of having Thanksgiving with actual friends instead of a few family members and some awkward assortment of neighbors and family friends you don't really know or have an interest in knowing.

Seriously, who invited the assholes with the collars?
Beyond that, in post-grad life Thanksgiving is my Free Pass for a day or two off to go home, rest, and hang out with friends and family. "But it's Thanksgiving!" is a valid excuse to take time off in the way I wish "But it's Halloween!" or "But it's Thursday!" were. Thanksgiving is like the black poker chip of cultural value, and once a year you get to cash that bad boy in.

Since by this point I've invariably convinced you that I enjoy Thanksgiving for purely selfish, lazy, and generally self-indulgent reasons, I'll provide here a list of some shit I'm grateful for. These are things I don't need to eat a dinner roll to be reminded of, but-- ooh wait, are those Pillsbury crescents? You really went all out this year, Margie.

Some Shit I'm Grateful For
  • My pet fish Klaus
  • Cookie Butter
  • My new job
  • My old friends
  • My shower, which is miraculously never too hot or too cold
  • Cheap rent
  • My car, even though I inflict clubbing-baby-seals-caliber cruelties upon it
  • My family members' patience with me despite my inability to write prompt e-mail responses
  • My landlady (seriously, Barb is the shit)
  • The parts of Los Angeles that don't suck (that is, have free parking)
  • Dan Harmon, Loren Bouchard, Tina Fey, in no particular order
  • Yelp
  • My boyfriends (both the real AND the imaginary one... they still don't know about each other yet)
  • Celtx, the only script-formatting program sympathetic to its broke-ass user base
  • Netflix
  • My best friend for letting me use her Netflix
  • People who make the world funny
  • People who in any small way try not to be terrible
  • People who make me food
  • People who don't hashtag Facebook posts
  • And Thesaurus.com
There you are. Now go mash a potato or something.

Another item on the blog agenda (blogenda) (not to be confused with blogina, which is something entirely different) is a report on the latest in my LA excursions, which was hiking around Griffith Park.

Griffith Park is the massive stretch of hills, trails, parks, and abandoned zoo cages where most Angelenos go for their "outdoorsy" fix. I've been to Griffith Park before, but it was in the picnic area which was essentially a large field with a few little trails zig-zagging away from it. This past week, however, Macy and I went exploring in the trails. These puppies go on for DAYS. You follow a trail along a pretty little human-made creek, duck under a tiny bridge for cars, putt along for a few minutes and BOOM! You are suddenly in the Hollywood Hills, where you can gawk at any number of things. Or at the very least, these four:
  1. The snow-topped mountains, to your left
  2. The ocean, to your right
  3. The city, in between
  4. The custom mansions where people unfathomably richer than you house their midget-servants
 It's really kind of a trip. Here you are, standing surrounded by trees and bushes, taking in the panoramic view of all these geographical regions mixed together like an indecisive Subway order.

Tuna, pickles, honey mustard... but what exactly is the vision here?
From atop the hills in Griffith Park, I got a real-time screenshot (I think they used to call those "views") of exactly what there is to love about LA: namely, that there is everything here. It's this obtuse blob of land in which every inch is occupied by something and no two square inches contain the same something. Even if you can't actually enjoy that, you have to at least admire it. From where I live, it could take me 30 minutes to get to the beach or the snow depending which direction I head. Any given radial point surrounding my home base will take me somewhere startlingly distinct from all the others. I don't know about you but I think that shit's pretty magical.

AND in the latest attempt to combat my proclivity towards lethargy/overall fatness, Macy and I are starting a new thing where we attempt once-or-twice-a-week pre-work morning hikes in Griffith Park, which means I'll get to enjoy these lovely panoramic vistas of LA's diversity until it is no longer special or remarkable to me. Hooray!

I originally typed 'huzzah' but I've come to realize that people who shout 'huzzah' are obnoxious, even if they are nice people. I'm going with 'hooray' because I'd rather sound like Elmo than Tobias Funke.

And Elmo is, of course, in no way obnoxious.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our Top Story Tonight: A 22-Year-Old Makes Dinner and it's Not That Great

Has anyone else kept waking up and thinking to themselves, "All right, it's finally the week of Thanksgiving!"? Because I have been doing that every week for the past three months. Seems kind of sacrilegious to not have better tabs on the beloved anniversary of that day when the pilgrims first shat on the Native Americans' sand castle, but at least I remember when Jesus was born. After all, how could anyone forget the significance of Memorial Day?

This is all very well due to the fact that I'm visiting home for Thanksgiving for the first time since... before graduation. I'm accepting the fact that I've now reached that stage in my life where going home has to have some kind of purpose attached to it. I can't just randomly flit down to San Diego all willy-nilly anymore. Or, perhaps I could, but I don't... mostly because of my packed schedule, and a little bit because I can't shake the notion that the city of Oceanside should throw a massive parade every time I make the commute down there. It's a big "plan" for me to go to San Diego now, so when I arrive I want my money's worth, damn it! But alas, my friends all have lives and jobs now. And since I have one or both of those things, it's harder for me, too. It's a hassle to coordinate. I'm learning that this is what being an adult is: having to "pencil in" arrangements for fun but not get to actually have full-force-fun because you have too much un-fun happening in the near future to enjoy the moment. I could've sworn I heard something about this before...

Maybe if she spent less time dancing on her parents' beachside property and more time looking for a job....

With the job transition and subsequent reintroduction to "days off," I do get to go out and have fun-- plenty of it, actually. But it's never no-strings-attached fun. My life has more strings than a CostCo case of tampons.

I don't know exactly how I landed on that marvelous little simile, but let's move on with this one-sided conversation we call a blog. I made a great discovery recently, namely that a writer's meet up group I was looking at attending takes place a mere 7 minutes from my place of work.

This one was pretty different from the other one I attended which, as you may have noticed, I didn't have much to say about. The first one was... aight... I guess... but the attendance was low, it took place in the un-cozy part of a Panera, and people didn't seem much interested in talking or sharing. This one I went to yesterday was exactly not all those things. The turn out was close to 20 people or so, all of whom were very friendly and welcoming. For a $5 donation fee you got wine, snacks, and access to a wonderful little community of writers at a cute-ass Santa Monica sandwich joint. I worked on my spec script for 2 solid hours, a period of writing time I usually only ever spend on my blog because I take the time to select the perfect design for my glitter graphics. It's really an art. The plaid in the HUZZAH says, "I'm glamorous, but I also have a deep respect for my Scottish heritage."

Right, Paddy O'Alcoholicdog?
In summary, I think I've found my new "group." Another nice thing about them is that they seem to meet far more consistently than the other group, about twice a week as opposed to once every three weeks-or-whenever-enough-people-remember. So hooray for finding the right means to get my writing back on track. It took a five dollar fee and a club someone else started to make it happen, but it's progress.

I'ma be real honest with you guys right now. Like real honest.

My collar bone is my best physical feature.

But aside from that, I'm also tired and spacey (like the Kevin!) and I feel like my mind is swirling in a nightmarish torrent of neon-lit screens. My job is to type and stare at things all day, so by the time I land on the only typing and staring activity I actually want to do on Tuesday nights, it's like feeding mashed carrots to a child in a high chair. It would maybe be okay with just the computer aspect, but it's phones, too. Like constantly. I mean, I'm not trying to offend anyone by not responding to the photo of the tuna sandwich they made for lunch, but seriously, Instagram was created expressly so you could display your sandwich and maintain the satisfactory illusion that anyone else in the world cares, without anyone else in the world actually caring. Everyone wins that way.

Yup, I'm already becoming an old fart who is badgered by technology. Though I was raised on dial-up, so technically I think that's still okay.

But seriously you guys... what happened to my dinner. I burned the chickpeas while simultaneously overcooking the potatoes so I started making pasta instead, but then I couldn't fully commit to the idea of getting rid of the chickpeas and potatoes so I mixed them into the pasta and poured sauce on it. And then for whatever reason I decided to throw liquid smoke* in there at the last second. What the fuck am I eating?

*VIP blog exclusive feature you won't read about anywhere else: I accidentally squirted liquid smoke in my eyes. It stung.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Tipsy Blog Post

Welcome to the Livin' La Tipsy Vida Local, the blog where I'm kind of tipsy from drinking two beers on a somewhat empty stomach. Where did I drink two beers? At no other place than the Melody Lounge, bless its heart. With whom did I drink two beers? With no other individual than my bike-riding roomie, bless his heart. Yes, major roommate bonding. I came home from work and he had returned for a day-off-drinking intermission. I thought to myself, "Well, I have a job, so I think I'll drink too," and invited him to come out for a couple rounds. As you can see, I'm the master of finding arbitrary justifications for whatever I feel like doing at the moment.

Consequences of being tipsy:

-Making pasta for the first time in ages
-Ranting about how much I hate bugs with my roommate for like a solid 15 minutes
-Drunk-texting my landlady smiley faces for working on the leak in the bathroom literally within an hour of me telling her about it
-Not understanding like 75% of what my landlady's husband just told me about the status on the leak in the bathroom
-Really having to poop... and not knowing whether it's okay to use the bathroom

But yes, business. Important business. Business-y business.

*ahem* [straightens bowtie] [wonders if anyone who actually wants to be taken seriously wears bowties anymore]

NEWS: I quit the bakery. As of tomorrow, it will be two weeks since I put in my two weeks. I know, I didn't tell you... it's like that scene from V for Vendetta where the politician doesn't know she's been poisoned until V tells her moments before her death.

Or something.

But I felt like staving off the news so that I could immediately follow it up with this news: I got the director's personal assistant job!

In a whiplash turnaround I went from having a quirky minimum-wage job to having a small-scale "write on business cards" kind of job. Now, granted, I'm telling the world about it, and as we know, with any achievement I publicly toot my horn about it always makes a point of completely failing so that I have to come back and engage in a shameful public eating-of-words. Words are like the only thing that I don't enjoy eating. That and melon. Seriously, fuck melon.

And especially since I've never done personal assisting before, we'll have to see how this goes down. In the week past week or so I've been "eased" into it the way a newborn baby giraffe is eased into the concept of gravity. I'm just incredibly grateful that my idea of a "fun board game" growing up was our pictures-of-nature-edition Memory Card game. Being a personal assistant is nothing but being in charge of remembering and prioritizing every aspect of another individual's existence... I'm like a smart phone that occasionally has to step out to use the bathroom. It's completely bonkers, but amidst all the helter skelter I'm actually kind of jazzed on it so far. It's a puzzle game. I love puzzles. The fact that I prefer Sudoku to human contact is finally paying off!

Loving you is easy 'cause you're beautiful...
I wish I had more to say, but I've transitioned from being tipsy to just being tired. So on that shamelessly geeky note I guess I'll go watch Netflix and pass out. Apparently that's what you do when you're 22 in the new millennium. #rightontrack

RE HASHTAGS: You can blame that on the beers... in fact I wish you would, because the sad truth is that I now hashtag a lot of my internal thoughts subconsciously. I really, really, hate the internet. #saideveryinternetaddictever

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ellay Ellay Ellay!

Alas, the blog gods ("blods") have smiled upon us... it must be for the act of blogger martyrdom I committed in using my last 30% of battery life on last week's post. But we're back, baby! After exactly one week of having a dead and inoperable laptop, my new AC adapter arrived in the mail this morning.

So... busy week. Lots of L.A. ventures that I'd be happy to tell you about. Ready? All right then.

Since my internship boss is still in Paris-or-Russia-or-wherever, I got today and yesterday off for the second week in a row. While much of this time has been spent sitting in bed reading "Angela's Ashes" and wearing a sweatshirt with no shirt or bra underneath, I've also managed to accomplish a number of obligatory tasks that have needed addressing for a while... laundry, sending snail mail, depositing checks (yeeea buddy), putting air in my I'm-pretty-sure-one-has-a-hole tires, AND

getting a library card with the LA Public Library!

Well tickle me pink.
Okay, this shit is nanners, yo. Like most places in DTLA, the library is a massive stone building of epic proportions. I've been there twice in the past two days, seeing as it is a convenient 1-hour walk from my flat... convenient, that is, if you've got nothing else to do with your day and you've been doing nothing but standing and eating Chinese pastries for the past month. I've only explored a couple sections of the library so far, which amounts to some incalculably small percentage of the total building. It is HUGE. And it goes below ground a couple floors, which worries me, because if the mole people start becoming literate then there will be no stopping them.

Oh yeah, and check out this magical lighting apparatus in the middle of the whole operation:

Salvaged from Paul Bunyan's crib mobile.
I got me some books, some CDs-- CDs of bands I actually want to listen to, like the Flaming Lips, not random albums with cursive font and pictures of emo dudes wearing cowboy hats-- and I am all-around stoked to have an LA library card that isn't for the "South Whittier Library." I used to do tutoring sessions at that depressing little room-with-books, and once witnessed a librarian kick out two guys who were drunk at the computers. Which begs the question, is it good or bad that the nation's alcoholics are going to libraries?

While we're on the subject of books, I also paid a visit to The Last Bookstore in downtown. This place is a cool two-story book shop with a neat layout-- the second floor is set up like a labyrinth and you can wander around the little pocket rooms of different genres. In one room, the only sorting method is by color, so if you feel like reading a book with a purple cover your options are all conveniently located on one shelf. Half of the upper floor is also an art gallery complete with different installation rooms, so that was pretty neat as well. Oh, and they also have a knitting club up there. I don't know shit about knitting so that's not too relevant to my life, but I'm still tickled that it's there. Downstairs are more books and things, and there's a stage with couches in the middle, which leads me to believe they do poetry readings and things... finally, my chance to be just like that incredibly overly-sexualized beat poet from An Extremely Goofy Movie.

In even more downtown places-to-be, I met up with Macy during her lunch break yesterday at Grand Central Market.

Fish heads! Get yer fish heads here!
 I don't know how I haven't been here before... it's kind of a "thing" in LA. But now that I've been, I can stick my nose up in the air at anyone who hasn't gone and say, "What do you MEAN you haven't been to Grand Central Market? Have you been living under a rock?" Crawling out from under my little Chinese rock, I discovered that not only does this place offer a great variety of cheap and delicious lunch options, it also has a grip of stellar produce vendors with lots of fruits and veggies at extremely cheap prices. So much for my theory that everything in downtown is heinously expensive. I guess next time I'll know to be more prepared so I don't wind up hauling weighty bags of grapes and zucchini two miles across town.

Another thing I did today was walk a different route to downtown on my way to the library. Every time I go into town I like to try a new way, since every street's got something different. This time around I took the scenic route down Grand Avenue, which is where you find a lot of the landmark buildings in LA, like MOCA and the Disney Concert Hall. I gave in to my touristy urges and spent a good deal of the walk staring up with my jaw open. Like a god damn turkey in the rain.

This thing keeps happening where I go someplace in LA and am vaguely reminded of having gone there a long-ass time ago. Namely, as a Sophomore in high school my Drama Club went on a field trip to Hollywood for the weekend, and of course I had absolutely no frame of reference for anywhere we went. Lo and behold, I walked past the Mark Taper Forum today and realized our club had gone there to see the Tom Waits jukebox musical "The Black Rider" back in 2008. Speaking of having zero frame of reference, I'm pretty sure there was only one girl in our entire group who even knew who Tom Waits was, and that girl was not me.

It was an extremely confusing two hours.
And in writing-related news, I have not done much since I've been without laptop... but I did resort to writing scripts longhand last Monday since I was signed on for my first-ever Shut Up & Write! meeting and had no computer. I also began a half-assed zine that, if I follow through with printing and distributing, I will see about dropping a few copies off at with Last Bookstore.

Oooooop, dog-for-dinner dinner time. Later Christian Slater

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All Dive and No Bar

Today's post will have to be somewhat brief, since my laptop charger has been emitting foreboding crackling sounds and literally began smoking up just a few minutes ago. On the bright side, if my stove burners give out I have found an alternate source of fire.

Allow me to regale the events of last weekend in a segment titled

The Dive Bar Diaries

It all started when my two friends came up to LA Friday night to visit. One goes to school in Whittier, the other used to go to school in Whittier but moved back to Fresno, and was in town for Whittier Homecoming Weekend (to sum that whole event up in ten words or less: friends, beer). We decided to meet up with Macy in Los Feliz to go check out some bars, because that's what you do on Friday nights in LA. We had heard good things about a place called Ye Rustic Inn that was walking distance from Macy's apartment, so the four of us mobbed on over.

The inside was cool looking; a typical dive-bar-with-ambiance that I might describe as what a billiard room would look like if it was below the deck of an old wooden ship. However, the ambiance was virtually the only thing this place had going for itself. We got food which was underwhelming and overpriced, our server (as well as the one who took over after she left) was a negligent, unsmiley little hipster bitch who didn't feel the need to be nice to us at all because we weren't hipster dudes who would be easily distracted by the bit of ass cheek hanging out of her high-waisted shorts. In addition to just sort of being a snobby and inattentive server, she misquoted the prices of our drinks, so by the time we got the bill we were all floored by the amount we had to pay. Oh, and get this. They had a policy that charged an automatic 18% gratuity on all parties of 2 or more.

I know. I KNOW.

Now as a disclaimer, I'm not usually the customer who complains. I don't know how to handle confrontation, so 9 times out of 10 I'll just quietly chew on my burnt hamburger with spit gobs in it and tell myself that the waiter is probably just having a bad day. But these bitches committed too grave an injustice for me to take it sitting down. Which I was at the time. I'll put up with your awful service, but that means by the end of the night you shouldn't be asking for any favors. Hell, these chicks weren't even asking-- they acted like it was the Law of Ye Rustic Inn that all customers had to pay this ridiculous 18% gratuity. So I timidly spoke up and told our server that we were misquoted drink prices, that we weren't happy with the service in general, and that we didn't want to leave a tip we felt they hadn't earned. Instead of feigning concern or at the very least apologizing, Miss Snobby Hipster said she couldn't do anything about it other than talk to the manager. When she came back she said she couldn't change the bill but she could give us complimentary shots.

I've got your goddamn shots right here.
Look, bitch, I don't want your booze. I want my bar experience back. Of course, little did the four of us know that legally they can't actually force us to pay the 18% gratuity, but I guess the waitress was pretty safe in assuming that none of us were lawyers. We very begrudgingly accepted the shots, even more begrudgingly paid, and begrudgingly left, but not before I begrudgingly stole the salt and pepper shaker off the table and stashed them in my purse. It was more a private symbolic act of disdain than anything else, but hey, that's 20 cents that Ye Rustic Inn will have to shell out of their high-waisted shorts pockets.

Thoroughly perturbed by our unsuccessful dive bar endeavor, we decided to console ourselves with food from a bomb little taco stand down the street called Macho's Tacos. We sat out on the patio area and bitterly ate our tacos. We salt-and-peppered the chips with the shakers I had taken, which prompted the owner of Macho's to come over to talk to us and ask where they had come from. He was a very laid back and-- dare I say it-- attractive single dad who sympathized with our shitty evening when we told him. So from there, not only did he give us complimentary chips and guac as well as the names of a couple other good bars in the area, but he said there was a great place called Dresden right around the corner, he had a good friend who worked there, and she could hook us up with drinks. Rather than give us time to mull the matter over, he said he was going to go bring her tacos now and that we could meet him there.


So we hit up Dresden, and he was there, and he got us free dranks, and we hung out, and it was most excellent times. Dresden is a very chic speakeasy sort of themed bar, with a live band plucking out tunes like "Minnie the Moocher" and, praise be to Jesus, super friendly bartenders. It completely 180'd the evening, we found a new favorite spot, and we got our buzz on fo' free. In so many words: Hooray for Dresden! And by extension Macho's Tacos!

My laptop battery is now at 5%, meaning this will be my only anecdote. So long, farewell, until I blog again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Developments and a Fact About Bears

Hey there party people, welcome to the first-ever regularly-scheduled blog post. I guess Tuesday is when we'll be spending our romantic evenings together, which is perfect, because guess who accidentally ate too many Famous Amos cookies today and is lookin' for some good old-fashioned bloated snugglinnnnn'.

Exciting if not slightly terrifying things are happening in the world of Jessica, so get ready for a string of good news. Firstly, in thoroughly un-terrifying news, I recently joined the LA division of Shut Up & Write!, which means every week or so I'll be scooting off to some random location in LA to spend an hour or two shut upping and writing with a group of other writers. As much as I want to give myself pats on the back and high-fives and congratulatory secret handshakes, this doesn't garner any approval or feelings of productivity from me or anyone else unless I go to more than one meeting, and on a semi-regular basis. So don't send me presents just yet. But then hey, if you've accidentally hit the "1-click purchase" button for that fine Parisian cheese on Amazon already, I will accept any and all mail-cheese. (New catchphrase?)

Other news came up today, which was the offer of a job that doesn't involve frosting or hairnets. My internship boss is canning her personal assistant, and as the finest/only candidate within her immediate line of vision, I wound up being approached about stepping in. This is essentially the best-case scenario of an internship, happening a month before the internship is over. It's like being able to ride the ride while you're waiting in line.

I've found Escalator Land!
Would I take the job? Well, I mean, yeah. Will it be easy? Well, I mean, no. My boss is nice but she's also kind of crazy and wants to work with people who can read her mind. I can't read minds, BUT I'm exceedingly good at nodding my head like a slack-necked baby and chanting "Sure thing" with a cordial little inflection on the end. This, my friends, is the key to being a good personal assistant. Especially with this woman. She asks for things in the most unspecific way, which is frustrating when you're trying to do about 24 unspecific things at once. While being her paid personal assistant would up this to about 48 unspecific things, it would also up my salary enough to where I really don't care.

I will miss: having work so conveniently close to home, as well as being surrounded by awesome people in a low-stress environment laden with cakey goodness.

But I certainly won't miss: going home each day with just enough money to buy groceries. And wearing hairnets.

I'd also like my weekends back, thx.

I'd also like having one primary source of income. As of now, I make about half of my income from the bakery, half from tutoring, and half from selling meth to the Czech Republic. It would be nice to have... well, less jobs. That's not to equivocate that with having less work, since I would probably only have more.


This is offset by the other significant perks. For starters, I'd be working in a quasi-writing-related job! Can I get a friendly Samoan chest bump?? See, my boss very much likes my writing, which today is channeled into writing e-mails, but somewhere down the line could mean slipping a script her way and suggesting she film it. And in the meantime, I'd also just be working in entertainment in general, networking, and working on her film productions with significantly less schedule conflicts. My job wouldn't be keeping me from other opportunities because it in-and-of-itself would be an opportunity. So I'll be set. And then I'll just keep at the job until Tina Fey moves to Los Angeles and comes to the gala premiere of one of the plays my boss is putting on and we'll get to talking when we bump into each other at the shrimp cocktail table and we'll become lifelong friends and writing partners. Loren Bouchard will also be there, and he'll hand me a tray of homemade chocolate chip cookies that spell out, "Jessica, you're the most amazing comedy writer the world has ever known and you and Tina Fey should let me join your team of comedy genius." And you know what? They'll be the most delicious chocolate chip cookies known to man. Seriously, Loren Bouchard uses molasses in his recipe.

Now that you've listened to me completely convince myself into taking this job, come hear me obnoxiously gush to myself about all the other wonderful things that are happening for my career. For one thing, a new location has potentially been found for the graduate film I'm PD-ing all over, and I'll hopefully be checking the place out this week. Best part about the location? That bitch is furnished. Since it's not a "movie ranch" but an actual ranch-ranch, the country look is built right in, and I don't have to coordinate three trucks filled with couches and cowhide-upholstered bar stools.

Heffer-tless style.

And finally, the last cool development in Job Land is being approached to make a small promo-slash-commercial type dealio. See, my younger sister informed me today that she was recently hired as a "promo girl" for this dude who sells gun safes. I'll allow you just as long a pause as I took to process that information. Anyway, apparently he told her he's looking for someone to write and create a video promoting his product, so she hooked a sista up and passed my name along. If I do this, this may top the YMCA pool commercial in terms of being the most random film-related shit I've ever done. But again, getting paid to write/direct/film things: boo-too-da-yaw.

People use the internet to exaggerate the good things happening in their lives and draw attention to their successes. I am an insanely guilty party in general, and this particular post is the quintessential example. So I just wanted to toss in the disclaimer that my life seems to be going well but I am still far from livin' la vida perfecta. For one thing, I'm still not doing nearly enough writing (except weekly blog posts, apparently). I have a sort of Catholic guilt when it comes to not-writing, but I imagine it was the same for all those priests, and that didn't stop them from molesting altar boys. Another big thing is that I don't have nearly enough time to see my main squeeze anymore, ever. I haven't seen that dude in like... 3 weeks? A month? Which makes me as sad-ually frustrated. Hoping I get to see him tomorrow, and wishing I could just plug my butt up with leaves and hibernate until the next time we're able to hang out.

...I shit you not, that's what bears do. I saw it on a nature documentary at an impressionable enough age to where I don't think I'll ever forget it. Bet you didn't know this blog would be so educational.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Past: Ahh! (Without Meatballs)


It's official: as per my recently adopted lifestyle, I am creating a routine schedule for Livin' L.A. Vida Local. Unlike my menstrual cycle, blog posts will now occur on a regular basis. You can expect them to happen once a week, like my murdering sprees. I feel this decision will make everyone happier, because now you'll know exactly when to expect a post instead of anxiously pacing back and forth in front of your computer, combating the overpowering compulsion to just keep hitting the 'refresh' button over and over and over again, searching for a Facebook link that never comes. And as for me, I'll commit to keep writing because now I'll know exactly when I'm supposed to drop these little internet-writing nuggets into the universe, and maybe I'll even hold myself to that promise. Just like the promise that I'd never kill again...

So last week was crazy, just like the week before it, and just like the week ahead. Highlights included airbrushing my first Halloween cake (which I totally fucked up), researching "family-friendly cabaret performances in Paris" for my internship, and visiting old friends from high school whom I haven't seen in four years.

That was a trip. Ever since graduation this sort of thing keeps happening, where I serendipitously hear from or bump into people from "the past." Christmas isn't for another two months, so at least I know I'm not trapped in some sort of Ebeneezer Scrooge situation.

I also know because no matter how greedy I try to be, I'm still poor.
In this scenario, I hit up my old best friend from high school (pseudonym "Kristy") because I saw on the ol' FB that she was in LA. Turns out she's been here a few weeks, having just graduated from UC Santa Barbara and moved out to the city to pursue a career in acting. I visited her at the uber-chic downtown restaurant where she just began working, trying to wrap my mind around how someone could arrange their modestly-posh LA set-up so quickly. I mean, it took me like a solid two months of sitting in my underwear while sending out resumes before I got a steady job. So I think she deserves a major "u g0 Giir1" because she seems to be doing something right.

Could it have been the pants?
And then, as randomly as I had reached out to her, a mutual friend (pseudonym "Jade") hit me up right around the same time saying she was in LA as well. This is a little less surprising since she went to UCLA, but still, after four years she got buried amidst my extensive mental catalog of friendships. So in a quite wonderful turn of events she also came to the restaurant, where there were delicious garlic fries, flat breads, gourmet brownies and booze had by all... except for Kristy, because she was our server.

And Kristy told Jade and I that yet ANOTHER friend was in LA, and apparently had been for a number of years... completely unbeknownst to me and probably a fair number of others. So Jade and I popped across the street after dinner to briefly say hi. We caught him at a bad time, because it was a Friday night at a massive and insanely popular LA restaurant whose name I will not disclose. Your hint, however, is: macaroon trees. GO.

So at dinner, Kristy, Jade and I did a lot of catching up, which I'll admit is difficult to adequately do when three girls are trying to abridge four years of significant life events over the course of one meal. The good news is that, hey, we're all local now, so there will be many more opportunities to get nitty-gritty in the future.

And come to think of it, we actually spent the bulk of the evening thinking back on other people we went to school with, giving reports of what we heard or knew about their lives. Oddly enough, a vague, churning gut-feeling of alienation and "wow holy shit what is going on right now" arose not from seeing these two girls' faces for the first time in four years, but of hearing about the lives of the people who weren't there. There were so many people whose existences I had utterly forgotten... random trivia about high school social drama that returned to me in waves... it was like traveling to a strange new plane of existence cohabited by the past and the present. It was... so strange. On the whole the evening was pleasant and enjoyable; it was very cool to see how things seemed "business as usual" for Jade and Kristy. I guess I was anticipating they might have drastically changed and I wouldn't know how to deal, but we fell back into the groove pretty seamlessly.

However, there were parts of the evening that might have gotten too real for me. The parts where I began hearing some of the not-so-pleasant-and-enjoyable things that have happened to other peers since 2009. Not everyone went through the cookie-cutter machine in my mind that turned everybody into an upstanding college graduate with a business degree. It was surreal to find out that people-- people I knew-- people I know-- flunked out of college, or never went to college, or got married and settled down, or went to jail, or were homeless, or went missing altogether. In many cases, I found out that people failed.

And that really, really freaked me out.

Because I feel like I haven't been alive long enough to fail. And of course, the same is true for these other people who I'm inconsiderately belittling by making an example of-- but Jesus Christ, it just felt like we were all on the same trajectory when we were going to the same school. The years following high school graduation really drew out the discrepancies between each of us. She's having a baby, he's getting his PhD, they're still together after 7 years, and I'm decorating cakes. What is going on?!?

I guess the reunion triggered a miniature episode of mortal awareness. The passage of time had never seemed so... concrete. Real. I mean, in the scope of existence, four years isn't a lot of time. But a lot actually happens in that chunk of temporal space; enough to where we start using language like, "so-and-so 'wound up'..." Wound up?? Who's winding up anywhere?! If people my age have "wound up" doing things and being things, then that means I have, too! It means that somewhere, in some other restaurant, some little group of former high school peers are asking, "Do you guys know what ever happened to J-Mil?" And I'd be very interested to hear the answer. It would be the past four years of my life appraised in a single sentence. The logline of my progress as a human being.

This existential spiral haunted me for all of about 24 hours before I got swept back up into the whole routine of day to day life and went on my merry way, which, frankly, I gotta say I prefer. It's sort of a shitty feeling to be that aware. Taking things a day or a week at a time seems like a better way to live, as long as some end goal is glittering in the distance. The simpletons who clog Facebook with inspirational photos of skinny white chicks dancing on the beach at sunset beneath the quote "Live in the moment <3" might actually possess some merit within their gaseous clout of pseudo-profundities.

Oh man, I totally will now that I've seen this.
That is such a valuable insight.
Nothing more profound has ever been said by anyone ever.
I will remember that for the next time I take balloons to the beach.
Maybe... maybe.
This quote changed my life, so it's fitting that it was paired with the greatest photo ever taken.
Well, I don't know about you guys, but all these pictures of the beach at sunset have made me want to go out and live life to the fullest. So I'm going to go make a bowl of cereal using peanut butter instead of milk and watch maybe 3/4ths of one of the movies in my Netflix queue.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Intern of Oz

Monday was a fun little adventure in brushes with the corporate upper class. And by fun little adventure I mean miserable fucking nightmare. As I recall, it all began when I started my internship about a month and some-odd days ago... errands are, inevitably, part of the job (at 50 cents a mile for reimbursement, then hell, send me to Nevada to pick up your dry cleaning, I could use the extra 10 bucks). I had to drop off some something or other at a film distribution office in Century City.

To give you a rough idea of what Century City looks like:

Bankers and film execs and zillionaires, oh my!
Or at least, the part where I was. Maybe the majority of Century City is actually an incredibly violent, gang-ridden city, likely because all their money goes towards maintaining the very nice downtown area I found myself in. I had to go to the 14th floor of some 40-story skyscraper nestled cozily beside like twenty other gargantuan skyscrapers. I rolled up to the parking garage in my humble, dirt-crusted Hyundai that yes, thank you for asking, I have not washed since my cross-country roadtrip two and a half months ago. It was like requesting entrance into a dystopian citadel. I had to pop my trunk to be searched (which was not nearly as erotic as it sounds), but they weren't too worried about me, 'cause I'm just a white chick. So I parked in the vast and endless underground garage that brought to mind a mole-people civilization, and made my way up into the inner walls of Century Plaza.

You know that scene in Big Fish where the dude emerges from the spider-infested woods and suddenly finds himself in the town of Spectre?

It was like that, except the buildings were all made of glass and at least fifty times taller. They surrounded this beautiful grassy area filled with pricy little restaurants, tables, and herds of corporate folks strutting about in their most professional three-inch heels. They ate expensive salads, chatted busily over laptops and touched very important buttons on their iPhones. By fate or by chance, I had stumbled upon a haven for successful white people.

And a high number of insanely attractive Asians.
With my canvas purse, flowy-hippie-pants and flip-flops, I felt just a tad out of place. I guess Casual Monday hasn't reached the Corporation of Eden. After walking around and gawking at everything like a dazed poor person, I checked in with security at one of the buildings, received a "guest pass" that was used to electronically operate the elevator, dropped off the drive, and considered the job taken care of. During this whole part I felt a little like James Bond, with the one major discrepancy being I was the least well-dressed of anyone in the building.

Things were pretty hunky-dory until I had to leave. To make a long, boring story a short, boring story, I was sent around to every end of that strange, shiny place like a god damn pinball to get my parking validated. Even after I did get it validated the first time, it only covered half of my luxurious $16 parking spot and I had to leave my car with the emergency lights on in an unyielding one-way parking garage exit and... it was just, overwhelming. I was like a flustered hobo on the move, huffing around from floor to floor begging people with golden tie clips to help me escape. I finally got out by flip-flopping on down to the deliveries parking garage, located a few miles north of the Center Of The Earth. The deliveries man (who was literally just a dude sitting at a desk plopped against the wall of a vacuous concrete loading dock) obliged me with validation, but in the most unobliging manner possible.

I escaped.


Believe it or not, this entire ordeal took roughly 2 and a half hours from start to finish. Okay, I admit that possibly 15 of those minutes was spent on getting a frappe, but how often do you get to say you went to "the Fancy Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf"?

Summary: the update on parking in Los Angeles is that it still sucks. You need to be rich enough to own a "pass," disabled enough to own a placard, or ghetto enough to take advantage of the ample curb space in Crenshaw. The rest of us here in middle-to-lower-middle land will just let the daily stress of parking take its toll on us until over time we develop acute muscular dystrophy or some severe psycho-physical disability. I read all about it in my "Stress and Disease in the 21st Century" course.

Because "Drugs and Modern Society" posed a scheduling conflict.

Summary: Traffic and parking is what's killing you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

[Title Written by a Tired to the Point of Being Creatively Bankrupt Individual]

Are you guys seeing this? The insides of my eyelids look EXACTLY like frosting cones, computer screens, and I think they keep flashing images of the Breaking Bad season finale as well. Oh God... when I open my eyes it's the same thing. Make it stop!

No. Don't make it stop. The doing of these things, I mean. It would just be nice if I could air my head out a little bit... a lot of things are happening at once, and I haven't fully adjusted mentally or physically. In the evenings my brain is beginning to feel simultaneously empty and overactive. Just thinking about things to do, so many logistics... it's like eating Cheez-Its. That analogy made sense in my mind for one fleeting moment, but I lost it and now I don't remember where I was going with it. Like I said, mental adjustments.

There are just so many things that are small in and of themselves, but accumulate to an overwhelming amount. Sure, I can print a file. Sure, I can send an e-mail. Sure, I can do my laundry. Sure, I can feed my betta fish. But the fact that I can't do all of these things at once is becoming a major inconvenience. I wish I had some sort of octopus-like brain that could... no, wait, I've lost it again. But at least you can kind of see where I was going with that.

But can you SEA where I was going? Nyak nyak nyak
I am... exhausted. Partially from work, mostly from being an idiot and thinking my whole "stay up 'til 2am watching television shows" way of life is still a possibility. Yes, folks, we are reaching the end of week one in the J-Mil With A Job chronicles, and I'm trying to pretend that I'm completely unphased. But, yes, now that you mention it, I am kinda tired. Hey is that a pillow?

Do not confuse any of this tired-person rambling with complaining. I am seriously digging the cake decorating. I am digging that I get out around 3 and still have daytime left to do things that I either need to do or want to do. I am digging the overwhelming flux of paychecks that arrived in the mail last week. I am also digging not feeling bad about using funds from said paychecks to buy Halloween decorations to string about my apartment. The unit neighbors like the cobwebs I stretched all over our front patio, which is good because I didn't ask for their opinions until after I put them up. I love decorating for the season, especially when it's Halloween. Halloween is probably the best holiday ever invented. Ever.

No. Wait.

It's definitely the best holiday ever invented.

Anyway, I am really excited/apprehensive to be working at a bakery during this time of the year when most major holidays are no more than a month apart. Because holidays are the few-and-far-between occasions where fatties can crawl out from under the (very wide) floorboards of society and say, "You know what this calls for? Cake," and everyone just agrees. It really is a beautiful thing.

On the one hand, it's going to be a lot more work and a lot more rush. But on the other hand, I'ma be making cakes with pumpkins and turkeys and reindeer and shit on them (for the festive All Shit's Day we look forward to each year), which will allow me to flex my creative muscles in a new way. So far the cakes I've worked on only have borders and flowers, or "edible images" in the center. Nothing too draw-y. I wanna draw things! And then have people eat them! I tried doing the same with my sketches but people don't seem to be as into them... apparently charcoal stains your gums. But also the chemical treatment in sketch paper causes birth defects.

Aside from This Bakery Update, I had my first meeting today with the director of the film I'm going to PD for. I'm looking forward to the project since it sounds like the aesthetic will be more than some basic, contemporary setting. It won't be stylized per se, but it's going to definitely have a "look" to it, and I get to spearhead that operation. Whoo! The hardest part is going to be filling the space, since it looks like our shooting location might be a large, empty house on a movie ranch. Yes, that's a real thing. It's an entire ranch made for shooting movies at. The house in question is huge and completely unfurnished, so I'll have to figure out how to move a whole magikarp-ton of furniture and set dressings to and from the location.

Hey magikarp, can you help me move this couch? Oh wait, you can't, because you're completely useless.
Speaking of entertaining things about the entertainment industry, recent internship duties have included researching trained animals to cast in an upcoming movie. Okay, not only is there such thing as "Hollywood animal rentals," but this in itself is an extensive industry within the film and entertainment biz. That part isn't too surprising in retrospect-- gotta have dem animals-- but what I found bizarre and fascinating was the niches within this industry. You've got folks who have small farms of trained animals like cats, dogs, horses, sheep, etc. But then you've got a company that has been "proudly providing Hollywood with movie lions for over 40 years," or a safari-themed animal rental service, or some weirdo with a circus of professionally-trained insects. How does one train a stick bug? Do literal flea circuses actually exist? These are the questions that will haunt me until the day I die.

Non-sequitur: as per Dog-4-Dinner arrangements, I tried a swankz little Thai restaurant in DTLA last night called Soi. 7. I ordered-- get ready for this-- the vegan pumpkin cashew curry. "Yes," I told the waiter, "I'd like the most unauthentic, pretentious, yuppie-pandering dish you have here." And you know what? It was probably in the top 5 of best curries I've ever had. So good. Oh my god. I'm still thinking about it. And when I go to bed tonight (in 45 seconds), the insides of my eyelids will probably resemble two bowls of that delicious, delicious curry.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ladies, Frost Yourselves

You gays.
Guess what.

No really, guess.

I'm waiting.

Come on.

Seriously, just guess.

I don't know, any guess.

Say it out loud.

Say it.

You're not saying it.

I can hear you not saying it.

Come on.

Just fucking do it.


You know, this is exactly why I don't talk to you at parties.

On the off-chance that you did guess: ERRR you're wrong except-there's-a-distinct-possibility-that-you-may-be-right.


Whoops, how did this get in here?
Yessir, almost immediately after I had shit all over the bakery for not calling me back and gone into the "empowered by embitterment ex-girlfriend" mentality, they called me up and asked if I could come in.


So here we are! I am now officially working as a full-time cake decorator. I love it so far. It is a lot of work-- that is, they have me coming in virtually every day of the week-- but there are a zillion and one people of all ages and backgrounds who work there, and every one that I've talked to so far has been incredibly friendly and welcoming which makes the work incredibly enjoyable. I mostly work out front decorating cakes with a girl around my age and an older guy who can be seen wearing a Dodger's cap on any given day; he's one of my favorites so far. The two of us speak in Spanglish that's about 70% Spanish, since he doesn't know much English and I look for any opportunity to practicar mi Espanol. I think I'm the only white person who works there, and one of a very select few who isn't bi- or tri-lingual. Dodger's cap man-- let's call him Rudolph, 'cause he's got red hair and his real name starts with 'R'-- told me that I'd soon pick up some Chinese in addition to Spanish, since a lot of people who do the baking in the back almost exclusively speak Chinese. So I'm very excited about all of this. I love speaking and learning new languages, and I get the sense that the other people at the bakery can tell, because they've all been so inviting, helpful, and friendly. Even those who I talk with in English have been nice. Everyone's just... really nice. It's amazing. It's wonderful. Until I started working for TLG I never really knew what it meant to work with/for nice people... only crazy people, and more so the ornery kind of crazy than the pleasantly amusing kind of crazy.

Oh yeah, and also I decorate cakes. That's been pretty cool. My supervisor started me off with a tray and a big cone of whipped cream icing, and I practiced making a whole variety of different styled borders on the tray. Day 2 I attempted to take on the frosting rose, which proved to be a lot harder and a lot easier than it looks. On the one hand, the other girl who decorates cakes (who went to culinary school and has been here for two years, mind you) can bust out a gorgeous frosting rose in ten seconds or less, and do that time and time again. I've been working on my rose since yesterday, just making and tossing them back in the frosting tub over and over, and only today did my flowers start to look a little less like cabbage heads.

Or this.
The frosting can be difficult to work with because it's whipped, which means it isn't as stiff and it gets melt-y a lot quicker than something like fondant or that gum stuff, but it still holds its shape and can be used to make a lot of different things.

"Like tacos? And three-armed baboons? And penises?"

Sure, why not. I would get the okay to draw a penis on a 9-year-old's cake sooner than I would the Power Rangers, 'cause a penis ain't copyrighted material.

So... yeah, welcome to that new thing that will probably be talked about in this blog a lot now. P.S. this blog may or may not just turn into a bunch of pictures of cakes and selfies of me in a hairnet. Does anyone have a problem with that? I thought not.

In other related news, I have had a couple recent revelations:

Recent Revelations 

(and other potential titles for my collection of original poems about leaves)

1. I currently have about 6-7 jobs. Literally. What the figurative fuck. Not that I necessarily have 6-7 jobs' worth of hours, but G. Hossafat-- how on Earth did this happen?! I'm supposed to be a yuppie! But I guess I'm a working yuppie, because after a recent mental tally I realized I'm tutoring through two different agencies (in addition to some independent private tutoring), teaching at TLG, proctoring with Princeton, cake decorating, internshipping, and I recently agreed to be Production Designer for another Chapman thesis film in November. I don't know how this is all going to work, but so far it's quite wonderful because...

2. For the first time ever I have achieved a state of financial semi-independence. You remember how much I was whining about this?! Or, maybe I just kept ranting about it in my blogs and then hitting 'backspace' by the end because it sounded as loserish as thinking about it made me feel. But yeah, with all the odds-and-ends work that I've been picking up over the past couple months I didn't realize that I've actually been coming fairly close to my target monthly income, and now with a full-time job lining the cage I discovered that I'm doing all right. Even in the least lenient itemization of monthly expenses that I gave myself, I have a decent little pool for the category of "leisure" (booze, prostitutes) and possibly some left over. This is, as you can imagine, the best combination of surprising and exciting. I haven't felt this way about money since my first summer job. Not the car services one-- that never happened, no matter what I might blurt out during hypno-therapy sessions. The first summer job I consider "real" in some capacity was working at a panini/smoothie/salad franchise called Blendz the summer before my junior year of college. That was all right I guess, but I worked with crazy people.

3. I have like, no time to write anymore :(. That's the one (anticipated) downside of all of this, but I'm determined to make time. It may mean my writing process will slow down a bit-- or it might not, who knows-- but god help me if it stops. It won't. It can't. I must write! Insert pretentious writer bumper sticker conviction!

4. Quick, easy, low-fat, homemade Thai curry is, like, a real thing. I made it for the first time last night on an inkling and all I can say is, thank god for inklings. See, I have this little jar of Thai curry paste, and I've been sauteeing vegetables and such in it, but it never tasted that good because it's aromatic but bitter. The recipe for Thai curry says to mix curry paste with coconut paste or condensed milk or something, which is way too fatty/unnecessary/probably expensive for me to ever want to purchase. But, what's this? There's an entire carton of vanilla almond milk in my refrigerator? Why, that's the same exact freaking concept as coconut milk, isn't it? ...It worked. Oh boy, did it work. It was curry THAT TASTED LIKE CURRY, and I got to put all the veggies and such that I wanted into it! The veggies and tofu took the most amount of time because I baked the potatoes and tofu in the oven, but once everything was in the pan it only took about five minutes. This is next level. You don't understand. Thai curry is literally my favorite food, and I just figured out how to incorporate it into my catalog of dinner staples. STAPLE ALL THE CURRY.

5. My hands may smell like cake but the rest of me smells like absolute shit. I really had better shower before my internship tomorrow morning. Ciao, dahlkink!