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
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