Wednesday, December 31, 2008

10 days in...

My attempts at my small resolutions have not been going well. Actually, that’s not true. It’s going ok. I would say I'm about 50/50 and I haven’t given up yet!

I have been reading the front page, but not everyday unfortunately. I have made more of an effort to read the full stories when I read the headlines, rather than just reading the first line. Most days, I get through all the actual stories on the very front page, but then can’t get through the rest of the front page section. I’ve also been skipping a lot of the stories because not only do I not care, but they are worthless stories. Is it really news that some guy’s dog has survived for 20 years after being told he would only live a month because of some rare disease? If the dog had outlived all of his owners because they all became infected with this rare disease, then I might think it was worth reading. Or maybe if it was an inspiring news article that made me cry about all of my dogs that have died over the year. But no. It was a crappy story about a damn dog that lived. I wanted the 5 minutes I wasted reading that back. Now, the fact that Christine Maggiore died and they don’t know if it was linked to AIDS, that’s something I call news. It does exactly what I think news should: it makes me think. Now I vaguely knew that she was an activist who challenged the “mainstream” belief that HIV causes AIDs, but I had never really looked into why she believed this. Now, I’m going to look into some of the things she brought up. Whether or not I agree with what she says isn’t important, it’s that I’m expanding my knowledge and my opinions. So far, this goal goes in the “just a little more effort” column.

The next one was to update my blog more often. I have sucked thus far. I would normally try to make excuses like it was Xmas and I was busy, or I was at my grandparent’s house and didn’t bring my laptop, or that my internet has been all wonky and I couldn’t post anything. All of this is true, but at the same time, if I had really made the effort, then I wouldn’t need to make excuses. This one goes in the “work harder, fucker” column.

I think my most successful one so far is to make and eat at least one meal at home per day. I might have cheated a little bit at my grandparent’s house, but I’m not overly disappointed. I think this one is going into the “yay” column…at least for now!

The next one was to stop complaining so much about work. I’m not going to lie; I have failed miserably. There are just too many things to complain about, so I’m just going to have to start accepting this and move on, rather than boring everyone else with my bitching. It’s not really beneficial for anyone but me. So far, this one is in the “you’re failing, dumbass” category.

The last one is also something I would also put “yay!” category is the walking more. I haven’t necessarily been walking around the block, but I have been walking more. Yesterday, for example, I walked around the mall quite a bit, which sounds like a total Valley Girl thing to say, but I definitely felt the burn. Plus I helped out the economy. It might not be exactly what I set out to do, but the end result is all the same, so I’m just as happy about it.

Overall, I feel like I’m doing ok. If I can manage to keep up with my blog and stop complaining about work, then this whole thing may turn out to be a success! Then I can start thinking about my resolution for the next thirty days…

The keys that are not polluting our ocean somewhere...

I was having lunch with my good friend Dr. Beckie and her boyfriend Mr. Cote today and I shared one of my hilarious Starbucks tales with them and realized, I hadn’t entered it into the blogosphere!

Before I begin, however, I would like to say that it might not be as hilarious as I make it out to be and if you’re disappointed, I’m sorry. (*After re-reading this before posting, I realize it is a little offensive. Therefore, if you are easily offended and are going to feel the need to report me to some equal rights organization, please stop reading.)

So I’m working on a mid-shift one Saturday afternoon and Fabricio, a barista who’s not actually named Fabricio but once answered the phone and gave that name therefore giving me a great nickname for him, comes up to me and tells me there is a man who would like to speak with the “person in charge.” Being the “person in charge” in a situation where someone wants to talk to you is NEVER a good thing. If they are wanting to speak with you to give you a compliment about how fabulous one of the baristas is, not only is it awkward because all you can do is agree, but you also begin to feel pressured into publicly humiliating the barista by telling him how amazing this one customers says he is. If the customer is complaining on the other hand, then it becomes time wasted out of my life trying to make someone who just wants to bitch happy. Either way, being “in charge” sucks.

I walk up to the guy and he tells me that he dropped his keys into the toilet and the toilet “flushed them away.” We have those automatic flushers that are supposed to help the environment by using less water or are more sanitary or whatever. No matter what it’s used for, apparently the flusher was strong enough to flush this man’s keys away.

After he tells me that the toilet has pretty much stolen his keys, he asks what I am going to do about it. Now, you have to picture me, towering over this short Latino with my hand over my mouth trying not to burst out laughing in his face. Who the hell drops their keys in the toilet and is not fast enough to get them back out?! Not only that, but who the hell is dumb enough to think that there is some possible way to get these keys back?!

I stare at him trying to come up with a solution and the only thing I can think of is to call our facilities system and see what they have to say about it. I walk in the back and take about 5 minutes to compose myself because I can’t stop laughing. I call facilities, and after explaining the dilemma to the person on the other end, have to wait a good 10 minutes for her to stop laughing and relaying the story to everyone around her. Her solution is to either have the plumber come out and approve the overtime (it is Saturday after all), or just telling the man he’s SOL. I opt for neither.

I walk out to the man, who has now been joined by a small Asian woman who is speaking very quickly in Spanish to this man. He looks like a small child being chastised by his mother after stealing a cookie from the cookie jar, which just makes my attempts at professionalism even harder. He gestures at me and before I even reach them, the Munchkin comes at me. “You get keys! Must get keys!”

“Listen, they are going to send out a plumber, but because it’s Saturday, I don’t know when he will get here or if he will even get here today. What I can do right now is get your name and phone number so if he comes out and is able to retrieve your keys, I will call you immediately.” I hoped that her lack of English and my superior fabrication skills would lead this to be the end of our conversation. I should know better.

“No. You get keys! We no get home! You get keys!”

“Ma’am, there is nothing more I can do.”

“Ok, I give you phone number and you call.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You give me phone number and I call you later.” So I give her the store phone number and take her information. She grabs her husband’s(?) hand and practically drags him out of the store, cursing in Spanish the whole time. Trilingual people scare me.

As they are walking out, Fabricio brings up a very good point: “What if they keys are stuck in the pipe and that causes the toilet to overflow? We don’t know how big this guy’s keys were…” So now I have to close down the men’s restroom, flush the toilet a few times myself to make sure, and then keep the men’s restroom closed, just in case.

After about an hour, the phone rings.

“StarbucksDowntownBurbankthisisKimmihowcanIhelpyou?” By saying it super fast, I always hope that the person will get the hint that I’m busy and don’t have time to deal with whatever it is they need from me right now. Once, again, I should know better.

“You get keys!” Now, she has said this to me several times today, yet, never has she phrased it as a question. Amazing.

“No ma’am, we have not found your keys. I will call you if we find them, but I think you should know that it is very unlikely that we will find them.”

“Ok, you call when you find.” Click.

When I left, I told the story to the next shift lead on, who laughed his ass off, but agreed that we should keep the men’s room closed just in case. Apparently, about 2 hours after I left, she called again and was outraged that we still had not found her keys. Before closing, she called again, made a big deal about how her keys should have been found by now, frustrating one of the baristas so much he said, “Look lady, your keys are probably halfway to the ocean right now, so you just need to get a new set and get over it.”

She never called again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Multitasking Maniac!

Why can I never do one thing at a time? Right now, I am watching a movie, writing this, and checking my Facebook. Most people would say that my ability to multitask is amazing, but honestly, why can’t I ever just do one thing at a time?

When I’m at work, my ability to order people around, make drinks, and talk to customers is essential. When I don’t do this, like on Monday when I was so distracted with other stuff, the whole shift is off and people don't get breaks until they've been working for almost three hours (sorry Oscar!). I have to be able to keep a bunch of things going and am constantly moving. If I can’t work on at least four drinks at a time, then no one would ever get out of there!

But in my “personal” life, why can’t I ever just read a book? I usually have to have my iPod in, playing whatever I feel will go best with the book I’m reading.

Why can’t I ever just watch TV? If the TV is on, I am usually on the computer looking at something random or writing, or I’m flipping through a magazine. Sometimes I even read a book!

Even when I’m at the movies, I always get distracted by annoying people or feel the need to commentate on every action. I don’t actually vocalize all of my comments because it’s rude and annoying, but I save it up so that I can say it later.

If I’m sitting at a café, I can’t just sit there and people watch, my phone or my laptop has to be out on the table.

Even when I’m working out, I prefer being on the elliptical machine with a book out and my music on.

I can’t even carry on one conversation on the phone because, inevitably, someone will text me while I’m having a conversation on the other line.

It’s not like I have ADD or something, I just feel that by doing only one thing at a time, I’m being wasteful. If I can write while I sing along with Mama Mia, why not do it, right?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm gonna let someone else rant..

Since I have made the decision to stop complaining about my job so much, I'm not going to.

I'm going to let Mike, aka triple venti skinny vanilla latte do the complaining for me. For anyone who thinks I'm over-exaggerating, read it and you'll see that even some of the customers get it. Plus, he's an awesome writer totally worth reading anyway!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I guess it's not that great of a story...Sorry

I opened today, which is something I normally complain a lot about because I am the exact opposite of a morning person. I can stay up all night, but if I have to get up before 8 am, I have a lot of trouble functioning. Forming full sentences and making decisions is kind of beyone me when I open. Now, I’m not complaining because it was actually a pretty strange, entertaining day. At least on my end...

First of all, poor Chad was supposed to open at another store, but got double scheduled. Chad is one of my favorite people to open with because I don’t have to tell him what to do and we can chat while working, so I get to hang out with my friend at work. It’s fun. Anyway…My lovely store manager comes in and when I tell her what happened, she attempts to blame Chad! Since I am the only one who really calls my SM out on her shit, I said, “It’s not his fault that you and the other SM couldn’t communicate properly and double booked him. Plus, at least he showed up here and not at the other store.” She shut up after that.

Then, it was dead. We always get a rush at about 730 am and are fairly busy until 830, then we get slammed from 9 to 10. Today, not only did we not get our early rush, but we didn’t even get truly busy until almost noon. It was creepy.

The best part though, had to be when my douchebag of a district manager showed up about 10 minutes before I was off, when it was just me on bar (never a good thing) and Fabricio(aka Jason) on the reg. DB DM starts floating the line and not only does he write drinks incorrectly, but he doesn’t call out milks. Not usually a big deal, but when there is a huge line, calling out milks makes the drink making process go much faster. So, in my irritated, exhausted state, I decide to coach DM on how to float the line properly. I do it in a nice way, but when you have to explain to your boss how to do something as basic as float the line, it’s a little sad.

I ended up staying an extra hour (woo hoo overtime!) and almost had to go back in to close because the lead called out. But, even with all of this drama and craziness, it wasn’t the worst day I’ve had at work. I still have a long way to go before I enjoy it though…

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My version of a New Year's Resolution...

There is an article in the January issue of Glamour about women who made small resolutions and decided to stick to them for 31 days. With this being the end of the year, of course everyone is full of New Year’s Resolutions, and for some reason, I really liked the idea of making a small decision and sticking to it for a month, rather than saying, “This year I’ll….”

In thinking about what my small resolution will be, I decided I had too many things I wanted to change. I mean, I want to move out of my parents’ house, possibly (hopefully?) to somewhere out of LA. I want a new job. I want to have a regular workout routine. I want to go out more often. I want to make new friends. I want to eat better and cook at home more often. There’s a lot more but I’ll save it.

So where do I begin? Where can I make small changes that will help me grow? It sounds so damn cheesy, but it’s true. I have to make some changes because the only way to keep living is to evolve and to grow constantly.

Still, I’m torn on how I can make a small change that will make a big change in my life in 31 days. So I’m going to make several small changes. Nothing major. Just simple. Although, it will be a challenge because if it wasn’t, then I would have to change!

Here it goes:

1. Read the front page of the newspaper. I usually skip the front page and go straight to the Sports, Arts & Leisure, and whatever the special features page is (Food & Wine, Travel, Book Review, Etc.) I usually read the headlines online and watch CNN when I can, but usually avoid the front page because it’s boring and long and almost always negative. Not to say that I’m not well informed, but there is so much going on in the world and I really need to find a way to keep up. Therefore, I’m going to read the front page everyday, even if it is online.
2. Update my blog more often. The last post I wrote was 10 days ago, which for someone who enjoys writing and wants other people to read her writing, is unacceptable. I will write at least three times a week, once before Wednesday, once between Wednesday and Friday, and once on the weekend. This way, I’ll have a lot of flexibility so that I won’t have any legitimate excuses not to write.
3. Make at least one meal a day at home, not including breakfast. I tend to eat out a lot because my schedule is so wonky. This way, I’ll save some money and eat better. If I’m making it myself, I am a lot better at moderation and knowing exactly what I’m eating.
4. Stop complaining about work so much. Yeah, my stories and rants are funny, but when I’m complaining about it on a daily basis, it makes me bitter. I might not be very happy with my life right now, but being bitter, angry, and whiny isn’t helping any. I’ll just save the rants for when I have nothing better to write! Or when I just really need to vent…
5. Last one. I am going to walk around the block once a day, at the very least. I run about 3 times a week now, but sometimes I do it three days in a row, other times I’ll do it at the beginning of the week then not again until the end of the week. This way, I’ll be getting out and exercising and this way I have a set distance that I’ll be going and if I want to go longer, I totally can.

Rather than waiting for the new year, I’m going to start tomorrow. That way, if give up before 2009, I won’t be disappointed in myself for the rest of the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I want to be a ballerina

When you are working on your resume, there seems to be a consensus about the most important thing: the objective. It gives the resume a focus. It shows the employer what your goal is. It helps you stand out.

So what do you write if you really don’t know what your goal is? What do you write if you don’t know what the true focus of your life’s work is? What do you put down for your objective if your only objective right now is to no longer have to serve coffee to idiots who don’t know what they are ordering or who don’t care that you don’t get paid enough to have to deal with all their bullshit? In other words, what would someone with a degree from Berkeley write when all she wants to do is find a job that will pay her fairly well and get her the hell out of Starbucks?

This is my current dilemma. I was sitting at Aroma today thinking about this. I’ve actually been thinking about this for quite awhile but it became even more apparent today because I was supposed to talk to my Aunt Stacey about all of my fabulous work experience and how we can make my resume even more amazing but, of course, we are now playing a mean game of phone tag and instead of getting some feedback on how to make myself appear even more awesome, I am waiting. It’s not my Aunt’s fault that she is supermom who has a career and two kids playing sports to take care of or that my hours are completely unpredictable. Anyway, so this is why my objective is on my mind.

I have so many things that I would love to do and that I’m interested in, I’m really having trouble in general, so writing an objective about where I want to be is something that is making me stress. I would love to work in something that would make me feel like my degree in English was not a total waste of time, but at the same time I don’t want to limit myself. As I have said before, I think publishing would be the most logical step because it would allow me to be somewhat creative and, while I don’t really think I would make a very good writer, knowing that I had something to do with the process of putting a book on the shelves would make me happy. If I have to start out working in “new media” as a reader or something, that’s great, but for me, I’m all about books because they are tangible objects. Like Giles on Buffy said, “Books smell musty and rich…If it’s to last then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, and it should be, um, smelly.”

There are also a lot of other things I can see myself doing, though. I am nothing if not a great partier, so something in party planning could be good, although I don’t know how well I’d be able to handle a crazy bride or a spoiled 16 year-old. Angelica has pointed out that she could see me doing something in fashion because I own more shoes than her entire family combined. It has also been said that I would be great at owning my own business, although what that business would be is beyond me because owning a business requires money, which I have very little of. There are a ton of things that I could do, but the issue is figuring out which one of these fabulous careers I would like to pursue, especially when all the experience I have is in slinging ice cream or pushing coffee.

Yeah yeah, I know. Transferable skills. Blah Blah. I get it. But when it comes to the shitty economy we are in right now, no one wants to hire someone with great transferable skills that they have to spend the money to train.

All of this rambling is basically just a way of me whining and asking: What the hell is my objective?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sometimes the inapporpriate jokes are the best...

While today was a fairly eventful day at work (what with the oven smoking, Ellen spilling everything within the first 30 seconds she's there, and us being out of all the things people want), I think the highlight was that Chad made a funny joke, something truly rare. Here's how it went:

Ali (a Jewish girl who always makes jokes about herself being Jewish, like when I told her that she wasn't going to be able to toast her bagel and she said, "I'm a Jew, I don't need to toast my bagel"): Kimmi, honey, would you mind re-brewing that coffee for me?

Kimmi (Who is exhausted because she hates to open and has done so the past 2 days and is stressed out because the oven is broken and the DM is probably going to come in and point out all the things that are wrong instead of seeing how she's busting her ass to get everything fixed):
For sure, Christmas right?

(Christmas meaning Christmas blend, otherwise known as the best seasonal coffee ever)

Chad (Who usually makes comments that he thinks are funny while trying to make everyone laugh but really just annoy Kimmi, especially in the morning when she is tired and cranky): Huh, no wonder she doesn't want to brew it.

I actually had to put down what I was doing because I started laughing so hard. Reading it back now, it might be one of those you-had-to-be-there stories, but I don't really care, cuz it was DAMN HILARIOUS!

I think I need a 12 step progam...

I have a problem. I've been told that the first step is admitting it, so here it goes.

While some women have an unnatural addiction to shoes or purses, this one has a very different addiction. Even though I do love my shoes and my purses, I don’t have the same problem walking out of the store empty handed or logging off of Amazon without exercising my credit card. What is this uncontrollable addiction?


Yeah, you read it right. Books. I have a very tough time going into Barnes and Noble and not buying something. Even if I go in with the intention of not buying anything or just picking up this month's In Style, I always walk out with at least one book I hadn’t planned on buying. I work across the street from a $1 bookstore (yeah, everything is ONE DOLLAR!!!!!), which I can no longer allow myself to go into because I end up spending 3 hours and $20. Which, at Barnes and Noble wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but at the $1 bookstore, that’s 20 books.

The problem is that I just find so many things interesting to read. I can go from reading short stories about people in all different kinds of love to reading about the slave trade to reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to reading Twilight and falling in love alongside Bella all over again. There is no end to worlds I can enter and the things I can learn about. It just shows how far the human mind can stretch, which fascinates me to no end.

Would you like to know how I discovered that I truly have a problem? Or at least how I realized that this problem has become more of an obsession?

Well I opened today, which sucks because I have to be up at 3:45 am to be at work at 4:45 am. Usually, when I open on Mondays, I grab a Sunday NY Times because I want to read the book reviews but refuse to spend $5 on a newspaper that I’m sure I can find online if I really looked. So I had my paper and sat down for my lunch. Today was the “Holiday Book Special” which included “100 Notable Books of 2008.” I’m a total sucker for these kinds of lists. I like recommendations and where better to get the best recommendation than the NY Times? Anyway, so I’m reading this section and see a ton of books I want to read and I see a highlighter just calling my name. I pick it up and proceed to highlight the books that I want to read. That’s no all.

After spending 2 hours at the mall Christmas shopping with Chad, which was 2 hours of “We’re not shopping for you, Chad” and “What would you’re parents like?” and “Well I don’t really know what you should get your mom if you keep vetoing everything I suggest,” I come home and look over my list. Then I go on Amazon and read the descriptions of almost all the books on my list to make sure they are really something I would like and get through. Then, I added all of them to a spreadsheet I have of all the books I want to read someday. Yeah, I have a spreadsheet of all the books I want to read someday. That’s how serious I am.

The thing about having a list like this is that I never actually follow it. I’ll go to a bookstore or the library and find something that strikes me right now and I’ll get that instead. It’s like never going to the supermarket hungry because you end up with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. The problem with me is, there is never an end to the hunger. No matter how may books
I have on my shelf that have gone unread because of my slight ADD tendencies, I don’t quit want to buy books.

I think the other reason I buy certain books at certain times is because, just like some people are in the mood for a certain type of movie because they feel like something funny or action-packed or mindless, that’s how I feel when I go into Barnes and Noble. If I feel like something mindless, then I pick up Twilight. If I feel like something romantic I go straight for the Jane Austen. You get the picture.

I guess it is better than spending $500 on some bag that I’ll wear out by, oh yeah, putting too many books into! So I guess that’s one for the “healthy” column.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Reading is is putting Xmas music on your iPod

I realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve written about books, despite the fact that I’ve been reading quite a bit, so I figure now is as good a time as any.

The last book I finished was by Dawn Powell called The Wicked Pavilion. It’s about all these different people who frequent the Café Julien, all of whom end up being connected in some way at some point in the novel. It’s a really great story and so well written, I can’t believe that I have never heard of Dawn Powell. I really love Jerry Dulaine, a woman on the rise of the social scene who has been taken in by Elsie Hookley, a Bostonian socialite with all the wrong ideas. The craziness of these two women is so entertaining, yet sad at the same time. I love it.

One of the other main plots in the book is that of two artists, Dalzell Sloane and Ben Forrester, who decide to fake the works of their late friend in order to pay bills. This plot is so good because it’s like watching a car crash about to happen. You know it’s going to end badly but you can’t help but watch anyway. The way this plot drives the novel without completely taking it over is so brilliant, I couldn’t help but fall in love!

I am really going to have to pick up more of Dawn Powell’s books. She wrote like a dozen novels yet she was never a success. Her writing is so witty and so real that it’s truly a shame she didn’t get more credit than she did. But at the very least, I’m going to help her estate by buying more of her books! I do what I can…

Another book that I recently re-read is called Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. It’s a nonfiction book about her struggle to lose weight, despite loving food and herself. It’s hilarious! She’s so funny because she’s completely honest with herself and realistic in her goals. She tries all the fads, plus Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, all with hilarious results. It’s kind of inspiring in a not-trying-to-inspire-just-trying-to-tell-you-my-story-and-if-it-inspires-you-then-yay kind of way. Plus, I’m always a big fan of a fat girl trying to get thin while not really wanting to.

Right now, I’m reading a book by Robert Handler called Adverbs. I picked it up at the same bookstore I picked up the Dawn Powell book. It’s a small bookstore off of Los Feliz that I found via Yelp and am officially in love with. I bought these books because of the “staff recommends” tags on the shelves, which is my favorite way to find new books. Even though I haven’t gotten too far into Adverbs, I feel like Skylight Books is going to be 2-for-2!

I’m also reading the new Toni Morrison book, A Mercy. After taking a semester long course on just Toni Morrison, I decided that I think she is my favorite author, or at least in my top 5. Her last book, Love, was my favorite of hers, and since it was only written a few years ago, I figure she’s still got it. Also, I read a review of it in Sunday’s New York Times that praised it, so I definitely had to pick it up. Even though I hate hardcover books. Thank you for selling it for 10 bucks cheaper than the cover price.

On another subject, I am officially starting off my holiday season tonight. I usually wait until after my sister's bday on the 10th, but since we have already started with the cheesy Xmas music at work, I have to get my playlist going. Curious as to what it will consist of? Here's a few highlights:

"Little Saint Nick" by the Beach Boys
"Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt
"The 12 Days of Christmas" by John Denver and the Muppets
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Kermit the Frog
"Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano
"Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by *NSYNC; and of course
"All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey and the version from Love Actually

Whoever said Christmas music sucks obviously doesn't have any fun with it!

The search for my "third place"

I don’t know how many people know about the concept of the “third place” that Starbucks strives to, but it’s one of the few things I kind of like about the company. The “third place” is basically that place that’s not work or home, but it’s someplace you can go and hang out and feel comfortable. Whether or not this is actually achieved is debatable. But I really like the idea of having that place where you can go and do work or read or just hang out with friends and relax.

I used to have several of these places in Berkeley. FSM was where I went with a group of people to study or where I would meet up with groups to work on projects. Brewed Awakening was where I went when I was too lazy to walk anywhere else or if I just needed to get out of the house. Nefeli was where I went every morning for coffee and where I would sit and read or go over an essay before walking to class. Even Strada, which I hated because they only had espresso and no coffee, I went to regularly. But now that I’m back home, I don’t really have one of these places. So I’m searching.

Here are my criteria:

1. Good coffee. I don’t really drink a lot of lattes and sweet drinks, so I really don’t care about how original their shit is. If the coffee is good, then I’m there.

2. Space. Not too many tables jammed together so that you’re having a conversation with everyone around you.

3. Good, soft music. I don’t need to hear the latest whiny girl wailing on her guitar so loud that I can’t hear my own thoughts. If I want that then I’ll go to a show.

4. Quiet without being silent. I can’t stand kids and teenagers who feel the need to go places in packs and then take the place over and are so goddamn loud and annoying talking about which Jonas Brother is the hottest. That’s what I deal with everyday at Starbucks and the Jonas Brothers (at least 2 of them) have come into my Starbucks and the answer to which one is hotter is none of them.

5. Not corporate, or at least not corporate feeling. I hate going to a coffee place and seeing the baristas wearing uniforms and aprons and looking more like cookie cutter robots than actual people. Peet’s usually doesn’t give off this feeling, but Starbucks always does and Coffee Bean is going in this direction.

6. Semi near my house. I don’t live within walking distance of anything, so I don’t expect that, but I also don’t want to have to go over the hill or go to the opposite side of the Valley. The less I have to battle LA traffic, the happier I am.

So as you can see, I’m a little bit picky. But so far I’ve found a few places, but none that I’m completely in love with. I will admit that I’ve been burned before so I’m really careful with how quickly I’ll jump into something serious.

The first place is called Aroma in Studio City. The coffee is great and almost all the tables are outside, which allows me to enjoy one of the few great things about LA: the weather. They also have AWESOME desserts, like a Rocky Road Brownie and a Molten Chocolate Cake, hence the reason I probably shouldn’t go here often. It’s a lot of fun to sit outside and just people watch or read your book. The only downside is that I can’t work on my laptop because there is no WiFi and also because using my laptop outside is just a disaster waiting to happen.

The second place is Pricilla’s in Toluca Lake. Once again, it has awesome coffee and a lot of outside seating. I’ve never gotten anything to eat here, but I’m sure it’s good. They also have free WiFi, so I can bring my laptop and work on it inside. The crappy thing is that there is NO parking. I don’t mind walking, but honestly, if I have to drive somewhere I don’t want to be bothered with walking 5 blocks because that was the closest parking spot I could find.

The third place is a new place that I think I can see myself hanging out in a little more often. It’s called Jennifer’s Coffee Connection and it’s literally across the street from Aroma. They have a bunch of couches and tables and the best part: they are all about coffee! They have a ton of different kinds and flavors of whole bean coffee! It’s awesome! But, the parking sucks and it’s a little small.

The last place fits hardly any of my criteria, but since I go there at least once a week, I have to include it. It’s Timmy Nolan’s Tavern in Toluca Lake. It’s this local pub that has a wide variety of beer and apparently has food, although I’ve never actually had food there. Or coffee. I think I’ve only gotten cocktails there once. It’s all about the beer here. But it’s comfy and it’s simple and, like I said, I go here at least once a week. I know the owners by name and most of the bartenders. How bad would it be to say that a bar is my “third place”? Hmm…

So even though I haven’t truly found that perfect place, I have found a few places that fit, which is all I can really ask for right now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Classic Thanksgiving...

Since it’s two days after Thanksgiving, I of course have to post about it!

We went down to San Diego on Thursday to meet most of my family at my Aunt Christie’s house. It took twice as long to get there as it usually does, which wasn’t surprising, but annoying just the same. You can definitely tell that gas prices are down because everyone is on the road again!

When we finally got there, of course everyone else had already arrived. The funny thing was, I barely recognized my cousins! The have all gotten so old and have changed so much, it’s scary. Tommy and Kevin are just great looking young men who are both so smart and have really matured. Kevin has always been an attention whore, but instead of crying and being kind of a pain like he was when he was younger, now he’s the center of attention for being entertaining and funny. Tommy has always been very outgoing and talkative, but in just two days I saw that instead of trying to compete with his brother, he was quiet, but not necessarily shy. He seemed like he was in his own world and would talk to you easily and for as long as you were talking to him, but when no one was talking to him, he seemed perfectly content to just sit back and watch.

Maddy and Davis I think have changed the most, but that’s probably because I haven’t seen them in forever and since I can’t keep up with them on Facebook. I haven’t really gotten to see them change. Maddy is just gorgeous. She’s almost as tall as me and thin, although not in a scary, anorexic, Lindsay Lohan kind of way. She is still kind of shy, but she’s also a lot of fun and she and I, as usual, ended up sitting on the couch talking and taking bad pictures with Grandma’s camera that she’ll be mad about when she goes through and sees them. Me sticking my tongue out has never been a favorite. Davis is HUGE! He’s like 6’5” and is a stick, just like his dad. When I walked in the door, I almost had to ask who he was. He was also really funny and entertaining and is a great kid. He insisted that the whole family play Catch Phrase, which I wasn’t all that excited about because I don’t share the love of board games that the rest of my family does, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and Davis was the one who encouraged it.

The food was awesome! Aunt Christie made a “fresh” turkey, meaning it was one that was never frozen, and it ended up being AMAZING! It was super moist and had a great flavor. There was also cranberry stuffing and cream corn casserole and green bean casserole and spice sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce and gravy (that my mom and Aunt Stacey made from scratch, a first for both of them) and these homemade croissant roll things. It was so good! I think it was one of the best Thanksgiving feasts I’ve ever had!

And guess who was still at the kid's table?! Oh yeah, that would be 23 year old me. Although, I have to say I had way more fun there. I like to complain about being at the kid's table because it is pretty funny that I’ve graduated from college and can legally drink (only 2 glasses of wine, I was so proud of myself) but I can’t sit with the “adults” in the dining room. But we had a lot of fun, especially when Tommy dared Kevin to take a bite out of a decorative pear from the centerpiece. Classic.

After dinner, I played Guitar Hero for the first, and probably last time. The boys were so good at it, especially Tommy. Davis kept talking about how he was better at Rock Band and I think that was mostly because he was losing to Tommy. I made Maddy play with me on “easy,” and even though she beat me, I didn’t do too badly for someone who has never played before. Even still, I don’t think I’ll have anyone shaking in his Guitar Hero boots.

We had dessert and I, of course, made coffee for everyone, with Uncle Greg heckling me to make him a mocha. Typical. After dessert, Davis convinced everyone to play Catch Phrase because it’s kind of a tradition in our family to play board games, which I usually suck at and therefore abstain from. But, I figured I might as well participate, so away we went.

It was a really good thing we put Grandma and Grandpa on separate teams because between the two of them, they took up almost all the time! Grandpa would come up with things that really didn’t make any sense and everyone would just look at him with blank stares until the timer went off. It was hysterical. Kevin of course kept creating strategies to cheat, like yelling out random shit or not answering until the timer was almost out. It was still a lot of fun, especially to see Grandma and Grandpa try to figure out how the buttons worked and what to say.

Overall, it was a really great Thanksgiving. I got to see a lot of family that I don’t get to see regularly and I got a chance to talk with everyone. I am really happy to see that my cousin’s have grown up and they are slowly becoming the amazing people we all know they will be. Sometimes I do wish we all got together more often and lived closer to each other, but it also makes holidays like this more special.

The best thing that happened that day was finding out my cousin Lisa is pregnant! She wasn’t there but she called and let everyone know and it’s so great. I am so happy for her and I know she’s going to be an amazing mother. What better day to hear this wonderful news than on Thanksgiving?

Even though it’s incredibly cheesy, these holidays are all about family and at the end of it, I am so very thankful for my family.

Now if only I can find a new job before Christmas so I don’t have to spend it at Starbucks! That would definitely be a Christmas miracle!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A riddle with a hobo twist...AKA reason number 9,642 why I hate my job

So what do you do when a homeless man comes in with orange boxers and no pants comes into your Starbucks asking if you have any extra pants?

Ask him to leave.

What does a homeless man with orange boxers and no pants say to you after you ask him to leave?

“Why don’t you just slit my throat, cut off my dick, and cut off my balls? You murderous bitch!” (verbatim).

What do you do after a homeless man with orange boxers and no pants calls you a murderous bitch?

Call the good ole Burbank PD and let them deal with him.

Just another manic Monday….

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's been a rough night...



I never thought there was a difference. I never even thought about it. Until now.

I was supposed to go see Twilight tonight. I got my shift covered so I could go, a shift I would normally have wanted because I got to work with people I really enjoy working with.

But then, of course, plans fell through. I now have no one to go with at midnight, so instead of going with all the other fans and having fun, I’m going to go by myself tomorrow morning. That way, I won’t feel as badly for going by myself because hopefully there will be very few people in the theater.

The thing is, I’ve been doing this a lot lately. The things I would normally do with friends, I’ve been doing alone. Movies. Shopping. Getting coffee. I haven’t yet gone to a bar alone, but I’m pretty sure that’s where this is going.

I really hate it. It’s not like I don’t have friends. I know that I do. Logically.

The thing is, they aren’t here. The ones that are…correction, one, that is here, is busy. I have to bargain to get people to hang out, which is something I’ve never had to do before and it makes me wonder: What’s wrong with me? How come I no longer have anyone to hang out with?

Like I said, I know I have friends. I know that I’m not alone. But when it comes time to hang out, I have no one. Alec can hang out when he has time but he also has other friends to hang out with, so I might give him a hard time about hanging with them instead of me, but I know that I’m not the only person he hangs out with. Even he is the only person I hang out with.

I really haven’t felt this way since my first month in Berkeley. I didn’t know anyone and everyone was making plans and going places and I had no one to do anything with. I sat in my room most nights and when I didn’t, I was going to cafés on my own. It wasn’t until I asked people to go with me to a basketball game that I finally started to feel like I had people to hang out with. Thanks Hannah, Alana, and Jeliz!

But now, here, at “home,” I try to do the same thing. I have been somewhat successful, but it is erratic. I go out with the guys once, but then no one can do it again. I call people to make plans and they either come up with lame excuses as to why they can't/won't go. I make plans and then suddenly at the last minute, everyone flakes. I used to have several people to turn to when I wanted to do something. I would never have to stay home unless it was by choice. Now, I can’t even bargain or bribe. I really don’t know what to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is why people hate hobos (and one more reason why I hate my job)

Transients. Vagabonds. Tramps. Vagrants.

These are some of the terms used to describe homeless people, "transients" being the preferred term used at Starbucks. They come into Starbucks and bother customers not because they are begging or doing anything remotely disturbing, but more because their mere presence just makes people nervous. To be completely honest, when I first started working at Starbucks, I was definitely one of these people who got nervous when a homeless person walked in the door or came up to the register. But, the more I met them and talked to them, the more I realized that they are not all smelly, scary drug addicts. Some of the them are, of course, but more times than not, they are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to pay for their drinks and will take whatever you can give them. These are the ones that I would call "transients."

There are, however, times when the homeless people do not deserve this word. Like when they take a shower in the sink in the bathroom, leaving dirty water all over the floor and in the sink. Or when we are nice enough to give them the pastries we are throwing out at the end of the night and they have the nerve to make a mess with them in the lobby rather than just eating them, and then not clean it up. Or when they come in and beg for free stuff and then complain that all we give them is a small coffee. "Can't I get a Frappuccino?" Or, like today, when they destroy our restroom and I have to clean it up. These are not "transients." They are HOBOs. If that offends you, then read on and you'll know where I'm coming from.

So it's about 9 am and I've been there since 4:45 am, so I'm already tired and I tend to hate people worse in the morning than any other time of day. A customer comes up to me as I'm talking to our delivery guy, and tells me that the men's restroom needs to be cleaned ASAP. I tell him thank you and I'll get right on it. As I'm saying this, of course another man walks in, uses the bathroom, then walks out and tells me that the men's restroom needs to be cleaned ASAP. Once again, I say thank you and I'll get right on it. Then, sure enough, as I'm telling my baristas that I'm going to go clean the restroom, Chris, one of our regulars who saw the two guys before him tell me that the men's restroom needs to be cleaned, walks into the men's room and walks right back out saying, "Geez, that's terrible. You need to clean it right away!" (Chris is definitely a douchebag who is unrealistically demanding and treats our store like he owns it. Always moving furniture to suit him and walking up to the bar before getting in line asking us to start his drink. I hate him, but he's a regular and sometimes interesting to talk to, so I have to put up with him.) I snap back at him, "Well Chris, I can't get in there to clean it if people keep walking in and using it!" He left after that. I'll wait for the formal complaint.

I finally get into the bathroom and am completely grossed out. Someone had gone Number 2, missed the toilet (or had a total disregard for it), then proceeded to step in it and walk around the restroom. There was not only shit all over the toilet and floor, but there were shit-footprints all over the bathroom. I was so mad and disgusted, I had trouble keeping my composure.

After getting a mop and the Starbucks-approved bleach-like restroom cleaner, I begin to clean the restroom and try to keep my breakfast in my stomach, unwilling to clean up my own vomit in addition to the shit I am now cleaning up. The smell is so bad that I don't even attempt to refill the air freshener, I just spray the bleach-like cleaner all over the bathroom, where I am discovering more poo all over. On the faucet. On the trashcan. On the paper towel holder. On the toiler paper cover and on the toilet paper. On the handicap bar. On door. Everywhere.

On one of my many I-have-to-get-some-air-before-I-puke breaks, I notice that there is shit on the floor in front of the retail display. In horror, I look up and see there is a trail of shit-footprints going out through the lobby and out the door. I clean it up really quickly before any customers can notice exactly what it is I'm cleaning up. That's when one of the baristas tells me who it was.

It was a hobo. He had come in and my barista noticed him because he had all his bags. She said the guy who went into the restroom after him was the first one to tell me the bathroom needed to be cleaned. Great. Just when I was getting used to the "transients," one comes in and does this. Fab.

I already have very little faith in mankind after seeing the disrespect people have for my place of business, let alone me or my co-workers, but it's when things like this happen that I just completely lose it. I understand that this man had something horrible happen in his life to make him the way that he is, but I cannot understand or be sympathetic at all to someone who is going to go into any place and do that. It is exactly why I hate working in customer/food service. Even when it's something much smaller than this, like leaving your cups on a table instead of dropping them in the trashcan on the way out or spilling sugar and not cleaning it up, it still gets to me. I don't care how big of a hurry I'm in, I can ALWAYS manage to find a trashcan to drop my trash into and at the very least, sweep my spilled sugar into the trash. I feel that anyone who does this should be forced to do my job for a month and see all the things I see. I am not a maid and I am not a servant. Don't treat me like one.

The rest of my shift wasn't too bad after that, but, really, how does it get worse than cleaning up shit?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More tiring that I thought...

I've been toying with the idea of writing about my experiences in Berkeley, not for a blog, but more for a creative nonfiction project that's really more for me than for anyone else. There are so many things that I remember that I really want to write down so that when I'm old, I can read them and remember the good times I had when I was young.

I decided to write using my Facebook status updates as a kind of inspiration/break in the story. Kind of like Chapter titles. I started out by writing a rough outline of the stories I wanted to write about, like being a scream-and-run from Cloyne and being the house manager and kitchen manager, in addition to stories about my classes and my friends. My outline became three pages long so I knew I wouldn't be able to just sit down and write them out in one day.

Today, I sat down and started it. I wrote about three pages about my first day in Berkeley, where I moved into Cloyne, then out of Cloyne, and into Hoyt. The surprising thing about writing it, is that I remember things better than I thought I would. It was almost three years ago, but I still remember that day and all its traumatizing aspects. There are so many more details I could have, and probably will, write in, that I actually felt myself getting physically tired. But at the same time, exhilarated.

As tired as I feel right now, I can't wait to write more. I really want to get these stories down and re-read them and edit them and really make them into something I can keep for the rest of my life and share with my family and friends. I honestly don't think I'm a great writer or story teller, but at the same time, it feels good to get some of the stories of my life down "on paper." I know that I will probably be the only one who actually reads it, but it feels good nonetheless. Who knows, maybe I'll put them in a blog so that anyone who wants to read them, can....

Damn Twilight

Have you ever had something that you hate to love? Not really a guilty pleasure, but more of a “dammit I really should spend my time on something more worthwhile but I can’t stop and kind of don’t want to and fucking hate that I don’t want to!” kind of thing?

For me, it’s Twilight. Honestly, I started reading it not because I was really interested, but rather, because I had heard so much about it and everyone raves so much about it. When you go online and all you see are trailers for this movie and dozens of groups dedicated to it on Facebook(my favorite of which is “Because I read Twilight I have unrealistic expectations in me), there are only two choices: give in and read it, or stay ignorant and be happy.

I, of course, chose the former, so I am now totally screwed. Completely. It’s really bad.
When I first decided to read the book, I was only going to read the first one and I was going to get it from the library because I didn’t want to spend my money on some teen book about love and vampires. Unfortunately, the wait at the library was soooooooo long I wouldn’t have gotten to read it until at least New Year’s and, since I am the least patient person in the world, I broke down and went on Amazon. I was already buying a book there, so I figured adding one more to my order wouldn’t really hurt. Of, with Amazon being the amazing website it is, the first and second book were 2-for-1, so I just went for it. Why not right? At least I would be able to say that I really gave it a good try.

The books came and I began reading almost right away. It was my day off and I had nothing to do and we all know I wasn’t going to do any of the chores I needed to do when I had a brand new book just waiting to be read. Who needs clean clothes anyway?

By the time I went to work the next night, I had already finished the first book, was on to the second, and had ordered the third and fourth on Amazon, and had to wear a shirt to work that I had already worn twice without washing but it had the least amount of shit on it. I was officially hooked. And pissed about it.

I hated the fact that this thing that was so popular actually lived up to what people were saying about it. I was hoping to mock it endlessly and make fun of all the losers who were in love with a silly series about a girl who falls in love with a vampire. But no. Now I was mocking it of course because nothing is off limits when it comes to my mocking, but instead of making fun of the people who loved it, I found myself debating with Michael at work over whether Edward or Jacob were better for Bella. (I’m totally on Team Jacob).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not going to say that the series is well written or brilliant, because it’s not. It is, however, really easy to read and really entertaining. The story itself is a decent enough love story that if you kind of get over some of the exposition (especially in the first book), then you will really enjoy it. There is a scene in the first book with Bella and Edward in a meadow and the intimacy of the scene and the way Stephenie Meyer (yeah, the spelling of “Stephenie” is correct…and kind of stupid) writes it shows some actual talent for writing. The whole series really brings you in and hooks you to the point that you don’t want to stop until it ends. It’s that good.

But now, of course, I have to go see the movie and be one of those people dying to go at midnight the night it opens. I hate those people. They are annoying and they always ruin the movie for everyone by telling them how good or bad it is and they start posting on websites about the differences between the book and the movie and casting decisions and sequels and…you get it. They are annoying.

As much as I don’t want to be that person, sure enough, as soon as people talk about it, I can’t keep my mouth shut so I join in. I have something to say about ever aspect of the book and will pretty much share it with anyone. Except on websites and the internet in general. I might be opinionated and obsessed, but the whole internet does not need to know it. Except now….Damn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One minute writing....although it's going to be longer than a minute!!!

I've been following this blog called One Minute Writer ( and I usually do the exercises in just a journal or something but since I have nothing to write about today (other than seeing McSteamy! ), I decided to write my response here. Instead of taking one minute, though, I'm just going to write until I'm done. It's my blog and I'll do what I want!

Here's the prompt:
If you had the opportunity to write as a career, what would you write?

I definitely don't think I would be able to make it as a writer. I'm really not as creative as most writers need to be and I'm really bad at the whole "show don't tell" thing. But, if I could get the hang of it and actually make a living out of it, I would really want to just write about my experiences. There are so many times that I come home from work or from being out and will write down what happened that day in my journal and sometimes, I think that other people would enjoy reading it.

I saw a trailer for the new Jim Carey movie Yes Man last night and, since I know it's based on a book of the same title in which the author decides just to say yes to everything for a year and then wrote the book about it, I think that sounds like a great career. You decide to do something, even if it's silly like saying yes to everything or something a little more serious like finding religion, and not only do you get to experience it, but you get paid to write about it. That's the kind of writing I really enjoy and think that, if I were to be a writer for a living, would be the kind of writing I would really enjoy doing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Old people can be so funny..

I went to visit my grandparents this past weekend. I always love going to see them because it's very relaxing not to feel like I have to do anything. My grandparents are really great people, even if we don't have to same views or beliefs in many areas.

My grandma and I went to lunch as soon as I got there on Saturday afternoon. She and I always go out for Mexican food when I go down there because Grandpa is not particularly fond of it. At lunch, I told her that I really didn't think that law school was the best path for me and that I didn't think I was going to go. She was a little surprised, but true to form, very understanding. Then we just talked about what I wanted to do and what she saw me doing and things like that. She agreed that I should probably move where I think I'll have the best opportunity, although she did bring up a really good point. I should look more for the smaller companies rather than the large ones right away. I would have a better chance of getting a job and I would probably learn more, despite the fact that I would be making nothing. But, now that I've really thought about it, I'm ok with not making any money for a few years if it means helping me to be successful later on. I mean, I don't want to be living in box on the street, but not having money is something I could definitely adjust to.

We went back to the house afterward and I went out to the "community" pool and did some laps. The pool is right outside their house, and it's heated, so it's not as gross as some "community" pools. It was nice to swim for a little bit, and about an hour after I was done, I realized that maybe I'd swam harder than I thought because I was a little sore!

Then, we watched Cal lose :( and talked some more about my options. My cousin Lisa called and so I talked to her for a little bit. She offered to take a look at my resume and have her husband maybe float it so someone who can help me on my job search. I'm not going to get my hopes up, but every little bit helps!

The highlight of the weekend had to be when my grandpa shared his feelings about Sarah Palin. My mom had told me that he liked Sarah Palin a lot, so I asked him if that was true. He said, "Oh yeah. She can clean my rifle any time." Now, my grandfather is the king of cheesy jokes, but innuendos are usually left to the youngsters. I almost fell out of my chair laughing and my grandma was a mix of being horrified and thinking it was hilarious. I guess I now know where I get my ability to make anything into a dirty joke!

We played UpWords, which is basically like Scrabble but better. I'm awful at it, but my Grandma is really good. Grandpa joined us and he did what he always does: he tried to make up words and we had to look up half the words he came up with. The worst was "sorb" a word that my computer right now doesn't even recognize, but it's in the Scrabble Word Index, so it counted. I had to look it up afterward and it turns out it's a type of tree. He ended up winning because of that word. Grandma was not happy.

On Sunday, we went to a bar to hear this jazz band that plays every Sunday afternoon for a large group of old people. The band itself is pretty old (I would say the youngest player is probably 55), but the crowd was definitely the oldest people in the desert. I was the youngest person there by 60 years at least. The waitressed and the bartenders were all at least 40, too. It was funny. The band was good though and it was fun to see my grandparents enjoying themselves so much.

I came home last night and now have to go work, which as usual, I'm not looking forward to. But it was good to be able to spend the weekend with my grandparents and get away from everything for a few days.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How is it November already?

I don't know why, but it only hit me today that it's November. I guess it has to do with how hot it was throughout October and also how little I've been doing lately, but it's amazing how fast the time has gone. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was coming back from Santa Barbara with the girls, getting ready for the Halloween week in Berkeley and Hannah's birthday. Now here I am, at home, thinking about where the time has gone.

Of course these thought make me think about how much I want my life to start. Alec said something while we were out the other night. HE told me that even if it'll hurt my parents and even if I'm scared, I just have to pack my shit and get out there. If LA isn't where I want to be, then I need to get myself out. And he's right. I have to get out and do something with my life. I know it's going to be the hardest thing that I ever do. Making the decision to leave and actually doing it. But I have to. Otherwise I'll just end up at Starbucks for the rest of my life, which is unacceptable.

That said, where or when it's going to happen is up in the air. I'm thinking sometime after the holidays. We'll see...

Yay for Election Day tomorrow!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

So I've decided that I am not going to law school. After all the work I put in on the LSAT and all the time I spent looking at schools, I finally decided that I really just don't think it's what I want. I know that I would be a great lawyer, and the law and the practice of law fascinates me, but it's not something that I am ready to fully commit my life to. Which is what I would be doing.

As I have been looking at law schools, I've really been thinking hard about why I want to go to law school. What got me started on the idea and where did I see myself going? On almost every application, they ask you to write an essay about what you love about the law (or why you want to study the law, or what you will bring to the school in terms of studying the get the picture). The more I thought about it, the fewer reasons I could think of. I'm not someone who wants to change the world. I'm not someone who is motivated to put the bag guys in their place. I don't want to help corporations or small businesses become successful. I don't want to see justice served. The most prominent reason I could think of was that I wanted to do something that would be a career and something that I would be successful in. The thought of whether or not it was something I really had a passion for hadn't even crossed my mind.

Neither of my parents went to college. My dad's chosen profession is something that he is really good at, but something he never had any success in. My mom is basically a housewife who had part time positions just to help pay the bills. My dad is no longer really doing what he chose to do, but is rather doing what will pay the bills. My mom does nothing. I don't want that life.

So what do I want? Happiness. Security. A job that I don't dread going to each and every day. Making some money in the process would be nice too. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get all of this...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our generation's Civil Rights Movement

I, like most of the people I know, am following the election. I am pretty sure of who and what I am voting for, but today, I read something that made me think. Sarah Palin has said that she thinks gay marriage is wrong and that she believes there should be a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. While this doesn't surprise me at all, i have yet to find someone who can describe to me a rational and logical reason to ban gay marriage. There are people everywhere who are for banning it based on religious beliefs, as well as moral beliefs, but no one has really brought me a good reason as to why it should not be allowed. Then began to wonder if this is what it was like for the Civil Rights Movement?

In 1958, a black woman and a white man in Virginia married outside of the state and, after returning, they were indicted on being in violation of Virginia's laws prohibiting marriage between people of different races. They were sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended on the condition they do no return to Virginia together for 5 years. They took their case to the Supreme Court, eventually getting the decision overturned in 1967, ending racial based marriage bans. The reason I bring this one up is because I feel the reasoning in this case is extremely similar to the reasoning I hear against gay marriage.

In the case, the judge cited the Bible by saying (and I'm paraphrasing here so don't sue me) that God put all of us on separate continents for a reason, and that God does not want them to intermix. Now, people are saying that marriage should only be between a man and a woman because that's what the Bible says. It's what their religion teaches them, and while I am not faulting them for believing in the Bible, I am faulting for them for making decisions that will affect millions of people in this country based on their religious beliefs.

I am not a religious person nor am I a gay person, so i feel that maybe I don't have the best perspective on the subject. I believe that marriage should be between two people who love each other, regardless of their sex, race, religion, disabilities, height, weight, etc. If two people want to be married, I think they should be allowed to and it is really hard for me to grasp why that is so difficult for people to accept. I cannot understand how people can be so angered by racism, yet not see this as just another form of discrimination. It makes me very sad that people think that being allowed to marry someone you love and have that marriage be acknowledged legally should only be a right straight people have.

I am, of course, open to rational, non-discriminatory, non-religious points of view, but so far, the only ones I have gotten stem from religion. My dad is the only one who says he doesn't think it's a good idea for California because then everyone will come here and our population will increase even more than it already has, causing greater problems within our state's economy. But, overall, as a country, I haven't heard a good reason not to allow gay people to get married. Until I do, I think this issue is going to continue to frustrate me...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A social life! (or something like it)

It's amazing. When I actually put forth the effort and was insistent on getting people together, and had no expectations on the level of fun we would have, it was a blast!

Alec and I decided to got
to $1 Taco on Monday night, which I haven't been to in a very long time. It was actually more me constantly badgering him into it and him finally giving in because he knew I would never leave him alone about it, but hey, going out is going out. I invited Chad and Coach because they are really cool people I work with and want to get to know them more outside of Hell otherwise known at Starbucks. Chad joined us and Coach flaked because she had to work early in the morning, which all of us can understand.

The three of us get to Barragan's and I, of course, am dying for a margarita and the boys split a pitcher of beer. I was the only one eating but that never stops me and I got my $1 tacos, that are shitty if they cost any more than a buck, but I can deal with crap food for cheap. And the margaritas are AWESOME, so I deal. After 2 margaritas and the pitcher, we decide to go to Timmy Nolan's and continue the fun.

We all split a pitcher and have the best waiter EVER! His name was Steve and he was from Indiana. He was one of those waiters who had a rough night and sat down with us every chance he got. He gave me a link to something on YouTube that I promptly lost, but it was still cool. He ended up picking up our last pitcher, which always makes me happy.

Chad, Alec and I, for some weird reason, get along really great. We are all so different, yet when we started talking, we found that there were a lot of things we could talk about and learn from each other. Alec is from Virginia and a conservative (at least by my standards) background, but he is well-read and a lot of fun. Chad is from Burbank and has never left, but is not a stuck in it as I would have originally thought. Growing older, I find that it's harder to connect with new people and really get to know them, but it's amazing what a couple of pitchers of Hef will do! :)

We ended up calling another guy we work with, Michael, who is even more different than all of us, but he is so great and fun! He is a gay guy from Orange County who has so much energy and is so full of life, it's contagious!

The four of us then headed over to the local 24 hour diner, Coral. I find that Coral is only good in the hours between 12 and 4 am, especially so when you're buzzed. We stayed there until almost 3 am, just sitting in the booth talking.

Overall, the night was not one that is going in the record books as a crazy night or one that was extraordinary, but it was just fun to be out chilling with new people. Even if we weren't drinking, I think it would have been a ton of fun. At the same time, I don't want to put too much pressure or think too much of my new friendships. I feel like every time I get excited to be hanging out with people, it ends up being nothing more than just one night of fun. But, if that's all this was and the four of us don't ever hang out again, at least I had one good night of living!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend woes...

You would think that after everything, I would learn not to get too excited about things like friends coming out from across the country. But no, I never fuckin learn...

It really wasn't as bad as somethings, and she could have not come at all, which would have made my weekend just boring instead of crappy. It's a toss up as to which is worse.

I'm not going to put her real name here because I don't want to air all her shit, so I'm gonna call her Gigi after a character from He's Just not that Into You. (Sidenote: a really fun read for anyone, even those in a relationship)

She comes in on Thursday at like 10ish, after which she is supposed to call me so I can come over to say hi. I text her at like 11 because I have visions of her plane crashing in the desert never to be found and if I don't raise the alarm, no one will ever find the passengers who have starting eating the dead in order to survive. (Does it make sense now why I am so paranoid about flying?) She says she's fine and she'll call me tomorrow. Ok, I think, she's tired from flying and we will hang tomorrow when I get off work.

I don't hear from G all day on Friday, until about 5:30pm when she comes into work to grab drinks for her and her siblings. I take my break so I can talk to her for a few and find out what's going on that night. She tells me, totally nonchalantly, she and her boyfriend of many years have broken up. They are still living together and are really good friends, but they are no longer together. She then tells me that she "hung out" with a guy who took her to our prom that we found out later was not actually 18 as he had told us, but was 16. He had some other shady qualities, but I don't really need to get into them. Anyway, she went to hang out with him and didn't get home till 7am that morning! Me, being the supportive friend that I am, was totally encouraging her, and I didn't even say the things I wanted to, like how she's too good for him even if he is just post-breakup rebound sex. She tells me we are going bowling with The Fam at 8ish so to call her when I'm off.

I meet her and The Fam (her stepmom, two brothers, sister, a cousin and some of their friends, basically my second family) at Pickwick. We have a really great time because we are all bowling and making fools of ourselves. Her brother, who is like 18, always like to talk shit so he and I of course get into it. Her baby brother (I say baby because he was when I first met him, even though he's 10 now. They grow up so fast!) is the cutest thing ever, trying to bowl like the big kids and refusing to let up get the bumpers, despite my tries to convince him they are for me, not him. About halfway through the first game, after I have already canceled my plans for the night with another friend of mine, she informs me that she needs to hurry the second along because she is going to meet the loser. Once again, I'm being supportive, so I encourage her. Unfortunately, in all my supportiveness, I don't see that she is actually getting emotionally attached to this guy...

We go back to her house, and in an attempt to salvage my night, I start texting to find someone to hang out with. The friend that I bailed on tells me that "he's hanging out with a GOOD friend" (ouch) and Alec is in Anaheim trying to get laid, so that's out. I try Chad, who tells me I can come hang out with him and his buddies, so even though I'm feeling disappointed and a little abandoned, I am at least going to go and have a beer with a co-worker. G, however, insists that I stay until this guy comes over because she is nervous. I do, of course, and then head over to Chad's. He tells me to just find parking on his street and to just call him and he'll come outside. I call him twice with no answer, so I get mad and leave, going home to sleep attempt to sleep off the sadness I feel that I let a friend down and that G let me down...

Saturday promises to be better. G texts me at about 11 am, letting me know how much fun she had ;) and that she wants to go salsa dancing that night. Even though I am a horrible salsa dancer ( I can't follow a lead, like in every other aspect of my life). I pick her up and we head out. We get there at 10ish, but it's dead and she's hungry, so we grab a bite before going in. The whole time we are eating, she cannot stop talking about this guy and why he hasn't called her all day and how awkward it is and how she was really starting to like him and all that other shit girls say when a guy is ignoring them but they are desperate for their night together to mean more than it actually did. I don't say anything, mainly because I don't want to upset her further, and also because I really just want to dance. She is checking her phone every 30 seconds, even when we get to club, and the only time she doesn't is while she is dancing. As soon as she checks her phone, however, she sees that she has missed a call from him so we must immediately go out to the smoking patio so she can call him and argue with him about his level of disrespect and how hurt she is that he is being such a jerk, after which we must leave because she is about to cry.

At this point, I am so angry that I can no longer be supportive, so I just drive her home and tell her I'll be there to pick her up in the morning to go to the airport, to which she tells me not to because she's such a bad friend and will find her own way. I promptly call Alec and we go grab a drink because I have to talk to someone about it, and he is probably my only friend in town now...

While G and I worked stuff out this morning and she knows exactly what she did and why it sucked, it has definitely left its essence on me. I feel like what happened this weekend is what has been happening with all of my friendships. I feel like I am taken for granted by a lot of people, mainly because I really want to be there for all the people I love and care about, but then when it comes time for me to need someone, I really have trouble finding anyone. I used to be the person who had plans with different people every night and would never be caught dead at home on a night off, but now I can't even get my friend who is in town for the weekend to want to hang out with me. I am eternally grateful to Alec because I literally called him and said I needed someone to meet me and he showed up and listened. But at the same time, I don't want him to feel like I am always complaining about everything with him, even if he says "that's what friends are for"

I am a firm believer that socialization is a very important aspect of human life, and that every person is different, so for some that means going out with big groups and for others that means sitting at home with their significant other. For me, it has always meant doing whatever will get me out of the house or out of my room. I find that it's so easy for me to fall into the loneliness trap because it's easy. Socializing takes an effort that I am sometimes unwilling to make, and I don't really know how to break it. I don't call people back or facebook them because it's easier than having to actually communicate with them. Yet, when any of my friends ask me for relationship advice, I always say that communication is key and you get nowhere by staying quiet.

The past few months, I've been quiet. (Shocking, I know.) I have not be willing to make the effort to hang out with people. I make every excuse in the book, but in the end, I'm the only one holding me back. If I don't put any effort out, then no one will make the effort, whereas if I actually work to go out and hang with my friends and keep in touch, then other people will make the effort as well. If they don't, then I'll know that it was no because of me, but because of them.

I guess, after a very long winded (long typed just didn't sound as good) rant, what I am trying to say is that I am going to put more effort into living my life, instead of just existing while the clock of my life ticks on...

Stayed tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The end of Valley of the Dolls...

In an effort to write something on a consistent basis, I'm writing about the latest book I finished, Valley of the Dolls. (Yes, my life is so boring that I am resulting to writing about the lives of fictional characters...) If you haven't read it, then stop now...

The book is all about the 3 "friends" and their relationships, both with people, themselves and their "dolls" (aka the drugs that make them function).

Jennifer begins using because she has trouble sleeping due to the overwhelming demands of supporting her mother, as well as never being able to realize her life's dream of being a mother herself. In the end, she kills herself because she believes no one loves her for more than her body, and finding out she has breast cancer, she will lose her perfect figure.

Neely is a young energetic girl with a lot of talent and uses her friendship with Anne to get a role on Broadway that eventually leads her to big success in Hollywood. She uses the "dolls" to lose weight and to sleep, becoming so dependent on them that she is never able to kick her habits.

Anne is a girl who moves from a small town in Massachusetts to Manhattan in hopes of changing her life. She becomes a successful model but goes through her most of her life pining for her old boss/ex-lover, Lyon. She never uses the "dolls" to get her through life, until she finally marries Lyon and has a child, but has to resort to the drugs in order to escape the reality that Lyon is having affairs.

To start off with, I really liked this book until the end. It has a very negative, yet realistic, outlook on life. Jennifer kills herself to avoid dealing with the loss of the only thing she thinks she has going for her; Neely becomes a monster because its easier than admitting her unhappiness; Anne stays in a bad relationship because it is what she always wanted, even if it isn't exactly what she thought it would be. No one ends up happy and, while everyone achieved success, none of them ended up happy. Jennifer is the closest, but when she finds out she has breast cancer, she gives up because she doesn't think she has anything going for her. Neely becomes extremely famous, but she doesn't know how to handle the fame, so she loses everyone and gains nothing. Anne has the best chance out of the three, but she decides to stay with Lyon because their relationship is what she wanted for so many years.

All three of these women's lives are examples of what happens to women in the real world all the time. While it may no be as obvious or with as many pills, it is something that we can see in everyday life, which is sad to me. I hate the idea that some women settle for men who cheat on them, but they stay because its easy or because they don't think they deserve better. I hate that there are women out there who will end their lives because they believe the only thing they have going for them is their looks and if they don't have that, they are worth nothing. I hate that there are women out there who get power out of genuine ability and talent, but then throw away everything in order to hang onto that little bit of power. The worst part about hating this is that there is really no way to change it. If this book, published in 1966, can chronicle the lives of these women, and that it is still relevant to women today, then how do we change it? How do we make it better?

The one thing I will say is that the book doesn't make any attempts to overtly blame society. It's written in such a way to show that each of these women made individual choices that shaped their lives. Even though it's easy to say that Jennifer's boyfriend's comments about his love for her breasts cause her to believe that he only loves her for her looks, it is also evident that Jennifer did not believe she was strong enough to fight the disease and find herself in a completely new way. Neely's choices are based a lot on the pressure of her profession but she never also overdoes everything and makes bad decisions. She attempts to take the easy way out and ends up making everything harder. Anne moves to a new place to get out of a trap that she has seen her mother and grandmother and everyone else from her little town fall into, only to fall into it herself. While a lot of the problems these women face can be placed on society, I really think that the individual responsibility is written underneath the surface.

The last thing I will say I enjoyed about this book is how all the women are taking the easy road out rather than putting in the work that will make them happier in the end. Anne stays with Lyon, knowing that she will love him less and less as time goes on, but she believes she cannot live without him and she doesn't want to live without him. It would be harder for her to leave him but, in the long run, she would be happier. Or at the very least, she would not be left in a bad marriage. Jennifer can't stand the idea of living without her beauty, so she ends her life. If she had lived, she would have had to find out who she was beneath her beauty and she would have to show that to the world, instead of her breasts. Neely falls into the same cycle continuously because she does not want to put in the actual work it would take to make her career work solely on her talent. She relies on the pills and, even when given the chance, she is unable to give them up.

In the end, I really do like the book. It's easy to read and it's got a good plot, so it keeps you going. I don't think it's the best book I've ever read, but it is definitely worth a read, if for no other reason than to be able to understand all of the random references to it.