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.