Monday, September 29, 2008

Scientific Notation is for Losers

I have felt very dull for the past few days. I think that I might be on the verge of catching a cold. I have that sort of numb-faced feeling, like I'm not very alert or on my game. I don't feel sick- I just feel sluggish. Maybe it's because I ate a lot of junk over the weekend (I'm normally a pretty healthy eater) and I partied like a rock star.

Before I get into the weekend, I want to touch on the nice people out here. I bought this ridiculously awesome/tacky cow print chair off of craigslist the other day. I went to this lady's house in Santa Monica to buy it. She told me that she works in the TV business and that this chair was used on the set of "Spin City." I've never seen that show, but I still think it's neat that my chair was on TV. This lady was so mothering towards me. I sort of wanted to tie her up and bring her home so she could tell me nice mom things every time I miss little Carol. She gave me some advice about L.A. and told me to guard my heart and not "let people in too much" because people are so "fair-weather" out here. I thought about that verse in Proverbs-- "guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life." There must be something to this. I used to be entirely too open with people. Then somewhere in high school I became very platonic and never got close to anyone. I'd say now I'm 50/50. So anyway, people are always talking about the pretentious L.A. folk, but this nice lady took the time to speak with me for a good 15 minutes about the city. This was one nice lady that I met.

I also met a nice man at my gym. I was recovering from the adventures of Friday night while working out next to this guy on Saturday morning. We rode our little bikes together while watching "The Daily Show." This guy was awesome. He told me he used to listen to XM radio all the time and tune into George Klein. What a cool cat. He was a hunk, too, but then he told me he has a THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD daughter, so apparently he's one of those L.A. guys who looks super young/fit but he's actually a boomer. Keely and I talked about this yesterday. You have to watch it with the men out here. They're all really old but they are so into personal maintenance that they all look 28. Creepy. Another nice guy that I met helped wave my SUV into the gas station. It was super crowded and I couldn't tell how much room I had to get the gas pump. He got out of his Porsche and directed me to the pump. Now, I'm sure he was probably just making sure that I didn't cream his billion dolla baby, but the point is, he went out of his way to show me how much room I had, and I thought that was incredibly nice.

The point of these first few paragraphs is that there are LOTS of friendly and thoughtful people in L.A., but you have to pay attention to them when you actually interact with them. It'd be easy for me to blow off the chair lady or the gas pump man or my gym neighbor, but if you take the time to pay attention, you can always find kindness.

On Friday I went to "the hottest bar in Hollywood," according to my friends. I think we got in because some people are, at times, a little bit intrigued by my black-and-white sense of frankness and complete sense of "F-everyone else, I do what I want"-ness. We walked around this rich-people party and I felt like I was at a party on the Titanic. People drinking champagne and waltzing around in their fancy-pants clothes. Me walking around with my bronze cowboy boots and jeans and big sparkly pageant earrings. Haha. I am ridiculous. I think there's something fun about my complete inability to blend in. Maybe it isn't inability. I just don't care.

We lasted maybe twenty minutes before ditching this stuffy place (it was pretty, but a little too wedding-reception-esque for us) and heading down to Saddle Ranch, where I met all kinds of nice people FROM TENNESSEE (one from Germantown!), and we went buck wild all night. Riding mechanical bulls, eating inordinate amounts of Mentos from the little Mentos promotional girl, hanging out and meeting people... I had a blast with my new friends. Eventually we left and ate tacos in the hood somewhere. I attempted to teach a bunch of Mexicans Spanish. I told them I thought that they were all fakers so I tested them and made them translate my Southern-drawl-Spanish. It was a good time.

On Saturday I took it easy until Jesse & Andy picked me up and we watched the LSU game at Pocket's in Manhattan Beach. What a blast. We recanted the night before and Chris showed up after taking a 100$ taxi ride. I'm going to miss these kids when they go back home. Chris had us all in tears while telling us some story about getting back to his hotel blitzed and stuffing his face full of $5 hotel kit-kats. We went to Hermosa and had a "bomb tour" evening. I've never had so much fun. I stole my friend Carly's idea and went tearing down the streets yelling, "FREE HI-5's!!!" like I do best when I'm feeling especially outgoing. Most folks aren't receptive to this gift, but occasionally it gets some laughs. We came back to my place eventually for a wine and target-brand cheese get together, where we attempted to play truth-or-dare, but I'm pretty sure that it got watered down to a bunch of truth-oriented questions about wild relations/drugs/whatever people don't normally openly discuss.

On Sunday I went to church with Keely and came home and slept off the weekend. I was zonked. I went back to her place and we had wonderful beach pizza and watched the SpaceX rocket launch. I am excited about meeting new scientist friends. I actually got fired from one of my clients today because I couldn't help him with his science homework. I mean, really. WTF is a hectometer? We don't even use that stupid crap over here. Unless this kid wanted to be a drug dealer, he would never have to know how to convert grams, so I say screw it. Anyway, maybe my new scientist friends will rub off on me so I can be a more competent metric system converter.

I tried to get fingerprinted today but could never get remotely coherent directions from the man on the phone. His accent was too thick. Eventually I just got tired and went to the dollar store instead. I needed to buy chalk. The lady there had no idea what chalk was. I kept saying,

"You can write on a chalk board with it. You can write on the street with it. You know. CHALK."

The look on her face definitely said no comprendo.

I might have to take a nap. I really do feel rough today, despite my work out session and hot shower. Blah. I think it's because I had some cheese fries on Saturday. I'm just going to start eating lettuce.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God is in the Blender Biz-nass!

Let me start with a few nights ago. I have this friend named Brady who I hang out with pretty regularly. We are the kinds of friends who can hang out without ever really doing anything and we still wind up having fun. He's my friend who I call when I don't really want to go out and do anything stimulating; I just want to take it easy, watch some TV, eat some junk food. You know what I mean. My friend Mules was the one that I got to do that with in Memphis, but sadly, he's a billion miles away, so I've had to start networking for newbies out here. I miss Mules a lot. Today when I was at the gym I was thinking about him and how he's been my friend through thick and thin. Not many people are like that. Normally there's this whole awkward period of someone liking someone and all of that crap- but we've never truly encountered those kinds of problems. He's been my post-breakup comfort, my Ben & Jerry's accomplice, my get-me-through-the-b.s. support system. You name it, he's been there. But anyway, let me get back to my point. What was it again? Oh yeah.

So I go to Brady's house (his house was the Full House type house I wrote about earlier) and meet his older brother and fiancee (is it one or two e's?). His brother, who is an EMT, is three sheets to the wind. The guy is completely wasted. The fiancee, a nurse, is not wasted. Neither was Brady. But big brother is smashed. So, big brother is talking about having to go to work in the morning and dreading the thought of having a hangover, so he proceeds to say to his fiancee,

"Honey, go get the IV."

She leaves for a minute, comes back downstairs, and has a big plastic bag and set of needles in hand. She then proceeds to tie a tourniquet around his arm, prime his skin, and plug a huge-ass needle into his vein. I am not kidding. Then, big brother hangs the IV bag up on "the nail in the cabinet where the Christmas calendar hangs every year" and starts squeezing it to make sure that he attains maximum hydration.

"Dude, you know you could just eat a sandwich and drink some water... Go to Waffle House to sober up. You realize that normal people don't sit around the kitchen table giving each other IVs, right?" I asked.

The medical professional couple looked at me like I was a retard. Of course this is what they do. Is there any other way to avoid a hangover? EVERYONE hangs IVs on Christmas calendar nails and jabs themselves in their veins to wake up refreshed after a night of drinking. Duh.

I think that Brady is used to his family being like this, so it wasn't unusual for him, but he did sort of give me a "I-know-they-are-bonkers-so-please-don't-judge-me" look. It was funny.

Last night I went to my friend Josh's condo. Crazy enough, he was friends with my little sister in Memphis back in the day. We went to the same church growing up and he used to come to swimming parties at my house. I just found out that he lives in my neighborhood! How cool is that? So he cooks this gorgeous, elaborate meal- chicken Alfredo and a beautiful salad and green beans... And I eat dinner with him, his roommate, and one of their friends. The roommate and friend were Asian guys, which I loved, not because they were Asian but because L.A. is so full of diversity and people aren't categorized by WHITE or BLACK like they are in Memphis (I hated that back "home."). So, this is when God sent me a blender.

I don't want to sound like Benny Hinn, but I'm telling you, I feel like God opened every door, met every need, and guided me right to L.A. after years of wanting this. I was telling my new friends last night that the only thing that I do not have is a blender. Also, a side note, I love the color red. It's scandalous and so am I. So, Josh's roommate says to me, "Really? I have two extras. Why don't you take one of mine?" And he presents me with a beautiful red blender. I felt like God sent me wonderful neighbors and a red blender just for me. As hokey as it sounds, I really felt blessed and I wanted to cry because these people were so nice and welcoming.

I have a quiz tomorrow night so say a little prayer for me. I have to get back to reading my note cards on Adjustment Disorder. I love this stuff. Who would have thought that I'd be at a private Catholic school in L.A. studying DSM-IV mental disorders and eating dinner with neighbors I grew up with in Memphis? Life is crazy. I freaking love it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Things You Own End Up Owning You.

Every weekend in L.A. is completely insane. I have no way to prepare for anything that goes down each weekend- all I know is that if it’s Friday in L.A., I’m going to come home with a plethora of intense, crazy, unpredictable stories. Here’s what ha-happened:

Friday night I first met up with a guy and his coworker whom I had never met. My friend Carly hooked me up with this guy Jesse because he and I went to the same schools (LSU and U of M) and we’re both from Memphis. So Jesse and his coworker, Chris, picked me up and we ate sushi down on Venice beach. It was incredibly nice to be around a boy who opened my doors and knew who Willie Herenton was (by the way, last week, Mayor Herenton made a public statement that the people of Memphis need to stop drinking that “hatorade.” How professional. I wonder if he has a speech writer come up with his very eloquent and deep speeches.). It was fun to make little remarks about streets in Baton Rouge and Memphis and to talk about things that nobody out here “gets.” It was refreshing.

After dinner, I came back to my apartment and headed out for a party that I had been notified about via e-mail a week ago. It was really far away from my house and I must have been on the freeway for 45 minutes before I got there (this was with no traffic. On a traffic day it would have taken four hours). I should preface this by saying that I met this delightful Persian girl at a pub crawl a few weekends prior, and she and I hit it off well, so I decided to attend this party at her parents’ house in hopes of meeting new people.

So, I approach this neighborhood and had to be cleared by the guard to confirm that I was on “THE LIST.” Huge wrought iron gates opened and I drove through a real neighborhood with a pavement street and I saw houses on lots that were several acres in diameter. This is highly unusual for Southern California. Most people rent or live in tiny little houses because real estate is bonkers out here. In fact, pretty much everyone I know lives in an apartment. The first time I’d been in an actual house since I moved to L.A. was last week when I went to my friend Brady’s crib. He lives with his parents. It was wonderful. I felt, for a second, like L.A. was REAL in some parts; like real people live in this city. It felt like that ideal state of "home." There were pictures of little boys in baseball uniforms everywhere. Floral print wallpaper. Wood paneling. Seafoam green tile and berber carpet. I felt like I was on the set of “Full House.” There were so many memories in that house, I wanted to move in. Back to my weekend, though.

As I walked into the foyer of this mansion, my head was under a crystal chandelier. I walked on immaculate, scratch-free wooden floors. Ornate sculptures lined the walkway and heavy oil paintings and dupioni silk curtains hung over gargantuan windows. Persian rugs were everywhere- the whole house was marble and granite. It was beautiful. The kitchen held a spread of stuffed grape leaves, pistachios, assorted pastas, and every alcoholic beverage imaginable. I’d never seen anything so incredible in all my life. I saw my girlfriend and said, “Dang, honey! Does your daddy deal drugs?!” She didn’t think that was funny. I did. I truly don't understand why people are so freaking serious all the time.

I was in the Great Gatsby for a moment. I was Nick Carraway for at least a few hours. Everything moved in slow motion. People laughed pretentiously. Somehow I couldn’t get into it. I kept trying to talk to people. The thing is, I’ve learned that most young people in L.A. only want to talk about money or how much they hate money, which is code for they love money but don't have any so they're bitter. This, in essence, is the topic of every conversation in which I engage in Los Angeles. Here's an example of what I mean:

Background: I had my nose pierced my senior year of college but took it out because I began teaching shortly after, and it was against our school policy to be normal in any way, shape, or form. A few weeks ago I walked into a place in Beverly Hills and bought a new nose stud impulsively. I’ve had it in for a few weeks. Maybe I refuse to get old. But anyway, when I was getting ready on Friday night, the diamond fell out while I was in the shower. So, I meet this guy at the party, and he says to me, “Oh, I love your little nose ring!” and I said, “Thanks. The diamond fell out.” AND THIS WAS HIS RESPONSE: “Well… It looks to me like you just need someone to buy you more diamonds.” Haha. Are you serious?! WHO SAYS THAT?! Then later that night, I walked out to his car with him and his friend to get some towels, and he made it very clear that HIS car was the brand spankin’ new BMW parked out front. Oh please. Where I'm from, it's just plain old bad manners to talk like that. It just is.

I watched a bunch of yuppies get smashed and make out and I heard the sounds of empty laughter for hours upon end. I watched drunk girls fall over their own feet and people's glassy eyes sink to half-mast. All night, this line kept rolling around in my head:

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…"

It’s funny how life slows down when you’re completely clueless to social norms. This guy came up to me and introduced himself as “Daaah-mee-aaaaahn.” I laughed hysterically, thinking he was referencing that movie “A View from the Top,” when Mike Meyers says,

“You’re putting the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong syllAAAAble,”

but apparently, this was the guy’s name, and he was pretty pissed that I didn’t take him seriously. ALL NIGHT, events occured like this. One big fat faux pas after the next. I kept making people mad or hurting their feelings at first, but as they got drunker and drunker, they started yelling “HEY MEMPHIS!” to me every five seconds, and applauding as I’d “Crank that soulja boy” (poorly) or dance on the fireplace mantel. I thought about the movie "Houseguest" when Sinbad got all of the rich people drunk at the wine tasting, and at the end of the night, everybody was dancing and going buck wild.

I didn’t give a flying crap about what anybody thought. I knew it was too late to drive home through the winding curves and I was too tired to not make the best of it. I mingled with people who didn’t care to meet me and told them my name knowing that they wouldn’t remember it. I was dubbed "Memphis" and thought it ironic to be identified with the only place that I’ve always tried to escape. A lot of bad things happened there and it’s a place I normally wish I could just forget. Now it’s my nickname. Irony.

Now the drama.

In the middle of the night, when everyone was good and plastered, this boy approached me because clearly he was as out of place as I was. Everyone there knew at least three other people except for him and me. He started some meaningless chit-chat about how he and his girlfriend moved here from Pennsylvania, and bla bla bla. I wasn’t paying attention because I truly didn’t care. This is when the crap hit the fan. His girlfriend made her dramatic entrance into the kitchen just like when Carrie went bustin’ into prom, makes a huge scene, grabs her ugly-ass boyfriend by the arm, and announces (very loudly),


Really? Because your dog-butt-face boyfriend just tried to talk to me for the past ten minutes. Tell me why I would approach a man whose woman clearly has him by the ‘nads. I prefer men who can stand solo, dear. I look over to some plastered dude and said, “Dang. That bitch is wired. Somebody get this ho A DRINK!” She and her boyfriend promptly exited the premises to go pass out upstairs. How ridiculous. If I was looking to be a homewrecka, I’d submit a tape to Jerry Springer. I told a shocked bystander, “I can’t help it that she’s homely and desperately needs highlights. If she’s that insecure she should just keep him locked in a cage at home.” Yeah, I know. I should keep those thoughts to myself. Stupid slut face.

I woke up the next morning at 7AM on an air mattress by myself in the mansion’s baby room. I bolted out of that house so fast, you’d think I was running from the cops. I grabbed my flip-flops and stumbled over thousands of drunk bodies. It was pretty much just like the scene in Atlanta in "Gone with the Wind" where all of the soldiers are lying around everywhere, but there wasn't any blood. All I wanted was to get out of there and get back to my Ikea-furnished apartment and off brand food products. As Tyler Durden so simply yet profoundly put it,

“The things you own end up owning you.”

I’m all about owning fun, flashy crap, but when you’re so into materialistic stuff that you can’t talk about anything else, it’s time to join a gardening club or learn to sew or freaking ANYTHING that will make you a little more well-rounded. I need to say that the girl who invited me was very cool. She wasn’t all fake and judgemental and bitchy like everyone else was, so ultimately, the person who LIVED in the mansion was actually very down-to-earth; but I interacted with so many assholes that night that all I wanted to do was get the crap out of there.

Saturday was a breath of fresh air. I met the most delightful girl ever. I knew her sister in Memphis, and she and I hung out on a whim. We laid out on Manhattan beach all day and we talked about normal things. We talked about struggling to find real people in L.A. We talked about how boys are idiots. We talked about drama and UT football and wonderfully down-to-earth things. We ate hamburgers, drank milkshakes, and then headed to Sharkees to watch the LSU/Auburn (awesome) game with Jesse and Chris. There's nothing better than hanging at a tiki bar with good, down-home people and watching a Tiger football game. Saturday was the perfect therapy after the previous night's hormone carwash.

Today my new friend Keely and I went to a wonderful church in Redondo Beach. We drove back down to Hermosa and walked on the sand. We ate brunch at Martha's right on the beach and talked about things that are going on in our lives.

I'm not sure how to end this blog. I guess that's it. If I ever wind up making a lot of money, please don't let me turn into one of those Hollywood deuche bags. The end.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So... I feel like it's necessary to blog just for the sake of keeping current, though I don't feel like I have a lot to contribute tonight. The things that have gone on recently are not completely Internet-friendly, so I don't want to divulge too much from my recent adventures, but I'll just hit a few high points.

Over the weekend, I attended an unusual party at an aspiring white rapper/full time substitute teacher's apartment. This was interesting, to say the least. How would you like your kid to be in Mr. Williams (by day) class only to see him as Jam Master P-Fly Funk Ho Smacka (by night) on the street on Saturday? If I ever have kids, I'm just going to lock them in the basement until they turn 18. I'll shove educational toys and well-balanced meals under the door until they are old enough to choose their own methods of corruption. Anyway, I digress. I met a few very nice people on Friday, but I also met some people that I was pretty sure ran around with Charles Manson back in the '60's. The night concluded with a circle of "musicians" (drunken guitar jammers) playing Johnny Cash tunes and me belting out "Ring of Fire" at the top of my lungs. I have no inhibition when it comes to... well... most things. I was going to say when it comes to making a fool out of myself around complete strangers, but really, in most situations I don't give a flying flip unless I'm going to risk hurting someone's feelings or I have to admit to being serious, which I hate a lot.

On Saturday, I attended an LSU alum party at Manhattan Beach where I watched the LSU/U.North Texas game. I left a little bit early because the only person that I talked to was some older man that was borderline mid-life crisis creepy and my cousin called me three sheets to the wind and all of a sudden I got sad. She called me crying, telling me how proud she was of me for moving, and how she loved me like her sister, and how much she missed me, and all of a sudden, I had a rock in my stomach, regardless as to whether or not I was recognizing her phone call as a full fledged drunk dial. I started thinking about how I miss my cousin and my sisters and my pet cat. Most of the time, I'm so busy doing other things that I don't take the time to stop and think about the people that I miss, but for a while, I thought about it on Saturday and felt a little bit down. I came back to my apartment and my sister called me. She was with my other cousin. That made me a little sad, too. I layed on my bed (is it lay? layed? lain? I never know how those stupid verbs work) and thought about how my mean, grouchy, class 3 obese cat used to lay on my chest and purr, and I got sad thinking about how I don't have that now. So, I blamed all of this on hormones and started vacuuming furiously, as I always do.

All Friday night, I was with a bunch of crazy drunk people, and on Saturday I kept having these odd phone encounters with them. First my cousin, then I came home and did some homework, and my friend called me a little bit lit. I didn't know it at first, though. I went to his apartment and "we" watched a movie. He was drunk and passed out, so I watched the movie solo for a minute or two before I had a serious anxiety attack and left. Actually, it wasn't an anxiety attack. It's like I had this big revelation of feeling intrusive (which didn't even make sense, because he was out cold) and felt like I had to run out of there as fast as I could.

How do you handle that? I don't know. If you're going to hang out with someone, but when you go hang out with them and they're drunk and asleep, should you leave quietly or should you just hang around for a while until they come to so you can tell them goodbye? Maybe I should google this. Not like it's a real crisis, but in my amplified emotional state the other day, this seemed like a matter of life and death.

Sunday, I visited this little tiny church near my house. I really liked it because it was so nontraditional. The music was bad, the preaching was decent, there were hardly any people there... and they were genuine. I liked it. I'm going to visit again.

This morning I picked up the guy who lives in my parents' guest house. He was in LAX for a short stint so we grabbed breakfast. It was nice to hear some Southern terms of endearment and to get a hug from a person who knows where I come from and knows my parents. I wonder why that is? Something about someone knowing remotely who you are seems to count for a whole lot when there aren't many people like that in existence.

This is the most pointless blog I have ever submitted. I keep debating on whether or not I should just X this screen. Why should I, though? I've put a few minutes into it so I might as well publish it. This is why I am often exhausted just by being alive. I over analyze everything. I guess this can pay off in my field, but dude, it wears me out. Maybe I won't have any insomnia tonight and I'll fall asleep quickly. I'm gonna go try that out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life Rocks- but not in an Obnoxious Pollyanna Type of Way.

Things are going so well that I'm a little nervous. I think this is probably pretty standard procedure for battling a lifelong struggle with anxiety; but bear with me. I talked to my mom on the phone yesterday and told her that things are going so well that I'm pretty sure that I'm going to wake up in a full body cast or I'm going to get mauled by sharks. She said,

"I know what you mean, honey! When I first married your father, I felt like that every day! I loved waking up. I loved going to work. I loved going to the grocery store."

"What? You went to the GROCERY STORE?!"

I have never really had that full-fledged, Bambi-eyed, Snow White "LOVE" experience where I wake up every day with a heart that's ready to pour out warm fuzzies over homeless children (or whatever the crap it is that people are always talking about. WORLD PEACE!); but that could be because as I get older, the more I see things in black and white. I heard once (I think this might have come from "Sex & the City," a show of which I am not a big fan, but I like the quote) "I think I'm missing the marriage gene. They should put me in a test tube and study me." I can relate. I don't necessarily feel like I get this big lump of life fulfillment from whomever I date or have a relationship with, but right now, I really feel balanced and content. I don't have that churned up, restless feeling that I used to know oh-so-well.

I started my new job on Monday, and when I left, it's like I experienced this epiphany. I have FINALLY arrived. After all of this time of treading water, working my butt off without really knowing what my end goals would be- I recognized that life is about living. Now, I'm not Gandhi or whatever; I'm much too crass and extroverted for that. I am; however, finally at a point of maturity or accomplishment or what have you, to understand that life is about right now. I have these unbelievable kids that I'm working with- I mean truly incredible. They are so bright and funny and out-of-the-box. Yesterday I met with one of my clients right after he'd come home from surfing all day. He had sand all over him and his hair was sticking straight up and it was sun kissed and full of salt water. He had this incredibly fresh perspective on his studies because he was balanced. He'd worked off all of his energy by surfing and now he was ready to give his mind a work out. I thought how cool that was. I did not grow up in a region or environment where balance was recognized or encouraged. I don't think it's because people discouraged it- they just didn't know better. I grew up around a lot of simple, unmotivated, milky people who chose to exist rather than live. I never really jived with them because I have no level of "in between." I'm not bipolar, but I'm extremely passionate. I'm way up or way down. I don't float around waiting for my decisions to be made for me. That crap drives me bonkers.

In addition to having the best job in the entire world (I can't believe that I get paid to help kids), another good thing happened the other day. I made a connection with a guy at Ralph's. I went to the grocery store and was checking out, and my cashier, who was a 40 ft. tall African American guy said,

"Hey.. Where ya from?"

So, giving my standard answer, I said,

"New Jersey. Why?"

So then he proceeded to guess. His first guess was Louisiana. I was so happy. My roots are deeply planted in Louisiana, so to hear someone guess a state remotely close to "home" was exciting (Two of my clients asked how my family was doing in TEXAS because of the hurricane. Which was nice, but how many times do I have to say MEMPHIS for them to know that it is NOT in effing TEXAS?!). He said he has relatives in Shreveport.

Next, he guessed Tennessee. I almost jumped over that counter and kissed him on the forehead. Then I started word-vomiting all over him about how people ask me stupid questions and put labels on me because I have an accent. Then this is what he said (I almost proposed to him),

"I thought Memphis was all blues? I mean, isn't it more of a Blues city instead of a country city?"


I don't think this guy realized just how much his little tiny bit of knowledge about my roots made my entire week better. This made me start thinking that I need to spend a lot more time trying to learn about other people; especially while I'm in L.A. I suck at foreign language, but I want to learn Spanish. It meant so much to me that someone knew something about my roots. Maybe if I can say "Buenos dias" without it sounding like "bwaaaaay-nooose deeeeeyuuuuuhs," I could make someone feel happy, too.

On another good note, I had the best weekend ever. I hung out on Venice Beach all weekend. Friday I met up with my friend and we walked around Venice and tried to avoid getting shanked by all of the scary burned out homeless hippies. Then we went to Santa Monica where it was a little less life threatening. We watched all of the divas and singer songwriters and middle aged married people. It was wonderful watching everyone out on their Friday night. When things wound down at 3rd St. Promenade, we went to Swinger's and sat on the patio, eating Cali food in the middle of the night, listening to some mobsters tell stories about doing coke in the '80's. I love L.A. It's so weird. P.S., I was born in the '80's.

Saturday, I went to Venice again and rode bikes with all of my Jewish friends. As I've stated before, it's very unusual for me to be the only blonde "white" girl. I'm not used to that. I can't tell if I like it or not. We crashed an old man game of beach volleyball, where I was absolutely the weakest link in the game (that lack of depth perception will get ya every time!) and everyone was aggravated that I couldn't serve, or hit, or do anything except just stand there and get a tan, but whatever. Then on Sunday, I got FOUR hugs. I know, I know. Give me a break, Corkey Romano. But seriously, I didn't know how much I needed hugs until I got four of them. I went to a different church on Sunday that's close to my house. I immediately felt connected. The crowd was small and multicultural. It made me feel comfortable. This old African American couple sitting in front of me introduced themselves right away as Henry and Naomi (I love old people names). Naomi hugged me. Then I met a doctoral student named Rochelline. She hugged me, too. Then after church my friend Christina and I went to the beach. I got a hug there. Then my buddy Robby and I hung out on Sunday night and tried to break into the MTV VMA's. Hug numero quatro!

Let me give a few more details on the VMA's. Those of you who are my "friends" on facebook have already seen the captions to the pictures, so disregard this paragraph if you are already in the know. Robby and I drove down to Hollywood in an attempt to break into the VMA after party. Despite our attempts at scaling the Paramount Studios wall, sweet talking the LAPD, offering to buy passes from exiting guests, and faking to be famous (Justin Timberlake's cousin & retarded brother), we were unsuccessful. We did; however, meet some wonderful traveling nurses from North Carolina who were middle aged and happy as clams to be in "Hollywood." That was nice and refreshing. We also met the driver of some famous celeb (Supposedly. He never told us who it was. He probably stole this car and lied to us. Oh well.) who was parked in Charlie Chaplin's rolls royce. We talked to him for over half an hour. He was such a warm and kind hearted guy, from what I could tell. I love real people. He told us he's in a jazz band and invited us to come hear him play. I'm looking forward to that.

So all night of loitering around the Paramount Studios premises, Robby and I acted like he was famous. He pulled his hat low over his eyes and we'd both yell, "NO PICTURES! NO PICTURES, PLEASE!" And we also thanked everyone for attending the VMA's.

To all of the sparkly dressed hos:

"Thanks for making it out tonight, ladies. Drive safely. We hope you come back next year."

We also ran into a black guy from Atlanta trying to sell his home-mixed CDs out of his backpack.

"I'm from ATL, man. Help a brotha out!"

I hi-fived him and said,

"I'm from Memphis, dude! HI-5 FOR THA DIRTY SOUTH!!!!!"

Flashbacks of "Hustle and Flow," anyone? Dee Jay gonna pimp Skinny Black? I watched part of that last night. It was on BET. It's so weird to me to see scenery of Memphis from my little tiny TV in Los Angeles. It's kind of neat.

Well, I'm going to go run off my big badunk-a-dunk at the gym and then commence the homework process of 2008. Holla holla. It's hard out there for a pimp!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Put the "Class" in "Classified."

I have ranted and raved a little bit about how it's been hard to make friends since I have moved to L.A. I have made a few acquaintances at school, but it's only been two weeks since we started, so I haven't formed any life-long friendships yet. There are a lot of young people in my apartment complex, but norms out here are so weird. For instance, I met my neighbor who lives down my hall last week, and he said we should hang out, and I told him he could come knock on my door if he wanted to get together sometime, but I haven't heard a knock yet. I am not going to knock on his door because he might think that I'm some dominatrix hooker signing up for a booty call. I know, I know, that's a little extreme... But I guess, where I'm from, boys are the ones who take initiative and call girls, open their doors, do the pursuing (or the "knocking"); even if they are only in a "platonic" friendship (which, as I blogged about earlier, is pretty much impossible. To heck with the parenthesis-- the following excerpt is the reason why...):

Harry: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape, or form - is that men and women can't be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No, you don't.

Sally: Yes, I do.

Harry: No, you don't.

Sally: Yes, I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sally: You're saying I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all want to have sex with you.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: How do you know?

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally: So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive.

Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail them, too.

Sally: What if they don't want to have sex with you?

Harry: Doesn't matter, because the sex thing is already out there, so the friendship is ultimately doomed, and that is the end of the story.

Sally: Well, I guess we're not gonna be friends, then.

Harry: Guess not.

I only have a few friends here. I called/texted them a lot when I first moved to L.A. three weeks ago, but I feel like if I continue to call them, I will be labeled as a "Stage 5 Clinger," so I have spent most of my time organizing and reorganizing my kitchen, working out, swimming, doing homework, and researching. This was my regular schedule until about two nights ago, when I hit a whole new low.

I should give you some background, first. I am addicted to craigslist. I mean, I could probably be diagnosed for this. Before I moved out here, I sold a bunch of crap through craigslist and made about 850 bucks, so I am now, officially, a junky. I always check out the "free" section and see what weird stuff people are trying to get rid of; I used it every day to find a job (I finally found one! In fact, people are still calling me. That always happens. After you actually find a job, people call you asking if you want one, but when you're looking for one, it seems impossible.), and then, in a moment of weakness the other night, I clicked on the "strictly platonic" section.

I know. I'd like a burger with extra lamesauce, please.

So, I start clicking through all kinds of people who were talking about being broken hearted, new to the area, transgender, what have you... And I started to get hooked. Here's one that made me laugh:

Two broke, handsome dudes -
Yes, we're handsome, starving college students.
You and a friend should take us out for dinner and...a movie? a show? drinks?
Send a picture or myspace link.
Please be between the ages of 18-55.
No guys or "women" who were born guys.
Jego is on the left, Curly on the right.
One of us got bitten by radioactive spider
the other got bitten by radioactive prostitute
It's up to you to figure out which is which!
p.s. one of us is Asian.

So, after reading a whole bunch of these while laughing my head off, I hit a moment of weakness... and I decided to post an ad. The ad basically said that I just moved here and I'm looking for friends. That was it. About five second later, I got about 209803 e-mails from fat, bald, cheeto-eatin' old men telling me that my ad "caught their eye" and that they'd love to "show me around" and "take me out for drinks" and all kinds of weird stuff. Then I got a few e-mails saying, "Wanna smoke out? 420?" Huh? How does just moving here have anything to do with bud? I'd say 75% included pictures, and I have never laughed so hard in all of my life. Seriously. I know it's wrong to laugh at the expense of others, but this is awesome quality entertainment. For free (I like free)! Ok, let me post one of the e-mails that I received:

Hi there Princess; Interesting ad, Hello, my name is Edward from Reseda, 36 years old,5'10 and Ornamental. Born of Chinese parents and Edumacated with anMBA degree. I hope me being Asian and 36 years old will not hinder mefrom getting to know you better. I love to watch movies, go toconcerts and Broadway shows. hobbies are basketball, ping pong andshooting pool.....

He's not only ornamental, but he's also edumacated!!!!! Everyone, let's welcome Edward, the ping-pong playin', well-decorated, ornamental man with many degrees!!! Sorry, Edward. I don't hang out with people who call me "Princess." That crap gets on my nerves. You can call me Ray Hay; that's the only term of endearment that I will allow.

These e-mails came one after another. I keep receiving them. The pictures are even better than the messages.

I wish that I could post some of the pictures that people have sent me, but I'd feel bad, because I really do think that these are REAL people; not cut outs from Abercrombie magazines, that's for sure. Trust me. You'd laugh so hard that you'd cry. Oh man! People use handles, too. Like radio call names. One guy keeps writing me and calling himself "The Scribbler." The thing is, "The Scribbler" is HILARIOUS. Supposedly he writes for sitcoms or something (whatever; he was probably discovered on "To Catch a Predator" and is writing me during his probationary online period from prison); and seriously, every time I get an e-mail from this guy, I laugh my head off. Today he sent me a picture. He is about 55+ years old. I have no problem having friends who are "old," but something about a Boomer sitting at home sifting through the classifieds seems a lot creepier than me doing it, when I'm a kid who just moved here and I don't know anyone. But maybe that's a double standard?

Here's another thing. I wrote that I was a Christian looking for Christian friends. Simply making that claim has completely pissed off everyone in the Los Angeles craigslist community. I keep getting e-mails that say stuff like, "My name is Ahkmen Airportgoboom. and I am Muslim/atheist/Lutheran/agnostic/Catholic/vegan. If you are close minded and don't want to be my friend, I don't care. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that I do not want to be your friend." Ok, why would you e-mail a person if you thought they wouldn't be friends with you in the first place? Dumb. I have friends of different faiths. That isn't a problem- the thing is, I am looking for a Christian network because I feel like we'd have things in common, and right now I am looking for a good church. I don't think that is weird. I also didn't say anything like, "If you aren't Christian, I hate you!" Hellooooo. Read about Jesus. He loved everybody. Christianity means being like Christ. Did Christ go around playa hatin'? Nope. I am no standard of Christ-like behavior at all times, but don't assume that I don't want to be your friend just because I said I was looking for people whom I'd have some commonality with.

I have actually received 3 or 4 e-mails from people who seem relatively normal. Now please note that the statistics are really quite depressing, when I've received well over 100 e-mails and only a small hand full seem like they do NOT qualify as serial rapist material. There's one girl from North Carolina who now lives in Santa Monica who invited me to her church (which could be code for: I'm going to throw you in my well and make you put lotion on until you're lathered enough to be made into a woman-suit. "It puts the lotion on the skin. It puts the lotion in the baaasket."). I have also had some invites for free sushi, free surf lessons, and invites to Dodgers games. All of those seem wonderfully appealing; but I'm a little bit afraid to meet someone without a wing man. This is one of the biggest reasons why I miss my little sister. She was my wing man 100% of the time when we lived within a 3 hour radius of each other. The Great Replacement Wing Man Search of 2008 continues...New classified!!!

Maverick searching for her Goose in order to avoid becoming a rape victim or martyr of serial killer while searching for new friends in L.A.

So, the Great Replacement Wing Man Search and the Great Christian Friend Search of 2008 is underway; but thankfully,the Summer of FunEmployment '08 has officially ended. My younger sis dubbed my summer of not working (which entailed smoking Clove cigarettes on the roof while reading The Great Gatsby, getting into classic summer trouble, swimming laps, going to Jerry's sno cones, and seeing movies at the Summer drive-in) [p.s. I am not a smoker, but I did probably partake in 3 Cloves over the three-month summer period.] as the summer of FunEmployment instead of the Summer of Unemployment because I had a blast every minute of taking time off. This was the first time in my life I haven't had some sort of job since the 8th grade [with the exception of a semi-nervous breakdown during my undergrad years at LSU]. It was terrific.

I have a few more stories I'd like to share, but this blog is pretty long, so I guess I'll make my way down to the gym. I will end this with suggesting the next time you are self-loathing because you do not have weekend plans, you have no excuse to not take advantage of free and hilarious entertainment. Just search the classifies on craigslist.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I got a job so now I won't have to google how to make crack.

The past several days have been insane. First of all, my parents and sister came in town on Friday night. It was refreshing to hear their influx of politically incorrect terminology, have my apartment turned into an obstacle course (air mattress, bedding, suitcases, shoes, sunglasses, bras hanging on door knobs, crap strewn everywhere), and have to pull into an eating establishment every five seconds because someone was "starving" to death. I don't say this in jest. I really loved them being here. It wasn't the same without my older sister being with us, but my family was loud, sarcastic, insensitive and feuding, and I loved every second of it. So, when they left on Sunday night, I was left Monday to do laundry, windex the mank off of everything, and vacuum. And vacuum. And vacuum. Because I suck (Get it?!). I think that I have a mild case of OCD. I have to vacuum the carpet and get those little teepees on the nap in order to feel complete. If I don't have a consistent pattern in the fibers, I get pissed off. Insane, I know. Add it to my list of why people are scared of me.

I was flipping through about 230 different channels last night (including the UCLA/UT game. I never thought that I'd EVER watch a UT game unless they were playing LSU because everyone I've ever known who has gone there has been a complete butt face, but there I was, hooked at overtime) when I hit a pivotal point in "Madea's Family Reunion" (if you haven't seen it, your homework is to rent it. "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" is way better, so rent them both). Cicely Tyson is standing on the front porch of an old shack and preaching at her family and telling them about how disappointed she is in them for acting like tard pockets. Then she starts talking about the importance of family and where they'd all come from (sorry for ending a sentence in a preposition). So, I had my first cry since I've moved to L.A. It wasn't even really a sad cry. I just got a little misty eyed. I started thinking about how fortunate I am to have the family that I have. They are insane and they scare off all of my boyfriends and all they want to do is eat and take naps (are they all felines?), but they are so great. So. That's my emotional little bit of the weekend.

Now, let me tell you about my awesome day. I had an interview in Malibu today. I drove up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway. You have to use the cool acronym or else you will be judged) on my way to my interview and was looking at the pacific ocean on my left and the mountains on my right. I had the windows cracked down about half way and had Jack Johnson cranked up. I watched young, sculpted, tan people playing beach volleyball and surfing. I drove through the rows of palm trees and stucco beach homes that had crazy metal numbers attached to the sides of their garages. All I could think was, "Is this really my life? Thank you, GOD!" Now, before you go thinking that I'm on the TV preacher band wagon, I need to put up my disclaimer: I don't want to sound like a sappy Sunday school teacher. Nothing was more obnoxious to me as a kid than some Mary Kay pancake faced fat woman in a floral print dress with big fake pearls saying "God" and "The Lord" every five seconds in a thick, saccharine Tammy Fay sing-a-long voice. Until I was in the tenth grade, I was forced to suffer under the tyranny of obnoxious, ignorant Sunday school teachers (When I was 12, one of them told me that I was the worst kid that she had ever taught. If only back then I had the nerve to use my mouth the way that I do now. Not like that's anything for me to be proud of. I need some house cleaning in the language department. Oh well, I guess that's neither here nor there. I hope that her stupid vegetative kids wind up in my office one day. I'll brain wash them into complete mutant guerrillas). So, as hypocritical as this will sound now that I've gone off on a completely bitter rant, I couldn't stop thinking about how God has turned my life around over and over again. I believe in God with everything in me and I believe that He has blessed me radically, despite my horrible run-ins with the church (P.S. I've had some wonderful run-ins with churches, too, so I'm not in any way claiming to be a church hater).

So... I drive to this beautiful little gated community where I had to get a parking pass to enter. There were signs everywhere that said "10 MPH," which I thought was hilarious. 10 whole miles? Per HOUR? Really? It made me think of Germantown. For those of you who don't know me well, I grew up in Germantown, where you get a ticket if your garage door is open or your grass is taller than an inch high. So, I drove around to this cute little blue house overlooking the beach, and was greeted by the coolest lady I've ever met. She wore a light blue cotton peasant blouse and white linen pants. She had a pixie haircut and her hair was bleached and messy. She was completely modest and pleasant and I hope that I look as fit and healthy as she does when I'm her age. Of course, I'll be more glam though. I'll still be experimenting with whatever trends are hot and I'll be way too old for them. So, moving right along. For confidentiality's sake, we'll call her Dr. Julie. (Not like I couldn't use her real name. It isn't like I signed a waver. I'd just be scared if all of a sudden I walked into work before I ever even started and was handed a pink slip because I blogged about a real person). After she introduced herself, she walked across her lawn, the sprinklers came on, and her pants got soaked. So she changed into some navy blue pants and wore matching blue Vans. So cool. Dr. Julie and I talked in her office about this job that I'd be doing working with learning disabled students. She asked me about my experience, and when I told her that I have dabbled a little bit in the special ed population and how I've worked with autistic kids, she said,

"Oh gaaah. I will take a pissed off, angry, AD/HD teenager ANY day over an autistic kid. They demand waaaaay too much attention."

I just about jumped out of my chair and made out with her. Not really.

"Really!?!? Because seriously, I can't handle it. I love those teens with attitude/behavior problems, but those kids who really need one-on-one Annie Sullivan help aren't really my forte."

We hit it off and talked for over an hour. She wrapped up our interview with asking if I could start next week and told me,

"I realize that everyone under 30 has a tattoo, so if you have one and it's visible, that's fine, I just ask that you don't wear anything revealing."

So cool. Maybe I could adopt her as a surrogate mom. Not like my mom isn't up-to-par, 'cause she totally is, but this lady is like that really cool aunt in your family who kind of got away and broke all of the norms but still remained true to herself. You know? I actually don't have an aunt like that. Maybe I'll just call her Aunt Julie. Because THAT wouldn't be weird at all...

I will wrap this up with saying that I need anger management. There's this lady in my class (I just came home from class an hour ago) who gets on my last EFFING NERVE. She coos like a pigeon. All the time. Nonstop. This lady sits in her seat and coos every freaking second. Any time she feels like our professor says something deep and philosophical, she coos. If someone asks a question, she coos. If I went up to her and said, "Lady, you can kiss my butt." She'd coo. I know she would. So, in addition to the cooing, she also says very smartalic things all the time, which is just obnoxious. Being a smart ass only works if you use it at the appropriate times with the appropriate audience. If you're being a donkey face to your professor, it better be at a bar off campus behind his back. And we all know that unless your prof. is a complete ass face, you shouldn't even do that. I'm going to go ahead and say that there's just no excuse. So, she always adds her two cents and she's always cooing. So, tonight, our professor was trying to make a comment about clients who live life like a pin ball in a pin ball machine. The only problem was that he kept saying ping pong ball, but we knew what he meant. So my professor says,

"What's that thing I'm thinking of.. Not ping pong... But..."

So, the pigeon lady blurts out (get ready for this. She's an idiot.)


I'm sorry. What did you just say? Yes, the complete dim wit in the third row just said "sponge" for "pin ball." I'm sorry ma'am, but you did not make the Daily Double. I do NOT understand how some people get into grad school. Hell, this lady not only got into grad school, but she has a DEGREE, she drives A CAR, and (Lord hep us) SHE REPRODUCED. She has two KIDS! How depressing.

One last thought... I had this momma dove and her two babies hanging out on a potted plant on my back porch, and they all flew the coop today. I would like to give a very warm round of applause to Doris, Donna Kay, and Nita Ray for their new adventures out in the West Los Angeles community. Good luck, girls.