Sunday, April 27, 2008

My last post was picked up by Los Angeles MetBlogs. Thanks for the extra traffic guys, was quite a surprise. For those of you who don't know about Los Angeles MetBlogs, they are a great way to keep current of the happenings in Los Angeles from a first-person perspective. Right now, it's fires, Coachella, and the LA Times Book Fair. Several writers contribute and offer a great mix of perspectives of life in Los Angeles. For those of you who don't live here, it's a great way to see the city from a ground floor perspective from several sets of eyes. All in different ways than you have before. Jason Burns picked me up for his Monday Bullets feature. David Markland who also has a blog has also been kind enough to shoot me some linky love on LA Metro Blogs mentioning me and other bloggers who attended the Harry Potter Midnight Book Release.

Friday was my last day of work, and I'm looking forward to the time off. I hate last days, as they are awkward. My coworkers and boss took me to lunch, which I had been a ball of nerves about the entire week. I don't like "fusses" being made over me, but once we'd all sat down and ordered our food, I was ok. My contract was a six month contract, at which they hire a new copywriter to bring in the freshness. Sounds weird, but with the volume and repetitiveness of the work, it makes sense. Some people burn out sooner than that. I had become somewhat burned out, and the last month was very difficult. Mainly because we were going through a slow period which for a person like me who requires constant stimulation, is a energy kill. It makes me more tired to be less busy and I found if hard to get up in the mornings. It also affected my creativity. This last week was particularly hard, as I was at zero in my energy reserves. It was a great job though. I'll miss the people and I got some great work out of it. I will enjoy sleeping in tomorrow, oh yes.

During my time off I'll be looking for the next big gig. In the meantime, I've already started those home organization projects I've been meaning to do, have thrown more shit away and am looking for even more shit to toss. It's the classic symptoms anyone gets when they are suddenly looking at a lot of free time. Well, I should say those who normally work full-time jobs who suddenly have a lot of free time. The complete and utter turning of attention inward to my own projects, both organizational and creative. Then, in a month or so I get that work itch again which is just about right, as the search can take a while. It all depends on the demand. I hope I finish something of my own during the time. Since I'm not putting the do or die attitude that I used to toward my own projects, that's more likely to happen.

I mainly get it because I miss being in the presence of people, the work chatter and banter and the lives I get to learn about who are in this along with me. In my line of work, it's always fun to hear about people's personal endeavors. Just about everyone has them. It's the age old question, "So what do you do after school?" I love the myriad of answers I get.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Last week, after a very weird night out, Shannon and I sort of became the POH-lice. I'll get to that later, but it was just an ending to a night that was just all out weird. Last Saturday, we went out on a whim and ended up looking for places that had the right "vibe" where we could have a few drinks and enjoy the nightlife. It was the first warm night in months, and by warm I mean actually warm, where long-legged girls wearing slinky dresses weren't shivering in their stilettos as they waited for the doorman to unhook the velvet rope and let them in.

We weren't really dressed for that kind of night out because we weren't looking for it. We looked "expensive hip" but I wouldn't say either of us were pimping glamorous that night. For one, I had on pants. Not my shimmery designer pants, just black cigarette leg pants. Nice, but not glamorous. Shannon had on expensive jeans and a cool shirt with a neat stitched design in it. Great for 95% percent of the bars and clubs in LA. There's a point to me describing this, by the way.

We stopped at Bar Marmont, then decided to nix it after we found parking was $18. We had started our evening out late and just weren't into paying that much for parking for so little time. Plus, we didn't have reservations and like I said we weren't into nor dressed for doing the full bar thing. Bar Marmont is a bar right next to Chateau Marmont and has experienced a resurgence after reopening with a new owner and chef. We used to go there all the time during its first big wave and then noticed it wasn't "the place it was" for a while. Now, it's back. I remember it because it was the place where I experienced the consequences of mixing my drinks. Luckily, Shannon drove me home and I was able to hold it until then, but it was the sickest I ever remember being. Just miserable. Lesson learned. I haven't been back since then and at some point we'll return so that I can "slay that demon."

Honestly, I've never seen Sunset that busy, and there was just a lot of weirdness in the people going on. You could see the frenetic mood in their eyes. Crowds thronged outside every place and the tow trucks were out in force, towing those who parked at the metered parking on the street. We passed one car with Minnesota plates being hooked up.

"Their night's going to suck," I said, feeling for them. In Minnesota, I'm sure you can park on the street in the club area. Not on Sunset on the weekends. It will be a lesson they'll never forget. By trying to avoid paying $15 to park, they'll now be paying a couple hundred to get their car back. At least. I think I saw the two women who owned the car walking toward some of the hotter bars. They hadn't a chance in hell of getting in, with big, outdated hair, mom jeans, flip flops and Gap shirts. They were in their early to mid-twenties.

Shannon told me of a new place by Urth Caffe that might be just what we were looking for. I was game, so we drove away from Sunset to Melrose by Urth, carefully reading the the parking signs before leaving the car on the street. I asked Shannon the name of the place, and he said he couldn't remember. As we approached, we saw a large group standing on the corner, complete with two dogs who were with one of the men. When we got closer, we realized the group was the paparazzi.

"Fuck," Shannon said. "Private party?"

"We could always ask," I said.

So, we asked the paparazzi, who told us it wasn't. And this is where the funny part came in, and why I explained the way we were dressed. We approached the nameless club that had two well-dressed men standing outside, guarding the entrance. They asked us if we had reservations, and we told them we didn't. They told us they were full, and I asked if they could fit two in who were escaping the madness on Sunset. They were very nice to us, and explained to us that we had to have reservations. I asked them why the paparazzi was out there and one of the men said they were the hottest club on the West Coast at the moment. We said we thought it was a private party but were going to give it a chance. Honestly, the two men couldn't have been nicer, so we thanked them and left. On our way back to the car, I asked Shannon if he ever saw the name of the place. He finally remembered, and when he told me the name I burst out laughing.

HIM: What?

ME: We had no chance in hell of getting in there.

HIM: Why?

ME: Without reservations, you'd have to be Brad Pitt and I'd have to be Angelina Jolie. And we so aren't dressed for it.

HIM: Really?

ME: Yes. If you'd told me the name first, I would have told you to keep driving. You freaking crack me up, you took us to Villa!

HIM: I had no idea. (starts laughing)

To those of you who don't know, Villa is currently the number one most exclusive club to get into. That doorman was correct. They are indeed the hottest place on the West Coast at the moment. To those two doormen, we must have appeared like a couple of tourists from well, Minnesota. Okay, we weren't dressed like a couple from Minnesota, but our genuine looks of being absolutely clueless were probably what saved us from being told to sod off. Plus, we were polite and not obnoxious to the doormen.

We drove to El Carmen, a cool little bar where loud salsa music pounded through the place. It's a small-ish bar with a great selection of drinks and fantastic Mexican wrestler decor. Over 100 kinds of tequila were stacked against the walls, looking like a decadent temptation challenge for a recovering alcoholic. I had a cosmo of course and we decided the place was a little too loud for us after the first drink. It was a great place, just not what we were in the mood for. Of course, every now and then I'd start laughing again and say to Shannon, "We were DENIED at Villa!" Then he'd start laughing. I don't know, it just cracked me up.

Our next stop was Jones, another old standby. It turned out to be the winner. Perfect vibe, we sat on the comfy couches and had our drinks and conversation. When I was ordering drinks, a tipsy girl plopped herself down on Shannon's lap. I wish I'd seen it because I would have laughed. Two guys were next to Shannon, one whose pants were buckled beneath his butt and looked absolutely ridiculous, especially since his t-shirt was tucked into them. Shannon had been talking to them a bit before so the ice was broken. However, I couldn't take looking at the guy's pants anymore. I stood, walked up behind him, grabbed his belt with two hands and yanked up his pants. His friend and Shannon cracked up as I said, "You need to pull up those pants." He had that belt on so tight it was hard, but I got them halfway up. The guy was surprised but went with it. Turns out they were from Canada, having a night out in LA. I have a feeling that having a girl pull his pants up wasn't exactly the night the guy had imagined. Most likely he was hoping a girl would pull them in the opposite direction. He was a good sport about it though.

They made a good cosmo at Jones, and gave me the mini-shaker with the rest of my drink in it. Loved that. I kept refilling the smaller martini glass with the delicious cool, pink liquid. I've had several men, and I mean manly men, write me and tell me that because of this blog they've tried a cosmo. First of all, you guys rock and you're not alone. Second, rest easy as it's a drink that I've dubbed, coined from the commercial, that is "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman." All of you manly manly men, your manhood is still intact. Even more so for being able to stand there with the pink drink.

And that brings us to our last adventure of the night, when we were driving home and saw the truck weaving all over the road. It was a pick-up truck, dark blue and the driver was obviously drunk. People were steering clear and when the guy ran into the curb twice, Shannon and I knew what we had to do.

Cue "Mission Impossible" music here.

I took out my phone and dialed 911 as Shannon followed the guy. Being Los Angeles, I got the, "We're sorry, all operators are currently busy..."

No, I'm not kidding.

LA 911, you gotta fix that. Either get more operators or start fining the jackasses who call 911 for things like the time and directions $500 per infraction. Glad I wasn't being stabbed, shot, chased, hiding in a closet during a home invasion or had just discovered a shirtless drunk David Hasselhoff eating a hamburger in my house.

As the guy driving the car weaved in and out of lanes and stopped at traffic lights halfway into the intersection, Shannon easily stayed on him in his RX8. A 911 operator got on the phone just as we followed him into a gas station. I told the operator the information as he exited his car and stumbled over to the window to buy cigarettes. Shannon got out of the car and followed the driver, an Asian kid who looked barely 21, his outfit borrowed from his favorite rap video replete with a large silver chain around his neck. The kid turned to Shannon, all glassy-eyed and with slurred words, asked him if he was buying cigarettes too. Little did he know that the man behind him was there because he was trying to get him busted and off the road. As they stood there, I told the 911 operator all the details, including a description of the driver, the car and license plate number. After getting his cigarettes, because certainly he needed the distraction of smoking while driving on top of being drunk while driving, he turned around and walked back to the car. I told her he was getting back in to drive. He pulled away, and Shannon got back into the car and we peeled off after him.

However, When we turned onto the road, the truck was gone.

There was an entrance to the freeway right by the gas station, so I told the operator that he may have turned onto it. I heard her relaying the information to the cops and a few seconds later she told me that an officer was behind the truck. Fantastic. After hanging up with 911, we got on the freeway and sure enough, about a mile down, three cop cars had pulled the guy over and already had him out on the curb. Shannon and I high-fived each other when we saw it. Somehow he'd gotten onto Forest Lawn Drive but they'd found him or, when they pulled him over he drove over there. Well done, Burbank Police Department and California Highway Patrol. How they got on him that fast, I have no idea. When we had been at the gas station the 911 operator told me that a car was on its way there, so either they had anticipated him getting on the freeway or there was another officer who had been in the area and listening to the dispatch. Either way, that kid was going to jail that night and going to get a hard knocks lesson on not endangering others or himself like that. Shannon told me he saw a girl in the car with him at the gas station.

Mission Accomplished. This post will self destruct in five seconds.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I know, I know. Long time no postie.

It's been a hectic day today which has left me a bit "weird." I had to do a rush to get my taxes in, which always makes me ponder my tendency to procrastinate things like this. Truth is, I hate forms, paperwork and anything that makes no sense to me. I just don't get taxes, the deductions, terms or whatever and I chose to put it off. Even though everything was itemized, ready to go, I still found myself standing at my accountant's office begging to be taken in last minute. It was a no go, as they were just swamped but I had to try even after being turned down by telephone. I called Shannon, who has my same procrastination tendencies with this stuff, and he was able to hook me up with his accountant who was kind enough to take me in.

I hate it when I do things that require me to ask people to go above and beyond, due to my own laziness and idiocy. This sweet accountant, who did not have time to see me saw me anyway and helped me right my fuck up. My fuck up, being waiting until the 11th hour to do something that I just didn't want to do. However, in cases like this, there's a marked difference in how I ask, opposed to the customers I faced when I worked at a bookstore a few years ago in a part of Baltimore where common sense and culpability were rare. I owned my fuck up. I knew I was in this position because I put myself there and therefore was at the mercy of others. It was a rarity that someone came to me and said just that, instead of trying to turn their lack of planning into an emergency on my part. Some people were just nuts, and those I could actually deal with. I do okay with nuts. It's people who don't take responsibility for the last minute situation they've put themselves in and came in guns blazing, ready to bully and blame. Oh. Hell. No. It was those who showed respect and culpability who got my damnedest effort. Now, if you go into a retail or customer service situation and the person is an outright tool from the get go, then pull out the guns. But for Chrissakes let them demonstrate that they are a tool, first.

In my case, I completely owned it. I even said, "If you can't do it I'll cut my losses." And I meant it. I was ready to give up before they were. I won't go into details of what it was, but it was something I overlooked from a few years back that needed to be taken care of. Then, getting plenty of notification, and I mean plenty, I sat on it. Not getting it in by the 15th would cost me money. It was now or never, and I found out today by a fluke which was what sent me scrambling. I was willing to accept that. It wasn't life or death. It was just taxes. ;)

Because of my slacking, I won't reap the rewards I could have but I did better than had I decided to forfeit it. And I still feel guilty for even asking. Now, I can get things done like the next person and when shit hits the fan I can pull the plug and cut through it. However, when it's my mess that I made I just feel terrible asking someone to help me out of it. Even when I know they could have said no, like my accountant, and rightfully so. But, for some reason he offered me a hand.

Not only that, but was nice about it. And yes, it helped that I had Shannon call first and explain. But, that's part of the respect.

So, it's finished and yet I'm still thinking about it. Waves of guilt hit me and also bouts of feeling embarrassed that the irresponsible parts of me haven't been tamed just yet. However, unlike before I'm not beating myself up over it. Years ago, I would have. I'd have counted the ways that I was a loser and may have pulled out a few fists of hair. I have a lot of it, so it would be easy to hide the damage. This afternoon, I didn't do that. Like the fuck up, I also own the part of myself that brought me to this today. I know my procrastination doesn't sum me up as a whole and I'm working to improve it. Sometimes I win, some days, it wins.

But because I knew how to approach those who could help me and where to put it emotionally, even had I not achieved my goal...today would have been called a tie.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm feeling another urge to purge.

No, I'm not talking about developing an eating disorder but getting rid of even more things in my apartment. I'm sure that it has to do with my impending job completion at the end of April.

I gave away all three of these bookshelves through Craigslist. Sure, I could have sold them, but that's a pain in the ass. The people who ended up taking them were a nice couple from Santa Monica. The woman, a pretty Asian woman and the husband was a cute metrosexual kind of guy. She was a doctor who worked in physical therapy for stroke patients. Not an easy job, and I have a feeling that she has some hefty med school bills that she's still paying off. They seemed like a nice couple and I was happy to see my shelves going into a good home. They were thrilled to get them. Yes, I had someone with me when they came over. What's neat about transactions like that is learning about more souls who inhabit this thing we call life experience alongside us. Had I not advertised these shelves, I wouldn't have come across these two. It's nice to know they're out there.

I bought a new book case from a fantastic store. I've been waiting for another set to come in but they haven't gotten there yet. I'd seen a match to my set, but they already had a sold sticker on them. Now I have to wait until they get more in. They look fabulous in my place and not only hold more, but take up much less space.

Now, I'm finding myself looking for things to toss or give away. I'll be going cabinet by cabinet until I feel I've exhausted the possibilities. I'm careful not to get too overzealous though. I just want things in order and out of my way. I want to simplify my living so that I can free my mind for other things. At the same time, like the new bookshelves, I'm adding things that enhance my own "life experience" for better flow and organization. That includes a bar chair that I use to write. I pull that up, set my laptop on the bar and write. It works, and being higher up helps me keep my concentration better. I don't write my stories on this computer. I don't know why but I can't concentrate here, nor while sitting on my couch with my laptop on my lap. Whatever works, man.

An overcast has rolled in and we may get rain tonight. I'm enjoying the cool weather. We'll have plenty of hot days soon.