Tuesday, December 31, 2013

14 Resolutions for 2014

Looking back on my New Year resolutions for 2013, I wonder if I was high. I had to know that there was no way that I was going to accomplish about 85% of those resolutions. I mean come on, "Drink more tea, less coffee"? Let's be serious.

That, along with "write a screenplay," "write a short story," "write an article for a national magazine" and "write every day." I GET IT. I wanted to write a lot! Well, to be fair, that did happen until June, when I got a real job and did not have the eight excess hours a day to fool around on the computer at the coffee shop. Oh, and "Buy a fancy camera"? How is that even a resolution?!

Obviously, my priorities back in January 2013 are very different from what they are now. Judging from the rest of my post, I was clearly very desperate for a job and scrambling for the meaning of living in LA. Let's do a year in review, shall we?

Well for starters, I managed to live in Hollywood for a year and not kill myself or be killed. So that's an all-star accomplishment unto itself. I made it my goal for six months to do something new every day and actually did it— resulting in me learning more about city of Angels than I ever would have dreamt of. Looking back, there were definitely some really confusing moments where I doubted pretty much my entire existence, including my decision in moving cross country, but they were also the most adventurous and fun that I've ever had as well. Well worth it in my opinion.

And in that time, I even managed to actually succeed in one resolution: "Create something that goes viral." Who knew that Robin Thicke was my answer to five minutes of fame? I also started a new sport: Zumba. And if you try to argue that Zumba is not a sport, then I ask you to shake your booty and hips for a hour and see how you feel.

Then came the reigning moment when I finally got a job. Given, it was not a salary one like I was hoping for, but that turned out to be more of a blessing than a curse in retrospect. And now my mind revolves around wax figures– around Britney's hair and Miley Cyrus' new tattoo. Things certainly have changed and never would my 21-year-old self have thought that I would be selling fake celebrities for a living. Neither, for that matter, that I would have a steady boyfriend right now. Or that I met his parents for Thanksgiving dinner. I can see my former self gulping in anxiety as I write this...

Yes, things have definitely taken a turn in my life this year. I'll look back on it and remember it as the year that I got my first real job in the big city. I'll look at it as a year of struggles, self-identity crises, and also self-development as well.

And now for the New Year resolutions. Hopefully I won't look back at these at the end of the year and shake my head like last year:




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winging it


Ryan Reynolds' wax figure and I. Standard day at work, nbd. 


Looking back on the last two years since I've graduated, a few reigning themes come to mind. 20-something-problems is a big one. Dazed and confused and YOLO are close seconds as well.

But to be honest, even with a full-time job that I love, I will be the first to admit that I still don't have my shit together. I still don't know the first thing about being an adult. I don't understand taxes. I've tried and failed to keep a budget at least four separate times. I still haven't figured out how to successfully balance my personal and work life.

What I can tell you though, is that this is all normal. It's a part of being in your twenties that I've learned to begrudgingly accept. We aren't supposed to have our shit together. It's okay. It's okay that I drove cross-country to Los Angeles for an unpaid internship that I didn't end up getting a job at. It's okay that I worked at a restaurant to pay for rent during that time. At that moment, I kept thinking that I had somehow gotten the equation of being a post-grad wrong. But there isn't a formula on how to find the perfect job. We all sort of have to wing it.

It took me six months of working two jobs to save up for moving to Hollywood. I made sure that I had enough in the bank so that I could sustain myself for six months of unemployment. Turns out that that forward thinking was probably one of the main reasons I am still here. Sure, up and moving to a city where you have no idea what you'll be doing past three months is a little risky, but make sure you aren't entering the ring completely blind.

Tip #1: Always have a backup plan. I'm a strong believer in backup plans. They are your own personal life insurance. They recognize that things don't always go according to plan (and believe me, they rarely do), and they make you prepared for the inevitable. Backup plans allow you to keep on dreaming, but still be realistic as well. They keep you grounded.
After realizing that I would not be getting a job after my internship, I spent the next six long months unemployed. I like to refer to this time as my "freelancing" period. At first I was embarrassed that I had graduated and still didn't have a "real" job yet. I avoided calls from my mother and friends from back home because I didn't want to talk about the monotonous routine of applying to jobs every day.

And then my roommate's father told me something that ended up changing my perspective completely. He told me to enjoy my unemployment when I could, because once you get a job, you will never get a chance to again. This shifted my way of thinking, and I decided to take it heart.

Tip #2: Take advantage of unemployment when you can. Oddly enough, those six months without a job turned out to be some of the best times of my life. It was finally a chance to do all the things that I never had time to do before when I had commitments and responsibilities. I started a blog, finally. I read more. I made it a goal to do something new every day in Los Angeles and truly discovered the city that I now live in. Sure, I still applied to jobs everyday as well, and went on interviews, but I felt like the most happy, jobless person on earth.

All this free time in turn left me lots of room for creativity. I tried to see what worked and didn't work when I applied to jobs. I would try different things to see what garnered more of a response. I kept asking myself the question "why?" Why didn't that cover letter work as well as this other one? Why did my resume cause the interviewer to act that way?

Tip #3: Get creative. During those six months, I probably applied to well over 100 positions. I spent on average about an hour per application, and even more once I actually got an interview. I made a visual resume (kind of like an infographic for your resume) and a professional, traditional resume. I re-designed my portfolio so that it was more visually appealing and up to date. I analyzed my past jobs and responsibilities multiple times a day. I even submitted myself for temp jobs.

I owe this persistence in trying new things to finally landing a job. By then, I was way more well versed in my strengths and weaknesses than I was after my internship. When Madame Tussauds Hollywood called me into an interview for Marketing and Events Coordinator, I was prepared. I was confident in my answers to their questions, and I knew that my advantage over other people that were in line for the position might just be that I had more time than they did. I had time to create an in-depth presentation, I had time to design handouts for all my interviewers, and I had time to go above and beyond. I didn't have an excuse.

I've been the Marketing and Events Coordinator for almost five months now, and I couldn't be more content. I feel like everything happened for a reason (as cheesy as that might sound), and I was meant to go through that "freelancing" period so that I could learn more about myself and making it in the real world.

Now although I definitely don't expect everyone to have the same perspective as I do, I do want you to know that if you don't know what to do next, it's okay. You don't have to know. You still have so much time to figure that out. There isn't a perfect equation on how to live life after graduation...sometimes you just have to wing it.

This is a repost from one of my UNCW professor's COM Studies Capstone blog. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Man Hollering at Me Across the Street


Dear Man Hollering at Me Across the Street,

Yes, I hear you. And I just have to ask: why? Why are you yelling vulgar things at me? I don't know you. We aren't on that level. Heck— I'm not even on that level with some of the people I live with, let alone some stranger on the street.

And I know that this gym outfit and no makeup ensemble isn't giving a lift to your nether regions. So why? Why the need to whistle, hoot and holler? Why the offensive language and porno slang? I'm not even going to ask if that actually works for you, because I know there is no way that it does. So why keep carrying on? Clearly you don't understand the meaning of trial and error, or you would have tried a different technique by now.

Oh, and let's talk about the gestures. Stop— just stop. Stop beckoning at me like I'm a pet dog, and stop rubbing your body when I pass by because it makes everyone uncomfortable. Please keep your personal thoughts to yourself. In fact, use this rule of thumb if you're unsure that you're toeing the line: If you wouldn't say it in front of your mother, don't say it out loud. Oh, and I thought that this was pretty obvious, but evidently not: don't touch. 

A guy once grabbed my ass one time and you know what I did? I shoved him and threatened him with mace until he apologized to me in front of his friends. And that was just because that was the first time someone had ever done that— I wasn't ready. Next time, I'll be ready. I won't threaten you with mace, I will empty the entire damn bottle into your filthy-ridden pupils. I will stick around to watch while you scream in agony and clamor at your frothing eyelids. If you're lucky I might hand you a kleenex. Don't touch me. 

You know how alcoholics and addicts do the 12-step program? I think you should do something similar. I want you to look at the 12-step program and apply it to your street harassment. I'll break it down for you:

1. Admit that you CAN control what you say and do with your facial expressions, hands and the rest of your body in public.

2. Recognize a higher power that can give you strength.

3. Examine past errors with the help of someone who can control their public behavior (i.e. a gentleman).

4. Make amends for these errors by apologizing to past victims you've sexually harrassed and give only appropriate compliments to passersby.

5. Learn to live with a new life and a new code of behavior.

6. Help others who suffer from the same dangerous behavior.

There— that doesn't seem so hard, right? You're welcome.

Mace you later,
Offended 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Are Asian girlfriends the new Hipster trend?


Photo by Wikimedia Commons



Start rant: 

Seriously...is it? Now I think it's safe to say that hipsters are predominately of the Caucasian race, and I couldn't help but notice how many hipster men around L.A. lately have Asian girlfriends. I'm not just saying men...Asian exoticism has been one of the top fetishes for years now. No, I'm talking about a very specific breed of men: I'm talking pretentious coffee drinking, thick-rimmed glasses and tight pants wearing, men.

I see you— I see you Instagramming pictures of you and your first generation, Southern Pacific girlfriend hiking Runyon and replaying the bench scene from 500 days of Summer on Angels Knoll. I see you making playful jokes on Facebook about how petite she is, and how cute it is when she gets red from drinking. I gag a little when I see you eating Pho or Korean BBQ together to "get to know her culture."

Well I've got news for you boys...I don't like being a trend. No, I don't appreciate you making me the next Snapchat, and I personally guarantee that I will have a public fit of outrage if I ever see #myasiangf trending on Twitter. 

Don't get me wrong, give me a white boy and 90% of the time I will be on them like white on rice; I love white boys. What I don't love, however, is that the awesomeness of interracial couples has been reduced to this summer's new collection. Since when does the race of your significant other serve as a fashion statement? I don't get it.

I've seen the rise of other ethnic girlfriends as well— Hispanic, African-American, and Persian. A part of me loves the increase in interracial couples, but I want it to be for REAL. Not saying that these couples aren't really in love— I just want to make sure that they are actually serious about these women and not just taking them home to Mommy and Daddy so that they can talk later about "that exotic girlfriend you had that one time."

And...end rant. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm BAAAAACKK!!!

Sorry for the month-long hiatus folks— I've finally managed to get a full-time job in my field and therefore have absolutely no idea how balance all the different aspects of my life. Turns out that six or so odd months of freelance did not teach me the art of prioritizing very well. Here's a quick rundown of what's been on my mind lately:

My "Blurred Lines" blog
Holy moly! If I had known how much media attention I would get from dubbing Robin Thicke's new song as a "rape song," then I would have written him a thank you letter months ago. Sadly most of the blogs spelled my last name wrong (a pretty careless fact-checking error, I think), but did I enjoy my minute (more like 10 seconds) of fame? Sure did.

I know that I've gotten a whole cluster of YouTube-esque comments on the blog which I've stopped reading after "You should change your blog to 'Lesbian in L.A.,'" but I don't really have any followup response besides the one that I gave MSN News.

Sara Bareilles' "Brave": 
Speaking of music videos, here is one of my new favorites that is both catchy and has a positive, inspiring message. Plus, the video is shot in several different L.A. locations, including Chinatown and Pershing Square. 



To all my single ladies: 
Is it kosher to post an ad for single girlfriends? Because I'm in deep need of one...or five. The summer is sadly winding down and my ration of single girlfriends is now currently nonexistent. It seems like EVERYONE is in a relationship and I just don't know what to do with myself besides gag silently in the corner. It's actually gotten to the point where I want to throw rocks at the next couple I see so much as smile at each other.

On another note, if things do magically turn around and I find myself with a snuggle buddy this winter, I'm totally getting this burrito pillow.

Beat the heat: 
This is officially the first full summer that I've been in in L.A. and man, is it HOT! To relieve myself from the endless sweating in my non-air-conditioned apartment, here's a list of gloriously wonderful L.A. things to do this season:

1. Jazz at LACMA: Every Friday until August 30th, LACMA will have jazz concerts on their pavilion.  And once you're done listening to these artists, you can roam around the museum until 11pm for free! It's a perfect mixture of art, music, and gorgeous scenery— all of my favorite things.



2. Hollywood Bowl:
Have you been to a Hollywood Bowl concert yet? I just bought tickets to Chicago: The Musical, and couldn't be more excited. Next stop: Pantages.

3. Yamashiro Farmers Market on Thursdays: Every Thursday from April to September, this special farmers market is open to the public. They always have a great selection of food trucks and vendors that sell local produce, baked goods, clothing, accessories, and more food. What is more, the view is breathtaking at night and the hotel and restaurant even has a poolside lounge where you can order drinks and gaze at the moon.

4. Outdoor theaters: I have been trying for what seems like the last two months to get tickets to Cinespia and Oscar Outdoors and failing miserably. Tickets are a hot commodity and are sold out at least a week in advance for Cinespia and pretty much the rest of the summer for Oscar Outdoors. Can someone just please let me in to see Some Like it Hot with my picnic blanket and a glass of wine? A handsome hunk wouldn't hurt either...

5. Shakespeare in the Park: Also on my to-do list, these weekly plays are free and put on in Griffith Park's Old Zoo.

Things like this make me love L.A. so much...






Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dear Guy Who Thought I was Pregnant

Photo by Wikimedia Commons



Throwback Thursday to when I wrote this when I was working as a hostess at a restaurant about a year ago. Obviously, I was very angry. Good times. 

Dear Guy Who Thought I was Pregnant,

Guess what? I'm not. No, I am not having a boy or a girl, because I am in fact having nothing. Nothing is coming out of my vagina; if anything I am the exact opposite of pregnant. But, stranger who so graciously asked me this at a bar, let me clue you in on the number one rule that you should never say to girls and women in general: DO NOT ASK IF SHE IS PREGNANT!

They should forbid people from asking women if they are pregnant or not, seriously it should be a fucking law. It's really simple guys- if you aren't sure, then DON'T ASK. Unless she has a very profound, very distinguished baby bump, or unless she looks like she is so prego she is about to have an eggo right then and there any second, then don't ask! I really can't stress it enough.

In what world do strangers think that they can just ask someone that they have never had a conversation with before and ask if they are having a baby? Is that the new conversation starter that I wasn't aware of? Do I have "Please ask me something personal about my life" written on my forehead? I don't understand the logic, I really don't.

Now, if you already did make this egregious mistake (which you did) and already asked her and she responds with "no," please do not come up with the delightful follow-up question: "Really?" As if she is lying to you. Nope, I actually like to pretend that I am not pregnant when I really am all the time, so please second guess my already firm answer that no, I am indeed not pregnant.

After that, nothing could ever redeem you from ever being the most moronic asshole that has ever walked across the face of this earth. You have made your bed. Please lie in it and never wake up. I am livid. I am also 22, recently graduated and therefore in no position to raise or have a baby, thank you for asking. Oh yeah, and I am not overweight and am considered at the normal BMI for my height and age. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Not to mention that I haven't even grazed the surface of self-image issues and societal female objectification yet. Guys think it's funny when they mistake a girl as being pregnant when it is anything but. To that girl it is an automatic trigger to question her weight and appearance and all of her insecurities. You wonder why so many girls have weight issues, or are anorexic or bulimic, but society pins them to be that way because of the enormous pressure that they put on women to be nothing less than perfect.

You can say that it's the same for guys, but it really isn't. It isn't even close. Men can't be pregnant– that isn't the same insult for them. They don't have to go through being insecure about their body when they are pregnant, or go through the battle of losing weight after the baby, or getting rid of stretch marks. They will never understand what that's like for women; their bodies are simply not the same. So while this may seem like a joke to you, and that I am the one that is taking it all too seriously, I want you to understand that this is a big deal to me. That that one question has served to ruin my entire night and it wasn't even worth it. I know that.

All in all, just don't ever ask girls if they are pregnant again. Just don't .You will be saving a lot of women out there a lot of hissy fits, meltdowns and possibly even eating disorders if you not ask. Also, you are not welcome in this bar establishment ever again– you imbecile.

Sincerely,
Not Pregnant

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Interview Confessions: Out-Asian the Asian

Photo by Wikimedia Commons


The night before I was doing my standard "interview homework"(researching the company website, stalking the interviewer on LinkedIn, googling reviews of the agency, etc.) when I decided that I had this job in the bag.

Reason number one: it was a receptionist position. Let's be honest (and I'm not even trying to toot my own horn here), I'm over qualified. I'm not trying to downgrade the actual profession by any means— I'm just saying that I have a degree, I've answered phones for at least 10 different businesses before, and this was an entry-level job...I can handle it.

Reason number two: even though it was clear the majority of employees at this ad agency were Caucasian, the firm itself was Chinese-inspired and themed. This meaning they frequently tossed around words like "chi" and "zen," and kept Oriental trinkets at their front desk, like fortune cookies. At first this sign of casual racism made me roll my eyes, but on second thought...I had an unfair advantage that I definitely could put to use here: my ethnicity.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've used my race as an advantage many times before. Why, in college I was practically paid to be Asian. And when I needed a part-time job through school, I sauntered into Thai and Japanese restaurants without so much as a resume, with full confidence that I would be hired on the spot. Surely this would be no different?

The actual day of the group interview, as is typical of L.A., I could not find a single parking spot for the life of me. After circling the office building a total of three times, I finally gave up finding a spot near the office and ended up parking four blocks away at a metered spot by the railroad. By the time that I reached the agency, I was 15 minutes late, my face was smeared with a thick layer of sweat, my kitten-heels were killing me, and I was panting like a dog. The current receptionist that was to be replaced lazily pointed me to the backyard, where they were holding the interview.

As I approached the interview, I was clearly the last one to arrive in the group of five, to my dismay. The one and only male applicant politely offered up his seat at the small picnic table and pulled up another chair. I began apologizing to the interviewer (a posh woman sporting a blazer, blunt haircut and wrist tattoos), explaining the lack of parking situation, when I reminded myself that nobody likes excuses. I was late: that was that and I should just move on.

Once I got a hold of myself and stopped being flustered, I looked around at my competition...and immediately remembered why I hated group interviews. It was like a ruthless Hunger Games— just less death tolls but just as much throwing people under the bus. My other competitors were all African American except (to my irritation) one other Asian girl, altogether ranging from 22-year-olds to probably nearing 30. They all peered at me with a look that said, "Glad I'm not you."

Off to a great first impression.

We were interviewing in what looked like the agency's lunch table outside, complete with overhead trees, a white picket fence, and the remains of what looked like a luau party. The interviewer, whose name I had already forgotten but mentally nicknamed Roxy, told me that she was just explaining the position before I came in, and asked if I had any questions.

After wondering what on earth she could be saying about the position other than the obvious (answering phones), I reassured her that I more or less understood the implication of the title "receptionist," and what tasks that may include. Turning the table around, Roxy said with a huff, "Alright, I'm tired of talking, it's your turn now!" and then asked us to tell us more about ourselves. We went around the circle, introducing our names, past and current jobs, and an interesting fact that we wanted everyone to know.

Out of the group, there was a Hollywood business owner, someone who produced on a web series with Tyrese Gibson, a former employee of MTV, and a Marketing Manager for a distinguished firm. By the time that they got to me, my mouth was agape in shock.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" I wanted to yell at them, "Do you know that this is a RECEPTIONIST position? Didn't you hear Roxy? Leave this job to someone who needs it!"

In less than 10 minutes, my anxiety about getting this entry-level position that didn't even require a degree had increased from 1% to 99.9%. Almost everyone there sounded like they would have been qualified for a manager position. If I thought I was overqualified for this position, they were definitely overqualified.

I scrambled for things that I had suddenly forgotten that made me a more polished candidate— didn't I answer a phone once? No, I couldn't say that I was Asian out loud... Was that course I took in college in advertising or marketing? I quickly stammered out a pathetic summary of myself, forgetting to mention that I had ever touched a phone before, let alone have past administrative experience. After I ended my poor elevator speech with a sad "and...yeah....," I wanted to run out the door right then and there. Even I judged myself.

From then on things pretty much went downhill. There was no hope for the damage that I had already caused myself. By the time the other Asian girl relayed her story about coming from a poor village in Vietnam and living in a house made of banana leaves, I wanted to bury my face in the nearby bush, right beside the cardboard cutout of a hula girl.

You've GOT to be kidding me, I thought. How was I supposed to beat that?! There was no winning. What I thought was my biggest advantage when I came in turned out to be insignificant. This girl was too good: she managed to convey just the right amount of empathy in her audience that even I felt sympathy for her. I couldn't out-Asian the Asian. Especially one that was "fresh off the boat," as my mom would like to say, as politically incorrect as it was.

After a round of random questions, a team-building exercise and personal essay question, the interview was at long last over. Since I had already given up on my chances at landing the job a quarter of the way in, I was more than ready to leave. I left in a hurry, dodging goodbyes and snatching a fortune cookie from the front desk as retribution for my time in shame.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Interview Confessions: Working under Eeyore

Photo by Wikimedia Commons


214.84
1043.85
656.79
113.00

I was about halfway through typing this endless list of numbers on a prehistoric calculator called a "10-key" when I realized I would rather slit my wrists than work here.

The concept that how fast and accurate I punched these meaningless series of numbers would validate my value as a employee wasn't just ludicrous— it was downright depressing. I could already picture myself, rejoicing in the few small moments of freedom if I were hired. I would prolong the walk to the water cooler in hopes that I would maybe have to refill the jug— a relief compared to my more monotonous tasks. Or I would spend more time than necessary adjusting the height of my chair, secretly praying that someone will stop by my cube for small talk.

"Is this what I have to look forward to?" I asked myself, while typing in 18,000.91 instead of 180.91.

Oops. I wasn't even trying anymore. In fact, when the office manager eventually came over to stop me after my alloted seven minutes of testing, I realized that the paper slot of the 10-key had ran out about 1/3 of the way through the list. At first I felt foolish for not noticing that the paper wasn't moving... then I realized that I didn't care.

Fuck the system, I thought.

When said office manager (whom I already had decided to bequeath the name "Eeyore" for obvious reasons) dejectedly told me that I could wait at the desk before speaking with the CEO and CFO of the company, I decided whether or not I should make a run for it. None of the other employees were looking, after all, so sucked in they were to their remedial tasks. But no, I reasoned, the temp agency would surely suspend me forever, and then I might never get a job. So I stayed, against my will.

In fact, if it weren't for the wait there might have been a smidgen of a chance that I still considered the position. As it were, however, I resorted to observing people in the office for the next 20 minutes. I took note of their small interactions (or lack thereof), the work environment and the stationary objects that I would theoretically be staring at and operating everyday. Looking around, I quickly realized that everyone working there was around their mid-to-upper-forties and well past their BMI. Women moved sluggishly to the fax machine with sagging bodies that they had neglected a long time ago. They donned loose-fitting blouses and dark colors like black or navy in hopes of slimming down their figure. Some still had traces of a more exciting youth, like ankle tattoos and pink streaks in their hair. The men were more fit, but had worn down faces— the kind that you see on people who are about to have midlife crises. All of them moved with the weight of someone who has settled for a life that they tolerate at best. Perhaps I'm being harsh— I don't know their lives, after all, but I just couldn't deny the miserable look on everyone's face. All I could think was that if I worked there, I would be middle-aged and overweight too.

The youngest person from what I could tell was a late 20-something with a Jew fro and looked at me like I was an unicorn.

"I didn't know anyone like me existed; please stay," his eyes seemed to plead. I looked away quickly, scared that his sorry eyes would trick me into pitying him and actually listening.

The only one that seemed to evoke any sort of happiness in the office seemed to be the cocker spaniel that jingled and pranced from cubicle to cubicle, asking to be petted and loved. I immediately latched onto her like a magnet— smoldering her with scratches and adoration, any excuse to express enthusiasm and to open my mouth. That was another thing— NO ONE SPOKE TO EACH OTHER. And when they did, they whispered. It was driving me crazy; you could literally hear the moths' wings fluttering by the lamp lights (they also had a real moth problem).

Eventually, the poor cocker spaniel got terrified of my clingy desperation and quickly ran away, looking for someone who was more downtrodden.

By the time I finally got called into the interview, I felt like I was putting on an act. The role: enthusiastic potential employee. The audience: two stern directors who don't really care about the role, but had to put the character into the story out of pure necessity. Before I went on, I was already getting stage-fright. I wasn't in character. I didn't want the part enough. The audience would see right through me.

So in a last minute, half-assed attempt, I tried to convince myself that I did in fact want the position as Administrative Assistant. The office manager that I would work under wasn't actually Eeyore, but a pleasant and inspiring mentor. This wasn't really the drabbest office that ever existed, but the essence of style and glamour. I wouldn't want to jump off a cliff if I worked here, I would be at my dream job. The moment that I sat down in front of the CEO and CFO, I knew they knew: I was faking it.

"Given your education and extensive experience, what is your ultimate career goal?" Director #1 asked me first.

Shit. I racked my brain thinking how I could answer without giving away my true aspirations. I certainly didn't want to be office manager.

"Because of my internships and contract positions, I would really like to commit to a company long-term— somewhere that I can really call home and grow with," I diligently recited. It was word-for-word what the temp agency told me as prep before the interview.

"Yeah, but what position do you eventually want?" Director #2 pressed on, noticing how I had evaded the question.

"Well, I'm a Communication Studies major, and just like my degree, I have skills that are broad and can wear many different hats," I started, "I would be content with a position that actively utilizes my interpersonal communication skills— where I can interact with people."

This was pushing it. I was being vague as possible so that I could avoid excluding "the right answer" that they were looking for. I knew my resume betrayed me: it told them I was an aspiring writer, designer and marketing expert. What it did not tell them was that I was an aspiring insurer of union members in the entertainment industry.

"Well, you will be kind of isolated at your own desk, so there won't be much communication with others," Director #1 said, not putting up with my bullshit.

What was I supposed to say to that?

"He's joking, but it does ring some truths," Director #2 was a little more easy-going, but not by much. "This job certainly isn't going to be as glamorous as your other past positions."

Glamorous?! This is where I drew the line. I would never, ever have described any of my past experiences as "glamorous." But then I realized that almost anything would have been more exciting than this job. After all, the most thrilling thing that I had heard someone say so far was, "Do you have the files for this document that needs faxing?" And that's the sad truth...

Altogether, I was there for a little over a hour and I felt like it had sucked out all the energy I had. I immediately called the temp agency once I got to my car. "How did it go?!" one of the partners asked me.

"There's no way I can picture myself working here for a week, let alone a year," I said honestly.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A compilation of the best OkCupid icebreakers

I thought that it was bit unfair not to have a final blog dedicated to OkCupid before I delete my profile, so here it is: the best OkCupid messages I've received thus far. And of course by "best," I mean "worst."



Oh, in case this isn't enough, here's the real winner right here (FYI, I never gave him my name):





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Love-Hate relationship with L.A.

It's been approximately nine months since I've moved to L.A. and damn, has it been a rocky ride. There's been its ups and downs, but I wouldn't rather be anywhere else than here. To demonstrate my feelings with the city, I've taken the liberty of drawing up this little doozie:




Oh yeah, and Happy May Day!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The thing about Tinder...

Tinder: the GPS for love. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In case you are not up to date on the newest, online dating craze, I present to you Tinder: the mobile app-only social network that targets young singles who are too lazy to use even OkCupid. How is that even possible, those few people who still are hanging onto traditional courtship might ask? Oh...it's possible. In an interview about Tinder, HuffPost Senior Tech Editor, Bianca Bosker, describes the app as "incredibly superficial, and that makes it incredibly fun." Who' da thunk it? Unsurprisingly, Tinder is actually a part of HotOrNot.com, and was first launched at a University of Southern California party.

Forget the E-Harmony questions that some mysterious web widget uses to determine your compatibility with strangers. Don't need it. An in-depth profile that tells all your likes, dislikes and personality traits? Don't need that either. Height? Nope. Weight? Nada. Religion? Who cares.

Seriously, you barely even need a profile for Tinder. Let me describe to you how easy signing up is: you download the app on your smart-phone (which you obviously have, because it's the 21st century), you create a "profile" that links to your Facebook and includes: several past profile pictures, a tagline, your interests that you've already listed on the FB, and your age. That's it. Two minutes later, you are all set to go on Tinder!

The funny thing about Tinder is that it feels like you're playing a game. When you login, the app will automatically track your current location and then find as many matches in the area for your judging pleasure. Their picture will show up, which you can swipe to the left if you don't find them attractive, or to the right if you do. If you want to find out more information (who needs more details other than a person's face and age?!) you can click on their profile to see more. Now the real magic comes when you swipe to the right for someone who has also right-swiped you. Then this screen pops up that says "It's a match!", and you can choose whether to message that person, or to keep on "playing." If you do indeed decide to message them, they have this separate text-message-cloned page where you two can chat. Within the first four hours that I joined Tinder, I had five matches. It's wickedly fast. And weirdly fun.

It's also pretty funny when you see someone that you have mutual friends with (could make for good conversation), though I haven't seen any more mutual acquaintances than one. I'm pretty positive that they don't give you people who you are already friends with on Facebook (for obvious reasons), so don't worry about that.

Anyhoo, once you get the hang of it, it's pretty addictive. I admit that I've gotten into the bad habit of going on it when I'm bored at night, or in the waiting room when I have nothing else to do. The trick is that once you right-swipe someone, Tinder will put you at the top of their pile so it doesn't turn out to be 10 years until they come across your profile next. So once you've been on there for a while, you'll know that each time you go on to the app, the first few people that you come across probably think that you are attractive. Hey confidence booster!

Now about a week into it, I've had about 10 matches and three people that I've actually talked to. Guess what? Kind of over it. Yes, it's incredibly easy and convenient. That person lives 30 miles away? No can do; that's too long of a commute and I don't have to waste time typing paragraph-long answers like I did on OkCupid. That's nice. But what I can't help but think is that Tinder is only enhancing the hook-up culture that us millennials have become addicted to. I met someone the other day who did what they playfully called "speed-swipe" rounds on Tinder. How the hell am I supposed to judge a person based on just their appearance? Sure, I can gauge who I'm attracted to and not attracted to, but once we are matched, what are we supposed to talk about? I don't have any content besides his pictures; there's no conversation to be had. As a writer and social media nerd, I find the information that this app provides for me to adequately creep on a guy especially lacking.

There was once a guy on OkCupid that fully admitted to Googling me, found my blog, read its most popular posts, and then proceeded to critique them in full detail. I was sufficiently creeped out and hated his guts in the end, but I have to admit: that is dedication. You most likely wouldn't even have enough material to find someone on Google through Tinder. In other words, I think there is a line with online dating that is too superficial, and I think Tinder has breached it.

On a completely unrelated note, look at this hilariously metaphorical lock-and-key dating event.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A pep talk for my vagina

Vertical foot pedals utilized during pap smears...doesn't look very pleasant, does it?

Hey there gal...how you doin'? While we're in the waiting room (probably for the next hour and half), I figured I would take this commercial break from watching Dr. Oz to talk to you for a bit. Listen, pap smears are horrible— that's not an opinion; it's a fact. Believe it or not, they are uncomfortable for both you and me.

I don't enjoy opening you up to some brawny woman in a lab coat and a Russian accent. I don't like propping my feet up on those vertical foot pedals and waiting for the long dreaded moment where she sticks that mystery metal poker in you any more than you do! Not to mention that god forsaken paper "dress." I don't care what country you're from, but that shit is not a dress. How do I know this? Number one: it's a two-piece. Number two: the bottom part is less of a skirt and more of a tablecloth for your lap. It's almost impossible to cover up even 50% of your body in that contraption. Yes, yes, I understand that the doctor needs to be able to do a breast exam and the pap, but can't they give me a robe instead? At least you can imagine we're at the spa where people get rubbed, not poked.

Anyways, the point is: I feel you. I know you've been anxious the last couple of weeks leading up to this day, and I don't blame you. I've always been nervous at this time of the year too. I know I haven't made it easier on you either— all that joking about getting a bikini wax after the procedure, and calling the pap "the exorcism of my vagina,"...I'm sorry—that was uncalled for. I guess it was just me trying to make fun of a situation that is less than pleasant. I know you suffer the brunt of the blow, but I get some of the pressure too.

What with the super invasive questions that the nurse likes to fire in rapid succession: "How many partners have you had in the last six months?", "Do you have anal sex?", "Do you do drugs?", "Have you ever been depressed?", "Do you have more than one partner that you've had sex at one time?", "What other questions can I ask so that I can judge you and your life choices?"

As if I needed another reason to remind myself I need to get laid...

On the bright side though— if everything looks like butterflies and roses in there, we don't have to do this again until two years later this time! We just have to get through this together— it'll be really fast and quick, I promise, like taking off a band-aid! You ready? Great, the nurse just called my name.

One can only hope that the gynecologist won't say, "Relax your vagina" this time. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

20 Things I Learned at the West Hollywood Women's Leadership Conference




In case you missed it, last Saturday was the West Hollywood Women's Leadership Conference. Some very prominent and influential women were there, including the West Hollywood Mayor, Abbe Land, and the ever so articulate and inspiring, Sandra Fluke.

Speakers led workshops and panels all throughout the West Hollywood Public Library which, by the way, has a spectacular photo exhibit of lesbian couples and their families throughout the downstairs and upstairs walls. Anyways, some of the workshops that I went to were "Dream, Set, and Achieve: Set Your Goals and Make it Happen!," ran by Sahar Andrade, and "Effective Communication: Saying What You Mean and Achieving the Career You Want," ran by Helane Wilbourne. Here are some of the most memorable and inspirational quotes/tips that I gathered throughout the day:

1. Ask yourself: "What would I attempt to do, if I couldn't fail?"And then do it...Sounds a little like Sheryl Sandberg, doesn't it?

2. Multitasking is overrated. This might come as a shocker, since most people like to list this as a skill in job applications, but here's the thing: if you multi-task, you are basically half-assing several different things. Wouldn't the more efficient and effective method be doing one thing at a time to the best of your ability?

3. Don't set yourself for failure— believe it and it will happen. For example, if I already go into an interview thinking that I won't get the position (which I am guilty of often), then I will act less confident, less convincing, and in result probably not get the position in the end. Why do that when you can go in positively thinking that you will, in fact, land the job?

4. Wake up thinking, "Today is going to be a great day." And it will be. Tell yourself your own future, and it will happen. Be Powerful, not pitiful.

5. Each one of us are the CEO of our own company— it's up to you what you are going to do with it. You are you're own boss. Would you be proud if your company and the way that you are running it?

6. Don't say "I will be..."; say "I am..." Change your use of words and it will change your way of thinking.

7. Eliminate the obstacles/limits and think around them instead. Believe that life is limitless, and throw yourself into something that you are passionate about.

8. If you have several difficult tasks to do, start with the most difficult. That way, you will have the rest of the day to do what you will, without the stress of completing that task. Avoid time wasters.

9. Think "what's in it for them?" instead of "what's in it for me?" Because we live in a life of "what's in it for me," you want to put yourself on the other side so that when you are going into a job, you can answer that question for them.

10. Make SMART goals— start with an action verb and be present, positive, and personal.

11. Ask a high price— don't ask for a quarter. The speaker told us a story of a man that was on the street asking for a quarter. A person came up to him and offered him a dollar, but the man refused, saying that he only wanted a quarter. The moral of the story is to aim for something higher— don't be that person who is just settling for the lower price.

12. It's not a women's issue, really. Our issue is everyone else's issue. It  in this instance being controversies portrayed as "women's issues," like sex trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and the gender gap. Patti Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence said this. She also said that men particularly are a part of the solution, and if anything it is a men's issue— not a women's issue.

13. It is okay to say "I need more time to process."This was from the "Effective Communication" panel. If you are in a business setting where someone is asking you a question that you are uncomfortable with, or do not know the answer, it is perfectly fine to say that you need more time to think about it, and that you will get back to them once you've had more time to process. This way, you will not be giving away any information that is either inaccurate, or not fully formed.

14. Try to connect in earnest is the key. When networking, Ms. Wilbourne says that even if you are trying to connect with someone that you are nervous about talking to, if you appear to be genuinely interested in what they have to say, then they will most likely respond favorably.

15. When you get a "yes" answer, dissect why you did. If someone agrees to mentor you, or offer you a position, or accepts your call, ask yourself why they did that. If you learn from your accomplishments (and failures) you will be able to know what works and what doesn't.

16. In order to sell yourself on the phone, think in terms of numbers. Say "This call will take five minutes; there are three things that I want to talk about with you."That way, even if it is a very busy person, they know exactly how long it will take, and that you aren't going to be ranting for a hour and a half.

17. Bring cheat sheets. Bring them to interviews, to speeches, to anything that you believe you need prepping for. Anyone who is anyone will have cheatsheets, so why can't you? That's Helane's philosophy.

18. Be the last person to have something to say. If there is a group meeting, don't let so-and-so take your idea. Be the person at the end that says, "I agree with _______ on this; I would like to expand on that..."

19. Ask how do you want me to follow up? Some very busy and important people may tell you to contact them, but most of the time you spend this time on their answering machine, or getting forwarded by their personal assistant, or secretary. Avoid this by clarifying how they want you to follow up. There's no shame in that game.

20. CLARITY IS POWER. The more certain you are of something, the more capable you will be to achieve it. Conquer your dreams!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Emoticons that should and shouldn't exist

Have you ever paid attention to the emoticons on the iPhone? Have you noticed that there are some emojis that you will never have any cause to use? Or some that you don't understand doesn't already exist? I have a bone to pick with Apple...actually a few. 

1. Why are there so many crying emojis? Seriously Apple, how often do you think a person cries or needs to express to others how hard they are crying. I don't need nine different levels of crying to send to someone through text— it's depressing.








What I would much rather have, however, are pissed off emojis instead. Do you know how often I get hangry or pissed off for no particular reason? Like every 30 minutes! Unfortunately, I don't have enough emoticons to express my grumpiness. What I will NEVER use are these creepy devil ones...








2. What the hell do these mean? 









and these...






























and this one...












3. Why is there only one Asian man that's wearing some weird and probably racist hat but no Asian woman? Why aren't there African American people? Or hispanic people besides the salsa dancer? Or anyone, really, besides an entire white family and their extended relatives? 

















4. Speaking of Asians, have you noticed the weird Asian sceneries and trinkets that you will definitely never use except maybe on Chinese New Year? That one with the moon constantly reminds me of the movie Mulan when that Asian hunk sings "Be a Man"— specifically the one lyric "...to the dark side of the moooooooooon!" Yes, I'm a dork. 
















5. Why are there so many buildings??? When would I ever tell someone that I'm going somewhere, but replace the name of the building with an emoticon of one? It doesn't make sense and isn't at all efficient. Besides, all 45 of the buildings basically look the same except for the churches, which I think are segregated by the normal one and pink one for people with bigger hearts. 










6. I personally think they need to trade the mythical creatures for more pictures of animals that actually exist, like dogs. Also— since when did dragons have antlers? Is that a new thing? 














8. I can't decide if this is the symbol for a submissive, or some sexual position...Maybe both. I'm pretty sure if I had to choose, this is the most risque emoji that is available. Which is another thing— there needs to be more sexy emoticons. Frat boys would use the shit out of some emoticons of pinups, or condoms, or sex toys— let's be serious.












9. I would never, EVER use these...
















Or these...





































Or these...
















10. I will however, use these almost every day...

It's code word for "shoot me." 








This is the closest to a pissed off emoticon, and it's a cat. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Online Dating is Exhausting

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It's been about four months now that I've tried online dating. I've received approximately 200 messages and went on five dates, one of them being a second date with the same person. And I'm over it. I don't know what it is but the mere thought of communicating with someone through OkCupid message makes me ill. Frankly, I would rather take my chances finding someone at a hotel lounge or Trader Joe's. At least then I won't be bombarded with pink, blinking instant messages asking me "how are you?" or "how's your day going?" like I've known that person for years, instead of three seconds.

When I originally decided to try out online dating, I thought that it would give me the opportunity to meet someone outside my small Hollywood circle. Besides from being a good conversation starter, dating online would also force me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to different people that I wouldn't have had thought twice about before. Given, OkCupid did do this for me.

Turns out though, it didn't turn out to be a good thing. To be fair, I did spend an entire night hanging out with Shaun White because of OkCupid (it took me half of the night to finally figure out who he was), but after the elusiveness of that wore off, I realized I didn't have much in common with my actual date.

Here's what I don't like about online dating: I don't like skipping the initial meet-cute— the chance to reach for the same box of chocolate-covered almonds at the same time at the grocery store, or spark up conversation at a unlikely place, like a waiting room or bus stop. I don't like thinking that I would have to explain to people that we met online, rather than an actual, substantial location. I felt robbed of romance.

And I guess I could have handled getting over that after time, but I also hated that once I did go on a date with someone, everything felt too rushed. Half of me contributes this to the fact that OkCupid is mostly used as a hookup website, but everything about the entire process seemed to be on fast forward. Forget the gradual ritual of getting to know a new person— a complete stranger could now turn to your lover pretty much overnight. It was almost like going up to someone and saying, "Hi, my name is Lisa, what's your name? I think you're cute, so let's go out...Awesome, now that that's over, wanna spend every weekend together and in the meantime we can text sweet nothings to each other in the meantime? I know that we've only just met, but can I call you my boyfriend now? I'm sorry, but what's your name again?"

As someone who is a notorious commitment-phobe, this terrified me. I once had a guy who managed to introduce himself, get my number, schedule a date, and explain his expectations all within a day. It was too much. I know that it's online dating, but does that mean we have to sacrifice the natural chemistry? Finding out how a person works— their individual quirks, pet peeves, likes and dislikes is my favorite part of any relationship, and it most certainly doesn't happen after a few hours and a couple of drinks at a bar. Instead of getting to know someone and then developing feelings for them, I felt like it was reversed in online dating. It wasn't organic anymore, it was forced.

Not to mention that I feel like there is probably something inherently wrong with judging a person by a percentage that some Internet widget says determines how much of a match we are. If I am going to start dating someone that I didn't already know beforehand, I don't want to my first impression of him to be through a profile that is inevitably geared towards one-night stands and consistent hookups. I want it to be based on interpersonal communication, and the bare essentials— if he's physically attractive, not his photo, or whether he smells good, if he makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes in turn. I miss the days where I get butterflies in my stomach from an exchange of smiles or a cute comment. I can't get that kind of giddy feeling from some choppy compliment given to me and probably 30 other girls on the interwebs. It's not genuine or believable.

That said, I think it's about time to throw in the towel and just take my chances the old fashioned way— chance meetings. Who knows, maybe I'll get bored again and try speed dating, or some new app that sets me up on blind dates in the L.A. area. Besides, Minday Kaling didn't even start dating until senior year in college— she decided that her career in her 20's was more important, and I am inclined to agree. I'd much rather be a writer for a show like The Office by the time I'm 24 any day besides waiting around for the right man to message me on OkCupid— sorry not sorry!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In the News: Robin Thicke's rape song, Tennessee legislation, and my continued obsession with Sheryl Sandberg

Has anyone heard Robin Thicke's new rape song? 




Basically, the majority of the song (creepily named "Blurred Lines") has the R&B singer murmurring "I know you want it" over and over into a girl's ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity.

Oh, and the music video! Not only does it feature three girls baring bare breasts throughout the entire song (along with nude-colored thongs), but it also obnoxiously interrupts the already disturbing scene to blare  #THICKE  in big, bold, red letters every 10 seconds. Is this some Big Brother brainwashing technique? Who told him that this was a good idea? Not to mention he an entire clip dedicated to balloon letters spelling out "Robin Thicke has a big dick." Nothing embodies class better than telling the entire web that you have a big schlong! Makes one wonder if he's overcompensating, or if his wife would agree with that statement? Seriously, this song is disgusting— though admittedly very catchy.

Turns out, the listeners aren't that impressed by the song either. Some Youtube comments include users saying, "99% boobs, 1% music," or "This porno has awful music." I decided to do everyone a favor and not attache the unrated version of the video above.


WTF Tennessee?

If you aren't already pissed off today, here's another reason to be: the state that's home to the Music City is now trying to pass a bill (SB 132) that will decrease Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits for parents whose children are not make satisfactory grades in school. In other words, Tennessee is trying to make the poor more down-trodden. Why punish a demographic that's already struggling? I just can't begin to understand it. Can you imagine going to your child in grade school and say that he/she has to do better in school from now on because the family's financial stability is dependent on it?

Sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) and Rep. Vance Dennis (R-Savannah), the bill is referred to as a "carrot and stick approach." Jezebel gives a few choice words about the ridiculousness of the bill:

It's actively making it more difficult for poor families to survive — and it's a double whammy for the children. For kids who are already struggling in school, they're now threatened with affecting their family's ability to survive.
My continued obsession with Sheryl Sandberg...

I can't stop. This woman is my bloody hero. Even after reading her book Lean In, I've now resorted to reading blogs from the organization's website, and watching YouTube videos of her speeches.  Below is a TEDtalk she did back in 2010 about why there are so few women leaders in the workplace. Watch and be wowed: