Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's the Final Countdown

JELL-O shots, because I keep it real.
Last night I celebrated my return to school and goodbye to Chicago with a blow-out going away party. Manfriend and his roomies were gracious enough to be the hosts supplying their humble abode. I spend the afternoon prepping by buying booze, snacks and creating JELL-O and pudding shots. Yes, that's right PUDDING SHOTS!!  As Manfriend and I cruised the isles of the Jewel and were picking out jello flavors, some chocolate pudding caught his eye. "Pudding shots?" I thought for a moment and contemplated what alcoholic ingredient would make it work. I figured should give it a whirl and whipped up a batch.  They were a freakin' success! Doubts about school were put to rest as I was assured that someone who could make delicious chocolate pudding shots would most definitely make a successful grad student.

My closest and most favorite people in Chicago (as well as some childhood friends visiting for the weekend) made it out. I felt so loved. I knew it was going to be tough to say goodbye, but a few departures left me in tears. I have one more week to pack and soak up the city. I'm going to miss this place so much!
Feel like making pudding shots and be the most popular and revered party host ever? It's easy:
Pudding shots = JELL-O Instant Chocolate Pudding + 2 parts milk + 1 part Bailey's

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Broke Student Preparation

It has occurred to me that while at school I’ll be poor. Clearly I will not be homeless shelter, food pantry poor, but rather, supported on borrowed money poor. I have been scouring the UCLA work-study job board for any sort of job that pays above minimum wage or doesn’t require medical research lab technician skills. Curly’s inspirational encouragement about finding a service industry job (see previous post) has put my brow in a furrow. While I want to revel in my last few days of life in Chicago, soaking up every event , awesome restaurant and drop of booze I can handle, that voice of reason is beginning to shriek: YOU WILL NOT HAVE A PAYCHECK IN A FEW WEEKS TO PAY THIS OFF!!

This puts me in a pickle: Live in the present and enjoy the last of my days in the best city in the world or start pinching pennies?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Dread LA

Last night I went out in Wicker Park with my friend, the Baderator, Baderator’s friend from LA (let’s call him Curly) and the Manfriend.  Curly has lived in LA for about four years now and is in the “industry.”  Since I don’t really know anyone in LA, nor do I have a firm grasp of the culture other than its people being somewhat fake and pretentious within a vast land of sprawl and smog, I found his input on LA fascinating and terrifying.

On commuting to UCLA from Santa Monica
Curly:    Where are you going to live?
UC:         Hopefully Santa Monica, so I’m close to campus and the beach.
Curly:    OMG, that drive is going to be HORRIBLE! The traffic will take you forever to get to school and home.
UC:         Oh, I don’t think it will be too bad, I’m biking.
Curly:    You’re BIKING!?!?!! (pause for look of shock and disbelief)
UC:         Yeah, even if I’m basically at the ocean, it’s only about five miles to campus.
Curly:    FIVE MILES?!!? (pause for 2nd look of shock and disbelief)

Based on that, I’m thinking I’ll be one of the few LA residents that actually commute via bike. Are there even bike lanes? Will I be run over by Escalades and pink Aston Martins driven by Paris Hilton clones?

On getting a part-time job to help pay for school
UC:         I’m hoping to get a part-time job waitressing or bartending.
Curly:    Good luck with that! Everyone wants to be a waitress or bartender.
UC:         So I’m really going to have to compete with actors slash models for a restaurant job?
Curly:    Oh yeah. They are the most flexible positions that make money so people can go to casting calls and auditions. It’s crazy competitive to get a job at a decent place. Maybe you could get a job at a dive outside the city where there are five or so customers, but then you wouldn't be making any money.
That girl over there (pointing to the hostess) her job is crazy hard to get in LA. Maybe you could get a job at Subway, but even then you have to know Spanish.

Only applicants fluent
in Spanish need apply
I have come to the conclusion that I will be more broke than ever, living off Top Ramen and working for minimum wage at a dreary office as a file clerk. Curly also talked about how people are surface-friendly and mainly only want to be your friend so they can use you for their own personal gain at somepoint. But other than the people, the traffic and the rough job market, LA is great!

Come on Los Angeles! I’m leaving the Manfriend, my wonderful friends, and an urban, car-free, easy to take cheap transit or a cab or stumble home from the local bar lifestyle for you. Please tell me you have more to offer!

On another note, an article I wrote about two years ago finally came out in the latest issue of Masonry Edge magazine. Yay!