Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who said gambling wasn't worth it?

I got an email today officially welcoming me to UCLA's graduate program for East Asian Studies! Score! This was the whole reason I moved to LA in the first place, as you are probably aware, and it would have sucked pretty hard if I had spent the last six months completely broke in this mentally and emotionally draining city for no reason whatsoever. But it was totally worth it, because now that I have established my residency in California, I can get in-state tuition and avoid extreme debt. So it looks like Los Angeles is going to be my home for a while, whether I like it or not.

Lately, though, I've been much more content here than I was when I first arrived. I have a better job (with better pay) and a better apartment. My friend circle is expanding, and I'm becoming acquainted with the city itself. Los Angeles has its troubles, but it definitely has its positive aspects, too. I'm actually looking forward to getting to know LA better now that I have a place in it. Before, I guess I kind of felt like I was more of a visitor or an outsider, but attending UCLA will pretty much make me an Angeleno.

I can't wait until this fall, when I can resume my studies and get my academic career back on track. I can actually write papers again! Woo!!! I know. I'm one of those weird kids who loves writing papers. Get over it.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Papa's Got a Brand New Pad

Indeed. It is true. Clay and I have moved up in the world. We now live in a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment in beautiful Culver City. I have my OWN BEDROOM!!!! Jackpot! Going from a two-studio apartment with no bathroom or kitchen to a three bedroom place with brand-new kitchen appliances and countertops is like winning the lottery. I can finally reestablish some personal boundaries.

My first splurge is going to be a queen-sized, pillowtop mattress/box spring set. Sleeping on my little cousin's bunk bed mattress is getting a little old. I need a desk, bookshelves, etc. as well, but those are going to come later. I realized after moving that I own only one piece of furniture: a dresser that I got from some friends (and only half of the drawers work). So I'll slowly build up my collection of eclectic pieces I find at the Salvation Army store.

I'll be able to afford these items because my new job is going so well. I actually quit at the theater. I'm making twice as much at the pizza place as I was at the movies. Plus, it's much more fun and I get free food. I'm working more days and I get tips, so I'm in a much better financial place than I have been since moving out to LA.

Now I just need to get my ass out of the house and find a date or two.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Homosexual "Lifestyle"

There's an older guy who comes in to the theater often. He's about 60 with a beer gut, grey hair and beard, and a baseball cap which proudly states his status as a former military man. He assumes that since he's been around the Promenade since the dawn of time, he's entitled to free movies.

He came in last night and started talking to the security guard and me about new movies coming out. He said he wanted to see "Edge of Darkness," the new Mel Gibson movie. I said that I don't really want to see it because of my political and moral issues with Gibson, and I don't want him getting any of my money. And here's were things go sour.

Old Guy says that he wouldn't see "Milk" for similar reasons. "Milk," I would remind you, stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, a queer activist who was the first openly gay man to win an elected position in California way back when. Old Guy said that he wouldn't see this movie because "I don't approve of that homosexual lifestyle, and don't want to see it all over the screen."

Any time I hear the phrase "homosexual lifestyle," my heckles immediately raise. The term, as I'm sure you're well aware, carries strong religious and political baggage. It's used exclusively by right-wing fundamentalists/nut-jobs to demean and disempower queers. So when Old Guy started talking about what it means to be gay as if he had any idea whatsoever about the subject, I naturally had to correct him. I must say that, seeing as it was my workplace, I was extremely civil and self-contained (under the circumstances).

I asked him why he has issues with queers, and he said "Because you can't get anything but death out of it." Yes. "Death." Quite a loaded sentence. I thought about the various meanings he could be putting behind that word. I wanted to make my position very clear to him, so I retorted quickly with "Well, I'm alive and kicking, and very happy." That way there was no doubt that I'm gay. His body language immediately took on an aggressive stance, as did mine in response.

I wanted to make him state explicitly what he was trying to imply, so I asked him what he meant by "death." He said you can only put death in, and only get death out. Again, not clear. So I responded with a very cheesy "you can actually get a lot of love out of it."

I realized that I would have to ask very leading questions in order to get him to say what he meant. So I asked if he was referring to the idea that queer couples can't procreate, to which he replied that was part of it. I countered with the fact that one can adopt, which is a really important and wonderful thing to do.

Clearly this wasn't all of it. He didn't have a counter, so he tried to dismiss my arguments by throwing in religion: "Well, I believe in the true God." Meaning, of course, that gays are evil, unnatural, and hated by the one and only God (a god who, according to his logic, created everyone and everything, including the gays He apparently hates). Obviously, Old Guy knows exactly God's will and plan, has never doubted the Bible as the true Word of God (except when he makes exceptions of course), and understands the totality of the human experience.

I responded by giving one fist-pump in the air and saying "proud agnostic!" If he wanted to dismiss my logic-based arguments with religious bigotry, I had every right to dismiss his religious bigotry with my altogether lack of religion.

At this point, the security guard, who is a good friend of mine, decided to stop the "conversation." Of course I would never behave in an inappropriate manner at work, but I won't let someone demonize and attack my people right in front of me. The security guard clearly saw how upset I was getting and decided it was time to step in. Old Guy and I also recognized the need to end our discussion, since neither of us would ever convince the other.

Here's the moral of the story: Los Angeles may be a progressive, gay-friendly place in some ways. But hey, Proposition 8 passed here in California. There's always going to be bile-filled people like Old Guy whose blind hatred seeps out and infects those around them. But there will also always be people there to counter their hatred with reason. I'm proud to have the chance to be one of those people.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Total Fraud

So I've been trying to use my debit card the last few days, but for some reason it kept getting denied. I finally managed to get access to the internet and was able to check my balance, and I discovered something interesting: my balance was 13 cents, which made no sense (ba-dum psh).

Curious, I began looking through the transaction history on the account and discovered a few unusual purchases, including a three-hundred-dollar buy at Sephora, a make-up/perfume shop in which I've never once stepped foot in my entire life. Apparently, someone had found a way to access my account and steal my money.

So now I have 13 cents to my name. All in all, this jackass managed to steal over $400 from my debit account. I know it doesn't seem like much, but when it's all you have, losing that much money is devastating. Luckily, the bank should be able to return the money to me, provided they decide that it was indeed fraudulently spent.

God damn it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hey, friends. I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger. It's been over a month since my last post. Basically, the internet I have available to me has reduced to just the public library, so I have to get my ass out of the apartment with my computer (which is what I've done today so that you could read this lovely post). Anyway, here's a quick update on what's happened, in no chronological order:

-I got a new laptop for Xmas (yay!), so I no longer have to haul around my monitor!

-My aunt's movie, "The D-Monster," in which I was an extra and a Production Assistant, had a Tupperware Party as a fundraiser. However, this wasn't your grandma's Tupperware Party. The hostess was a good friend of my aunt's, and she's been the top seller of Tupperware products in America for three years in a row. Her name is Dee, and she's a drag queen. Her shtick is that she's from Tennessee and is delightfully coarse in language. She goes to Orange County and sells tons. For those of you who don't know, Orange County is rich, white, and conservative (pretty much the only place in all of California where this happens) and is one of the strongholds of douchebaggery that made Proposition 8 possible. I dunno how she does it, but Dee just charms the heck out of those cross-wielding, SUV-driving housewives.

Anyway, the event was on Sunday afternoon. There was tons of food and booze to loosen up people's wallets, and I was the one in charge of the booze. However, since this was a special occasion, it called for a special bartender. I was Dee's "reindeer boy." It's about as bad as it sounds. I wore a tan, furry vest; a set of reindeer horns; and a giant, shiny, pink bow around my neck. Suzy owes me big.

-I got to work on Xmas! Yay! Clay, Matt, and Emily all abandoned me, as did my aunt. And by "abandoned me," I meant "went home and spent time with their families, so I'm just jealous." I spent Xmas at home watching DVDs and eating fast food. Never again.

-Thanks to Matt, I now have a second job. Woo! I'll be working at the same pizza place he does, which is exciting because it's much better pay and more hours than the movie theatre.

-I finally found enough money to buy a video game: Dragon Age Origins. Buy it, play it, love it. There's even gay sex in it! Of course that's not the only reason I bought the game, but you can be sure I got to that scene in the game as fast as I could.

K, this is long enough. Next time, I'll write about some of the movies I've seen in the last while, including "Invictus," "Avatar," and hopefully "Sherlock Holmes" (mmm, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law). Until then, BYEEEE!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Night of the Living Tweens

Oh god, they were everywhere.

Last weekend "New Moon" opened. I haven't been in a building with that much bottled-up estrogen since the last drag king show I saw. The theater was practically dripping with rampant teenage hormones.

Receiving a whopping 38% from Rotten Tomatoes' top critics section, "New Moon" definitely won't be seen as a pinnacle of film-making. I give you for consideration the closing thought from Roger Ebert's review:

...sitting through this experience is like driving a tractor in low gear though a sullen sea of Brylcreem.

(Read the entire review at

In spite of the film's being being a crapscapade on ice, it made some $140 million dollars opening weekend in the US alone. Clearly someone is watching it. Enter: millions of squealing "Twihards" and "Twimoms." I kid you not, that's what they call themselves. I couldn't make that shit up, even if I were that steaming double-shot of crazy Stephenie Meyer, "author" of the series.

Apparently some Twihards were camping out for five days waiting in line to see the movie. It wasn't that bad at my theater in Santa Monica, but we got our fair share of the crazy tweens.

There was a girl of perhaps 16 years who came to see "New Moon" on Friday. Several of our staff members (including myself) were wearing promotional buttons advertising the movie. The girl approached at least 6 different employees, asking if she could bribe them in exchange for one of the buttons. I was almost afraid to refuse her offer out of fear that she would leap on my back and bite me. I wouldn't have put it past her.

Another girl was about 20 people away from the front of the line. She and her friends wanted to move to the front, so she was sent to try to get some form of "VIP pass" that would just let her jump ahead. This girl also attempted to bribe several of the employees. She actually told the security guard that she was my cousin in an attempt to win him over. He approached me about the girl in question, and I honestly told him I had never seen her in my life. So she stooped to both bribery and lying in order to move ahead about ten feet.

When the theater was finally clean for the 6:30 show, we allowed the line to enter the theater. I was on break in the break room, minding my own business and eating a sandwich, when I heard what I can only describe as a stampede. I opened the door and looked out onto the stairs below the break room and saw hundreds upon hundreds of girls hurling themselves up the stairs at full tilt and screaming at the top of their lungs. At least two girls actually fell down on the stairs in the rush to get seats. We had to post several employees on the stairs to make people stop running.

I could go on and on (and in fact already have), but I'll leave it for now. The craziness hasn't ended, but at least opening weekend is over. There are many more stories, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Made of Magic

I wanted to feel a little classy after spending the evening cleaning up people's detritus at the movie theater, so I made a rum drink with Cherry Pepsi (which I get free at the theater). Now that may sound to you like the opposite of classy, and you'd be right. To class this drink up, I busted out one of the tumblers I got when my dad's father downgraded apartments and gave me a bunch of servingware. So now I'm sipping a delicious beverage and letting out stress by writing about it.

For some reason, everyone must have come to the movies today thinking "I know, I'll throw shit around and give the guy more work than he already has!" My theory is that their lives suck, and they want to feel better by treating me, a worthless movie theater employee, like scum. Either that or they're just rude. In any event, every theater tonight was trashed. Even the ones that only had 5 people in them. In two different theaters I found sunflower seed shells all over the place. What kind of jerk deliberately scatters shells all over the place? I mean, someone has to clean it up. You're making someone else's day that much worse. We give away small cups for water. Just ask for one of those and keep your mess contained. Jesus.

On a lighter note, I found 83 cents while cleaning up!

Now to the aforementioned magic of which I am composed. At the beginning of my shift, someone out front dropped their ATM card into the metal box that surrounds the ATM machine. No one could see it. Along I came with my handy-dandy usher's flashlight and got stopped to help. I got to the floor and saw the card a few inches away under the metal. My brilliant mind came up with a solution immediately and I went in search of a paper clip. I came back, straightened the paper clip, and fished out the errant card. I made that woman's day. I'm fucking MacGuyver.

Later on, as I was waiting to clean a theater that was letting out, one of the patrons came to me and asked me to help find her daughter's cell phone cover. Twenty seconds later, another woman from the same movie came up and asked me in a Spanish accent if I had a "light-flash." Her daughter had apparently lost her shoe. Tonight must have been "lose your shit and have Michael find it" night. And being made of magic like I am, I found both the shoe and the cell phone cover. I'm MagiGuyver.

My rum and Cherry Pepsi is almost gone, and I feel the siren call of "Six Feet Under," so I'm done writing for the night. Peace to you all!

PS: Next time you go see a movie, please take your trash out with you. If you do, the recent college graduate with a useless degree who cleans up the theater will have less of a shitty day. Please, think of the ushers.