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.