Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coachella, No Longer My Dream Vacation

“I don’t want to go to Coachella.” The words actually came out of my mouth as I deleted the email from KROQ announcing how to win sold out tickets to this year’s event.

I shocked myself with this statement, as anyone who knows me understands that for 10 years Coachella was all I looked forward to. I didn’t go on vacation every year, but I did go to Coachella. The words, “I don’t want to go to Coachella” are ones that I never would have imagined thinking let alone saying out loud in my empty apartment.

I was immediately filled with doubt about my own response and thought, “Of course you want to go to Coachella. You always want to be there.” But the sad reality was I truly didn’t. Things have changed greatly for the music festival in the desert. When I first started attending the event in 2004, it was a breath-taking good time. There was space to move about, you developed a sort of kinship with fellow festival-goers, and while there was the occasional celebrity sighting, it wasn’t the sole purpose for attending.

The idea was to see new bands, observe and participate in the artwork, see your old favorite bands, enjoy the company of the group of friends you only see once a year, and on Saturday night as the show came to a close at midnight, relish in knowing that you still had one more day of amazement ahead.

While the festival still provides opportunity for all that I have mentioned, it has become so overpopulated, over publicized and overrated, that tickets are nearly impossible to purchase. I am not simply talking about waiting for the instant the sales website opens, but also in cost.

Call me old, but parking miles away, walking in herds of hipsters, hovering over full portable restrooms with seats soaked in urine, and waiting in long lines for everything, have been added to the list of “things I did in my 20s.”

The only acceptable way for me to do Coachella now would be to rent the air-conditioned sleeping cabana with VIP access. No parking each day or calling for a taxi, you’re already onsite. But there are drawbacks too, no pool and the cost is insane. Several thousand dollars will get you into this exclusive club, but there are no fast-passes for the lines and you can’t bring much of your own booze into the tent. Of course, if you had thousands of dollars to blow on a tent and tickets, you probably wouldn’t mind purchasing every drink you wanted to have over the now three-day event.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Humanity takes priority

Last Friday I traveled to Palm Springs to escape Los Angeles for the weekend. After investing about 3.5 hours to travel 90 miles I was ready to relax and let my crisis of a two week span dissipate with the companionship of a good friend, a couple of cocktails and some lounging around the pool. However, my friend who is always the wind beneath my tired and out-of-shape wings, taught me better than that. During conversation over dinner we discussed the plumbing problems at my parents’ house in Phoenix, AZ. He quickly made mention that if I wanted to travel there he would gladly help find a solution to the broken pipe, which prevented my father from having running water in the 100-plus degree weather. Shamefully remembering that my friend had fixed my parents’ pool pump, not once but twice over the past 12 months, I begged off stating that he was not responsible for fixing my parents’ house.

Now, being a single gal without a husband or a boyfriend that would happily oblige to perform such duties in order to shut my co-dependant guilty complaining down, I have always been the type to do whatever I can to solve the problem. In this case, the option was to remotely hire a plumber with the very little money I had. But no, my best friend not only had the experience and knowledge to figure out the problem, but he had the energy and quite frankly an overall altruistic eagerness that I could not turn down. So by Noon on Saturday we were on the road and after a nice four-hour drive with time to share the love of awesome music and catch up a bit we were at my parents’ house; and he did not spare one moment jumping right in on the project.

By 7 p.m. after lightly grounding the house’s electricity, we had a plan and a Home Depot shopping list, and we were off. Arriving back with a 10 foot galvanized pipe, which oddly fit in my car, we found the home without electric; a problem that my renaissance friend was able to figure a short-term solution to. We were then able to work in the front yard to make water run via a retrofitted with an extra female connection RV hose, galvanized pipe, a t-joint and two valves, all directly linked to the water main. By 11 p.m. we had running water, and a shady grounding issue we couldn’t figure out. Once again, my wise friend figured out a way to circumvent the pending house fire for the evening by using two extension cords, a coat hanger and a full head of knowledge (if you are thinking this is a MacGyver episode you are right, and he is).

Waking the next day it was back to work, and a new Home Depot shopping list. One problem after another occurred; a coupler that wouldn’t un-couple, a three-inch nipple fitting that was so corroded it would not stop leaking; in addition, the house needed to be grounded safely. Despite the fact that four days ago I would have not understood any of what I just wrote, I am proud. Not of me, but of my friend and my father. The two of them taught me. And when I am a homeowner I will be able to look at problems like these and be more informed, perhaps knowledgeable to someday fix issues like these myself. The plumbing problem solution of the weekend, while a temporary fix at present, provides running water to my parents’ home. And I could not ask for more.

The altruistic mentality and the humanity in others is what keeps me alive. If it were not for friends to help me lick my wounds and move on from a failed relationship, if it were not for co-workers who understood my plight and have supported me with comforting words, if it were not for my family who loves each another unconditionally and if it were not for the assistance my friends who have extended their companionship and love to me, then I don’t know what I would do. It is these individuals that keep me honest, keep me moving, make me take a lunch once in a while and take care of my parents with wisdom that I don’t have.

For all of these critical people in my life, I say thank you. And for this past weekend, I say thank you to my friend Benjamin. You, Sir, are an inspiration. Thank you for all I have said here and so much more. You have taught me a great deal and have helped me improve my life in so many ways. There are no “thanks” in the human vernacular that can truly express my appreciation.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The financial crisis – a personal anecdote

My personal credit crisis built long before the current credit crisis. When I was five-years-old my parents taught me about money; you had to work for it no matter what. Opportunity Cost was not a term a five-year-old knew, but I began to learn it with proper study and instruction.

When I was old enough to work, the power of money and the fleetingness of it soon became a weekly reality. It became the journey between “should I buy a bra”? to “what sox can I buy?” to “shouldn’t I be saving this for college books?”

I knew nothing about starting a savings account when I was 16-years-old. Instead I started cashing my paychecks at the local check-cashing station for their eight percent profit on my weekly work and then going down to the local record store to blow the basket on used CDs, videos and old cassettes. That’s before I knew I would have bills.

What I thought should have been a Stanford education soon became a pile of loans at Arizona State University. While ASU served me well, my family’s financial situation became difficult and with my penchant for adopting animals it became even more trying on the billfold.

Paying payments on a car, repairing said car and making $23, 000 a year just out of college, the credit card companies started to earn the interest they thought they would. A few Christmas seasons later I pitched a new strategy to the family, one hand-made gift going to the name you drew. It didn’t play out, nor did the spending I wanted to do. I wanted to buy my brother a new sound system for his car, I wanted my mother to have this new set of motivational books and for my father a GPS system for his “camping trips.” But I couldn’t deliver on any of it. Instead, I spent hours crafting scarves that would never be used, from yarn and fine-tuning the art of crochet that I learned in my apartment complex when I was nine.

The lesson I learned was that I would very much prefer a hand made gift (although rare with the fast paced society of today) to the junk, store bought token of a gift or even gift card. But for my own personal mental whipping, I put upon myself that I was the golden child, the college child, the one who would run off to Los Angeles and make dreams, and money, happen. Well, LA didn’t do that for me and I thought I couldn’t deliver. So I shut down. My body, my mind, everything shut down. We were poor, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it aside from getting better. Better at my job, better at understanding one’s financial limitations and better at expressing love not through money but through action.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a four-day weekend with my father in Phoenix. At first all I knew was that I would need to spend some money on food for the cats I have adopted over the years, food for my guests that would come to the house and some TLC for the pool. When I arrived I could not even get to the pool area, and I knew much work had to be done to the yard. After four-hours of work I had to pick my friend up from the airport. That night I was silently embarrassed with all that I had not accomplished, and then he woke up early the next day to work with my father. I then waking sore was ready to work with them. Six hours later, the back yard became something of beauty and the pool was almost full.

That is an action of love. I am so grateful that I was apart of a memory that will last for not only for my family but also for those who were witness to it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back in the Blogosphere

Several years ago, I wanted to take up blogging. A way to express myself, share my experiences, keep in touch with long lost friends and, gulp, get involved in the “global conversation.” It was at that time that I had posted what I thought was well written commentary on anti-gay hate speech.

Because of this blog post, I learned just how thin my skin was. My nice piece of commentary sparked controversy and had religious types from all over America posting hateful comments not just about what I wrote, but about me. After four days of fielding and responding to their angry voices I decided to break the cardinal law of blogging and deleted my post along with the comments.

Several years later, the deleted blog is still referenced on a Christian Marriage webpage as an example of “marriage in the media,” despite the fact that the blog had nothing to do with marriage at all but rather referenced a particular church’s hateful speech surrounding Heath Ledger’s death. How do I know this you ask? Well, I Googled myself, of course. Not that I do this daily, anymore.

Seeing my name on that Google link and remembering all of the activity surrounding that one little blog, I once again became inspired to write. Not because I want to be controversial, if you can call discussing gay-rights and anti-hatred of anyone controversial, but because I love to write, I love to interact, and if I have learned anything over the past two years it is to grow a thicker skin.

So maybe my blog will blow up and I’ll get a following of readers who are interested, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll post something that strikes a nerve in someone and they’ll become enraged, maybe I won’t. Whatever may come, I am back and still looking for love and success in Los Angeles.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Modern Day Tale of Beauty and the Beast

For the past five weeks I have really put a halt on my dating. Nearly six months ago, with some friendly encouragement of others, I joined Match.com. I had heard a little bit about its success and it seemed like a reasonable thing to do since I work so much, go out so little and am relatively new to the city of Los Angeles.

After five months and five lousy disappointing dates I realize that Match serves me no better than walking into a bar and randomly introducing myself to the most shallow man I can find. The results are the same and I challenge any female over a size ten to test my theory. At one point I was actually told by a “man” on match that even though I was not his idea of girlfriend material that he would still like to get together and “hook up.” There are such quality people on that site really. I have found that it is an over priced form of mental abuse.

I was on the verge of just calling Match.com up and canceling my account early when I decided to give it one last and final run through, you never know right. My constant positive outlook never ceases to amaze me sometimes.

As a user you can spend many minutes or hours filing through profile after profile of member statements that resemble the following: “looking for a caring, real woman, who knows what she wants in life, who’s independent, not shallow even though I am and looks better than I do naked.” Just kidding on the last statement but you see where I am headed with this.

On one of the last pages I was ever going to scroll through I saw an odd photo of a disfigured boyish looking man with short red hair and alienesk blue eyes; the brief intro paragraph summary struck a chord in me and I wanted to read through his profile. He mentioned that he was paying for one month of a match.com membership as an experiment to see just how shallow and low people are. As I started reading through his profile information he seemed as though he could be a friend of mine or, heaven help me, even a match. He was witty, eloquent, educated and knew how to express the kind of person he truly was. I then looked at the rest of his photos and was shocked to find that none of the other photos on his page even remotely resembled the main profile picture he had used.

I of course could not resist emailing him. I told him that his experiment was a good one indeed and that people in general really are that shallow. This morning I received an email back from him stating that oddity of my email since he had just been complaining to a few friends of his about the shallow nature of individuals on match and how through his experiment he had not received any messages or winks. As he went to show his friends the results of his experiment there was my message sitting in his inbox. That in essence proves that not everyone is so shallow. Or does it?

I was curious about the profile because of what he wrote and also because of what he looked like. Thinking back on what was going through my mind at the moment I realize that I would not have dated a man like that but I would be open to talk to someone like that. You never know who is in need of friends or what their current situation in life is. I realized that really I am no different than any other shallow male on here. I have received winks and messages from men who just did not seem to match me. Whether it was their profession, their height, their religious beliefs, or simply their cultural make-up. I believe I did so at the time not because of shallow and narrow views but because I want to date someone who is compatible with me. Looking back at it now I realize what a hypocrite I can be.

I recalled the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” Through most of the story the “Beauty” did not find her self attracted to the Beast, she simply saw him as a monster, something different. However, the moral to the story kids is not to judge a book by its cover.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Culture in the City – A Sunday at LACMA

Since I am a girl who grew up in the once small towns of Sedona, Ariz. and Kailua Kona, Hi going to junior high school, high school and then college in Phoenix, Ariz. was a shock to the senses. There were multiple movie theaters, malls, strip malls, freeways, an array of different cultures and local television channels. However, I never believed I was challenged in the ways of culture. That is of course until I realized just how many opportunities there are available to me now that I live in Los Angeles, Calif.

This past Sunday another Arizona import friend of mine invited me to go to LACMA with her. Having lived here for more than a year and a half I really began to realize that instead of living in LA I have been merely existing in LA. Knowing that payday was still ten days off and that my bank account was bleeding after rent had been paid I still opted to join her in the experience. I had preconceived notions that this visit would somehow resemble the half day field trips that I would take to the Museum of Science and Industry in Phoenix while growing up. I was mistaken.

We arrived at 2 p.m., parked next to the LaBrea Tar Pits and cruised by the odorous tar ponds with the statues of Wooly Mammoths hanging out waiting for their photo op. The sky continued to cloud up and fill with another day of rain and immediately I regretted wearing flip-flops. Once inside the gallery I became amazed at all of the statues, oil paintings as well as the dates on them. It is somehow hard for me to fathom that good portions of the items in the collection are more than 300 years old. Within an hour and a half we had zig zagged through the galleries of impressionism and European art to finally arrive at the ancient arts beginning with Egypt and the Middle East. For the first time in my life I saw a mummy in a sarcophagus. I was so excited that many times I broke the acceptable "inside voice" volume and would cry out in childlike joy.

We saw items used in the 700 B.C. era and my mind could not grasp that idea either, that somehow thousands of years ago there were men, women and children eating from the bowls I was looking at from behind a pane of glass. I could not imagine some of the weapons I saw in the Ancient Iran exhibition being used in wars waged over religion and land so many generations in the past. Seeing the history and beauty of it all also struck home just how important religion was to all of these past generations. It seems now I live in a generation, that instead prides you for your faith, argues with it and frowns upon it; but I guess that is a blog for another time.

While a good portion of LACMA is currently under construction, at a quick pace it took my friend and I approximately three and a half hours to walk the galleries on one floor of two buildings and the entire Japanese Calligraphy exhibition. We missed the Dali exhibition as it was sold out and it was the last day.

My friend and I finished the evening with dinner at her place and “cultured” girl talk over a few glasses of wine. It had been an incredible day and one that will remain in my personal memory banks forever. I took away a piece of culture, an experience and a thirst for more. Next on my hit list is the Getty and the Planetarium at Griffith Park, both of which I have never been to. The renaissance person that I am wants to know as much as I can about as much as I can. Some have told me that in the professional world this passion as a weakness. In the real world I see it as an absolute delight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering September 11th Six Years Later

This week a friend inspired me to finally utilize this space that I have had for so long now. Holding true to the theme of my blog "Generation Now", I thought I would start by sharing what I wrote on September 11 of this year. It is important for my generation to start living up to our education, knowledge and privledge as Americans and start changing the world and ourselves one step at a time.

Six years ago this morning, America lost its innocence once again; at least it did for me. I was not quite 21-years-old; I was in college and did not think much about journalism, the evening news, politics or the happenings in foreign nations. I was a kid. Two minutes after I awoke that morning the first plane hit, by the time it made it to my local morning news no one knew what had happened and the hole in the building could not be seen through the sea of smoke. As my parents and I watched smoldering south tower of the World Trade Center via TV in the comfort of our home thousands of miles away in Arizona; the second plane hit and we knew our country was under attack.

I remember clearly my thoughts on that morning and the tears I shed. I thought about all of the lives that were lost and the families that would be broken. I listened to NPR on my drive to my morning classes and heard the reports of people jumping from the buildings and then the crash into the Pentagon. I thought that the world had gone mad and that any moment world war three would break out. I sat in my car once I arrived on campus and continued to listen as they reported the south tower collapsing. Unable to listen to anymore I composed myself and my thoughts and went to Spanish lab. Much to my surprise no one knew about what was occurring.

I ditched my history class and went grocery shopping. I became one of those paranoid Americans; I filled my car with gas, bought powdered milk, gallons of water, pet food for a month and withdrew my ATM limit of $300 for the day. Then I sat for the next 18 hours glued to my TV in silent prayer that I would wake up from this nightmare.

Like so many Americans on that day I rallied with my neighbors, my friends, my family, my peers and co-workers and became angry that such a thing could happen on US soil. Looking back now as a more educated and media savvy individual I am shocked that it took as long as it did for something as enormous as this to occur in America. For far too long we looked at ourselves as immortal.

I have theories about 9/11 just as I have theories about our government and our leaders and have ideals both popular and unpopular. Regardless of my beliefs, I am proud to be a part of this country. Many times I may complain about the lack of social and economic equality, but I never fear that my government will cut my tongue out. Many times I will complain about the glass ceiling for women in the work place and the difference in pay that still holds true to this day, but I never have to fear my country taking away my ability to work. In this country I have the right to complain about, make fun of and pray for my leaders, without have to worry that my government will send me to jail for treason.

I am grateful to be a part of a society that for at least a short time, held together and worked together as a nation to rebuild our collective confidence and strength. I truly wish that we could remember how we were feeling then and take it with us to the office, into traffic, to the grocery store and into the world. I truly wish that we could start paying it forward, each and every one of us, and continue working to build a nation that we are proud of and not one that we want to flee.

Since this Sunday I have been in the realm of remembrance of this evil date. I watched stories on the History Channel, "Flight 93" and for the first time I saw "World Trade Center." Upon viewing these I silently sat thanking and praying for those who so selflessly rushed into the towers to try to save whom ever they could, the individuals who took charge on Flight 93 even though it was too late for them, the rescue workers countrywide who went to NYC via caravan style to offer any service they could, the families who lost so much, and the young men who later volunteered to serve and protect their country. That is what this date truly means to me. It is not a date to push political beliefs, warmongering or hate. It is a day of reflection, thanks, honor, remembrance and gratitude.

May we never forget what we lost, what we gained and that our country for a little while once again showed the compassion and camaraderie it once had so much of in the past.

Bless you all,

The Technologic Revolution

I come home and turn on the computer. The fans begin to whir, the screen pops up, it does its start up chime as if to say “welcome home.” It is then that I know I am home and about to embark on the most disappointing 5 minutes of my day, checking my myspace and personal email account for the first time from home that day. I log-in and scroll down just slightly enough to see that I have not received any new messages, comments or friend requests.

Do not be confused by this as I do not maintain super-human will power. I work on a computer all day and check my personal accounts on my lunch break which usually is consistent with drinking a protein shake at my desk and working through it via internet research anyway.

It’s a fascinating life that involves, electricity, flat screen monitors and millions of webpages and information at my disposal in the amount of time it takes for me to type it into Google.com. I think the Daft Punk song “Technologic” describes my world completely; a looped list of every computer action-item term you can come up with.

The problem? It is an impersonal existence which distracts from life’s finest offering, human interaction. While some social sites such as myspace and facebook offer the next best thing, the technological lifestyle does not provide users with the 12 hugs a day that keeps the padded room away. I am sure that the wonderful world of Internet exploration can do without me for a few days or even a week. But the question is really, can I do without it?

That is a personal question that I would guess most individuals living in American society today ask and never truly find out until they go camping in an unserviceable location. I have had it happen. The feeling of detachment I experience from entering into a parking garage with no signal on my phone causes minor panic attacks. As if the California Lottery would call me just that one time to tell me that I no longer have to go back to work and can start mingling with the cool kids in the Hamptons. Well, you never know right?

I love technology! I love the freedom it provides. I can type this blog into a Word document, run it through spell check (since my public education and mind fell a little short in that department), copy it, paste it into my blog form, and hit the post button for all the world to see. Some guy in Budapest will now know what my thoughts are on LA Traffic and our local train wrecks LiLo and Britney. Thank God that he has that opportunity to read my opinion because, let’s say it together now, I am just that important. And why shouldn’t I be?

So this blog may seem a bit cynical, trite, jaded and sarcastic; but here it is. It’s on my mind; I have got technology addiction on my mind and why wouldn’t I? I work with it, communicate with it, learn from it, watch and listen to it; shoot I can now date from it. What more could you ask for? Maybe warm bodies are overrated. I’ll just set up a Google Alert for “Warm, life-sized, realistic man robots who know about romance” and when they are available for purchase I will be one of the first online to know about it.