A Series of Experiments

This is a continuation of the previous post, thoughts on living in Los Angeles after two years. The other day I was hunting through my closet and I realized: I had nothing to wear. I felt a familiar flash of junior high awkwardness, tearing through dresser drawers looking for something acceptably cool. At the time, I think I settled on a baggy polo and a pair of Dockers. Aka the epitome of pretty-lame. On this go-around, it wasn’t my level of awesomeness hindering me (a level which clearly has grown exponentially since high school.) It was my experiment in minimalism
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Two Years in Los Angeles

My two-year anniversary with Los Angeles approaches. Living here was an experiment, drawn out on cocktail napkins and e-mails before throwing my life into a car and arriving with no job, no apartment, and no clue. And as much as there is to love about LA, looking around at the trappings of my life, it’s obvious I never thought of it as more than an experiment. My car still boasts New York license plates. The fixtures of home consists of a desk and white board from Staples, a chair purchased from a suspicious Ukrainian woman I met via Craig’s List,
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Headshot

Displayed on his laptop was the Facebook photo of someone I barely recognized. His was a good-old boy face, with clean features and a fresh haircut. He carried himself with forced-casual posture — shoulders back and spine slightly hunched — and it screamed American Eagle catalog. Teddy and Kathy laughed at his modeling photos as they passed the bowl back and forth, him clicking and changing the picture every other toke. Teddy gestured towards the screen. “Look at what Ky’s been up to.” Ky was a server who started working at the Thai restaurant just before I left. We didn’t
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Spin

There’s a crazy homeless lady yelling obscenities outside my window. I hate callously tossing around words like “crazy” and “homeless”– that could be someone’s grandmother outside – but she’s got a schizophrenic gait to her speech, see-sawing from sing-song to Banshee. That’s the “crazy.” And she parked her shopping cart of worldly possessions next to my car, and is using the rear end bumper as a roof. That’s “homeless.” Teddy suggests we get out there and tell her to move, but he doesn’t read horror scripts all day, so he doesn’t know any better. There’s always that guy in slasher
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Advice

“My catchall, general advice to everyone who moves out to Los Angeles is this: if there’s anything else you can do, anything else that’s your calling, go do that instead. It’s a pat answer,” he admitted, “but this is just too hard…” Which immediately raises the question: why is it hard? Because people will be mean to you? Because the hours stretch long and your social life sums to nil? Because you’ll be overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated – conditions your mother conditioned you into believing you’d skip right over because you were a unique snowflake? It also prompts the follow-up
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Sell Yourself

You could tell he was a best-selling author the moment he stepped on the elevator. It was in the smile: the smug smile of success of someone who needs success to smile. If that didn’t tip you off, then the collared shirt with his name embroidered over his right tit and the words “Best-Selling Author” embroidered over his right tit did. His beard resembled a furry cat, a tawny feline that perched onto his chin years ago and never left. Instead, the pussiness seeped into his pores and oozed throughout his persona: the entitlement in his strut, the condescension in
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No One’s Listening

Jeff sat. He was new blood. A transplant. Like a minted quarter, shiny and uncirculated and fresh to death. Seated around him, three individuals who arrived a month previous. All whom sang the song and danced the dance required to get established in this town.  He had every opportunity to pop questions, to mine for nuggets that’d make his transition easier. Finding even one morsel would make the effort worthwhile. Competition’s fierce, and that one byte of data might separate him from permanent resident status or a return ticket in three months with nothing but a story. And he squandered
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Internships – Part Two: First Interview

He glanced at the resume. Read it aloud, a clear as Ever indication this was time primero he laid eyeball to C.V. ink. “Shogun Sushi,” mumble mumble, “Rutgers University,” mumble mumble, then stopped. Where they always stopped. Asked what they always asked. “What’d you do for Maxim Magazine?” Eric offered one takeaway, other than his narrative on the crapshoot that is procuring an internship: “Be clear about what you want to do. The last guy they passed on because he said he didn’t know what he wanted.” So when he posed his question – what do you want to do
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Internships – Part One: Getting an Interview

“It’s rolling the dice,” Eric said, “trying to get an interview for one of these internships.” On the second day of his internship, his boss presented him a stack of resumes. “He told me, ‘go through these, find five candidates to interview for the last internship spot.’” “When you’re given 50 resumes and cover letters, and told to get it down to five, you look for any reason to discount someone. That’s how I eliminated the first half: I looked for any reason to not consider them. Typo – gone. Poor formatting – gone. “One guy, trying to be funny
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Restaurant Work in Los Angeles

“Sounds like a no-brainer,” Teddy said. He reclined deeper into the sofa, sunlight splashing off the cigarette drooped from his fingertips. “What did you come out to Los Angeles for? You didn’t come out to serve, or to learn more about the restaurant business. You came to write. So take whichever job will help you do that.” He took a drag. Stared out across Culver City rooftops. “Wish someone told me that, when I was in New York. So I kept acting, instead of wasting two years bartending.” The choices? A modern, fine-dining Japanese restaurant. Or a local, burn-n’-turn Thai
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