Friday, July 31, 2015

"how much longer:" the time was right. no regrets.

As I get used to the idea of being back in LA, I can't help but have brief moments, milliseconds, where I wonder if I could have or should have stayed in Philly a little while longer. Things have changed so much in these last few weeks, but what would have happened had I continued in that trajectory and location?  Was coming home the right choice?  Was the timing right?  Did I leave too soon?

Just as I was about to write a semi-angsty, semi-philosophical post about life changes, I stumbled across a partially written but abandoned draft for a post. I started to read it, and as I continued on, I felt myself almost completely re-immersed into the situation and re-living the memory.

But why share this now?  Why didn't I just delete it or leave it as a draft, or finish the post the day I started it?

Those are good questions.

I'm sharing the nearly discarded post now because it answers any doubt I may have had about coming home, and it is an honest portrait of what life looks like when your life narrative needs revision.  When I started to write that post, I was being completely honest with myself, and anyone who may have read it had I finished it then, about how I felt at that time.  You will find few people are willing to "break the 4th wall" of social media to show you times in life when things aren't shiny and beautiful.  During the last few months of my time in Philly, there were too many days in which the narrative of my life did not match the narrative that I wanted for myself. In deciding to leave, I chose to work toward a better narrative.

Before you go on to read the abandoned draft, I'd like to clarify that when I say that my narrative needed revision that I was not referring to the expletives.  Those are all supposed to be there.  If you aren't cool with "bad words," then this post isn't for you.  Anyway, the original post was entitled "how much longer."  Here it is:

Things can always be worse, but shit, the idea of 5 more months of school makes me feel physically ill.  It's not even just the classes, it's all of it.
Perhaps these thoughts are too personal for this place, but this day just got off to a shit start.  I've heard the average bad mood lasts for 12 hours, but we're well past that, so maybe I just am going to have two 12-hour bad spells back to back.  I realize that some of these may sound like they aren't real problems, but they're enough cumulatively that I don't feel good.

1. I started off the day walking to work.  Pretty normal.  It was cold as fuck.  Also pretty normal.  Unpleasant, but typical for this time of year.  I was bundled up and trying to get myself in the zone to go to work when I heard honking coming from an ambulance in the parking lot that I cut through every morning.  The honking continued a few times and so I thought something was wrong and looked at the ambulance.  When I looked up, the driver was smiling and waving at me.  I had no idea who this person was and I didn't realize that I was getting hollered at until another person in the parking lot made a comment. 

I fucking HATE getting catcalls.  Few things piss me off more.  If it's before noon and you feel the need to catcall, then you probably need to go the fuck back home, rub one out, take a cold shower to take the edge off and try your day again.
That's right folks.  My day started out with a catcall from an ambulance in a Rite Aid parking lot.  At that point, I needed feminism, I needed an adult, and I needed to get the hell out of Dodge.  You'll notice that this would have been event 1. in a series of bad things that day had I finished writing.

This was all I needed to see. I made the right decision.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Escaped From LA: who I am, no matter where I am

I am officially back in LA.

All that remains of my time in Philly is a long series of memories that I haven't blocked out. 
Taking a brief look back I don't know what to make of my time in Philly because there is so much that I have not had time to process. 

A few friends have placed informal bets on me returning to live in Philly, but I just don't know if that will be "a thing".  Right now predictions for a triumphant return stand at 9 months and at 2 years, but after how difficult of a task it was to just try and pack up the car to drive away, I honestly feel like any amount of time would be too soon. 

I'm happy to come back to visit for little trips - I miss my people in Philly, and I've already begun to miss important milestones in my friends' lives, which is unfortunate.  But I just don't know that the environment will ever be right enough for me to live there permanently in the near future, if at all ever again. I will never say never, but I just don't know what the future will hold.  I am a lot of things, but psychic isn't one of them.

Before I left, folks brought up that after my move I would no longer be "Escaped from LA" and asked what would become of this blog.  I had given it thought, but I wasn't be ready to address it at the time, and didn't know how I'd feel about it after leaving Philly.  Now that it's been about a month since I have been back, I've ultimately decided that the title still makes sense for me, because Escaped from LA is who I am, no matter where I am.

Some time ago, I said to someone: "If you don't like my blog, then you don't like me."  I remember I bristled a little when I said it because it seemed harsh, but ultimately it was the truth in the statement that made it so harsh. This is where I write personal thoughts and experiences that I care to share publicly.  On the Facebook page, I share articles that I actually have read completely and find interesting, informative, or just plain funny.  Escaped From LA is where I create my written art, and where I comment about what is going on in my life when I get a moment to spare.  It is where I experiment with things that I learn about social media, communication, and web design so that I can apply them in other aspects of my life [like helping organizations build their social media framework].  Escaped From LA has been a thing that I have kept up for the better part of four, going on five, years now which has given me an outlet for thoughts that cannot sufficiently expressed in 140 characters on Twitter or brief but status updates on Facebook.  I've been more silent in the latter part of those years but this was always in the back of my mind as I wondered if I would have time to write a post (unfortunately, the answer was usually no). I won't be tattooing this blog's name on my body anytime soon, but it's safe to say this blog will continue on.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why "Adulting" Should Be Banned From Our Vocabularies

Today I paid a bill on time. That's so adult of me!
Look at me adulting, I went furniture shopping!
These clothes make me look so adult!

Growing up can feel surreal, and many times, the mundane duties in our daily lives can feel like they are taking over.  But that still does not fully explain why people feel the need to advertise the fact that they do simple, everyday tasks that most well-adjusted, responsible humans should do regularly and why they feel the need to applaud themselves as though these things are really something special.  

Why are people using the word "adult" as a verb, or as an adjective to describe anything and everything they do that smacks of responsibility?

When I was a kid, people typically used the word "adult" as an adjective to describe the following:
  • movies that were kept in a place where kids were not allowed to go
  • magazines and websites where people weren't wearing any clothes
  • alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
When I was a kid, the actual adults in my life used the word "adult" in verb form: NEVER.  I never once heard any of the real adults in my life say anything to the effect of, "look at me adulting!" Actually, I just tried to type "adulting" into this post and it keeps getting marked as misspelled because it's not actually a fucking word.

As I sit here in my late twenties, I picture the people I currently view as adults in my life: my coworkers, my older family members, my friends' parents.  I try and recall a single time anyone of them has referred to the things they do as "adulting" or spoken of a single time that they have pointed out the fact that they regularly pay bills, showed up to work, or bought themselves Kitchen Aid mixers and said something to the effect of "This is so adult of me!"  Not a single instance comes to my mind. 

So, this is a plea to my peers: stop abusing the word adult and remove "adulting" from your vocabulary, especially when describing the way you navigate life.  It's one thing to use the word adult as a noun when referencing yourself or someone else who is, in fact, an adult. If you are over the age of 18, you are legally an adult. Respect yourself by not begging for the spotlight to be placed on you for doing everyday tasks like paying the bills or fulfilling basic life responsibilities. When you call attention to yourself for doing such things you reveal yourself to be anything but an adult, and trivialize the fact that you are actually growing up and taking real steps toward becoming a mature and responsible member of society.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ultimate Pi Day/Erin Express T-Shirts

In just over 2 weeks, it will be Ultimate Pi day, meaning that twice in this particular day in a given time zone, it will be 3.14.15 9:26.53 

This day also happens to fall during Erin Express, which is a long-running bar crawl in Philadelphia that has been happening for 30+ years (you can learn more about it--->HERE)

Because this could be my last Erin Express in Philly, I am determined to have a custom shirt, and I thought Ultimate Pi Day would be my perfect chance to make something that isn't didn't say anything along the lines of:

"KISS ME I'M IRISH"
"I DRINK BEER"
"THERE IS BEER ON MY BOOBS. HELLO"

Here is the shirt that I've designed:

Please help me realize my dream of getting a custom shirt for Pi Day/Erin Express and order one!  There is a link at the end of this post to order one for yourself!

I took orders until Sunday March 1st.  Shirts were just $15 each!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Youtube Deejay Sessions: I Can't Go For That

I haven't done one of these in awhile.  It's time.  I also felt like writing, but I don't have a lot of energy for writing all of the things I want to post, so this will have to do in the meantime. 

In the last few days, I had to write two very long lawyer-y complaints to resolve an issue.  I am hoping that I do not have to escalate the issue any further than I already have (if I do, you will definitely be getting a blog post detailing what happened) but in the meantime, it has sapped away my ability to write anything of substance because my mind feels like mush now. Conflict takes a lot out of me, but I won't stand for being taken advantage of.  But I digress.

I was in class on Friday and during the break I checked my email and found a message from Google that I could get a free album.  You know me and free stuff, especially legally obtained free music!!!  YEAH!  Google had a bunch of choices that were awesome from artists that I like a lot, and after much deliberation, I decided to go with Hall and Oates greatest hits album. 

I decided to feature the song "I Can't Go For That" on this Youtube Deejay post because:
  1. It is supposedly about to start snowing like a motherfucker and "I Can't Go For That" (ha ha ha...)
  2. Someone tried to cross me unjustly and "I Can't Go For That", either.  No can do.
What we should all do, however, is enjoy some Hall and Oates.  Yeah.
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Job Searching is Like Dating, but Worse

Looking for a new job is rough, and so is dating.  I happen to currently be off the market as far as dating, but in light of completing my MBA in less than six months, I'm decidedly on the market for a job suited to someone who has shiny new extra letters after her name.

That being said, I've had a few interviews recently, and I've decided that looking for a job is a lot like dating in all of the worst ways.
  • Writing your resume is like writing an online dating profile.  You try to find ways to make yourself look really awesome in an effort to convince someone that you're more awesome than all the other profiles out there.  Pictures...meh, maybe too much?  Colors?  Creative use of paragraphs and bullet points?  Yes please.
  • You whore out that resume/profile and show it to anyone who will look at it and hope that someone likes it enough to call you back.  You tell people that you're looking so that way they know, just in case they hear of anyone else who might also be looking. Maybe you can...connect...
  • Waiting for a message back from a real, live person in HR feels as futile as waiting for someone on OKC to send you a more meaningful first message than "hey" "you have a pretty smile" or "nice tits."
  • When you finally get a call or message, the first response is something you didn't want, like a fully commission based sales job with no base pay, a pyramid scheme, a pervert, or a narcissist.
  • If you do finally score an interview you want, the in-person thing is delayed for as long as humanly possible.  A phone interview is to job hunting as texting is to dating: "I'm going to keep communicating with you in as detached a manner as possible so that I can keep you interested while I put in minimal effort and continue to keep my options open, just in case you're not actually what I'm looking for."
  • You agree to a real phone interview or partake of text exchanges, then proceed to over analyze every single word that was spoken or written out and wonder if it is any indication that something meaningful could come of any of it.  They keep texting you and might even ask for another phone interview.  But why haven't we met in person?  Could this be a thing? NAAAAHHHHH.
  • Why won't they make plans to meet me in person?!  Are they talking to other people?  Whatever, I'm way better, right?  Yes to both.
  • They said that you'd hear from them in a week, but it's been 9 business days and you haven't heard anything.  They must be really busy or something.
  • You finally hear from them and they tell you they want to see you in person.  Holy crap!  You forgive the delay because...aw shucks, they were busy, or out sick.
  • What the fuck should you wear?!  Time to try on every single piece of nice clothing you own and hope something fits looks right for the occasion! 
  • ALL MY CLOTHES ARE TOO SLUTTY FOR THIS!  Does that suit bring out your camel toe?  Guys, does your suit selfie need an #eggplantfriday hashtag? OH SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT.  I want to look like a professional professional, not like a "professional XXX!"
  • You get to the meeting place, and a choice of scenario plays out : 
    • 1) it's amazing! the conversation is easy and interesting and you lost track of time to the point where you went later than you expected and you can't wait to plan something else!
      • If it was amazing, you part ways and you wonder "will I ever hear from them again?" "they said I'd hear back soon, when is soon?" "what does 'we'll be in touch mean?!'"
    • 2) things aren't like what was described or seen in the profile you responded to.  You feel like you've been catfished by 5-year-old photographs, and the conversation is about as smooth as a boatride in a storm. (Obviously the possibilities are endless, but these are enough for our purposes).
      • If it was not so good, you part ways and you hope that you never hear from them again.  They might even try and keep you longer but you dream of escape.  You hope they lose your contact information or just don't talk to you again so you don't have to be the one to tell them to take a hike.
  • You're on your way back home and you find yourself thinking a little more about what just happened...do you send them a "thank you" message?  It was a nice time, but what if you come off too desperate or fake?  Or maybe it was an okay time, everyone paid for their own coffee, but if you don't send a message first, you might not hear from them again.  Or maybe you weren't really into it, you hope they weren't either, and so you skip the bullshit "thank you" and hope that you can ghost on each other.
  • You try and tell yourself none of it matters, these new people aren't important.  That might be true now.  It's not like these people will be paying for some of your meals and clothes at some point, writing your paycheck, helping you get through life, or introducing you to new people.
  • You get home and stop your thoughts after a few minutes.  You decide to go with your gut on that "thank you" message.  You did everything you could that was within your control for the moment.  The ball is in their court now.  You'll just have to wait and see what happens.  Until then, you're going to keep your options open, too.  Get back on that website, re-install that app, find out when that next fair or meeting is happening, and keep looking.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Food For Thought: On Turning Your Innermost Thoughts into Clickbait

I can't help but notice lately that my Facebook feed is largely comprised of clickbait written by young twentysomethings like myself, and it seems like the most viral stuff tends to involve life advice in the form of Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Buzzfeed, or some random website of questionable authority or origin that peddles thoughts riddled with ads in list or slideshow format.  In an effort to work through my feelings about the state of blogging and consuming online content, I decided I'd write about it on my own blog.

I enjoy lists as much as the next person, and I clearly enjoy sharing my thoughts about life (why I started this blog), but some of the stuff I come across online, especially on blogs that are not owned by the people who write for them, leaves me feeling uneasy for any number of reasons.  I wonder if other writers really think about just how many people have access to and are reading their thoughts (this is something I've talked about before).  I see essays, preachy lists of do's and don'ts, and other musings written by people who are just trying to figure out their lives, and sometimes I wonder if the exceptionally mean lists are simply reflections of these authors' insecurities or fears.  (HERE is an example, and of course this is simply my opinion).  I wonder if people are really thinking about what it means to hit that "Publish" button, and that once the thoughts are out there, they may be out there indefinitely, and for all to see.

There is a power that comes from writing things down.  At least it's true for me.  Writing out every thought is the one means we all have of saying what we need to say without being interrupted mid-sentence or mid-thought.  But when you write things for another site, depending on the terms, you may give up the power of ownership.  Once you submit your work to another site, you put yourself at the mercy of that site's terms.  You may not be able to take your work down, even if you want to.  Thoughts that you might not stand behind anymore, or that no longer reflect who you are can linger in the ether of the internet, on another person's website, to be accessed at any time, simply because you gave up the right to take it down.  You may not even be able to re-post on your own blog without giving attribution to the site that you contributed your work to in the first place.  In some cases, you may not be able to see the ad revenue that your work (which you gave up for free) has generated for someone else. 

Even if you manage to have something taken down or if you only posted on your own site to being with, there is the chance that it may be cached for awhile or that the wayback machine might have archived it.  There's also the consideration that someone may just take your work from your blog, post it on theirs, link back to you in tiny hard-to-find letters, like what dose.com did to Cholafied in this example, take the ad revenue and run.

That leads me to ask:
  • Is the idea of getting lots of clicks (exposure) by submitting your work to someone else's website worth relinquishing rights to your work?  
  • How is it any different (if it is at all) from just publishing your work in a more traditional manner and losing track of whose eyes may come across it?  
  • Is it a good, bad, or neutral that the act of blogging or editorializing our lives through short essays may be turning us into mass producers of clickbait?
  • Finally, does phrasing our thoughts and work in a way that will "make" people click or read them cheapen our thoughts and work? 
I don't know what the answers are here, but I certainly am thinking about the possibilities.  If anyone does happen to read this, feel free to comment.  I'll leave you with this thought, a Jewish proverb: "A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return."


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