I hate it.

I hate how when I wanna step outside for fresh air I feel like someone thinks I’m lying, trying to sneak in a cigarette. I hate how I’ve got this crazy head of mine, it’s telling me I’m accountable to everybody I don’t know. I hate how I’ve changed my résumé so much I probably wouldn’t hire me. I hate how the dumbest little thing is all it takes to keep me from doing what I wanna be doing. I hate how I’m so goddamn nice I assume that I can’t smile at a girl because she’s gonna think “creep” or “fag.” I hate my ability to see the things I hate till I’m blinded to the things I love.

But I love to make people smile, and that always makes the hate okay.

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And now, here’s some beach.

Let’s talk about job hunting.

Some company, or a person, has this thing they need done because they’re either not willing to do it, don’t have the time, haven’t figured out how to negate the need thereof, or some combination of them all. Some person, who doesn’t have anything they particularly need to do, and has about 40 hours a week of time that isn’t already claimed by something, prods these people, asking if they can take on the challenge of doing whatever is delegated to them.

Why is this how job hunting should work? The problem I have with this setup is that it doesn’t really do any justice to the applicant, and it’s almost always based off of prior activity as opposed to aptitude. When was the last time you applied for a job because you knew you could do it without feeling automatically disqualified by some statement or generalization made by the employer? It’s a rough job market. That’s a fact. I’d definitely go so far as to say that a lot of the reason it’s a rough market is because we have the system completely backwards.

I’m constantly creative, I’m pretty good at writing, painting, and basically any art form you throw at me. I know that and my friends know it, too. I am in the process of writing a book, like anyone else from Portland – or any other LA immigrant, I suppose. Any time I have ever had a job, which has been most of my life since the middle of high school, I have always felt like I was not properly using my natural aptitudes. I think most people could say this about their job: it isn’t fulfilling. If you’re slaving away on someone else’s terms toward someone else’s dream, how can it be?

I’ve decided that I am going about hunting a different way, this time. I am certain that there is a high likelihood you’ll see a broken, humbled version of me warning you that it wasn’t worth it after all. I don’t care, though, because that version of me is at least one who will have tried a bit harder. I’m not going to work full time (which, in my book, is anything more than 30 hours a week) unless it is something I legitimately have a passion about. By limiting myself to just 30 hours of work or less, I’m guaranteeing myself 10 hours more time each week to work on something that I really care about. In worker’s terms, that’s 1 ½ “shifts” of writing, painting, and drawing, working on my own small business ideas, or anything like that. Gone will be the excuse of feeling overworked, right? I hope so.

It strikes me as odd that the worker bee mentality is the one that is so prevalent. We have somehow been conditioned to fear the lack of a steady job. The price of a steady job is, in my mind, quite a bit higher than the price of trying maybe just a bit harder at doing what you love as much as possible. I know, personally, that I would not be happy looking back on my life and seeing a lifelong pattern of slowly gaining at a rate determined by someone above me.

I think the moral of all of this is to know your own worth. Not everyone has a vigilante streak like I do. I also know that if anything I ever really want to do were to take off, at some point, I’d have to find my own worker bees. Just remember: if you aren’t going to be proud of it later, then don’t do it now.

How to Use the Internet

I think I might be one of the few people in my age group who really grasps what the Internet was originally (and still is) best used for. It’s been only since Wednesday night that I have even arrived in town, and I’ve already gotten my own miniature personal network of people started. I have made a couple friends online, some through friends of friends, some job prospect connections, and most of all, started to figure out the tangled mess of freeways that pumps the blood through the LA basin.

Facebook, or as I am apt to call it, The Big Blue Website, is to me one of the most ridiculously misconstrued phenomena of our time. The way that most people use social networking is completely the opposite of social. You’ve got the trolls that will retweet, like and pin so much that they never actually interact with anyone on a human level, instead subjecting themselves to social exile for being “that girl” or “that guy” that provides their whole friends list with direct-marketing spam, be it in the form of an invite to harvest crops in FarmVille, suggesting you join some arbitrary extension of your high school experience, or something reposting everything they see on YouTube. Who cares? Only on rare occasion does anyone find himself interested or even looking for videos of friends being drunk, what song someone decided to Spotify, or which articles someone read from Perez Hilton. Here are my rules to keeping the Internet exactly what I need it to be:

  1. Keep your apps to yourself. There is nothing more irritating to someone who does not care about Flash games than getting a daily dose of Draw Something requests. I understand the fun in it. I don’t want to have to sort through Facebook notifications the same way I do my email, which is bad enough. Spam, I would go so far to say this, is probably one of the main reasons email is already archaic in terms of staying up to date with friends, for the most part. Let’s not do that to Facebook.
  2. Keep your online exposure to a minimum. You and your friends are all aware that you go out and get wasted. You do it together. Let’s not build a shrine to our weakest moments, shall we?
  3. If you don’t have anything nice to post, don’t post anything at all. Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere, for the most part, will not be able to provide the answers to the woes of your life. There is no dislike button for this very reason: Facebook isn’t intended to be a dirty laundry basket. So if you’re posting something negative, you’re greatly degrading your own image – possibly even moreso than in an actual social environment. Your friends are only a phone call away if you need to vent. Your acquaintances will just unfriend you. Simple.
  4. Do not expect fulfillment or facts from the websites you read. Huffington Post, Perez Hilton, even the Yahoo homepage (my own long-time personal browsing vice) are not aimed at you, and if you are, it’s because you’re stupid. Look at the Yahoo homepage right now. I dare you. In fact, I just typed it out for you: www.yahoo.com. Do it. Now, count how many of the articles on their main news feed are at all relevant to the real woes of the world. At this moment, I count four of 55 articles even relating to anything legitimately going on in the world. In the midst of counting, I found myself distracted by one of the articles. Keep in mind that there is a difference between reading Cosmo and the New York Times, and if you’re not interested in anything NYT or CNN have to offer, you probably are getting as much useful time out of reading online as you would be by watching afternoon television.
  5. The Internet is our backup copy of reality. So there’s no reason why you should interact with someone’s wall more than in person or on the phone or via email, even if you are a few trillion miles away. You aren’t required to digitalize everything you experience every day. Leave some of the magic about yourself to be discovered in person.

Following these guidelines has helped me immensely in terms of not spending my whole day at the computer, waiting for it to decide what I need to look for. The computer won’t out of its own volition help you with much of anything you haven’t already addressed with it. I have set myself up to be more computer dependent, for sure: needing a job, not knowing the area all that well, wondering where people go to meet other people who want to meet other people, figuring out how to cope with driving literally everywhere – and that’s what I knew before moving, but I’m certain that I’ve done a good job, at least so far, of making sure that I maintain my positive connections without acting as though my interactions with others are to serve as nothing more than a billboard screaming “hey! I have friends, watch us prove it!”

I met one of the angels here yesterday.

I was driving through central LA at around one this afternoon. It wasn’t the worst traffic I have seen so far, but it was certainly the worst traffic I have ever dealt with at one in the afternoon. Interstate 5 may as well have had stop signs every mile or so. At least the congestion patterns would make sense. The cars move in tiny little clumps until they bump into the clump ahead of them. It’s as though the freeway is just one big intestinal track, with little villi patting each car on the back as it scoots along with the rest of the millions.

The car behind me happened to be diarrhea. It was chugging along at what felt like 65 miles per hour, as most flu viruses. 65 miles per hour is basically parked in Los Angeles when the traffic is moving, but it has a more rest-of-the-world implication during gridlock. It happens to be pretty fast when the next thing in front of you is my 0-miles-per-hour bumper.

So this high-speed diarrhea shit bullet is barreling west on I-5 toward Santa Monica, completely oblivious to the rest of the congested digestive freeway around it, and once again, in front of it. My rear bumper, which, by definition, implies it’s there in case of a bump — not a high-speed diarrhea shit bullet. The problem is that the person in front of me had just slammed her brakes, and I didn’t have anywhere to go, making me the very back end of the constipation. The bullet happened to be a great big black SUV of little distinguishable form, other than American-made. This left me sitting in my car, concerned not nearly as much about the accident I was about to be in, but more about the horrid thought of death-by-ugly-American-SUV, and how that would really not do justice to my generally earth-friendly granola view of the world.

That’s when I met the angel! I’m pretty sure angels aren’t so much celestial beings when they’re hanging out in Los Angeles, because if they were I’m sure the whole city would operate differently. This one happened to show up in mind of the driver of the bullet. It manifested as the well-timed realization that the shoulder to my left was a much better place to come to a screeching halt than five feet into my poor bumper. Through unblinking eyes, I see the SUV scrape its way to a halt right next to me. I smiled and waved, because at this point it was more of a situation of gratitude. The SUV behind the bullet, which must’ve been the white blood cell tailgating the shit bullet, was going just as fast, and it also realized this in time. It swooped to the right, stopping on my other side. I waved again. I sat there for a moment not in panic or shock, but mostly just because the car in front of me hadn’t moved yet. The traffic started scooting onward, and I was kindly let in by the bullet and the blood cell, a bizarre show of reverence for the typically-ignored right-of-way.

Angels are probably everywhere. If everyone really has one, then there are millions in the area. Sometimes they probably do all kinds of things to help people out, but I’m glad that my angel manifested itself this time as a simple a-ha! in the mind of a fellow driver.