L.A. in 2 Days – This Bitch’s Do’s and Don’t’s

I lived in Los Angeles for a year.  I don’t know if anyone could have come to that conclusion on their own, especially considering the content of my blog.  I also fully plan on moving back to Los Angeles again at some point.  But for now, my place is cleaning out the Playbills in my parents’ basement and selling them on eBay (shameless plug if anyone’s into theatre).  

Since I have had the experience of navigating the gridlocked streets, I enjoy passing my wisdom onto others in hopes that my advice will cut some misery from their trip.  L.A. is a huge, sprawling city; it can be tough to pick things to do.  Look at me… I still didn’t do a lot of shit and I lived there.  This list is really targeted to three friends who are traveling out West beginning tomorrow: Mikey, Abby and Eric.  But I’m not going to be cliquey about it, anyone who plans on traveling to the City of Angels is allowed to look at this “guide.”

STEP ONE SHOULD BE A RENTAL CAR.  I think there’s a myth that it’s possible to get around Los Angeles via public transit, but whomever is saying that is on crack.  Get the car.  You will be able to see so much more with it.

Sidenote: if anyone is actually planning to use Airbnb while in L.A.; please read my post on how I stayed in a Halfway House by accident before you make a decision.

Here goes nothing.  Or everything.

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HALFWAY HELL – My #MovingToLAStory

I feel like “Moving Horror Stories” are to “Big City” as “twerking” is to Miley Cyrus.  It doesn’t necessarily always happen, but it makes for a great tale later on.  Before I relocated to Los Angeles, I had already lived in two “hub cities;” New York and Philadelphia.  Therefore, I foolishly expected to be immune from the “L.A. Story.”  There is a certain level of street smart acquired when inhabiting a big city, and I had my fair share of drama in New York City.  To my surprise, I was being completely naïve because shit did go down.  We weren’t swindled out of hundreds of dollars by a greedy landlord; nor were we forced to live in an illegal basement “apartment” (both of those were actual stories retold to me).

My first misstep was assuming my roommate and I would be able to secure a lease in six days.  I arrived in Los Angeles on May 25th (a holiday weekend) and figured we would find something by May 31st.  Nope.  May 30, 2013 was spent on Airbnb looking for some semblance of temporary housing so we had a roof over our head.  I was staying in a hotel in Culver City and my roommate was in a sublet in Long Beach; we needed to act quick.  My roommate found a shared bedroom in a house (for $1,650) that we booked in desperation.  I decided to ignore the fact that I paid $1,650 a month to live in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, because it just wasn’t time to be picky.  The listing looked fantastic: although we would have to share a bedroom with two single beds (and one bathroom with however many other guests came), it had “sweeping views of Downtown Los Angeles.”

Hahahaha.

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THE 10 LIST – 10 Reasons I’m Glad I’m Turning 26 in Tweets

I had a first draft of this post, in which I bitched about getting older and everything that goes along with it.  When I re-read it, it seemed like a plot outline for an episode of Girls.  Truthfully, I might be having some growing pains: much lower alcohol tolerance; inability to operate on little-to-know sleep; bills piling up faster than I can make money; but it could be worse.  I could be 20 again.

I turned to old faithful… my Twitter archive (which is thankfully only on my hard drive and no longer on the interwebs).  Unfortunately (or fortunately), my early 20s synced up with the launch of Twitter.  Literally, the Twitterverse became a thing when I was 20 years old.  I sat down with a beer and  hand-picked the absolute best tweets from my early 20s to show you (really to show myself), that some things get better with age.

I still eat food that might be bad, though.

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“GIRLS;” Do I have Hannah Horvath Syndrome?

It’s Monday which means a new episode of Girls aired last night.  Yes, I’m adding fuel to your “I’m sick of hearing about Lena Dunham and her television show” fire.  Last night (Episode 27, “Free Snacks”), viewers watched as Hannah (Dunham) secured an advertorial writing gig at GQ.  In true Girls fashion, it is an opportunity that Hannah almost immediately begins to shit on.  I will spare you from a full episode summary (if you have yet to see it, or if you can’t stand to watch the show Vulture has an on-point recap) and instead provide just a brief synopsis.

The episode appeared to be a step in the right direction for Hannah; she quits her barista job at Grumpy’s and is initially overjoyed to start a job which utilizes her self-described “myriad talents.”  Her excitement quickly dissolves and is replaced with dread after realizing that her cushy new job has become a creative trap for her co-workers.  They all started out like Hannah: trying to balance work with their own personal projects in hopes of making a name for themselves in the literary world.  To Hannah’s horror, the benefits of GQ are too enticing, too comfortable.  Her co-workers have abandoned their dreams in favor of a fully-stocked snack room.  Cue a full-scale Hannah Horvath meltdown: complete with tears and a trip to the bathroom to stick her head under the faucet (An aside: Do people actually do that?  She’s done that twice, albeit one time she was high on cocaine).

“Free Snacks” was one of the more uncomfortable installments to watch.  While last night’s episode did not include anything traditionally unsettling (e.g. Dunham’s character rupturing her eardrum with a Q-Tip amidst a fit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Adam’s mentally unstable sister Caroline (guest-star Gaby Hoffmann) suddenly appearing completely bottomless and crushing a glass with her bare hands), I still experienced bouts of anxiety.  Why?  Because I hated to admit that I knew exactly how Hannah felt.  While I don’t necessarily identify with Hannah Horvath’s obscure, borderline-unhealthy detachment from reality, I do recognize some uncanny parallels to myself within the monster character Lena Dunham has created.

Like… it’s sort of eery.  Follow the Yellow Brick Road…

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I Won Something!

Just popping in to tell the four readers of this blog that I haven’t passed away.  I have a few interesting posts that I’m toying with (and one that I might actually put up tomorrow) but meanwhile:

I WON SOMETHING!!!

Yes, the person who was once the 13th name drawn at the Avenue Q ticket lottery when they had 13 tickets to give away actually had a bit of good luck.  Thanks to The Ellen Show, I’m seeing Fitz And The Tantrums: Live from The Artist’s Den on Wednesday, February 5th!  If you’ve never heard of Fitz And The Tantrums, I urge you to look them up.  Their second LP, More Than Just A Dream was released this past May and it’s fantastic.

I hope you enjoyed this self-serving post.  OK bye.

(Image of Fitz and the Tantrums courtesy of Atlantic Records)

THE 10 LIST – 10 Awkward Unemployed Moments

 

Video from BuzzFeed via YouTube

At the end of 2012 and into the beginning of 2013, I watched as my younger sister grappled with the consequences of quitting her job.  Around Christmas, she felt she had outgrown the company she was working for (to put it in the nicest way possible).  I witnessed the stress she dealt with when she realized she still had Christmas presents to buy before she could return to Baltimore and find a new job.  She had to face the probing questions from a firing squad (also known as our fairly large extended family) on Christmas Eve.  After the holidays, my sister embarked on a harrowing monthlong journey that few could relate to.  Exactly one year later, I found myself in the exact.  Same.  Boat.

In the United States, the major difference between quitting your job versus being furloughed or laid off is that when you quit, you are ineligible to collect Unemployment.  My decision point came in November; I moved to Los Angeles with a goal to work toward: the ability to support myself as a full-time photographer.  A goal which is difficult to attain while waking up for work every day at 3:30am.  So I made the decision to part ways with my company, which was a month ago (as of yesterday).  Today I saw the above video on BuzzFeed (while “working from home”) and for the first time in 31 days, I finally felt someone (besides my dear sister) could relate to me without simultaneously shitting on me.

So I give you the Conor Clancy List Of 10 Awkward Moments When You’re Unemployed in Your Twenties.  And please, anyone who has been in/is currently dealing with this situation feel free to share YOUR 10 Awkward Moments!

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My Very Long Layover

I would refer to myself as well-traveled.  I have had my fair share of connecting flight in the past, and my luck has always been excellent.  I once missed a connecting flight in Atlanta back in 2007 because I misread the departure time, and had an extra-long weather delay in Dallas due to a Tornado Warning.  But my flight has always departed.  Until today.

I moved to Los Angeles this past May to become a Photographer.  I transferred my “just-enough-money-to-break-even” hourly job to from the suburbs of Philadelphia to West Hollywood and spent 6 months working myself to death.  Finally I quit.  I made an executive decision rooted in my lack of energy and time to do anything with my camera, and also the fact that I was literally waking up at 3:30am every day and I am almost positive brain cells were killed in the process.  So I did it.  Never before in my life have I ever felt so completely terrified and excited at the same time.

Today was the first day of my new job.  I was due into LAX at 12:16pm on United Flight 163 from Houston.  The only snafu being that my luck completely fucking ran out.  Winter Storm Hercules rolled in on the Eastern Seaboard last night, twelve hours before my flight from Philly left for Houston.  I refuse to have my entire life put on hold until Sunday.  Refuse.  

Right now I sit at a table in the café of where I began my “just-enough-money-to-break-even” job (hint… rhymes with Farclucks) listening to two 8-year-olds chatting about their iPhones and touching upon the fact that “everything happens at the bus stop.”

So I begin this new year longing for the days that my biggest problem was “Shit… one of the closers called out.”  Or better yet, the days where I would sit in front of the television on Long Island with my sister waiting to see if the impending snow storm would close the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District and I could go to the mall with Christina and Marissa.

In short, I’ve waited long enough.  I refuse to let the snow delay my new career path.