She fell in love in East L.A.

I have been unemployed for over two years now :D

While I have actively been looking for a job, and have had about 20 interviews to date, I can't say I've been anything close to desperate to go back to work. Collecting unemployment is an absolute blessing and I have been fortunate to qualify for it twice now in my life. Plus all the extra COVID bonus money and extensions this time around.

After losing my job I signed up for an online class at UCLA Extension. I liked it so much I decided to continue taking classes, mostly in-person, when I moved to LA. Though I put the classes on pause until we go back to in-person (if that ever happens...), I decided to read some of the required books from classes I would have taken.

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NOT listed are all the podcasts I listened to during the lockdown while walking laps around my apartment! Some of them were just for fun, but others were incredibly informative regarding the television industry and stand-up comedy.

And here are some of the more noteable things I did during my unemployed time:

- Went to New Orleans with a friend to see Missy Elliot live at the Essence Festival, explored an abandoned theme park.
- Performed comedy for 30+ minutes to a lovely crowd in Canada at my friend's cozy venue before it shut down.
- Went to Just for Laughs in Montreal for what I suspect to be the last time, at least as a spectator.
- Worked as a production assistant on a film shot in Seattle (The Stairs).
- Went to NYC with a couple of friends and went on the NBC tour, discovered a new delicious smoothie that I was able to recreate and make on a regular basis.
- Performed at the All Jane Comedy Festival in Portland.
- Moved to LA, experienced my first (and second and third) earthquake.
- Was a guest on my first podcast.
- Visited friends and family in Spain.
- Did not see the northern lights in Finland (third attempt to date), but bought some cute Moomin stuff.
- Performed comedy in London.
- Took some good online and in-person Entertainment Studies classes at UCLA Extension.
- Did improv for a few months before the lockdown ended that.
- Researched a bunch of stocks and invested in about 50 of them (pre-pandemic, sigh).
- Opened for Maria Bamford and got to see her perform a really funny new hour in an intimate setting.
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- Took meditation classes, have kept it up twice daily.
- Recorded a few more episodes of my "comedy dissection" video podcast.
- Bought what is now one of my most prized possessions - a writer's draft script from the "The Cafe" episode of Seinfeld.
- Found some platinum records on the sidewalk, cleaned them up and sold them on eBay profiting about $240. Kept one on my wall ;)
- Rented a car for a day and drove to the beach and ran a bunch of errands. This was a huge deal for me since I barely know how to drive and was terrified the entire time.
- Got "Aisha and Arijana" on Amazon Prime and IMDb.
- Took free online classes for Excel/Google Sheets, SQL and Tableau. Played with Power BI a little.
- Used free trials to Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot and learned some amazing go-to recipes that I've kept making (Black Bean & Poblano Soup, Hot Honey Brussels Sprouts & Lemon Ricotta Flatbread, Italian Garden Veggie Soup, Crispy Carrot Dumplings).
- Went hiking at nearby Mt. Yamashiro and Griffith Park a few times, visited the Batman cave.
- Went to Miami with a new friend, performed stand up when LA was still largely shut down, took a day trip to Key West.
- Visited friends in Denver a couple of times, went to a gun range and went jet skiing.
- Visited friends and family in Houston.
- Painted old food jar lids black to reuse glass containers without it looking ghetto.
- Made a concerted effort to reduce my plastic consumption. Have been using the bulk bins at Sprouts and the Santa Monica Co-Op for a lot of foods, and switched to Dropps dishwasher tablets.
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- Planted Swiss chard on my balcony in an old baby spinach container.
- Performed stand-up in some unique outdoor settings in LA, such as on the beach and in an old zoo.
- Caught and recovered from COVID-19 (still can't smell 100%).
- Started feeding neighborhood alley cats :)
- Started cleaning up trash on my street (I carry a rubber glove and plastic grocery bag in my backpack now).
- Visited friends and family in Seattle.
- Obtained my second degree black belt in karate (training before, during, and after the lockdown).

And like my last time unemployed, I continue making an effort to conserve my foreign languages and learn a new one.

Travel Packing - Things I typically bring (in addition to the normal stuff)



1. Large Ziplock Bag (gallon or larger) - Great for separating dirty clothes, or any number of random uses.
2. Detergent - I typically don't pack a lot of clothing so the likelihood of running out of clothes is high, and I'm very picky with my detergent (Seventh Generation Lavender is my favorite).
3. Tea Tree Oil - Amazing for muscular pain. I used to carry a full 1 oz bottle, but this vial takes up less space.
4. Nail Clipper - I had to buy one on a trip, so now that I have two I keep one in my suitcase so I don't forget to pack it.
5. Sanitizing Hand Wipes - Sometimes traveling gets grimy (especially in third world countries), and not everywhere has soap (especially in third world countries...)
6. Mint and Echinacea Herbal Teas - Good for indigestion and for fighting a cold before it starts (respectively).
7. Cedar Block - Keeps my clothes smelling fresh.
8. Sewing Kit
9. Extra Cell Phone Battery - An older one that lasts half as long as my current one, but could come in handy nevertheless.
10. Extra Glasses
11. Bikini - Barely takes up space, and you never know when you'll stumble upon a pool, hot tub, mineral pool, or sauna.
12. Large Bubble Wrap Envelope - If I purchase something breakable, it's nice to have the extra protection for it.

Studio Apartment

Finally I get to live in a tiny apartment! There's a shared kitchen (in which I have a small cabinet), but I get my own refrigerator so it's not so bad. The "Love" and "Career" feng shui baguas of my place are missing, so I've done what I can to counter that through the use of colors and pictures on my walls.


The box up top is empty. The drawing on the fridge reads "amiga gatita" and was drawn on the back of a package of cake mixes Michael sent to me when I was living in Spain.


Those are all of my clothes; my socks and underwear are in the rolling backpack on the bottom.


I haven't used the TV yet, but in theory it's there to play light gun games on (I'm waiting for Claudio to get here so we can split a cable or satellite bill). The keyboard and stand was given to me by my cousin who wasn't using it. The curtains were basically a necessity, the blinds don't block out the street lights ($5 for a repurposed table cloth at Goodwill, although if you add the price of the curtain rods they totaled about $30). Above the keyboard are square cut outs of photos I've taken over the years.


Bedside table was formerly in my mom's garage.


The shower curtain was my mom's old one, and bath mat and bathroom scale were going to be thrown out.
  • Current Music
    Madonna - Sorry

Lately, I'm into circuitry

I've been unemployed for... a very long time now. At first it was amazing, suddenly having all this time on my hands, but a few months later it started to get to me. It's important to stay positive and productive though, hard as it may be at times, and take advantage of the ample free time knowing that I'll one day pine for it. Since getting "completed" from Nintendo, and before and after my contract at Microsoft, I:

- Tried a few new recipes (favorites: chickpea spinach pea walnut cranberry medley, Ethiopian cabbage dish, peanut butter banana coconut milk smoothie), acquired an ice cream maker for free and made several flavors of coconut milk ice cream, and adjusted some of my favorite recipes to make them low-carb.
- Walked to a couple of parks and the river by my house (I should do this more often.)
- Extensively weeded through my belongings.
- Visited family and friends in Houston a couple of times.
- Collapse ) (what?! Granted two of these were long comics, and two were mini-books, but I normally read about two books a year. In bold are my favorites from the list.)
- Visited Claudio and friends in Spain, met up with a few former students of mine.
- Took an intensive French class in the Caribbean, lived with a host family, tried surfing, visited a rum distillery, got tan.
- Wrote a Modern Family spec that I'm pretty happy with, even if it didn't get me into any fellowship programs.
- Volunteered at SIFF, saw a movie in Catalan with Hunter with the free movie vouchers I got for my time.
- Learned how to drive, got my license, subsequently forgot everything I learned but that's ok hah at least now I can rent a car (drivers beware!)
- Took a few karate classes.
- Went zorbing with German!
- Met up with Claudio in Italy, visited the hometown of my favorite band VERDENA, saw an Italian Asia Argento movie on the big screen, got another ticket from Italian cops wtf, visited a cat sanctuary, Leonardo Da Vinci museum, and a crime and torture museum. (Technically this was in the middle of my MS contract, but at the time I thought it had ended and bought this ticket, missing out on 4 days of work, grr.)
- Visited Jennelle in Ecuador, got altitude sickness, went horseback riding through a forest, saw sloths in a depressingly small enclosure, recovered my tan.
- Moved to LA for a brief period of time, met up with two amazing friends I hadn't seen since high school.
- Performed a few solid stand-up sets in Seattle and LA.
- Met up with Claudio in Lisbon, worked remotely for a few days during the trip, ate a lot of delicious soup, helped Claudio play the PSX game "Overblood" in French.
- Went snowshoeing with a friend twice my age with twice my stamina.
- Met up with Claudio in Chicago, saw a mostly crappy Second City improv show, met up with family I hadn't seen in 10 years.
- Took a train to St. Louis, saw the arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, went to the symphony with Claudio even if it was nerdy video game music.

I've also been making an effort to conserve my foreign languages and learn a new one, which really only takes about an hour a day, if I'm good about it.

And while this may sound like a lot, traveling aside, I think I could do all of this with a full-time job and definitely with a part-time job. It's all a matter of good time management, something I hope to practice when I start working again.
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - Bliss

Storage Room Collection: Updated



+the old lunch kit with letters from Claudio, the Conguitos display, and most of my old video game stuff. Not really attached to many of these things, most of the "fan" stuff was just whatever I couldn't sell at Half Price.
  • Current Music
    Madonna - Erotica

Close your eyes so you can see

The most important thing that's happened recently is that I've completed my 20 lessons and I've learned how to stand on the surfboard; fate is in my hands now, no more letting the waves control where I go.

Finished reading: "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, thanks to Nina Yau for the recommendation on her blog.

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  • Current Music
    Kylie Minogue - Love Affair

On Minimalism

As I alluded to in that last entry, I had to get rid of everything I had in my mom's storage room in fewer than 3 days, and it surprisingly felt great. I wasn't really attached to most of the things down there anyway, and luckily Hunter let me keep a giant suitcase with him (mostly video games) for up to one year, so that helped a lot. In fact, I plan on selling about half of the stuff in that suitcase, but I knew I wouldn't be able to in the short amount of time I was given.

Now I'm living out of a carry-on again, traveling, anxious to get home even though I don't have a "home" in the proper sense. I like living light, I don't ever want to accumulate a bunch of stuff again.

Storage Room Collection: Childhood Items

The fourth and final set of photos of things I don't use but just can't part with. However, due to circumstances beyond my control I was, in fact, forced to part with most of my items in storage. Luckily these photos were taken before the fact.
Today I'm showcasing Childhood Items



T-Shirts

No one would want these at a thrift store so my logic was to turn them into diapers if and when I had a kid. They all ended up in the trash.

DVDs

These were taken by a friend with daughters who just so happens to have a multi-region DVD player and wants her kids to learn Spanish!

Comic Books

Goodwilled.

Books

Most of these were given away.

Sanrio Stuff

Goodwilled.

Gumby Figurines

Given away. Not all of my figurines were photographed, there was also GI Gumby and Racecar Gumby.

Non-Gumby Figurines

Given away.

Miscellaneous

Recycled/Goodwilled. The Volkswagen keychain was sold on ebay.



For larger pictures and more descriptions, check out my set on flickr: Storage Room

I just want to turn the lights on / In these volatile times...

I've been working again, a short-term contract job at Microsoft. It's nice, the people are cool, it's kind of boring and I need to do something real with my life, maybe.

I finally read "The Bell Jar" 15 years after my cousin recommended it, and wow it is so well written. I found myself rushing through the banal dialogue so I could read Plath's insightful comments (and normally I hate prose!)

I redid my binder from high school so it's more fitting with the times:





These days I have no idea what's going on in my life, where I'll be a week or two from today. It's not that bad but it's not that cool, either...
  • Current Music
    IAMX - Volatile Times

Storage Room Collection: Computer and Video Games

The third set of photos of things I don't use but just can't part with - at least not yet. I've been getting rid of things non-stop for the past 6-12 months, and this is what remains.
Today I'm showcasing Computer and Video Games
(Note: Most of these items were not acquired during my childhood but over the past 10 years.)












Sega Saturn with the box, $15 at a thrift store! I may sell this soon (and replace it with a Sega CD...)


Missing: "Resident Evil: Code Veronica" (Hunter's getting me a replacement copy)


Famicom Clone, $5 at a thrift store! My only game for it is "Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti", but I'm sure there are plenty of games that weren't released outside of Japan that I'd be interested in (among them a Megaman game.)











Miscellaneous

The Spyro game is the case and instructions only (from a thrift store, 10 cents.) Some guy working at Pink Gorilla gave me the copy of Sewer Shark for free, heh. I threw away "Mario's Cement Factory" when it stopped working (or maybe the batteries just died and I stupidly threw it away), but the instructions remain. The Mario sticker and the pack of scratch-off cards were free from The Surfing Pizza



For larger pictures and more descriptions, check out my set on flickr: Storage Room