Thursday, February 28, 2013

Things I can do once I get a big girl job

This is starting to get crucial. As big of a surprise as this may seem, doing freelance work and the occasional odd job just isn't cutting it. It's literally frightening to think that I have been graduated for a full year now (given, I graduated a semester early and most of that year was spent saving up to move to L.A.), and I still don't have what most would deem as a "big girl job." Or real job. Or job that actually pays a salary and has benefits. Which really is all I want– is that asking for much?

As nauseating as the job seeking is, I try to keep myself afloat by constantly thinking of the things that I will do/buy once I get said job. My discipline capstone professor is probably shaking her head at me for doing this right now, but here's what I've come up with:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Best of Craigslist: Rants and Raves Edition

If you haven't ever gone on the "Rants and Raves" section of're not missing out on anything. I barely even got this small collection of gems through the pile of nude photos, Obama digs and self-pitying long essays about how they missed their chance with this girl 26 years ago. I on the other hand was imagining some hilarious story of a guy ranting about how his neighbor keeps knocking over him front yard gnome, or something. But alas, that was not the case. So enjoy– I officially lost brain cells to copy and paste these posts for you...

1. dead beat dad club

fun outings, support group..
Just a fun bunchn of guys sharing their life experiences neglecting thier kids..
(( I was told by the judge to pay child support to feed my kids --I told him LET THEM STARVE))
I know their are many of you that feel the same way..

This is horrid. In what world do you think that the words "dead beat dad" and "support group" go together?! NO, NO, NO! Just because the phrase is catchy does NOT mean that it should be a thing! You should not band together like brothers and share stories of how you had so-and-so number of affairs or so-and-so ways you abused your child! It makes me upset just writing my response! This is not a culture, don't treat it that way!


WHY THE ALL CAPS?! I understand that you probably are on your last few threads of life, but jeez man, what are the chances you are going to find your son (who may or may not even live in the Los Angeles region) on the "Rants and Raves" section of Craigslist? Also, why the urgency now? Do you think that you guys will automatically connect after an entire lifetime of not knowing each other? Have you been searching for him for years? Or is this the only thing that you've done? Let's hope the kid knows about Ancestry

3. Boredbored

word limit?

have nothing else to say



thats all

...why even bother?

4. Why are those people on that Carnival Cruise complaining?That sounds like a great vacation if they are passing out free liquor drinks and you can go the bathroom anywhere you want, You could probably find some drunk girls and also set up a slip and slide down one of the hallways

Um...have you read the reports from that cruise?! People didn't have anything to drink! Sure, in other circumstances a free beer sounds cool, but they didn't have any water to rehydrate themselves with! Babies didn't have any formula for days, there was literally sewage and poop running from the walls, need I go on? They will probably make a horror movie about it years from now, and a slip and slide is definitely not going to be in it. 

5. do you like to make fart sounds ?If so call and make them , tonight..
long , gross and wet ones work the best.

Excuse me? Work best for what? You and your camera? The ninnies on the Internet these days, I swear...

Bonus (because these rants suck):

create an asian event (san gabriel valley)let's create an asian event. let me know if anybody willing to help out or volunteer.
An Asian event?! What does that even mean? Is San Gabriel Valley lacking in Asian get-togethers? Because if that is the case, just come to Los Angeles. We have an asian event happening probably about every day. So I went on the website above called "Asian Insider," and they are basically trying to make a Craigslist just for Asians. The only problem? There's literally about three people including the founder who post on it. Please work on your marketing, you're giving Asians out there a bad name. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do something new every day: Week 2

Johnny Ramone, the most famous tombstone that I saw. 

Saturday: Hollywood Cemetery
So this might have been a little grim for a sunny Saturday afternoon. However, it was just a stroll down the road from my place (it's right beside Paramount Studios) and I wanted to check out the place that I would undoubtedly watch scary movies come summer. Honestly, I was expecting to see more famous people's names on the graves. However, there was a nice Jewish and Russian community of people at the cemetery, and to it's credit, there was no way that I saw all of the tombstones. Ironically, it was a very nice place to sit back, read a book and relax without the city noise. There were a lot of benches, a nice little pond with ducks and swans, and even some peacocks in cages. Yep, there were peacocks there. Don't ask me why because I don't know.

Sunday: Fremont Centre Theater 
My roommate had to do a review of Von Bach here, so I was lucky enough to tag along. I've been to a fair share of theaters in Los Angeles, but I have to say, this is one of my favorites. Located in the charming South Pasadena, you can tell that this is a great community theater that has lasted throughout the years not just because of the talented productions that they throw, but because of the gentile service that they give their audience. The play itself was a cleverly told horror/comedy story that was like Frankenstein and Dracula's hilariously confused baby child. According to my roommate's beautifully written review in Life in LA,
"On the whole, Von Bach effectively presents the trials and tribulations of filmmaking in Hollywood while, at the same time, providing two hours of unconventional, sidesplitting comedy." 

Monday: Whitley Heights
I found this little treasure on Yelp and after a long sedentary day, I wanted to go out for a nice little walk before sunset. Despite the fact that you have to hike up a hill that gives my hill a run for its money (which is saying a lot), the view and houses are worth it. It's a nice example of Spanish villas in Hollywood and it isn't crawling with tourists, which is always a plus.

Tuesday: Intelligentsia
Since I've moved to LA, my cousin has referred to this coffeeshop as "where the coffee snobs go." As a frequent coffeeshop inhabiter, I naturally had to. And I have to admit, it is the best coffee that I've ever had. The only downside is that there are not that many places to sit, let alone plug up inside, though there are plenty of seats outside. Also, they were playing songs like "Move Bitch (Get Out The Way)" and "Slim Shady." Not exactly the mood music for a coffeeshop. On the upside, the chocolate chip cookies are bangin'.

Wednesday: Sassafras
I mean...their name is Sassafras, the saloon is New Orleans themed, and they have a rotating liquor bottle contraction hanging from the ceiling above the bar– what is there not to like? Maybe it's because I have a very soft spot for New Orleans, but I pretty much fell in love with this bar immediately. The drinks are a little pricey, but to their credit, they are the doctors of mixology. And instead of boring bar snacks like pretzels or lollipops, they have hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper shakers. Mind blown.

Thursday: LACE
Aka Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; not a museum of lace material. I can't believe I've been walking past this place for 8 months and haven't even noticed it on Hollywood Blvd. Needless to say, there's not that much to see. Surviving off of donations only, this place takes contemporary to the edge. I literally watched a clip of someone folding a piece of paper for 15 minutes while I was there. The highlight was this mountain of assorted costumes, masks and accessories in the back room. It's one of those places where I question if this is really art, or they are just completely bullshitting me.

Friday: UCLA Sculpture Garden/ Botanical Gardens
What the hell? Why didn't my alma mater have a sculpture and botanical garden?! Not fair. UCLA students basically have unlimited spots to chill out and relax outside of the library. I would throw picnics on the lawn of the sculpture garden ALL THE TIME. I would have memorized the names of the all the sculptures and whenever I would need to meet someone, I would tell them to find me by the "Woman and baby on hip" sculpture. As for the botanical gardens...I don't even want to know what students use all those hidden spots for.

Whoo! That was a full week! If you missed Week 1, read it here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Oscars Acceptance Speech

My man, Oscar. Photo by Dave_B_ on Flickr

Oh, you haven't heard? I was the talk of the show last night. After winning Best Actress for Memoirs of a Geisha Two: Full Throttle by a landslide, I was rushed onstage by my fellow costars: Lucy Lui, Tom Cruise (remember when he played a samurai that one time?) and Jackie Chan. I blew a kiss to my director (Ang Lee, of course), and proceeded to give a speech that I managed to memorize beforehand and thus did not need the help of a folded up napkin. The speech reads:

Ladies and gentlemen of the academy, I thank you for acknowledging that I am indeed the best of the best. I can now store this naked trophy of a man in the space that I carved out of my front door months ago. You see, I always knew that I was destined for greatness. Ever since I was five and that monk told me I was a stubborn lass, since I was 18 and already restless, and since I was 22 and sharing an one-bedroom studio apartment with two other people. "This couldn't just be it," I told myself then. And I'm telling you now– "This isn't it." There's way more that life has to offer you, but you just have to take the opportunity. Sure, you might fail, but at least you can say that you tried! Yes, I'm talking to you other nominees that I beat (Natalie Portman, Angelina Jolie, and Dakota Fanning). 

Now I know I should probably start thanking people since they are about to cue that god awful music any moment now, so here it goes: a big thanks to my wise and all-knowing direcetor, Ang Lee. You've taught me so much about my Asian culture that I have decided that with this victory, I am going to adopt a Vietnamese child come next year (watch out, Brangelina!). I would like to thank my mother, who has seen me grow up from that mute outsider in sixth grade, to a woman on the red carpet (given, E! is probably going to have something dreadful to say about my dress tomorrow). And finally, I would like to thank all the women who have inspired, mentored, advised and encouraged me along the way– I couldn't have done it without your guidance. 

Oh, and just one last thing...isn't it high time that they stop segregating the Oscars by sex, anyway? Can we just have a category that is Best Actor...period? "Actor" meaning men and women? Alright, that's it for Lisa Huynh, peace and blessings ya'll!

P.S.: This really did not happen last, night but is a premonition of an actual Academy Awards speech that will happen circa 2027. You heard it first here.

For some other stunning and memorable speeches, watch Frances McDormand kick ass, Kate Winslet gush over her dad whistling from the audience, Reese Witherspoon talking about being a "real woman," and Jodie Foster before her coming out Golden Globes speech.

Friday, February 22, 2013

First dates are like interviews...but with alcohol

After I had tired of just messaging people (or not) for a while, I finally took the next step and started going out on dates. When I first joined OkCupid, Obi wan Cupid told me that first dates are just like interviews, except you take a shot before one and not the other. Although some of what she said did seem to ring true at the time, I didn't really get the full grasp of their similarities until I actually experienced it.

So far I have only gone on four dates, each of them very different experiences. What I realize might be a direct result from this generation's "hookup culture," is that first dates usually mean going out for a drink. This is the first date of choice because it is convenient enough that it provides room for someone to ditch on the date if things aren't going very well without sitting throughout an entire meal, show or what-have-you. It also serves as an atmosphere where you both can actually talk and get to know each other, as opposed to watching a movie. Furthermore, it is much more economical to buy a drink or two with a person that you may or may not end up liking, instead of splurging on a romantic dinner for two.

I distinctly remember Obi wan Cupid, for example, consecutively ditch three dates (over a period of a few weeks) mid-meal after saying that she had to "go to the bathroom." Similarly, my neighbor who did online dating said he ditched a girl one time because she looked nothing like her profile picture.  "I think she put pictures of her sister up," he said. A part of me feels pity for the girl that got stood up, but another part of me understands why he flew the coop. You should never lie in your profile– even if it is a small detail about your height, or something big like your age or job, because that other person is coming into the date thinking you are someone you are not. And they ARE going to find out. Besides, wouldn't you want someone to know who you actually are and message you because they actually find your accurate profile interesting? Or wouldn't you feel just as deceived or disgusted if someone lied online to you?

After hearing these stories, I promised to myself that I would never lie on my profile and wouldn't ditch someone on the first date. To make this easier for me, I decided to just go out for drinks as opposed to a more elongated engagement.

One of my friends say that they always take a Patron shot before photoshoots so that she's more relaxed and comfortable. I decided to apply that same level of thinking to first dates. During my very first first date, we spent the entire time playing "fuck, marry, kill," and it was going splendidly...until he out of the blue said that he had an urge to kiss me...30 minutes into the date. Nixed.

The second date was even worse, where I immediately knew that I wasn't attracted to him either physically or emotionally about 10 minutes in. I held out for one beer, however, until I said that I was getting sick and probably should get home soon and rest (this was partially true, actually).

It's not just the usual interview questions ("tell me about yourself," "what do you like to do in your free time?," "what do you do now?") that pop up during dates, but other small details as well. I found myself having to fill in the conversations with small talk and icebreakers during lulls or awkward pauses, just like I would BS an interview question that caught me off guard, or that I didn't prepare for. Surprisingly, this is about the moment that I realize the date/interview isn't going very well.

Even the callback from interviews and first dates are comparable. In interviews, you wait for the call, email or voicemail saying that you've gotten the job, or most of the time, you don't hear back at all and you know that you didn't get it. After (good) first dates you similarly await the text/call back signaling that they want a second date too, or you just don't hear a bleep from them at all.

It wasn't until my third date that I actually experienced a good GREAT online date. Sure, it still felt like an interview at first because I am always nervous, and it's hard to avoid doing your standard spiel about what the heck is it that you do for a living, or where you are from, yaddah yaddah yah. But unlike (most) employers, my date did the most to make me feel comfortable. Yes, it was probably because he could more accurately read me and who I am as a person without the nerves, but it was nice all the same. For example, instead of giving the other person the standard, one-arm hug when they first meet, he pulled me into a huge bear hug and lifted me off my feet (literally). He introduced me to his favorite bars, was honest and upfront about his personality and even invited me to meet his friend later on in the night. It wasn't like an interview anymore, but more like meeting another Couchsurfer and host. Consequently, I was at ease and enjoyed myself throughout the entire night. It was just like I was on my road trip across country again.

So now hopefully I'll raise my next shot glass not to another interview, but a second date. Cheers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Poetry Hour: Sometimes we like to go to ZUMBA!

Sometimes we like to go to ZUMBA!
by Lisa Huynh and Rachel Kassenbrock 

We walked in the door, three dollars in hand
And entered the ballroom, wide open and grand
Then shyly took places at the back of the room,
When all of a sudden, the music starts. BOOM!

This little energizer bunny, Maria takes the floor
She moves at warp speed, I'm already footsore.
I'm flailing around my limbs like a drunken fool;
It's like trying to keep rhythm in a whirlpool. 

The more I try and follow, the more I get confused,
Because of this, those around me will likely leave bruised.
My feet feel heavy and my arms are in a jumble,
Nothing like faking sexy dance moves to make you feel humble!

I jump, I kick, I work up a sweat
If I stumble a little, hey, there's no need to fret!
This class is for fun, we're not putting on a show
Well, except for those gay men we'd all love to know.

Sometimes I just have to stop and laugh at myself– 
Shimmying and shaking around to a little elf.
Nevertheless, I leave in a jolly good mood,
My body, mind and spirit thrice renewed! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In the News: Women of L.A., Paperman, and how much our minimum wage sucks

The Women of L.A.: If you haven't seen this yet, you need to. There has been a lot of backlash on the video and creators on how they portray the women of Los Angeles. The main actor and comedian in the video, DJ Lubel, laments about his difficulties getting laid in the big city. He describes the women in dirty detail, from West Hollywood girls with "your lulu lemon pants" to Beverly Hills Persian girls that wear "so much perfume and so hairy." All in all the women are shown to be materialistic, stuck up, and only will sleep with you based on your status, title and bank account.

Surprisingly, I actually find this very funny. In an interview with LA Weekly, Lubel has said:

"I love girls in Los Angeles. I adore them. Do you really think we believe anything we said in this? I just wanted to make people giggle. That's all we care about." 
Sure, he may be making people giggle at the women's expense, but I'd like to argue that it's at his own as well. He repeatedly made jokes about his looks and lack of success in the video and while we can all agree that stereotypes can be offensive and inaccurate, I believe it can also be funny and based on some truths too. Anyways, L.A. was already casted as being superficial before "The Women of L.A." aired, so Lubel isn't really telling us anything new here; he just put his sexual woes on blast for the Internet to see. 


According to a 2012 study [PDF] by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the minimum wage should actually be $21.72 an hour as of last year, if the worker productivity was kept in account. Unfortunately, the current minimum wage ($7.25) hasn't barely even grazed $9 an hour yet, which was one of the proposals President Obama called for in his State of the Union address last Tuesday night:

"Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on." 


This adorable Disney short film, Paperman, is nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars this Sunday. You can watch the full movie in its entirety (it's a little over six minutes) on Hulu. The romantic comedy sets place in 1940's New York City and is about a serendipity meeting between a young businessman and woman. You'll never see a paper plane the same way again. 


Also, here's some links to some of my favorite girly blogs:

Cupcakes and Cashmere

How Do I Put This Gently? 




Monday, February 18, 2013

Do something new every day

So I've been doing freelancing lately, which basically feels like I'm unemployed...which I basically am. Anyways, last weekend my friend's dad came to visit and enlightened us with his wise words.

"This period of unemployment is going to seem miniscule to you later on in the grand scheme of things," he said. He told us that he wished that he would have enjoyed his free time more when he was out of a job, instead of worrying about what was going to happen next.

I realized how right he was, and that I have been doing nothing but sit around in the apartment and mope. Needless to say, that was no fun in addition to applying for jobs all the time, which is already god awful and exhausting. It literally takes a toll on my body.

So this week I decided to take his words to heart and do something new every day. I was in Los Angeles for Pete's sake! Unlike Wilmington where there really was nothing to do, there is always something new and exciting going on in LA. So here's what I did last week:

Monday: Angels Knoll

Do you remember that scene in 500 Days of Summer where Zoe Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt sat on a bench and reconciled their breakup at the end of the movie? Well I found it. It's called Angels Knoll and it has a great view of downtown LA and is possibly my favorite spot in the city. Oddly enough, it is right above the Pershing Square metro station, which means I have passed it about 20-odd times without even noticing it was there. Another cool thing about Angels Knoll (besides the fact that they have free wifi), is that right beside it is a little mini train called Angels Flight, that will take you up and down this hill for 50 cents a ride. It's really just for aesthetics and lasts a total of five minutes, but it's definitely using your pocket change for.

Tuesday: Upright Citizen's Brigade (UCB)

This was what this blog post was all about.

Wednesday: Walt Disney Concert Hall

I first decided I wanted to visit the concert hall when I watched Celeste and Jesse Forever (which is a great movie, in case you haven't watched it yet). Once I realized that they gave self-guided tours for free, I was all in. They will just hold your photo ID and hand you over a little audio tour device that you can hold up to your ear if you don't have headphones. If you are bored and have a hour to spare, I would really recommend it.  You will learn a lot about architecture and the concert hall is really very huge. It even has an above ground garden that is a perfect place to sit on a bench and read a book.

Dita Von Teese Burlesque

If you are unaware of who Dita is, she is the Queen of Burlesque. She has been doing strip tease for over 20 years now, wears Swarovski crystals like they were sequins, basically invented the huge martini glass number, and was married to Marilyn Manson at one point. She is an overall badass and doesn't give a shit about what other people think. The other day, as a pre-Vday celebration, my friend invited me to go with her to Dita's show, "Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!" at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. 

It was pure entertainment. It was a full house made up of women in corsets and flamboyant gay men. 
 While it featured repeated numbers from the mistress of the ball herself, there were other performers that entertained the crowd in between. I was impressed by the diversity of the show. There was a very large woman who could do nipple tassle tricks, a man dressed in Marie Antoinette-esque attire and sung opera while steadily stripping out of his clothes (apparently he was on America's Got Talent), and there was a black woman who did cartwheels across stage to a New Orlean's themed number. It was sassy, funny and I doubt I will ever witness a burlesque show that would beat it. 

Thursday: Hammer Museum
Located in UCLA, this gem popped up on 101 Things to in Los Angeles and to my delight, I saw that it was free admission every Thursday. Parking is just $3 with verification and the exhibits include a variety of different artistic expressions, works and artists. It also is just big enough that you won't be suffering from sensory overload by the end of it.

Friday: Hike the Hollywood Lake Reservoir and Park

This turned out to be a three-hour long hike though to be fair, I was taking my dandy ole time. I had no idea this even existed, let alone was walking distance from my apartment, until a neighbor had mentioned it. I decided to hit two birds with one stone and go ahead and check out Lake Hollywood Park as well, which is an unofficial dog park. Hollywood tour vans like to take tourists up there so they can pose with the Hollywood sign. If you don't feel like an hefty hike, you can park by the reservoir, which has three different entrances, or the park.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day: The Holiday of Expectations

Screenshot from
Note: I wrote this back in 2009 for The Seahawk Newspaper and still miraculously feel the same way. 

First and foremost, I loathe Valentine's Day. Secondly, I would just like to clear the air and state that I am not here to scorn couples. I am not a bitter pessimist of love who got her heart trashed by the baseball player back in high school. I am not a proud independent who rejects all men and refuses even the remotest display of emotion. I am not the black plague on Valentine's Day. Or at least, not really.

My problem with Valentine's Day is this: just because it is a day of love and romance, it has ultimately turned into a holiday of expectations. When one thinks of Valentine's Day, one thinks of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, fancy balloons, trails of confetti and even more elaborate, out-of-the-way expenses. Yes, it is a way for lovers to show their affection, but is the month-in-advance planning, the strategic surprise hot-air-balloon ride, or the champagne bottles and cards that say "Will you be my Valentine?" really necessary? Shouldn't a card and a simple stroll down the riverfront suffice?

V-day has become just like anniversaries--couples are struggling to outdo last year's present or surprise, then the year after, and then the next in an endless cycle of "what can I buy that is more expensive and sparkly than last year's?" People are objectifying love essentially. Love has become equivalent to the quality of the present in the box, the number of roses in the bouquet. It has strayed from being an emotion to being just an object. And as for me, I am the Jean Kilbourne of V-day.

So for this Valentine's Day, forget the Kay Jewelers' catalogue and the Russell Stover chocolates. Break away from all the material instincts that people draw toward, and bite into the raw, simple heart of love. What the hell does that mean? It means that the fun experience and moments will be remembered down the road, not some pair of diamond earrings that will likely be lost on a trip to the Bahamas. And those moments can be as straightforward and simple as a night at home, eating Chinese food and watching a favorite movie.

Yet another reason I hate Valentine's Day is that no matter how hard you try, you always, without a doubt, will end up saying some painfully cheesy comment such as the one I have just given you. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Things I learned from an OkCupid Improv show

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Last night, I dragged my roommates to the Upright Citizens Brigade, an affordable comedy club down the street that I've been meaning to go to. The show that I chose happened to be a pre-Valentine's Day special, called the "OkCupid Show," followed by a Vday mixer at Birds next door. Now, obviously in light of my past experiences I found this very relevant to me and my current life.

The premises of the show was two online dating experts and comedians would advise a first-timer on three OkCupid dates that they picked for him beforehand. It sounded interesting enough, but when someone started handing us "Hello My Name Is _____" nametags and asking us if we were single or in a relationship (to which I replied "Super Single"), I began to panic. Had I gotten this all wrong? Is this audience participation, as in they are going to pick three random single people to date on stage? I was terrified.

When the hosts asked all the singles to raise their hand and keep them up, I didn't, to the shame of singles everywhere. Luckily, however, the dates were already pre-picked so we really had no need to fret.

The man of the hour who was brave enough to go on three dates in front of a live audience was named Brad. He got pretty drunk throughout the night, though to be fair he had two comedians loudly whispering in his ear the entire night. Oddly enough, I actually learned a few valuable tips for a first OkCupid date:

1. Before the date, peruse the person's profile for possible "conversation starters." Example: The person lists "The Little Mermaid" as being one of six things that they cannot live without. 

2. When there are lulls in conversation, remember to power through; Don't wallow in the awkwardness!

3. Throughout the date, ask yourself: Is this a callback situation? In other words: would you like to go on a second date with this person?

4. Talk about something you are good at! It's the first date people– you are supposed to bring out the positives and personal strengths that make you all shiny and pretty. You don't want to go straight to the baggage, (i.e. your deep depression and possible eating disorder circa 2001). That's for later! Way later. 

5. Don't be "rapey." Brad had this habit of leaning all the way over the table during his dates, or and on one occasion, asked the girl what they are planning later that night. This was when one of the hosts jumped in the middle of the date, called a time-out and then told him "This is getting a little rapey." Being engaging is good...creepy is another story. There's a fine line folks. 

6. Don't shit on anyone. Not literally. Well, I guess that wouldn't be good either. What I mean is that don't get down on someone because of where they live, what they do for a living, or what kind of music they listen to. It's not attractive or makes for a good impression. 

7. Compliment the person from the get-go. It's a nice little booster for them and sets the scene that you are interested and appreciate their outfit or what-have-you. Everyone is somewhat nervous on a first date and insecurities that you never thought of come up. Like– what if I look nothing like my profile pictures anymore? I know I just took the picture a week ago, but maybe my hair has grown since then? When pressured to compliment the girl on his third date by the hosts, Brad nervously blurted out "You have very nice breasts!"  

8. If you don't have a traveling photo of yourself on your profile, then get the fuck out of OkCupid. I guess the same applies to Couchsurfing. A traveling photo says that you are at least somewhere adventurous, not a hermit and willing to explore/try new things (like online dating). It also gives a sense of normalcy to a person that is judging you purely on a few answers to some randomly selected questions and profile pictures. 

9. If you aren't drinking before the date, you better be drinking in the car. I like to have a beer before a date, some people take a shot. It's liquid courage. Just don't get drunk or belligerent. That's enjoyable to witness for no one. 

10. If you see someone you know during the date, get rid of them ASAP. Throughout each of Brad's three dates, there was a distraction. First there was his broke and extremely inappropriate coworker, then his two flamboyantly-gay friends, then his Armenian car maintenance-man. Not to mention the crazy Greek couple that was serving them "dinner." Seeing someone you know takes the attention away from your first date. The other person is either left behind while you and your friend talk, or in the gay guy situation, might find them more interesting than you! They are already going on a first date with you, so please don't make them go on another first date with your friend too. They didn't sign up for that. So whatever you do, tell the friend that you will talk to them later and say goodbye as quickly as possible. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weird Jobs: Japanese Restaurant (Part 2)

Note: I am not saying this about ALL Asians and Hispanics, I am merely saying that this was true about my experience with the majority of the wait and kitchen staff at this specific restaurant. 

If you've read Part 1 you will have known why I should have quit this restaurant job pretty much the first week. However, I was working at an unpaid internship at the time (shocker concept, I know) and this night job was about as good as it was going to get. One of the main reason why I didn't though, was because of the busboys and kitchen staff.

The rest of the wait staff (mostly Asians) didn't talk to anyone besides each other and stuck their nose up at everyone else. Because I also was not Korean and thought it very rude when they spoke Korean loudly to each other, I pretty much kept to myself. They also gasped when I helped the busboys clean tables and I couldn't understand why. Sure, it was their job, but a restaurant couldn't function properly without everyone helping each other out. It was because of this and several other reasons why I didn't make friends with a choice number of waiters until about a month went by.

As for the Mexicans (I'm not being racist– they were actually all from Mexico), I befriended them during the first week.

Here were my "Fab 5," as I liked to call them (the names have been changed in case they don't have their green cards yet):

Fabio: The head cook who also happened to sell coke in his spare time. He had sleeves of tattoos and nipple piercings, which he promptly showed me in the kitchen when I told him I didn't believe it.  Whenever I went on my 30 minute break, he would sneak chicken hibachi for me up the food lift on the second floor. It was because of him that despite me running around for 8 hours on my feet, I did not lose weight.

Nacho: This is actually his name. I didn't change it. I'm not sure if it said so on his birth certificate, but everyone called him Nacho. He had a killer mustache and liked to dry hump the dishwasher from behind when he was bored. I'm pretty sure he's had his fair share of jail time. He was also a kitchen cook.

Marco: This tiny little busboy that was 19 years old, constantly smoked the kush, had a crush on me. He would always wait for me to be done counting the cash to office and walk me to the metro, or give me a ride home. When he confessed his feelings, I broke it to him gently that he was way too young for me.

Pueblo: My favorite busboy of all time. We instantly became friends when he acknowledged that some of the waiters were assholes on my first day. My particular favorite time to work with him would be on Sunday afternoons, when there were no managers and no one gave a flying fuck about anything. He would just give me a look, signaling to meet him upstairs, and we would chug beers every half hour or so in the back room. It was glorious.

Beto: The only hispanic that was a waiter. He came out to me as being gay one night, saying that I was the only one at the restaurant he's told, and that we can finally talk about the cute guys that came in now. Even though he was a terrible waiter, I was the first one to help him calculate his tips or run his cards when he was busy because he was great to work with. In exchange, he would always buy me a Starbucks frappuccino before work every day.

I loved working with the Fab 5 so much that when Beto gave his two-weeks notice to the boss, I decided to finally call it quits. I was so done with the food service industry, my internship was about to end, and without Humberto, it wasn't worth it any more. The first people that I broke the news to was the kitchen staff. Ironically, a week later Fabio told me that him and two other cooks gave their two-weeks notice too. It was like Beto had started a trend.

Two months later, I ran into Marco on the metro. He told me that not only he had quit months ago, but so did the manager, a few other cooks, busboys and waiters. I'm pretty satisfied that I threw in the towel when I did.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy 2013 Vietnamese New Year!

Nothing says "You Are Now Entering An Asian Festival" than a collection of hanging rice patty hats. 

Or also Chinese Lunar New Year. Before I go into the details of the terrifying entity that is the Tet festival, let me give you some background information. The Vietnamese New Year (Tet) fell on Sunday, February 10th this year (aka yesterday). Now in celebration for Asian New Year as I call it, we Viets practice certain traditions like go to temple, play this gambling dice game, eat a lot, and get our fortunes told for the upcoming year.

There's a lot of gold and red colors, a lot of girls in the traditional Vietnamese dress, the ao dai, and people just being Asian. In years past my mom had taken me to small centers where Vietnamese people would gather and sell banh mi and pho and cha gio and girls would do this dance in their dresses and rice patty hats. Last year I took all my friends out to eat Asian food and gave them each a little red envelope with money in it (also a blessed tradition for us youngsters in need of money).

I had never actually been to a Tet festival, however. This was the real deal. I mean it is in the middle of Little Saigon in Orange County. When I agreed to go with my cousin and her boyfriend, I had NO idea what I was getting myself into. I don't think you understand– I come from North Carolina, where I was usually the only diversity in my class and the Asian population was only 1%. I felt more of a culture shock in Little Saigon than when I first moved to Los Angeles. Hell, it was more of a culture shock when I visited Australia for three weeks.

Picture this: hundreds of Asians on some random high school's field that got turned into a carnival. Yes, this festival was CIRCUS THEMED...because naturally Vietnamese culture and the circus life go together. Seriously, what is the connection? I don't get it. There was a ferris wheel and a booth selling bubble tea and Pokemon t-shirts right next to each other. I started getting a headache from my surroundings just approaching the ticket booth. If anything I only learned how appallingly bad my Vietnamese has become. Here were some thoughts that crossed my mind throughout the day:

Are those rice patty hats hanging above the entrance?

Is this real life?

Where is the food?

Welp, those kids are dressed like dragons...

Is that Mulan?

Seriously, where is the food?

Oh, here it is...since when are hamburgers, fries and popcorn chicken Vietnamese?

This is a twinkie festival (yellow on the outside, white on the inside).

There is a vendor that is just literally selling cooked ramen.

Do I have to talk to these people in Vietnamese?

Okay, now that I've got the food, where are we going to sit?

Omg, these people are sitting on the ground in the Asian squat!!!

I should have brought some newspapers to put our food on too...we're terrible Asians.

Hmm...the "Cultural Center" sounds cool, let's go there.

The infamous "Cultural Center," where all the seats were tied together  to prevent people from stealing them. I think some girls were on stages dancing with fans. 

I can't believe I'm watching kids do karate with sticks on stage.

It's like mini Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

WHY is this festival circus themed?!

Awesome– this man can read my fortune for a small donation!

...I have no idea what he's saying. Speak slower!

Sweet Buddha, there is a chicken coop here.

Everyone looks alike.

Well, it's obvious that women aren't allowed in this game.

Where did my cousin go? Oh, right behind the Asian Danny Zuko.

This place is giving me a migraine.

You can tell who's white in the crowd because they tower over everyone else.

Am I being racist? Probably.

Can we get the hell out of here?

Thankfully, we salvaged what was remaining of the New Year by getting sloshed at a local dive bar near Hollywood. And look on the bright side– it was a cultural experience (one that I probably will never attend again), and it is a chance to start the year off to a fresh new start again in case January got off on the wrong foot.

This had be dying laughing. It says "Fried Chicken" in Vietnamese. You know you're in Little Saigon when...

Friday, February 8, 2013

10 Things: OkCupid Dealbreakers

You've seen some examples of the good, the bad and the ugly, but there bigger dealbreakers than just in the messages that guys. This list (above) is what I've compiled after three weeks on one of America's biggest dating websites. Here are some of them in greater detail:

#1– "Myspace-angle" pictures, for those of you that don't know, are pictures of someone's body only and not the face. Or it's someone taking obviously taking a photo of themselves in front of a mirror or doing the kissy-face. We aren't in middle school anymore, stop doing that.

#3– What guys should know even if they aren't on online dating. If you don't know the girl at all and you call her sexy, that is not sexy. In fact, it's just creepy.

#5– It's not like I'm racist against my own race, it's just a personal preference. You see, when I was growing up my mom taught me that all Asian men were cheaters and liars (thanks Dad), and while I don't actually believe this, it's been grilled into my head to often that all Asian men are forever unattractive to me. Sorry not sorry.

#7–This is the WORST. I had this happen twice to me already. One time the guy's excuse was because he had had so many bad experiences with the girl showing up and not looking anything like her pictures. The second was a guy I was actually really excited to go on a date with...until he asked for a picture to "save my contact information" with. I call BS. It's just rude! You obviously think there's a chance I'm faking my pictures, so just own up to it! And why do people do that anyway! It's not like people aren't going to find out that you posted a picture of your sister instead of yourself when they go on a date with you! You are ruining it for the rest of us truth-tellers out there! And I'll just stop it there before I get too fired up.

#8– OkCupid does this thing when you look at someone else's profile where they compare the two of you based on the questions that you answer. If your answers differ for a certain amount of questions, however, the tab title changes from "The Two of Us" to "Ya'll Got Issues," which I think is hysterical, mostly because it has a Southern twang.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weird Jobs: Japanese Restaurant (Part 1)

Oh you know, just my usual Asian attire. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Not to say that working in restaurants is weird– I've been in food service positions for six years total. But none of them were like this one.

When I first arrived in LA I was determined to find a nighttime job after my internship that will actually pay the bills. I found a job opening at what we'll call Squid Restaurant downtown on Craigslist and was even more excited that it was right beside a Metro station. The less I drive, the better.

The restaurant was pretty spacious– with a full downstairs and upstairs dining room, and sushi bar with dim lighting. The first thing that I noticed was the abundant Asian staff. They also seemed to be yelling what sounded like gibberish when I came in the door. The owner, a tall Korean guy (an oxymoron, I know) that was all business, quickly led me upstairs.  The interview last about 10 minutes altogether. I had worked at an upper-scale Japanese restaurant back in Wilmington, and it only took the owner to look the website up on his IPhone to hire me right off the bat. I started that Wednesday as a hostess.

I truly thought I was going to quit the entire first three weeks. Every day. I found out that there were several things that were wrong with the establishment/things that I was not at all used to. I figured that there were going to be some differences just because of the location– and I was right. Being in the heart of downtown and right beside public transportation made us a hotspot for the homeless who frequently walk in asking to use the bathroom, as well as many, many foreigners who did not understand English, let alone the science of tipping. It shocked me when the waiters would highlight and circle the "tip guide" on each customer's check, but then realized that that was the least of it. I saw multiple waiters and even the manager chase many a customer down on the streets to ask them what was so wrong with their service and if they forgot to tip. Such behavior would get you fired in North Carolina, but here it was every man/woman for himself/herself. And I guess I didn't blame them. At the same time, however, I was too proud to chase someone down and beg for three dollars. It wasn't worth it.

Another part was the hostess' responsibilities. Back at my old job, I only had to worry about seating people, bussing tables (we had no busboys), and occasionally running food from the kitchen. Here, it was all that and then some. I had to run all the waiters' cards on the one credit card machine we had, deal with other forms of payment, to go orders, AND close down the restaurant. And when I say close down, I mean that I was the last person to leave and to shut off the lights. Yes, the managers would stay with me, but while they lounged on the booths twiddling their thumbs, I had the responsibility to count all the money in the drawer, check every single waiter's server reports, and do the daily report for corporate until one in the morning. WTF?! For the first few weeks, I literally couldn't sleep because I would worry about how to do those reports. I'm sorry, but isn't that the managers' job, not the hostesses? Why in the hell do I have to stay until the wee hours of the night when they have no need of a hostess the last few hours before close? It's slave labor, I'm convinced of it. Plus, who gives that amount of responsibility to a young 20-something-year-old? That is ALL of the restaurant's sales that day and the manager is just trusting that we will calculate it right? I didn't even trust myself.

I didn't make friends with the waiters until about a month and a half went by. I also refused to say the greeting phrase that we all had to say when a customer came in. Turns out, it wasn't gibberish but was in fact "Welcome" in Japanese. It sounded something like "IRA-SHI-MAH-SAY!!!" I felt like I was not only butchering the Japanese language, but being unfaithful to the Vietnamese culture.

Also I did not take anything I did here seriously. Why? Because after three weeks into the job, I found myself training the new manager on what to do. It was preposterous. I also felt like I had a better grasp on things than 90% of all the other hostesses who had been there longer. And everyone kept quitting. There was such a high turnover it would have made your head spin.

Ironically, the majority of the reason of why I wanted to quit were the Asians. The only reason I stayed for as long as I did, was because of the busboys and the kitchen staff. All of which were Mexican.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Best of Craigslist: Strictly Platonic Edition

Screenshot by Merriam-Webster.

1. make up lessons /feminizing lessons offered - t4t (Silvr lake,Hollywd, WH)I am a Full time Ts feminizing consultant offering make up,and feminizing lessons and services in the art of looking,acting, walking, talking, dancing like a real woman, .other sevices includes: shopping for wigs ,female clothes, and assisting you with dressing upAlso have refferals to cosmetic surgeons, therapist, female, and male hormone Dr's..These classes are being offered to anyone ,cd, and tv,ts,,male, or female .Privacy, discretion, respect, fun, and mastering the art of femininity is my promise to you...Tell me what your feminizing goals are?This post is not a sex, or dating ad...portfolio viewed and tuition discussed during initial "oni's Cd Lounge" : 323 834 -2850(no texting please)

Well this is extremely sexist. What do these "feminizing lessons" even entail? Like if I went in will I come out with the same makeover that Sandra Bullock went through in Miss Congeniality? Will I learn how to shake my hips when I walk and only wear heels and talk like Marilyn Monroe? Does this actually make me more feminine or just annoying to the general public? Will I just look like a prostitute? Because that's not feminizing, that's encouraging sex trafficking. In no way can I take this seriously. 

2. please let me try your breastmilk.... - m4w - 35 (lancaster palmdale victorville valencia)Not looking for sex so posted it here..if it happens it happens, bur not the reason for this post.I was never breastfed as a child and wife wants to get preg but doesnt want me to try this with her there anyine out there willing to let me try?
Attractive white male here near lancaster.

WTF. This is obscene. I was never breast-fed as a child either, but you don't see me going around pleading for breast milk from random ladies. Does your wife know about this post? Does she know that you are also willing to commit adultery too? And who says you're an attractive white male? I would like to see some sources and/or photographic evidence of this.  

3. Quirky Texts - m4w - 35 (Beverly Hills)Just want an intelligent text friend who can give and take witty repartee. If you're cute, it can't hurt!

Just go on Ok Cupid. Or any dating site. There's plenty of "witty repartee" because that's one of the only ways to prove your personality. 

4. need a woman friend to share a secret... - m4w - m4w
Have you ever cheated or been really tempted to and had no one to open your heart and share it with? Let's talk, I need a woman's perspective...

I mean...what are best friends for? Or maybe (just a thought), if you did cheat maybe the person to tell this secret with is THE PERSON WHO YOU ARE CHEATING ON. Or just buy a journal and let your thoughts run free. Chances are if you tell someone random that you found on Craigslist they won't be very helpful or end up judging you, which I'm guessing that you are trying to avoid. Dr. Phil would not approve. 

5. Soldier working graveyard - m4w - 27 (L.A)hey there just looking to chat with some cool people, im working until 0600 and im really bored lol someone save me, im 6"3, half mexican half spanish, brown hair and eyes, hit me up

This is a beginning scene of a horror movie. I'm certain of it. In what crazy world would anyone go to a graveyard to visit a bored ex-soldier who probably is suffering some sort of PTSD and is digging a grave to put you in? If he's so bored then just bring some games to play with, read some tombstones, or better yet– look for a job that isn't so darn boring. Don't be creepy.