Tuesday, October 30, 2007

promo from hell/i need to get a "real" job.

i signed up for a five-day promotional gig for an office supply store. the hourly pay was decent and there was a $40 gas reimbursement, so i didn't mind the hour-long morning traffic commute. i was a little suspicious when i saw there were three other promoters working the gig because the store wasn't that big. then we were given a map...

our job was to travel in our own vehicles, distributing 75 coupon booklets (that we were supposed to call "free gifts" instead of "coupon booklets") to businesses within a 20 mile radius of the store. the goal of the promo: to distribute 1,500 coupon booklets to 1,500 DIFFERENT businesses. maybe i over-reacted a bit, but i was pretty pissed when i found out i had to use my own car because the promotional company failed to state that in the gig description. had i known that, i would have not signed up for the promotion. (i NEVER had to use my own vehicle DURING any other promotion). and that $40 gas reimbursement was not a daily reimbursement... it was $40 FOR THE WEEK.

most businesses wanted nothing to do with the booklets and made me feel like an unwanted solicitor. although we were told we weren't solicitors and to enter businesses that had "no soliciting" signs posted, i did not enter these establishments. despite the heat and the fact i was wearing all black, i walked to most places. then i drove within my designated area and became highly frustrated when i was told at two separate strip malls that one of my fellow promoters had already been there. so i passed out a whopping 25 coupon booklets and took advantage of the promotion by shopping at the dollar store, eating at el pollo loco and sitting in my car for an hour and a half. i wasn't about to drive around all day.

i called the woman who booked me for the promo and left a voicemail saying how disappointed i was in the promotion and how, had i known i would have to use my car, i would have not signed up. she gave me attitude when she called me back and i canceled the rest of the days i was supposed to work. since i didn't give 24-hours notice of my cancellation for the next day, i am being fined/deducted $25.00.

and so... i need to find a "real" job. this would be an easy task for a normal human being but to me, this is a death sentence. i try to keep my schedule flexible so i can assist photographers whenever the opportunity arises. i also visit my family a lot (who are on the east coast) and get a lot of visitors, so receiving only two weeks vacation would be a problem. i understand everyone would love more vacation time and i should chalk it up to "that's life" and deal with it. i also understand that whatever two-bit job i find wouldn't be permanent, but one of the reasons rick and i live in california (and pay outrageous rent) is because there are ZERO photography/graphic design jobs in my home state. if i wind up as a receptionist in an office building, i might as well be living at home where at least i would be with my family.

and so i applied for three RANDOM jobs online (a tutoring job, a human resources job, and a marking job). all which i feel i can handle with what little or no experience i have in these fields. despite all of this, there is a sliver of a silver lining... or false hope, whichever. tonight i received an email from a photographer who replied to an email i sent her on APRIL 24th (6 months ago)!!

"I've received you e-mail a while back and at the time had no openings but I liked you message and saved it. Could you send me your phone number, I'd love to give you a call and talk to you about office work/second shooter opportunities."

unfortunately her studio is located too far to be worth it for a daily office job(one of the many reasons why i should move closer to LA despite the fact i never want to live in a majorly congested city), but hopefully some of the second shooter opportunities will be within a reasonable distance from my apartment. to justify my decision to sabotage a job opportunity because i do not want to commute that far, it should be noted that gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle (while you sacrifice at LEAST 3-4 hours of your day in traffic) is not worth the pay rate.

and so the internal struggle continues... but at least this random email has inspired me to email another extensive batch of photographers/potential employers before i sell my soul because i really can't imagine myself not working in the photography or art industry. i simply do NOT have the capacity, desire or blind dedication to ever work for a large corporation. i know our country wouldn't be successful without big business, but i'm one of those people who believes big businesses are distracting us from our own lives, polluting our environment, sucking away our money by convincing us we need their products and creating monopolies we don't even know exist. (not to mention making it IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to start an ethical small business). end of rant.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

always an adventure.

on saturday rick, tyler, andrea and i were planning on hiking in hollywood but we nixed the idea after we realized what little time would be left to explore andrea's heaven on earth, the griffith observatory. so we took took lots of photos in front of the hollywood sign and ate at the crazy chicken. i read online that you could park and hike to the observatory instead of driving to the LA zoo to take the shuttle. whoever posted that information said the hike would only take 15 minutes. this information would have been accurate had it not been pitch dark outside and had we seen the entrance to the path we SHOULD HAVE taken. also, we would have not hiked over 2 miles uphill on this road (our path is in red):

despite tyler and rick (mostly rick) complaining about my "bright" idea and telling me not to believe everything i read online, it was an adventure. andrea (who is used to my crazy ideas) appreciated the fact that we were not following the normal procedure. thank goodness we didn't hike in hollywood, otherwise we would have REALLY been exhausted. we were still pretty exhausted but the hairpin turns and buses and groups of cyclists with headlights on their bikes kept us on our toes.

when we FINALLY got to the observatory (all hot and sweaty), we had a good time seeing all of the exhibits, discovering our weight on other planets, taking lots of silly photos with Albert Einstein and looking at the moon through the GIANT telescope. and since it was the first saturday of the first quarter (who knew), the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers were gathered outside with their telescopes, showing us the moon and an interesting "stick man" star cluster.

and then it was time to attempt to get back to our car. at this point, the santa anas were in full-force, causing VERY strong winds so the plan was to see if a friendly shuttle driver wouldn't mind dumping us off at the bottom of the hill... but no luck. the shuttle driver wouldn't even let andrea finish her sentence. we asked someone in the parking lot if he wouldn't mind driving us. he told us he wasn't leaving yet, but to ask one of the park rangers. we explained our situation to a guy with a walkie-talkie who advised us to take another path down. the park ranger was equally as useless.

walkie talkie guy: do you guys have a flashlight???
us: no...
walkie talkie guy: well then, you should be alright. the moon could be your light.


he then proceeded to tell us there hasn't been any reports of mountain lion attacks in griffith park in a year. the observatory employees seemed concerned but didn't offer a solution. the park ranger gave us some BS excuse as to why he couldn't take us and the guy and the walkie talkie started to explain where the location of the mysterious alternative path. i muttered "assholes" under my breath and went outside to catch one of the few vehicles left in the parking lot. luckily i found couple who belonged to the Astronomers Club who were willing to drive us down in the back of their pickup. when we got to the most drastic hairpin turn (almost there!!), a ranger stopped us and told us the road was closed. so the Astronomer Club folks had to drop us off there, turn around and drive back up the hill. we were MORE than thankful to have gotten a ride to that point as we gladly walked the rest of the way (less than a half mile).

lesson learned: either take the shuttle or bring a flashlight... probably better off with the shuttle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

hello, it's 80s night, dress accordingly.

thursday: andrea and i spent the day eating fruit on the balcony, making pumpkin pie innards (my famous anti-recipe recipe without the crust), dancing around, chilling by the pool and playing guitar hero. after watching The Departed (andrea had never seen it), we got ready for 80s night.

we went allllll out (too bad people still don't dress like that!!) and i took some awesome polaroid shots. to our surprise, when we got to 80s night (all decked out from head to toe), NO ONE ELSE WAS DRESSED IN 80S CLOTHES. not a single pair of leggings or even a graphic tee in sight. we felt self-concious for about 2 minutes until a guy approached us and complimented us on our ensembles. he wound up sticking with us (err, rather, andrea) for the rest of the night. throughout the night, the outfits made us more approachable and we received a lot of compliments. two guys even asked for 80s dance lessons since we seemed to be "the experts". so regardless of everyone else being lame for not dressing the part, we were a success.

friday: tyler came up, we went to malibu and took lots of silly photos and videos on the beach. (and yes, there were naked men there... and no, we didn't take photos or videos of them). after we got back, we walked to the store to buy some hamburger fixins. on our way home, rick called me and asked where i was because the front door was wide open. apparently one of us didn't close it on our way out and little miss gray was MIA. :( rick thought he heard her meowing but she wasn't on our balcony. so rick met us in the street and i was REALLY not looking forward to trying to find a cat in the dark, near a busy street, in an area with coyotes. :( but luckily little miss gray didn't go very far. as we approached the apartment, andrea spotted her chilling on our downstairs neighbor's patio... which bumps up miss gray's cuteness factor to 110%!! i can't believe she didn't try to run away!! she's an inside cat who was left outside for at least 30-45 minutes!! rick thinks that just proves she's stupid, but i know that just proves how much she loves me. ;)

so we ate burgers and went to Coldstones for desert. the kids working there were awesome. KID 1 would mix the ice cream and KID 2 would grab the cup and walk 10 ft away and KID 1 would fling the ice cream (lacrosse stylee) to KID 2 who would catch it perfectly in the cup. it was pretty impressive. i held out on icecream because i was more interested in the pumpkin pie goodness i had waiting for me at the apartment... Mmmm!! when we got back, we started watching Sin City which put us all to sleep. Zzzzzz!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

cat butts and rent-a-cops.

today, i had an audition at a place i found while browsing craigslist. i went on whim. last night i went to Staples and asked for 4 prints to be made (3 photos, 1 to be copied twice) to use as headshots. of course the guy behind the counter was too busy to make 4 copies, so he asked if i could pick my photos up the next morning. i accepted, begrungingly. i get to Staples this morning and the woman explains there were no instructions so there's three of every photo and of course all of the photos are badly pixelated/stretched out/badly cropped. she attempted to fix them, but i had no time to wait around, so i bought two crappy copies of the photo i wanted to be printed twice.

my audition/interview went well (it's been so long since i had to interview for anything!!) and luckily i didn't have to drive far. i was asked to do a cold read which went well but my best acting occured after the woman told me the cost to find me an agent would be $319.00 and i pretended to still be interested. i asked if they would find you multiple agents and was told that California law prohibits you from having multiple agents... so $319.00 to find ONE agent. and of course "it would be beneficial to take some classes to brush up on my commercial reading skills..." for $385.00. uh, i doubt it. the worst part is... DJ Tanner's (Candance and Kurt Cameron's) MOM works at this place!!!! there were little book marks on the front desk promoting her NEW book "A Full House of Growing Pains." (could the title be more lame???) hey Mrs. Cameron, for one low cost of $385.00, i'll help you come up with a better book title. ;)

luckily only 45 minutes of my time was wasted. after i got back to the apartment, andrea and i headed to the mall where we found some great sales and bought 80's style wrist warmers to wear to 80's night tomorrow. :) andrea bought chanel perfume and some cute work clothes. i bought a top that was on sale for $3.99!! and a funky green elephant necklace for $4.60. andrea also bought rick some cat butt coasters for "putting up with jena and andrea all week." they're pretty hilarious. my favorite has to be the Persian cat butt:

when we got back to the apartment we ate vegan soup on the balcony and listened to the Foo Fighters. then we took a series of photos that reveal little quirky "secrets" we have. (look for them on my flickr soon). rick met up with a friend in santa monica. andrea and i ate dinner late. and i was forced to watch Grandma's Boy. (*rolls eyes* that movie is sooo NOT funny).

after best friend back massages, andrea and i went in the hot tub... only to be kicked out 15 minutes after we got in by:

unfortunately we simply complied but here are...
10 things we thought to say to the rent-a-cops after the fact, in response to their question: "excuse me... do you know what time the pool closes?!!"
1. no, but this sign might be able to tell you.
2. can i at least finish peeing first???
3. yes, that's why we're not in the pool.
4. yeah, well at least we have cat butt coasters!!
5. no habla inglais.
6. are you guys brothers??? or are you just both bald and ugly???
7. hey, would you mind taking our photo for us???
8. "your shit's weak!! your shit's weak!!" (quote from Grandma's Boy).
9. aw, you guys are dressed up for halloween already?!!
10. "this is the only relief i've had from my constipation all week... are you going to spoil for me now?!!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

after being accused of being 15, jena and andrea defy gravity... or at least attempt to.

my best friend andrea is visiting from NY this week and here's what trouble we've gotten ourselves into so far...

monday night: we exchanged belated birthday gifts, ate thai food, bought crap at walmart, went food shopping (andrea bought us groceries), and rick and andrea passed out early.

tuesday: went to the bank to cash some checks and one of the managers said to me: "this is the first time i've seen you without your boyfriend!!" then we went into an overpriced boutique-ish store where the owner asked...

owner: can we help you find anything??
me: no just looking...
owner: are you looking for homecoming dresses?? what school do you go to??
andrea: no, we're done with school.
me: we're 23...

then they went on and on about how looking like we're 15 is a good thing and how we'll be thankful when we're 60 and how they'd like to know what our mothers look like.

do we look like we're 15?!!

...i guess so.

afterward, we hiked up the canyon, got some jamba juice and headed to malibu. it wasn't the warmest day for the beach. in fact, we were the only people on the beach (besides one couple) but we climbed on some rocks and attempted to take photos of ourselves jumping in the air at the same time with the self timer. we weren't too successful... but at least we have some unflattering photos of ourselves, hahaha:

not even close...

whoa...

nope, try again...

not yet...

almost there...

finally!!!!

reason #2435 why we need a camera guy/crew following us around at all times. ;)

after the beach, we went to the library. andrea read about space and black holes (she wants to marry an astrophysicist) and i read People and skimmed through a photography magazine. later, we watched Shaun of the Dead, gave each other best friend foot rubs and went on and on about how cute miss gray is... oh wait, i do that alll the time. ;)

Friday, October 12, 2007

10-12-07 stream of consciousness

i already ate breakfast but i go back to the fridge for two more almonds but two becomes four and four becomes six. and six becomes more pretzels. i crouch down and hug the cat, lifting her front feet off the floor so she's standing upright. "this is what it'd be like if you were a human," i whisper.

i want to reinvent my way of writing because i haven't written a worthwhile poem since i had to in college. i spend an embarrassing amount of time copying and pasting a stranger's fragmented thoughts into a word document and file it away for inspiration. unlike her i don't have the booze, the drugs or the crazy friends (nor do i want them) but i wish i could write like her. i know she thinks she can't write, but she can.

my editor (aka my grandmother) calls. "i think you meant 'secluded' but you put 'excluded'," she says. and she's right. my problem is i can't stay focused. there are too many things i want to create. poems, photos, jewelry, greeting cards, tee shirts. you name it. the dishes still aren't in the dishwasher that leaves soap crystals stuck to the the plates.

i edit photos and realize i haven't left the apartment today. i need to cash two checks and dust my bedroom. my best friend comes to visit in three days but i haven't spoken to her in two weeks. i turn a fisheye shot into an interesting double exposure, make it pink and green and title it "if malibu were a snow globe." a phrase that inspires a lovely shell of a poem in my head. if only i could write poems again.

it's fall and it's cold, but not as cold as it would be if i was home. (although my body is convinced there is no temperature difference today). i add dish soap to the dishwasher because the crystals don't work and we don't have anything else. five minutes pass and i'm scooping suds off the floor with a paper plate. swirly piles of foam fill the kitchen sink. the last time this happened was when i wanted the dishes to be "extra clean". miss gray meows for food. i shake the bowl and she thinks it's new. i wish i were that easy to please.

i'm eating the pretzel nuggets my grandmother mailed me yesterday which reminds me i have things to mail. my boyfriend calls. it's about the perfume i want that the store doesn't carry. so i have to find it online. my best friend calls. she's packing. it is supposed to be in the 70s while she's here so i told her to bring layers and 80s clothes. we're going out on thursday. "i have to pick out ice cream toppings and bake fifty cupcakes for sunday," she complains. she used to like making cupcakes. she's keeping an eye out for a new job because she's tired of dealing with a bitchy boss and coming home late and getting up early, but she loves the stockings and work clothes. (i hate the word pantyhose).

there's a washcloth pocked with mascara marks my mother draped over the tub. i'm hesitant to throw it in the laundry basket because time will make it seem like she hasn't been here in a week. she's home, living out of her suitcase and has a lunch date tomorrow but she doesn't know what to wear. it's either a striped long-sleeved sweater that she she bought me for Christmas one year or what she wore on Mother's Day.

it's nearly 7 now and we haven't eaten dinner yet. andrea was supposed to call me in an hour but an hour was hours ago. she's probably still packing. i'm eager to see the photos dave and his friend shot of me yesterday when i was wearing the pink wig that made me look like natalie portman in "closer." the wig was too kewl not to ask to borrow. my minds churning with ideas for halloween. we still need to buy candy. yesterday i was a model, tomorrow i am a PA, next week a beauty consultant. it's like halloween every day.

it looked like rain all afternoon and tonight it finally burst. there's still foam in the bottom of the dishwasher so i run it again on "light wash." next time i'll do them by hand. my boyfriend started calling the cat "PITA" (Pain In The Ass) and gets mad when i ask him to throw the asparagus into the steamer pot because the cat is comfy on my lap. after dinner, miss gray purrrs in his face and throws herself onto his lap and he forgets what a PITA she is.

it's almost 11 and i'm back on pretzels in front of the computer. two nights ago rick and i played scrabble online because we're too lazy to set it up in the living room but it took even longer to play. i take two nuggets out at a time, hoping they'll be the last two but two becomes four and four becomes six. we just finished watching the special features to "one flew over the cuckoo's nest." i never saw the movie in its entirety but i knew something happened to the Indian at the end. i remember my mother being happy with the outcome.

my bedroom is still dusty but the dog crate is finally out of the spare room. "why don't you read over here?" i ask my boyfriend who is still in the living room reading a Brian Wilson biography. i convince myself this is the last pretzel so he won't have to read over my pretzel crunching. there are new dishes in the sink and the cat box still smells but there's always tomorrow. i'm a procrastinator, but at least i'm consistent.

maybe tonight i'll fall asleep in our bed instead of the spare bed, convincing myself under clean sheets that i'll just lie down for two minutes. but two becomes four and four becomes six and pretty soon it's time for my boyfriend to crawl out of bed to turn off the lights, shut down the computer and return me to where i belong.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

headlines

• Off-duty Wis. deputy sheriff kills 6
• Official: Iran opens 5 border crossings
• Chopper escorting Musharraf crashes
• S.Korea sure of early nuclear settlement
• Trio shares Nobel Prize in medicine for stem cell research
• Study: Police use of Tasers inflicts few serious injuries
• Officer uses pellet gun to save skunk stuck in jar

and so guess which headline i chose to read...

Officer's shots save skunk stuck in jar Sun Oct 7, 8:36 AM ET

CARROLLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Officer James Kellett knows it's job to serve and protect — even when it comes to nature's stinky black and white creatures.

When a skunk with its head stuck in a salad dressing jar wandered into the Carrollton Township police station's parking lot, he grabbed a pellet gun and shot at the jar from about 40 feet away.

The shots cracked and shattered the jar, leaving a glass collar around the skunk's neck. With its head free, the skunk ran off.

"I didn't want to use deadly force, and it is a residential area," Kellett told The Saginaw News. "The way he was when he took off, he was able to eat, breathe and spray — and do anything else skunks like to do."

Kellett didn't get much in the way of gratitude, but he's grateful the skunk didn't spray. But there is one bonus — the makers of T. Marzetti's salad dressing are sending the officer coupons good for free dressing as a reward.


the part that i find most disturbing is that T. Marzetti "rewarded" him with yet another bottle of salad dressing that will probably wind up stuck around another animal's head... :(

Saturday, October 6, 2007

GRAND CANYON ROADTRIP




Oct. 1: packed up and drove 352 miles to Kingman, AZ. along the way, my mom and i fell in love with XM radio. we weren't aware of this, but our rental car was one of only four cars available with it. lucky us!! we found one alt. rock station named Lucy that we listened to the ENTIRE trip!! i think we only heard 4 or 5 songs ever repeated within the four days we listened.

once we arrived in Kingman, we attended the free beer/drinks/juice and popcorn event at our hotel. after browsing piles of brochures, we went out to eat Thai food (at the only thai restaurant within 32 miles). afterward, i bought a really kewl sterling silver ring at a gas station gift shop (around 9:30 pm). then i stood in the middle of the street to take photos of the Route 66 signs stenciled on the turning lanes. :) when we got back to our hotel, my mom and i watched the hills.

Oct. 2: woke up early, drove to the west rim to the Hualapai grand canyon skywalk. the drive there was actually a lot of fun... with a long segment of windy, bumpy "wash board" roads. there were also a lot of "cattle guards" sporatically dividing the streets. still amazes me that a thin grid prevents cattle from crossing their boundaries. and it was even more odd to see BULLS chilling on the side of the road without being fenced. and of course, i loved all the joshua trees. :)

the skywalk was pretty awesome - it's a glass horseshoe-shaped "bridge" suspended 40,000 feet above the grand canyon/colorado river. the first step was a little delicate but after we got over the fact that the floor is transparent, we were walking around like champs, even lying on our stomachs with our noses to the glass. each side of the skywalk is frosted [glass] so people who are afraid of heights don't actually crap their pants. it was hilarious to see people clinging to the railing and only walking on the frosted section. one Japanese man (there were hundreds there) inched past me and my mother during our photo opp and actually clung AROUND my mother who was leaning against the railing.

we spent all afternoon hiking around the west rim. on the way back there was a looong stretch of empty road surrounded by mountains, so my mom and i took A LOT of photos of us lying/jumping/standing/sitting in the middle of the road. (they came out awesome... you'll see them on flickr soon). there were houses nestled at the bottom on the mountain, in the middle of nowhere. no street lights. no trees. just desert. don't know if i'd ever want to live somewhere THAT secluded, but the view of the stars must be amazing. (and the lack of housing developments is majorly appealing). when we got back to town, we ate dinner at Dambar.

Oct. 3: my mom and explored what little there is to explore on "Beale Street" in Kingman. there was an abundance of antique and thrift stores, but a handful were closed. after seeing all there was to see, we drove 115 miles to Williams, AZ and stopped at a kewl general store/gift shop along the way on Route 66. only an hour and a half east, Williams was a lot greener and the weather was much cooler.

shortly after arriving in town, we drove 63 miles (1.5 hrs) to Grand Canyon National Park to explore the south rim. we spent a lot of time in the car, stopping at various view points, saw lots of wildlife, took lots of photos and caught a sunset... which was gorgeous. when we got back to Williams, we ate dinner at our hotel.

Oct. 4: woke up at the crack of dawn (4:30 am!!) to catch a sunrise over the grand canyon before heading back to california. little did i know my mother would have us hiking 4 miles around the rim trails. regardless of the sleep deprivation, we had a good time. on our way there, we saw three wild elk grazing alongside the road. we also returned a nice digital camera we found on a bench to the lost and found. had a huge LCD screen too. (such good Samaritans we are ;) hehe).

after our hike, we drove back to CA... only to get caught up in confusing car pool lanes that diverge onto other freeways and traffic. we had a lot to unload from the car which looked pretty lived in. after we were got settled in, we ate dinner at the apartment.

overall, a very FUN trip. :)

total miles traveled: 1,400
total number of postcards purchased: 10
total number of cameras i brought: 5
total number of photos taken: TBA (too many to count)