Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hutch the Apartment Hunter

A few weeks ago, I was all stoked because I had decided to finally leave my hovel in South Central. But then I ended up not going out to look at apartments because I had so many other things to do. Like watch Snakes on a Plane with my gay best friend, Eric. That was absolutely vital. Who else was going to drink 3 glasses of white wine and dance around his living room singing "So kiss me goodbyyyyyyeee, honey I'm gonna make it out alive, so kiss me goodbyyyyyye!!!!!!!!?" (I nominate that song for new best 'dance around singing like a jackass' anthem, now that 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' should be graciously retired). So I lost momentum on the search, burrowing deeper still into my trenches and just gritting my teeth through the 25-50 minute commute. (Sure it could be worse, but commuting is commuting. And Stan is not long for this world. Every minute counts). I even told my landlady, "I like it here, I'm settled. Plus, moving is such a pain."

Singing into a spatula.
Because hairbrushes are so overdone.

But then someone egged my house. And when I say 'egged,' I mean singular. One egg. Some jackass (the obnoxious destructive kind, not the ridiculous dance around to catchy one-hit wonder kind) threw a single egg at the iron screen door of my apartment. This is why I hate living so close to the street in the ghetto. Hoodlums feel entitled to employ unhatched chicken offspring as a form of malicious vandalism. The thing that pissed me off more was that they did such a half-assed job of it. If you're going to egg someone's house, egg the damn house. You don't throw one roll of toilet paper on someone's tree and call it a day. Kids today. So fucking lazy. In any case, three day old, dried stuck-on egg is tricky to get off of a non-stick pan (which reminds me, I have to do the dishes). But how does one get it off of an iron door when one doesn't own a proper bucket or have access to a hose, I ask you?

Now this is a proper job. Take note, hoodlums.

Normally this kind of thing would amuse me. Haha, I live in the ghetto, isn't that funny? Like the sign on the Boost Mobile store that just opened on Crenshaw "Grang Opening!" And it's not like my house hasn't been vandalized before. There's some sort of tagging on the busted a/c unit outside the window. I don't think I'm a specific target, people are just bored so they want to draw on shit. But still, this was the last straw. As soon as I got in the house I started Craigslisting apartments within a 5 mile radius of my work. And yes, I just used 'Craigslisting' as a verb. And it sounds vaguely dirty for some reason. The other last straw, the epilogue straw if you will, was when I made a delicious chocolate cake last night. I had one piece and didn't cover it with foil right away. When I went to do so, I discovered a small cockroach crawling alllll over it. What a waste. Stupid cockroach. Stupid apartment.

Me, more or less. More more than less.

I found a few options, all more than I'd like to pay ideally, but I could probably swing at least 5 or 6 of them. So I'm going forth and going north today to check them out. And I can't back out like I did a few weeks ago. This is happening whether I like it or not. Because I just gave my thirty days notice a few days ago (about 5 minutes after discovering the egg on my door), and now the clock is ticking. Though most places you visit want you to move in right away and intimidate you by making up fake other interested parties which doesn't work out so well when you have to give 30 days notice. It's the catch-22 of apartment hunting. I wonder if there is an apartment website that has a search parameter "within walking distance of a kickass Irish pub." Now that would be sweet.

I'm excited to see my potential new home, but at the same time, the daunting task of driving all over Hollywood, North Hollywood, and Valley Village is intimidating. I don't even like going one place in a single day. This is one of the reasons I'm living where I am, because I was too lazy to look at several different options before jumping on the most convenient at the time. One shouldn't impulse shop when picking out an apartment. Especially when you don't know the area. It's just that my first three apartments were all in Irvine, ranked one of America's top 5 safest cities. Every apartment is gorgeous, new, perfectly maintained, and fully stocked with every appliance you would need. I took for granted that I would have my own washer and dryer, a full-sized fridge, a dishwasher. Then I moved to the ghetto and was in for a world of doing without. Which was fine, I dealt with it. I just think I could have gotten a lot more for the same amount of money if I had actually tried. And now that I actually work for a property management company and have become more worldly in the ways of Los Angeles, I think I'm much better equipped.

A typical leasing office in Irvine. It may have been a boring college town,
but it sure was purdy. And you'd have been arrested on the spot for egging someone's house.

I'm still just as lazy though. And I still hate driving around to more than one place.

But enough apartment talk. Actually, enough talk period. I need to start getting ready to haggle and peruse.

Hold the phone! I forgot to mention that I finally got to drive the golf cart at work! It only took me two months and one failed attempt (during which the thing just beeped angrily at me and wouldn't budge.) To be honest, it was kind of a let down. It just beeped a lot, and didn't have any turn radius, and I kept running into curbs and guard rails. Plus, it was a bitch to drive in heels since you have to slam on the accelerator to get it to move. So, my inner child is severely disappointed. But still, VICTORY!!

And in other news, I found out that a one-hit wonder R&B group from when I was in high school used to live in my apartment complex. They threw an all-night eviction party the night before they were kicked out. Poor one-hit wonder R&B group who couldn't pay the rent. The high school version of me used to sing their song and attribute it to this totally dreamy guy we dubbed "the Sexy Beast" because he was on the basketball team and had a small part in real movie.

And that's all the news for now!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Never-ending Search for the One True Pub

I have been on a noble quest ever since I first saw How I Met Your Mother four and a half years ago: to find my MacClaren's. For those of you sad, bitter folk who are not familiar, MacClaren's is the Irish pub that the loveable gang from HIMYM (I know I said I hate acronyms, but typing out How I Met Your Mother really is tiresome), frequent on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. It is conveniently located a few floors below their apartment, making it easy to pop down for a pint, and never worry about designated drivers. ("How easy is it to sneak into the zoo, because I need to see some penguins like right now.")

The Dream.

I have a thing for Irish pubs, even nay especially fake Irish pubs. I'm not even Irish. I think I just have the Green Fever something fierce. So now that I'm searching for an apartment, one of the things I'm looking for is close proximity to an Irish pub. Not just any Irish pub though. THE Irish pub (or British. I'm not too picky.) When it comes to finding my MacClaren's, here is what I am looking for:

1. Good atmosphere. Meaning not douchey, too old or too young. The kind of place you can go in jeans and not feel completely out of place.

2. Not over-crowded. I hate not being able to sit down. Not empty either. That's just awkward if you get a boring bartender.

3. Cheap drinks. And by cheap, I mean under 5 bucks for a beer or cider in my case.

4. Must have cider. Preferably on tap so we can get pitchers. Because cider is the shit.

5. Good music. The kind of place that you might spontaneously burst into a full-bar singalong of Don't Stop Believin'. It's happened once, I'm convinced I can make it happen again.

6. Kickass bartender. One who can flip and twirl bottles and glasses, make hilarious small talk, occasionally gives free drinks, and is preferably an adorable man candy, but not in an obnoxious douchey way.

7. Cool locals. Preferably hysterical old men who buy you drinks and make for great stories.

8. Brick. I have an inexplicable passion for brick architecture. Something about it just feels so authentically Irish and homey.

9. Within walking distance. I may not get lucky with this last one. It's probably too much to hope for.

10. Overall, it just needs to be the kind of place my friends and I can hang out at, where everybody knows our name. ("HUTCH!!") (That was a Cheers reference if you missed it.)

As much as I hate beer,
that's how much I LOVE Cider!

I've found a few contenders since moving to LA:

1. Molly Malone's on Fairfax. (Great music, multiple celebrity sightings - I stood next to the pretty blonde Australian doctor from House, saw Bob the Bachelor, and someone else who escapes my memory-a little pricey, more than slightly douchey and touristy)

2. O'Brien's in Santa Monica. (Good prices, but I went there both times for a company event where we got happy hour prices. Mediocre service, but great decor. Not to mention cider!!)

3. The Queen's Head in Santa Monica (British, but kudos on the authentic bartender, great fish and chips, multiple types of cider, unfriendly atmosphere, way too expensive. Also has bad memories since I went there by myself when I was depressed and unemployed and got fairly tipsy in the middle of the day on a Wednesday for the first and last time in my life.)

4. The Fox and Hounds in Studio City (Again, British, but within walking distance of work and my friends' house. Decent prices. Cider on tap. But overcrowded, loud, and somewhat douchey.)

5. Gabe's on Sepulveda. (Neither British nor Irish, but a kickass karaoke bar where the Sally Tomatoes made their debut as karaoke supahstars and brought down the house with a little help from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Great prices, strong drinks, awesome atmosphere. Bit of a drive though.)

Notable mentions (ie, not in LA)
The Temple Bar District (Dublin, Ireland. Duh. Also known as Hutch's Disneyland)
The Cock and Bull (Bordeaux, France/Sydney, Australia)
Hannigans (Granada, Spain)
That one in Melbourne with the awesome trivia night (Anabel, Romany, help me out!)
That one Scottish bar in Rome (sorry I can't be more specific)
Goat Hill Tavern (Newport Beach, CA)
Little Knight (Costa Mesa, CA)

And probably a few others that I can't remember right now. There are still a few more I've been told about, but have yet to visit. I welcome recommendations.

The good news is, last night, I do believe Kelly Bean and I discovered our MacClaren's. We thought it might be the Fox and Hounds. We went there for the second time after I'd had a long week and really needed some cider. It was nice, but kind of loud and smokey. So we scooted out early and headed back towards her apartment. On the way there however, we noticed hidden away in an abandoned looking shopping center, a little pub called Maeve's Residuals with an Irish flag on the sign. Since it was only 8:30pm, we decided to give it a shot.

From the moment we walked in, we felt home. We sat at the bar and were instantly welcomed by the world's most adorable bartender, Josh. He hooked us up with two bottles of Strongbow, and gave us one for free, since it was our first time there (yay!). There was a good crowd of locals, but it still felt open and breezy. The music was mostly decent, some classic rock including Santana (until some stupid ho-bag picked out a piece o' crap rap song from the juke box. I wanted to slap her with a shillelagh.) The bathrooms weren't disgusting (which is all you can ask from any bar.) And Josh gave me sound advice for living in South Central: Duck.

I love a man who knows how to work a shillelagh.

The evening had it's highlights, like when Kelly spit out her mint from Fox and Hounds onto a napkin in order to truly appreciate her cider and then ate it after she was done. Classy lady, that one. And it was also enjoyable when we were both hit on by men in their fifties. Mine was a drummer who travels to places like Singapore, India, and Korea. Jealous? He offered to buy me a drink but since I had to drive, I offered to let him buy me a water instead. I went out to try to escape from the absolute madness that is my job, and wouldn't you know it, my future boyfriend is a resident of my apartment complex. And in the middle of brazenly hitting on a woman who could easily be his daughter, he had the nerve to ask me what it would cost him to get out of his lease if he had to move to India. Grrrrrrrrr.

So maybe frequenting a pub so close to where I work isn't such a good idea. Still though, I gotta give Maeve's a solid review. I think in time it could be the One.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plentyoffish Revisited

The other night whilst imbibing a White Diamonds cocktail (patent pending), I was indulging in far too much Grey's Anatomy and cursing the world that Dr. Owen Hunt doesn't actually exist. Screw McDreamy or McSteamy. Give me Dr. Hunt anyday. He's all manly and interesting-looking with a deep voice and a vulnerable badass quality that just makes my eyes lose focus and forget what I was talking about....what? Oh yes. Anyway, add him to my list of Fictional Men who have Ruined Real Men for Life. The point was that I got super-bummed all of a sudden that he's not real.
That's right Patrick Dempsey.
Take a backseat to the much manlier Kevin McKidd.
The only ginger who deserves the title of World's Sexiest Fake Doctor.

As I mentioned in a previous blog about my troubles with menfolk, my standards for real men are actually not that high. It boils down to being taller than me, a non-smoker, aaaand that's about it. Preferably not younger too, but I'm flexible if he is (hey-oh!). Hell, I'd settle for any guy who shows the slightest bit of interest (who isn't some crazy one-legged ghetto guy at a gas station expecting me to drop trou right by pump #4 forcing me to invent a fake boyfriend to make him skedaddle. Or a homeless downtown jazz trumpeter named Tiny with similar assumptions and consequences.True stories both).

I was slightly tipsy from my cocktail and feeling melodramatic that I was never going to find a decent man candy in LA (blame the Grey's). So I decided to give online dating another try. Once again I went to simply because it's free. Absolutely miserable once more. I looked at a few guys' profiles to see if it was even worth it. So pathetic. I couldn't take any of them seriously. I wanted to either slap them for their douchery or laugh in their internet-profile faces for their stupidity. Is this what we've been reduced to? After a while, it wouldn't even let me look without signing up. So I started my profile. But with every field on the questionairre, I wanted to slap myself. There is no way to write those things and not sound completely ridiculous.

Searching for my mythical rainbow fish.

Is it possible to construct a profile for one of these sites without sounding a) pathetic, b) mentally handicapped, c) like a total tool? And how is it possible to consolidate everything about you into a few short text boxes and represent yourself at your best while being honest so if you do ever meet you don't disappoint them?

One final bone to pick with dating sites: Body type. I agree that it's important to know what you're looking for and not to lie about yourself. But when your choices are "a few extra pounds," or "big and tall/BBW," how does that not just kill your soul? I actually had to google BBW. If you look it up on Urban Dictionary, it means 'big, beautiful women.' First of all, egads. Second of all, those definitions are so cruel and ridiculous. There's no way I would want to associate myself with either of those connotations.

Anyway, the whole experience just pissed me off. So halfway through I gave up. I finished my drink and a few more episodes of Grey's and went to bed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Discrete Gossip Queen

I have the world's biggest blabber mouth. If I know something juicy (or even vaguely moist...ew...moist), I have to spill. Unfortunately, I'm not technically allowed to divulge any personal information from my job. And this is Sporadic Sporkitudes, not TMZ, so I have to keep it classy. But things happen and they're so weird/funny/crazy, and I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't tell someone. Because if no one knows about it, it didn't happen. And therefore my entire existence is invalidated. (Blow your mind just now, did I?)

Not actually me. But just so you know
how I feel when I see these things
and think, wow that's super cool
and can't say anything...

So I've decided to let y'all in on some of the wacky hijinks to which I am lucky enough to be privy. Well most aren't really wacky. But they do involve people you might recognize if I were not classy. What follows is the censored version. I won't give any names, any real info other than the situation.

Here is what happened in the past week:

1. A former Playboy model took family pictures out on our lawn.

2. A recurring character on the L Word took a tour of the premises.

3. I reset a password for a girl I recognized from a movie I had just seen on Netflix, as well as an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

4.5. I gave away a former resident/current Laker's parking space to someone else. Oooh exciting, right? But still it was cool to see his name in our system even if I don't follow sports and actively loathe the Lakers and everything this person stands for.

4. A former Nickelodeon star turned legitimate actor marveled at my strength as I lifted his enormous package. (Best compliment ever, "Wow, you're really strong." Darn tootin', former Nickelodeon star. Darn tootin'.) Get your mind out of the gutter. It was a cardboard box, not his penis. But it was really heavy, so be impressed nonetheless.

5. A former rapper/singer for a band that had a one-hit wonder when I was in 7th grade that my mom wouldn't let me sing because she thought it was dirty even though I didn't get the innuendo at the time but now I do (breathes) turned junkie turned Celebrity Rehab reality star turned back into a junkie ("who prefers to smoke rock-cocaine" according to the report) literally scaled several floors of one of our buildings to break into someone's apartment. Now that one I wish I could say his name, because it is the best name EVER. (Hint, it's an alliteration. And I do love me some alliteration)

6. This doesn't involve someone marginally famous, but I did get a call from a new resident asking if I had heard anything about the attempted murder in the parking lot. That one caught me off guard. But nope. No attempted murder. She was misinformed. But still. Weird.

7. And speaking of non-famous people who do weird things, a guy called our front gate to report that his psycho ex-girlfriend was so mad at him she was "pouring orange juice and kool-aid all over the floor." Who does that? I swear, these people may have money, but they crazy.

This is a very strange place. You can basically assume that anyone who walks through the door is in some phase of fame, whether it's child stars with pushy moms obsessed with dog poop, those you can tell probably won't make it, those right on the verge, those who will never make it out of the fringe, and the washed-up has-beens. And if they're not famous, they think they are and you should treat them accordingly. Sigh. Good stories though, even if I can't say everything.

UPDATE: 2/2/11 A sitcom child star is finally grown up to get his own apartment, but still needs his momma by his side. I think if I say the sitcom is based on a certain comedian, it won't give it away too much. Most of them are.