Friday, March 30, 2012

One-Tenth of 640 Million Dollars

I do not believe in gambling. If I'm going to spend perfectly good disposable income on something, it had better be useful, chocolate, or at least shiny. Playing the lotto is basically pinning all your hopes and dreams on an expensive piece of future trash. The one time I went to Vegas as an adult, I spent all of about five minutes gambling before the flashing lights and ringing bells grew old and I skipped off to Chippendale's with my massive eiffel tower margarita in hand. I did buy one lotto ticket once on my 18th birthday just as a rite of passage. I didn't win anything and never bothered since.

But since the jackpot in California is so ridiculously big right now, this was the first time that I was ever seriously tempted. The following thoughts started floating around my over-worked and underpaid mind: "Hey, someone's gotta win it. Why not me? " and "You can't win if you don't play!" These obsessive mantras quickly replaced the usual fleeting logical conclusions, "One chance in a bazillion," "Waste your money on more tangible objects" and "The lotto is a tax on folks who can't do math" (that last one I stole from my former drama/computer/track/improv teacher''s Facebook. Thanks Walters!)

I started to fantasize about what I would do with all that money. Even if you tax the bejeezus out of a shit-load of money, you still have a shit-load of money. That is just irrefutable. Suddenly, I became one of those people I used to pity and deride for spending their last dollar on a lotto ticket. What you're really paying for with that dollar is a dream, temporary though it may be. The dream that all your problems will suddenly go away because you finally have a fat bank account. Sure, there is a documented Curse of the Lotto Winner, and they say "Mo' money, mo' problems." But I would gladly trade my problems for that of a ridiculously wealthy person's. Any takers?

With this in mind, I jumped on the bandwagon and put in not just one, but TWO whole dollars of my hard-earned money into my office lotto pool. I think mostly because they caught me when I was hungry and running late, so I was feeling especially vulnerable to the lure of large sums of money. When I got home and checked Facebook, I saw I was not alone. Clearly, the draw of $640 million dollars has caused thousands of rational people who wouldn't normally buy into this crap to increase the odds of winning even more. But again I say, someone has to win it eventually. Why not me?

So let's say I win my share of a bajillion dollars. Everyone always wants to know the first thing you're going to do with it. A new car? A yacht? A private island? For me, the first thing would be to pay off my student loans in one big lump and attach a picture of me flipping them off for screwing me over so bad the past few years. Practical and yet uber-satisfying at the same time. The next thing I'd do is pay off my parents' debt. Hell, I'm rich enough I could take care of everyone I know so that they only have to worry about paying their living expenses. There is nothing worse than being in debt. I suppose that's not exactly true. Leprosy might be worse. Having to spend an entire five minutes with Kristin Stewart and not being able to punch her in the face could also be a contender. But still, debt sucks.

After everyone was free and clear, I'd do the whole nice car, nice house, around the world vacation including a long stay in Vegas in the fanciest suite with a private party of Chippendale's dancers just for me and my 80 closest friends, thing. But I'd never let go of Stan (even though he died on my three times last week). Because I know where I come from.

Now that this blog is winding down to an end, I would like to pose an ethical dilemma that always seems to pop up in these hypothetical situations. Say you win one-tenth of $640 million dollars. Do you go to work the next day?

I'm honestly not sure.

I think they've done the drawing already, but I haven't checked if I won yet. I should do that...

So it occurs to me that I don't actually know how this works. I have three of the numbers, but they're not on the same line. What happens if you win one number? And does it have to be in the same place as the drawing? Or can you just have the same numbers? I'm assuming I didn't win anything, but I'm still confused. Oh well. It was fun to dream about being debt free while it lasted!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day is Overrated

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope you are all out there getting toasted on green beer (which I think is doubly disgusting since I loathe beer and things that are colored a color that is not their usual color. For example, I once made a green coffee cake because I thought it would be funny. I love coffee cake and I'm not too shabby at making them. But the fact that it was radioactive-colored made me throw pretty much the whole thing away. But I digress. ((Which is really why you love me))), and eating corned beef and cabbage (which also sounds disgusting although to be fair, I've never actually eaten it. Because it sounds disgusting.).

Blech blech blech.

Seeing as I have a wicked and persistent case of Green Fever (severe bouts of lust for any man with an Irish accent regardless of his physical form, age, or other characteristics), as well as a strange obsession with Irish pubs, you'd think that this would be my favorite holiday. And it is in theory. But I am now twenty-four years of age and have never truly celebrated this day in the manner in which it was destined. It seems that every March 17th, I end up being even lamer than usual and squandering this chance to honor all things Irish (and therefore sexy and/or awesome).

Here are some of my worst St. Patrick's Days ever:

Bordeaux, France 2008: I was a twenty-year old kid abroad in Europe for the first time and partying like a rock star. When I wasn't spending way too much time on Facebook, super homesick whilst watching bootleg episodes of Gilmore Girls. But in any case, I had fully planned on traveling to Dublin for this holiday and really doing it right. I soon found out that if you don't book your hostel and plane ticket months in advance, good luck trying to get anywhere near the Emerald Isle. Plus, it was a weeknight, so no one wanted to even just go out to our favorite pub, the Cock and Bull (which is actually British-themed, but close enough!) I ended up doing some homework, taking a shot of Bailey's, and going to bed around 9pm. I made it to Dublin eventually, and it was pretty much the greatest place on the planet. But Ireland in June just isn't the same. Sigh.

Not even a guilty pleasure. Gilmore Girls kick ass.

Irvine, California 2009: My first St. Patty's actually being legally allowed to drink alcohol. It was a Tuesday during my last Finals week ever if I remember correctly. I had to go to class all day and then partied it up at Albertson's to get some groceries. Woo wild child! I was wearing green rubber flip flops and ended up slipping and falling in the cereal aisle while mulling over the festiveness of Lucky Charms. Why on earth was there a puddle in the middle of the cereal aisle??? I could understand produce or even frozen foods if something was left out. But cereal by its very nature is dry. I don't even want to know what it was. But the point is, I fucked up my knee for months afterwards and the stain from the grimy floor never really came out of my jeans. That night, not only did I have to work, but I had to do inventory at Blockbuster. Meaning that I had to literally scan every single DVD in stock from 8pm to 5am, usurping prime partying hours and being an all-around bummer. Plus, my knee hurt so much that it made the shift even more depressing.

Isn't this flipping terrifying??? More Halloween than St. Patrick's Day.

South Central Los Angeles, California 2010: Broke. Unemployed. Bored. Without many friends in Los Angeles even though I'd lived here for 8 or 9 months at that point. This was the night that I auditioned for the Sally Tomatoes. Which ended up being one of the best decisions of the last few years. But I got horribly lost in Downtown LA and was followed to my car by a leering homeless man. And then I went to bed early again without even taking a shot. I did however, post a blog about how lame it is being of British descent, since it's nothing worth being proud of. You can totally tell how bitter and angry I was at the time.

The madness of unemployment.

North Hollywood, California 2011: Went to work. Went to Sally's practice. Came home, drank one beer and was already pretty tipsy. My friend Kelly Bean called me around 11pm and and drove my lightweight, buzzed ass to Denny's for a midnight apple pie run. That part was actually pretty awesome. Though it was kind of funny to be consuming an American icon on an Irish holiday.

North Hollywood, California 2012: Finally, the holiday falls on a Saturday! But it also happens to be a rare week when I have to work on Sunday. Blarg. After going to bed way too late last night, I was rudely awakened at 6:30am by a terribly loud, blaring smoke alarm. No particular reason. It just decided to go off. And not the innocent though obnoxious dead battery chirp. This thing could have woken the dead. But I couldn't figure out which one was going off, since I have two that are right next to each other (kind of a stupid design come to think of it). Still half-asleep, I tried to just change the battery. I discovered that it takes a 9-volt though, and who keeps 9-volts in the house? I ended up just pulling it out of the ceiling and going back to bed. It eventually was silent.

Also extremely creepy. I see this as a rare depiction of the smoke detector demon
who always sets off the alarm at odd hours and
kills the battery when he knows you don't keep replacements in the house.

Too soon after, I was awakened by my regular alarm clock. I weighed myself and discovered that I had gained weight due to the movie popcorn and red vines I was forced at gun point to consume the night before (I take no responsibility for that. But I'm still down roughly 70 lbs!). Eventually, I dragged my exhausted self to work, completely forgetting to wear any sort of green whatsoever. It was pouring rain and the roads were flooded since LA is not rain-compatible. That was exciting. Then at work, everything was broken. I was unable to log in all day, and yet was still running around like a chicken with my head cut off. A headless chicken who has to have really awkward conversations about strange toilet smells. A rainbow came out though just as I was leaving, which must have been some sort of sign. Maybe I have a guardian leprechaun. With a really sick sense of humor.

SO BADASS!!!!! "And shepherds we shall be..."

Now I'm relaxing at home, wearing green sweat pants and fuzzy socks. I plan on drinking a beer (not Guinness, but a raspberry wheat Belgian beer. It still counts), and watching Boondock Saints, which has been my tradition for the last several years. Despite all the crappy times and lack of proper partying, Boondock Saints always makes me feel better. I think it has to do with my love of cheeky Irishmen in pea coats with guns.

Love them year-round, but particularly on days like today.

Speaking of cheeky Irishmen, my dream is to one day spend March 17th in Boston at a Dropkick Murphy's concert. Kelly Bean actually accomplished this Bucket List item in 2008 while I was busy studying for finals, screwing up my knee and doing inventory in lame Orange County. Bitch. (Just kidding, lady!) If I can't do St. Patty's in Dublin, Boston would be the next best thing. Who knows, maybe I'll run into an Irish lad in a pea coat who will buy me a raspberry wheat Belgian beer (and not mock me too horribly for my taste), events will transpire and I will conquer another Bucket List entry... But I guess St. Patrick's Day is kind of like New Year's Eve. It always seems awesome, but is never as epic as you want it to be. And most of the time, you end up falling asleep before 10pm anyway. At least I do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures in Pest Control

Or rather, "Lack of Pest Control." Because it's the cockroaches' apartment. I'm just living in it. Yes, my apartment is ridiculously infested with cockroaches. While I admit that I should have contacted my landlady sooner than five weeks ago, the problem is so much worse than I thought. I'm not a squeamish woman. I don't freak out at the sight of bugs, spiders, or even snakes really. (Rats freak me the hell out, but if you like rats then there's something wrong with you.) But I just about jumped out of my skin when I started pulling out the stack of plastic bags that inevitably builds up when you've lived any place for any amount of time and are terrible about keeping up your New Years' Resolution to use re-usable shopping bags.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know.
There's an island of plastic the size of Texas in the middle of the ocean.

Speaking of re-usable shopping bags, since I was neglecting to use mine, they just sat on top of my refrigerator. Not collecting dust, mind you, but becoming a happy home for cockroaches of all stages and walks of their creepy, crawly lives. I pulled one such bag down and an entire community of cockroaches, big and small scurried out like Godzilla was attacking their green, recycled city! (Now I'm having fun picturing myself all green and scaly tromping around as anthropomorphized bugs scream and shout things in badly dubbed English). I guess that's what I get for failing to do my part to save the planet.

Picture my face on Godzilla's body.
I'm too lazy to photoshop it.

But this saga actually begins quite a while ago, when I first started noticing small creatures the size of ants just strolling around my apartment. I didn't know what they were, but I assumed that they were harmless since I didn't have any bites or develop any mysterious diseases. I killed them when I could, but didn't go out of my way if it was inconvenient (i.e. I was too sleepy). Then I observed that they were growing stronger, larger too. Like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only with more legs and less of a command of early 90s Valley surfer slang. While I am super on top of things at work out of necessity, I tend to let certain tasks in my own life go unattended for far too long. (For example, it just took me a week and a half to finally go to the doctor for an issue that was by no means life-threatening but probably should have been addressed much much sooner.)

I would have preferred an infestation of mutant turtles.
They would at least make themselves useful and fight crime.

This is why I only just texted my landlady roughly five weeks ago to call pest control. Because it was an absolutely insane month at work, involving working several six-day weeks (during which each of those days felt like a whole week itself), I basically forgot about my unwanted house guests. At least, until I would walk in the door dead on my feet, too late to do anything about it. And in that time, I never got a call, text, or e-mail to set up an official time. And their numbers just kept on growing.

And I shall name him, "Dirty Uncle Sal."

Finally, my Gentleman Caller put his foot down and demanded that I purchase bug bombs and try to fumigate the place. He offered to help, but being an independent and self-sufficient woman of the world, I decided I was going to do this on my own. But then I walked around Target for an hour only to ask for help finding the damn bombs. Which they didn't have. So I went to Ralph's, got the bombs, and got ready to set them off. Only, you have to turn off your pilot lights and disconnect your smoke detectors to do so. Sadly, my independent worldliness only goes so far. I got frustrated when the smoke detector kept beeping at me (because I hadn't eaten yet and only got five hours of sleep so I was uber-cranky). I also was so afraid of blowing up the whole damn building that eventually I gave up and fell asleep in my chair like a giant baby. When I woke up, hours later, I sheepishly called for reinforcements.

Luckily my GC is very handy with such things and was able to come and rescue the pathetic damsel in distress. He even went a step further with this chivalry and volunteered to set off the bombs while I waited outside. Then we went and played golf. Because that's what one does when one fumigates for cockroaches. Not just mini-golf, but the real kind with the funny pants and many different clubs. It turns out, I'm not too shabby and actually genuinely enjoy golf. So the day wasn't so bad after all. Especially since we got frozen yogurt afterwards and there is nothing bad about frozen yogurt. When we came back and started airing out the apartment, we didn't see a plethora of dead bugs everywhere as expected. The problem was definitely better, but I was still outnumbered exactly one zillion to one.

This is totally what I look like when I golf.

I followed up with my landlady once more and scheduled the appointment for yesterday. The pest guy comes for two minutes and says in a highly irritated voice: "You didn't move anything." ...I didn't know I was supposed to. "Did you also know you were supposed to leave for four hours afterwards?" ...No. I schedule pest control all the time at my job. We have Terminix come out twice a week like clockwork. (Not that we really have bug problems, but with over 800 apartments, it's bound to happen eventually. Which is why I am on top of these things. At work, anyway.) Anyway, we never tell our residents they have to move everything out of their cupboards and drawers and be out of the apartment for four hours. But then the guy started debating the merits of spray vs. the gel that Terminix uses and I lost the battle.

Mean pest control guy. I guess if you kill
things for a living, you probably aren't the most jovial sumbitch.

So now on my day off, I'm completely moving all dishes, food, and other random items from my kitchen and bathroom into my living room and bedroom. My apartment is very small and cannot accommodate four rooms worth of crap into two. At this point it would just be easier to move. But it's cathartic in a way. Call it Spring Cleaning. Especially now that I've lived here exactly one year and it was probably time to go through all this stuff.

I should just move at this point.

We will see tomorrow morning between 8am and 10am if I moved everything to the pest control guy's satisfaction. I didn't care for his condescension nor his snark, but I just have to play along until I get the chemicals I need to finally slay these mutant nuclear bomb-resistant cockroaches once and for all. Then maybe I won't be afraid that one is going to crawl up my nose while I sleep. AAAAAAHHHHH!!

(On an unrelated note, I finally broke down and bought a brand new fancy schmancy iMac to replace my sad, slow, overfull, and no longer able to multi-task Powerbook G4, which I purchased in 2005 as a high school graduation present to myself. The laptop wouldn't even let me long into Blogger anymore, though that doesn't entirely make up for my absence. But I've been dealing with massive amounts of cockroaches, so I think I get a pass.)