Friday, May 29, 2009

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted!

Back when I was still under the delusion that I was going to be able to take my car to New York, I talked to Mr. VF about driving across the country. There's so much in the middle that I haven't seen since I've stuck mostly to the coasts. I want to see what life's like in flyover country! Sadly we decided to fly when we move and so I thought my summer vacation was a bust. I love when I'm wrong (when it goes right)!

I'm going to...


OK yeah, I know it doesn't sound too thrilling to most West Coasters, but I'm excited to go. I've heard from multiple people that Nashville is a pretty cute town and, of course, I expect to cause some shenanigans in town.

You may be wondering, "Gee Violet, how are you taking this trip when you recently got laid off work?" Good question (although you should be ashamed of yourself for being so nosy. Just kidding. But really). I originally was going to skip it. It's a big meet up of friends who are living all over the country and they picked a place that is "central", though it was mostly inconvenient for me since I'm on the West Coast. The trip is scheduled for 4th of July weekend and it was going to cost me several hundred dollars to make the trip. IN THIS ECONOMY, saving for law school and being jobless, etc, I didn't think it would be smart to make the trip. On a depressed whim, I was inspired by Claire and decided to check American Airlines to see if I had enough frequent flier miles saved up. It was either 50K miles roundtrip in coach or 50K miles roundtrip for business/first. Needless to say I'm scheduled for a trip to Nashville in first class. The best part is that it only cost me $10! They will have to pour me out of the plane in Nashville and back in LA!

In fact, since we're all young and broke, this trip is going to be relatively on the cheap. We're sharing hotel rooms, college-trip style and doing low key activities. Now I get my pre-law school trip without any of the guilt!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Haters: Traitors to the Human Race

I planned for my first blog post back from the Memorial Day weekend to talk about the fab wedding I attended, complete with (crappy) pictures. Instead, I think that yesterday's events deserve more attention. The California Supreme Court has decided by a pretty large margin that my loved ones are not allowed to get married. I am more than a little surprised and disappointed, but there were some good signs amidst the ruling yesterday. For starters, the dissenting Justice Carlos Moreno said the ruling was "not just a defeat for same-sex couples, but for any minority group that seeks the protection of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution." He then goes on to say, "[I]t places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities."

I haven't sat to read the hundred plus pages of opinions written by the Court, but I intend to do so one day (if law school hasn't killed my will to read cases at some point).

I knew there would be protests and rallies galore last night, so it made me smile a bit when I got an email with links to pictures from a rally in the Bay Area last night, courtesy of my Uncle Rick. I wrote about him on a previous blog, so see if you can pick out which guy he is in two of the pics :)

I'd have put the pics here myself, but they're copyright protected. I loved seeing a community come together, from the common folks to the religious. It seems like religious folks get a really bad rap in all this. Granted, some people do vote for Prop 8 and say it's due to religious reasons (see the moron quoted in the LA Times), but not all religious people are bigoted or zealots and I like that some of the pictures are able to capture that. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nice To Know You....Goodbye

It's been pretty evident to everyone and their mama that the economy is for shit right now. Working at a nonprofit, things have been especially tight...especially working at a nonprofit that is predominately funded by corporate America, like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, et. al. The Executive Director of our office told my coworker and me the other day just how much trouble we were in -- at least $100K in the red for our office with only about a month left in the fiscal year.

I got an email last week from one of our VPs from our headquarters in NYC wanting to meet with me today and the email didn't sit well at all. I was agonizing about it since the moment it arrived. Apparently, my Spidey-senses were on point because I was laid off. My boss was also laid off, leaving only 1 person (who is part time to boot!) left working in the LA office. I was shockingly calm. Perhaps it was knowing that I'm leaving for law school shortly? Perhaps it was receiving a severance payout equal to when I was planning to quit anyway? So yeah, now I'm getting paid for the same time frame as I was planning to work, but now I don't have to get up early or deal with bullshit. Sounds like a total win to me! In all, there were something like 10 other people laid off today, in addition to others who have been let go over the last couple of months. It's a lot when we have no more than 50-60 employees! The future of the LA office is in jeopardy -- they'll finish up the end of the school year and then re-evaluate.

The only bummer is that I wish I could have gone out in a blaze of glory. I dream of one day being able to peace out and say, "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, and fuck you, I'm out!" Since I was robbed of the opportunity to do so, there's one person that deserved a special shout out that I'll give here:

Maynard - fuck you. You're an idiot, a terrible teacher, and a pain in my ass. You talk to women as if they were only there for your personal amusement and pleasure and otherwise less than you. You're the worst kind of human being. You might fool people with your BS, but I can see right through you. You do your kids a disservice and if I was a parent, I'd be at the district office every day to complain about you. Pro tip: sitting at your desk and playing on your computer (or whatever you're doing since you're awful about returning business-related emails) and schmoozing with the general public does absolutely NOTHING to teach your kids. Do your fucking job!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mini Week Review

Two noteworthy things happened this week:

On Tuesday, I went to the Entrepreneurs Organization meeting to mix and mingle with people and to support some of my workplace associates. It was held at the Andaz West Hollywood (formerly/currently [?] the Hyatt West Hollywood) in their rooftop event space. When I walked out into the pool area, I realized that this would be what I miss about LA.

View from the rooftop pool facing Los Angeles

Maybe one day I'll be a rich and successful attorney and be able to afford one of these homes?

Sadly I was there in a work-related capacity because it was a totes gorgeous facility and super close to home. Oh, and did I mention the open bar?! I limited myself to just a glass of pinot grigio (where I felt like Ramona from RH of NYC) and just one teensy little Cape Cod. The bartender was stereotypically LA -- cute, but blathering some nonsense about trying to make drinks as wholesome as possible. I'm like dude, just give me my Grey Goose and stop trying to be philosophical and homeopathic about the booze.

Unfortunately I was seated next to a guy that I really detest with whom my organization partners. Being near him could have ruined my evening, but I tried my hardest to ignore him. I kept telling myself "two more months" and that was pretty calming!

Last night I went to the UCLA v. Cal State Fullerton baseball game. Normally I couldn't care less about baseball, but it was Mr. VF's friend's (I'll call him Tiger) birthday and that was his pick. Whatevs. Mr. VF and I were standing near the ticket sales booth and waiting for his friend when some guy wearing Bruin clothes walked up to us, asked us if we were going to buy tickets, and then handed us his tickets. Score! Now, random aside: why in the helllllllllllllllllll do people have to pay for college baseball games? I mean honestly, is there that big a market? Tickets were like, $15. Now granted, it's not a lot, but they don't even serve beer at college games, FFS! Where's the redeeming value? But Tiger and his wife get to the stadium and as it turns out, these seats were pretty sweet -- located between home plate and first base maybe 4-5 rows back. Score! As I sat talking to Mr. VF, I saw a pretty brunette girl a couple of rows down and told Mr. VF that she looked familiar. Tiger had a similar conversation with his wife apparently because a couple of minutes later, he confirmed who I thought I saw:

Yes, Miss Kara Keough from the Real Housewives of OC in the flesh. Apparently she really did transfer to UCLA and she was in the section rooting for the Bruins. I do like Kara and I really like her mom, but sadly, Jeana was nowhere to be found. I told Mr. VF I was going to blog about her being there and he said "I'm surprised you didn't take a picture." Damn, he knows me too well. Unfortunately I'm still concerned about what people think, so I didn't intrude on her privacy that much. I wanted to though! My team lost, but we had fun with friends. Happy birthday, Tiger!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Rose Bowl (F*@K $C!)

On April 25, I had the opportunity to attend the UCLA Spring Football scrimmage at the Rose Bowl. Since this will be the last time I'll really get to go to the Rose Bowl (at least for a couple of years), I decided to make the trek out to Pasadena. This is, I believe, the second year that they've held the event at the Rose Bowl and I generally enjoyed myself. There is something about going to the Rose Bowl in this setting that makes you feel really special -- like you were invited to an exclusive party. The only non-delightful part was the $15 parking charge. Ugh, the City of Pasadena is truly the epitome of greed!

The scrimmage was kind of boring. I mean, it's not like a real game. The real fun for me came after the game. I got to go onto the field. At the Rose Bowl. The freakin' field!!! The other awesome part was seeing two of my former students from my previous life as a high school teacher who are now UCLA student athletes...and trust me when I say that their mothers make sure there is an emphasis on the word "STUDENT!"
By the way, excuse the face. I totally forgot I was going to take pictures and I hadn't done my makeup (obvs) NOR had I straightened my hair, so it's all gross and pulled back.

Rahim was one of my favorite students. I had him in my AP US History class a couple of years ago and he was just such a nice kid, period. He always had a smile and a joke (OK, sometimes way too many jokes!) but he always put in effort in the class and was generally pleasant which is a lot more than I can say for other often hormonal teenagers. I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his mother over the course of that year and I am blessed to continue being friendly with each of them.

Johnathan (better known as Jet Ski by just about everyone, due to his blazingly fast speed) was never technically my student, but he's BFFs with Rahim. I got to know him more during the summer before his senior year. I had worked as one of the senior class advisors for the previous class and had counseled many students on options in terms of moving on to college. One of the negative parts of working at inner city schools with strong sports programs is that many times the kids are seen as vehicles for the coaches success, but no real attention or care is paid to the student's future. Sure they will accommodate coaches who are on campus to recruit the student, but the academic piece is completely missing. I did a lot of work for the high school's graduating student athletes in talking about academics and also counseling students who were perhaps interested in walking on, but weren't recruited athletes. One of the parents from the senior class is friends with Jet Ski's mom and introduced us at a graduation party for her son. We hit it off and started talking a lot, particularly when it became clear that Jet Ski was going to UCLA. Jet Ski might look familiar to people who watch the docudrama Baldwin Hills as he was one of the stars of the second season. Another great kid with a wonderful mom.
As you can tell, I'm totally proud of these boys and wish them so much success.