Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good things about being in a recession

Ok, so there's been far too much griping and ranting on my blog.

New topic.

You know, I've been thinking lately about all the good things about the recession.

I know, many people have lost their jobs, their 401K's, their pride.

But there are *some* benefits to the downturn in the economy.

And here I am to point them out:

1. Parking. Before the economy tanked, parking in Los Angeles was an absolute nightmare. However, because everyone is broke, I can now go out on a Friday night and find street parking on Sunset. Parking lots rarely charge $15-20 on the Strip like they used to. And in general, finding parking in previously impossible parking areas (like Santa Monica, near the Promenade) has now become easy. I was near 3rd Street a few weeks ago on a Saturday around 3 or 4pm. I found a broken meter right across the sreeet from the promenade without any effort! Yay!

2. Sales. I just got an email today with many flights from LA to Sydney, Australia for <$400 each way. That's incredible! Anyone want to go to Australia with me? Flights are going for unheard of rates right now. Hotels are also super cheap! Now is definitely the time to travel if you have the time and the money!

3. Getting back to basics. I spent the last Saturday evening at a girlfriend's house just making dinner and watching a movie. Ok, so I didn't make dinner, she did, but still, it was just as much fun as going out to a restaurant and was nice to just kick back at a friend's house and instead of dealing with parking and people at a restaurant.

4. Time. My friends were so crazed these past few years that I rarely saw them. Now with friends being laid off or cutting back their work schedules, I've been able to catch up with friends over the phone that I haven't talked to in AGES and seen friends that had previously been too busy working 24/7 before.

5. Traffic. In LA, we spend so much time in our cars. And the traffic on the west side had become particularly unbearable. However, lately I've noticed that even rush hour traffic has noticeably decreased. LA driving has almost become tolerable again! Woot woot!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Women and sensitivity

I had this job years ago.

I had to ask this woman for a report for my boss.

My boss ran the company.

I asked nicely, "Hey, can you give me that report? We really need it."

No report.

I asked again, "Hey, you know we really need that report! Can you get it to me ASAP?"

No report.

She genuinely seemed annoyed I kept asking for this report, even though the head of the company needed it. Stupid girl, she had no concept of the "big picture" and that everyone needs to submit their reports so the head of the company could keep the company running with their information.

Anyhow, after the third time of asking, I was a bit more pushy, "I need that!!"

Well, I got the report.

And called into my bosses office for not being "sensitive" enough.


And I know it was a woman who "reported" me since she was the only one I had to chase down for the report.

And now, almost 10 years later, I'm confronted with more and more women, girlfriends who are extremely sensitive.

I get it.

A lot women are insecure.

They think their thighs are fat or their boobs are too small or they need to lose weight or their 'body part' was 'adjective'....

And while that may be solely annoying to their boyfriends and such, it also can turn into a major problem when they get older.

I think I understand why people get married now.

Sure, some women and some men just really want kids.

But maybe they also want an excuse to stay away from all the crazy women in LA.

I have exgirlfriends now. And for a reason. They have major issues.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Now I see why people are single

I had this friend.

I thought she was a pretty cool girl.

Let's call her Jessica.

Jessica was great. Fun, upbeat, positive. Would go out of her way for you.

Then I realized, like so many of my single friends, she has an Achilles heel.

Her date offended her. Fine, maybe he was a jerk. But then we go to a bar and some random stranger offends her. Does she walk away? Say something? No, but she's offended, offended, offended.

Then the final straw came.

I criticized an event she held and ppoooff all hell broke loose.

I hate to say it but for some of my single "friends" there is a very good reason they are single.

They have issues.

Or at least one issue that prevents them from finding a girl or finding a guy. Or maintaining a relationship or friendship.

I'll admit it. I'm at fault too. I'm too picky. No one is perfect.

But man, it's not only hard to find a "normal" boyfriend or girlfriend in LA - but as a woman, finding a sane single girlfriend in your 30's? Close to impossible.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who cares about my blog? Or your blog? Well, hopefully your friends do.

I've read a few posts and had friends say, "Why should I care about a blog my friend writes?"

And sure, while a lot of bloggers use their blog as simply an online journal, I think that's exactly the point.

If you care about someone, you may want to peer inside their world and see what they are eating for breakfast or what's on their mind.

Ok, maybe not the breakfast part but I'd curious about what my friends are up to!

I mean, if no one cared, well, would facebook be so popular? And twitter? And those facebook status update / what's on your mind things?

Sure, there are probably only a handful of people in our lives that we want to follow on a regular basis.

Let's face it. If it's one thing that I've learned from facebook lately it's that rock stars lives are and can be just as dull as ours.

We assume everyone is up to fascinating things - yet facebook brings everyone "down" to the same level as that CEO of that company or your idol may indeed just be eating oatmeal for breakfast and watching TV at night. Humph.

Anyhow, I don't expect a casual friend to care about my blog. Blog reading and writing isn't for everyone.

I guess I'm just blessed to have more free time than most of my friends who work 9-5 jobs. Ah, the benefits of being self-employed.

And I also love writing.

And reading my friend's blogs.

In fact, I wish more of my friends had blogs.

So if you don't care what I'm up to, don't read this.

We probably aren't that good friends anyway ;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The @#$#@'d up economy - how did we get here?

For anyone that knows me well, it's no secret that I love reading and talking about the housing market.

And with the economy in shambles, I have to ask myself, "How did we get here?"

Why is everyone struggling?

Sure, if you lose your job, that's a hardship whether you're making 6 figures or minimum wage. We all have bills to pay and it's tough to pay your rent or mortgage without an income.

However, the bigger problem is really the housing bubble.


It's not just that banks and investors are losing their shirts because of speculation in the housing market.

Because the cost of real estate rose so rapidly the past 5-6 years, we are all now paying the price.


Because your house or condo isn't worth double, triple, or quadruple what you paid for it 2-4 or even 5 years ago.

And now every American is paying for their neighbor's greed and lack of math skills.

Say, for example, the average American household makes $46K a year. I'm not sure what the average salary is but that sounds about right according to the 2005 census.

How can that household afford an increase in rent from say $700 - 10 years ago to $1000 or $1200 now? Simply put, they can't.

I mean, most people I know are making the same or less money than they were 5-10 years ago and even if you get a raise, how many of us are making 35-50% more to cover the increase in housing costs?

It's no wonder housing prices are tanking.

It's supply and demand working its magic and as more people lose their jobs, rent prices will continue to come down. And housing prices in general will have to come down to sane levels.

I don't care how many things you cut out - cell phone, cable tv, eating out, vacations, etc. I think you could cut out all those "luxuries" and still be screwed financially because housing prices are still way out of whack.

So thanks to Alan Greenspan and George Bush and all the greedy mortgage brokers and banks and lenders. And thanks to anyone who bought real estate as an "investment" in the past few years.

Hold on to your hats, ladies & gentlemen.

We're in for a bumpy ride!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life isn't fair a.k.a. "Why am I still single"? Can anyone out there relate?

I went to see Iliza Shlesinger a few weeks ago. (She's the comedian that won last season's "Last Comic Standing").

Anyhow, her routine was pretty funny.

But the best part was where she said, "Dating is tough in every city, every place. Trust me, it's not the city you're in, it's YOU."

Hmm, is that true?


I mean, having lived on both the east coast and the west coast I can certainly attest to this fact.

When I dated in Connecticut, it was difficult because it's a small state. There just weren't very many available single men in their 20's to chose from. I was convinced that every guy in Connecticut was either 1) in high school or college, or 2) in their 30's and already married and with kids.


Because if you're 20 something, you probably want to live in either 1) a city where there are a lot more young people and a variety of things to do 2) a city or town where it's cheaper to live.

Connecticut isn't the cheapest place to live, that's for sure.

Then I dated in New York City. A lot. The largest city in all the 50 states, you certainly can't live here and complain there is no one to date or go out with. I dated everyone from teachers who taught in public schools to guys who just moved to the city from Kentucky. I think I had my first bourbon or some other god awful liquor from that date. All the men I met were gentlemen and every single one took me out to dinner on our first date (or lunch) except I think the Kentucky guy who must have taken me out for drinks.

Anyhow, then I moved to Los Angeles.

"Great," I thought to myself. "All these good looking, single guys to choose from".

Ha ha.

If I knew then, what I know now.

Yeah, there are TONS of great looking guys in LA because they are all unemployed actors. Ok, not all of them. But many of them.

I think after my 5th date in Los Angeles, I gave up.

Not physically gave up dating.

But emotionally? Maybe...

I finally met a guy who offered to buy me dinner on our first date.

Before "Ben" let's call him, I had a series of cheapie coffee and drink first dates and I'm not even sure if they always paid but I think they might have? It was a long time ago...

So we went for Thai food at "Toi Sunset". A bit of a shady part of town 10 years ago but I was so impressed at this guy's class for taking me out to dinner, even if it was cheap Thai.

Anyhow, I was impressed with my date. He was just as cute in person as he was in his photo. Of course, 2 hours later, when he started comparing the women he dated on a scale of "1 to 10" I knew something had gone horribly wrong.

Sure, at this point, we obviously 1) had determined we weren't a love match 2) were comfortable enough with each other to talk about our ex's....or at least he was.

But still, technically, we're on our first date, and I'm thinking to myself, "He's comparing women to numbers".

And the worst part was, the whole dinner conversation was about this ex he dated when he lived in New Jersey who was a 9, but he broke up with her because he wanted, he deserved, he should have a 10. Right? I mean, he was a good looking guy, I'll grant you that, but he wasn't exactly Brad Pitt either.

And really?

You broke up with a 9... and regret it now because you've dated a 10 and discovered she wasn't "all that"... but now you can't get back the 9 that you might still be in love with... or even an 8 and you're telling me this while technically we're still on a date and the bill hasn't even been paid yet....

Anyhow, no damage to my self-esteem, the guy was an actor and obviously had some *major* issues...but still.

After that experience, I pretty much gave up hope for finding a nice, smart, honest, sane guy in this city.

So why am I single?

I don't know.

It's not for lack of trying.

And lord knows, I've never been one of those people who could date just to date...if the chemistry isn't there, I just can't pretend....

So I sit here, watching as more and more of my friends and people in my life couple off.

And a lot of them are not any more attractive, sane or fun than I am (and no, I'm not talking about you if you're reading this). Ha ha.

So why am I single?

I don't know.

Too picky perhaps?

As Iliza would say, it's not Los Angeles.

So it must be me....

What is up with this week?

Normally I'm in a pretty good mood.

But this week has been different.

I suppose that should come as no surprise when the Dow falls below 7,000 - the lowest point since 1997.

The job market in los angeles is pretty bad.

I know at least a half a dozen or dozen friends out of work and each week I hear of a new one.

The good news is that people are finding jobs. So all hope is not lost.

But I think that anyone who had a corporate job, especially a well-paying one, may find that those well paying, corporate jobs just simply don't exist anymore.

Time to read "Who Moved My Cheese" (even though I personally hated that book) and consider a new career altogether.

A friend of mine had a good story.

She had been trying to sell this fancy Kitchenaid mixer for a while. Finally, she sold it on Craigslist to someone who had been downsized i.e. fired from their job at Clear Channel and was using the mixer to start a catering business.

If that isn't a complete 180, I don't know what is!

Of course, that's easier said than done, right?

Not everyone can drop their corporate job and start catering.

Or can they?

I mean, if you have to do something, you might as well do something you love.

Anyhow, back to my original point.

I'm not sure what's in the water this week.

I had a good friend get mad at me for simply giving my ideas and opinion. Sure, no one likes criticism but you have to accept in life that people are going to give you feedback and not to take it personally, especially if the feedback is nothing about you.

Hey, I had a party a couple months ago and one of my friends complained that I needed more chairs so she didn't have to sit on the floor. Duly noted. It's not an attack on me but feedback that I can use for future parties. (Personally, I don't mind sitting on the floor, as long as it's clean and my back isn't bothering me).

Anyhow, I suppose I should expect a weird week when the Dow falls to a new low, friends are out of work, housing prices are still insanely high and it rained.

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Argh - is there anyone sane in LA?

I really am amazed at the lack of sanity in LA.

Sure, LA has a bad rep for the "crazies" but it seems to be getting progressively worse each year that I'm here.

Maybe it started with the housing boom and as rent prices and real estate prices went up, so left more and more of my friends with kids (or friends with a kid) as of course it makes sense to live somewhere cleaner, safer, and cheaper than LA if you have little ones.

So now I fear that LA is just the way it is and it will never get better.

It's declined the past 3-5 years I'd say and while I keep sticking it out here hoping things will recover, will they?

I'd like to think so.

The optimistic in me says, "yeah, stick it out".

But somewhere in my heart I fear the truth is LA will never go back to the way it was. The great days of the late 90's when everyone here was happy, making good money and the energy was good.

Is it time to plan my escape?


You may see my next post from somewhere unexpected...