Monday, January 10, 2011

Adventures in Photography!

This morning, we were surfing the Facebook on our phones, as we do every morning before getting out of bed, and Stina saw a friend of ours from New York say a thing about Los Angeles. Being the people we are, we were all like "OMG LOL R U N LA? US 2!". Being the sober adult our friend is, he responded with a phone call. Sooooo last century.
As it happens, he needed someone to take pictures of some cargoes he was thinking of purchasing (he works for a company that does that; he's not an eccentric millionaire, but if anyone was going to be one, I can imagine him as one very well). He hadn't found a photographer via his usual routes yet, and was I interested in doing the work? I was. And this is my story.

I headed out at quarter to noon, because he said everyone was on lunch breaks from 11AM until 1PM. I bought some batteries up the street from Unicorn Jesus.

I caught the Red Line to the Blue Line (and went past the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shopping Center "I have a dream... of convenient shopping at affordable prices!" (credit to Adam Sauer)) and got out at Del Amo Station, where I saw this sign:

I was At Del Amo and Santa Fe. Remember that. It makes later funny/sad. I ran to the 192 bus, which had just arrived. Showing her my $6.00 Day Pass, I asked if she went to my stop. She did, but my Day Pass was no good to her. I need a $0.35 transfer from the subway. Could I pay her $0.35? No. I could pay her $1.25. I ran back to the subway, helped a possibly blind man buy his ticket to Los Angeles, bought my $0.35 transfer, and ran back to the bus. She took the transfer from me. (Sidenote: my friend and employer paid for all my transportation expenses, so yay!)
I rode that bus for 5 blocks. Then my stop arrived. Los Angeles seriously needs a new Metro trip planner.
Los Angeles (the city of Long Beach, really, but come on, it's Los Angeles) also seriously needs useful sidewalks. I crossed the road to my destination and walked on the vine-age they had in lieu of a sidewalk. Entering where the trucks would because I saw no other place to enter, a security guard directed me to the office where I found my contact on her lunch break. I waited. "I'm looking for the peanut brittle," (peanut brittle is code for what I was really looking for. It's all very spy movie.) I told her when she came to me. "He'll show you where it is," she responded. And he did. He showed me to 50 barrels. They had markings on them, which I took pictures of. They were...barrels. They could have had kittens inside them or the archangel Michael and his cronies. But I assume they had peanut brittle in them. Then I called my friend/employer to ascertain if I had what he wanted. He asked me to ask for paperwork explaining why the barrels said they came from one place when the ad he had said they came from another place. She went to find out. She came back to tell me these were not the barrels I was looking for. They had multiple shipments of peanut brittle. She told me where I could find this other peanut brittle, at a different warehouse. "I'm walking," I said. "Is it far?" She looked taken aback. I swear, there are plenty of people in L.A. who don't have cars and get around using public transit, but the ones who don't can't comprehend it. "I'll see if I can find someone to drive you."
She found the man who had shown me the earlier boxes. I felt like I was on the road again. An adventure and I was hitching a ride! This ride lived in long beach and liked it in the summer and had an ear infection. I answered all his personal questions, but was evasive when he asked about my employer... according to him (and I may be exaggerating for emphasis) evil supervillains win if they can guess who is buying what. We arrived at what were presumably the correct barrels. I took more pictures of kitten-containing barrels, and I bid adieu to my ride. I stepped out the gate of this new place. I had directions from my old place to my next place, not from this place. So I asked the man putting dirt in a hole with a shovel. He didn't know, but his buddy might. They yelled across the street in Spanish. I thought the word that was supposed to be my street sounded like a different word, but chalked it up to my Sesame Street Spanish. I walked the direction the man told me...past the Del Amo Subway Station. The distance she thought was too far for me to walk? 5 blocks. But I'm not complaining, there's plenty of walking ahead. I walked that way for half a block. Why half a block? Because the sidewalk ended in the middle of the block. I shrugged off the impression that I was part of an absurdist theatre piece, and walked jay. I walked past that sign again, the one about the kiss and ride, to Del Amo and Susana. I doubted the directions I'd been given, and went on the Kindle in my backpack to double check. Indeed, I was walking towards not my street. I retraced my steps and found the correct street. No problem, still an hour and a half until the warehouses close. I reach my destination. "I'm looking for a lot of toenail clippers." I say to the receptionist (again, not really toenail clippers). "Are you looking for Awesome Delivery Service?" (also not real) "Yes, yes, I believe I am." "They moved." Oh. "Are they far? Can I walk there?" "You should take a car." "I don't have a car, can I walk there?" "Yes" I follow her directions to...Del Amo and Susana. 3 miles round trip from point A to point B and back.
So get this, I'm walking up Susana, and suddenly: No sidewalk! Okay. I clamber over some bushes and get this: A crosswalk! If I were coming from the other direction, I would have crossed the crosswalk, and come to a terminal point. No sidewalk leading away from the crosswalk in any direction. Who designed this thing? What do people think pedestrians want? Pedestrians want sidewalks! Not just anywhere, we want USEFUL sidewalks.
I go to the warehouse. They send me to the office. They send me to the warehouse. I take pictures of toenail clippers. There are no customs officials present. I come home.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Day at the Library

I'm on the job hunt*, and a thing I keep hearing is, “Oh, that's all handled online. You have to apply online.” I find this frustrating. I feel that a personal meeting, being able to shake someone's hand and actually give them my resume and talk to them about it on the spot, is a much better way for them to get to know me and see that I'd be the perfect fit for whatever the job is. It's how I got a job at J. Matheson Gifts, and that was a fruitful, two-year-long relationship.

Anyhow, I'm ranting, and this is meant to be a post about my day at the library. Let's get to it. I went to the library on Tuesday with our laptop so I could spend the day applying online to a bunch of places. Brendan had background work, so I went solo. I took over a small, round table in a back room at our local branch and got to work. This room is where the teen books live, as well as a row of computers which people can sign up to use in one-hour time slots. It's usually pretty quiet.

I got to the library when it opened at 12:30pm. Later in the afternoon, just when I was needing a break from writing cover letters and answering stupid questions like, “When at work, are you seen as more a) interesting, or b) motivated,” I got to witness quite a show.

A woman had arrived in the room a few minutes earlier to use one of the computers. She had a small child with her in a stroller that she had pulled up next to her and sort of behind her, to her right. The child was whimpering and she turned to it and said, “SHHHHHH!!! You stop that!!” then went back to the computer. The child whimpered some more, and she said, “SHHHHHH!!!” some more. The child whimpered. She turned around and looked at the child and said, “Do you see my face? I am serious. You better quit that or you are gonna get a spanking.” A whimper. “I'm not joking. Look at my face. Do I look like I'm joking?” She did look kind of scary.

The child stopped whimpering and I stopped noticing what was happening with the woman. But the show was not over. A man stood behind another man who was using a computer next to the woman and her child. Allow me to illustrate:

So Indignant Man says to Unmoving Man, “I booked this computer, could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: "It doesn't say you booked this computer."

Indignant Man: “If you try to log in, you'll see that you can't because I booked this computer. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I wouldn't say I booked this computer if I hadn't just booked this computer. You're wasting my minutes. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man's friend comes over and joins in the chorus: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I booked this computer. Now would you please move so I can log on. You're wasting my minutes!”

Unmoving Man doesn't move.

Indignant Man then pushes his way past the stroller so he can reach the keyboard and input his information to log on. That's when the woman stands up.

“Excuse me! Get your ass out of my baby's face!” (Indignant Man was showing some major ass-crackage.)

Indignant Man mutters something about wasting his minutes and continues doing what he's doing. Unmoving Man is starting to move, backing his chair out of the space Indignant Man is now occupying.

The woman says again, “Nobody cares about your stupid minutes! You don't put your ass all up in my baby's face! You say excuse me, you say something to me, you don't just push my baby!”
Unmoving Man is standing now, and Indignant Man is sitting.

The woman says, “I'm serious! You wanna take this outside right now? I'm not from L.A.!” She then says to Unmoving Man, “Would you go and tell a librarian this man is getting his ass all up in my baby's face?” Unmoving Man doesn't move.

The woman sits back down, still muttering about ass in her baby's face, then she gets up and says to Unmoving Man, “Would you watch my computer?” He nods, and she gets up and pushes her baby out of the room.

She comes back with a librarian and says to the librarian, “That's him. He pushed my baby and was rude.”

Indignant Man says, “I was just trying to log into the computer I had booked.”

Unmoving Man and his friend say something about Indignant Man being rude.

The librarian looks around at all of them and sees that they all are on their own computers. She says, “You're all on your own computers now. Just try to stay out of each others' way.”

The woman says, “Okay, thank you.”

The librarian leaves and Indignant Man starts laughing uproariously, like he's just won the battle.

The woman sits back down and says, “If my brother were here, you wouldn't be laughing. He would take care of you.” She mutters something else in Spanish and continues working on her computer.

There was one other thing that happened, where a man was prosthelytizing to some teenagers about the Muslim religion and really pissing me off in his talk about women being made after men and therefore being meant to follow man, but there's wasn't much of a show in that. I told the librarian, and she was going to tell him to keep his conversation down, but he was done by the time we went back.

I'm at the library again now. What else might happen? Stay tuned.

*Since writing this Tuesday night, it seems I've found a job as a medical marijuana promoter! More on that to come.