Tag: Instagram

What it’s like to live in California

What it’s like to live in California

Being a connoisseur of popular culture that often turns a self-reflective mirror on the land of its origin — Hollywood and California as a whole, I’ve heard every joke about the Golden State.

I know all about the country’s perception that CA is a safe haven for crazy health-nut vegans, sunrise surfers-turned-CEOs, nerdy tech moguls living life in their slide-filled Silicon Valley offices and high-price juice shops, stoners riding skateboards down the beach promenade and, of course, fashion-conscious movie stars making the exact same schlock which perpetuates these views.

When they aren’t starring in Marvel films.

Well I’m here to report that all of these stereotypes are, in fact…

Entirely correct.

Even as a 21-year-old native to the west coast, I’ve never quite been in a place that screams ‘California liberal kookiness’ quite as much as Lazy Acres Natural Market.

This place is a Whole Foods-esque supermarket born and raised right here in the Golden State, and I swear it’s the one place you need to bring anybody from a fly-over state to assure them that everything the T.V. says about California is true.

So first off, most of the products are the kind of low-everything, non-GMO, gluten-free products you’d expect to see.

My favorites were these knock-off versions of popular candies

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Sour Blast Buddies, Sweet Fish and… Gummy Bears. Not trademarked I guess?

However, it’s much more fun to look at some of the individual portions of the store beyond generally ‘normal’ things like rows of fruit or 20 bottled water brands.

For instance this chain-specific juice bar/coffee shop:

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Or this absolutely massive collection of nuts:

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Every creed of nut is in this store. I didn’t know there were this many kinds of nuts!

I also didn’t know I could say nut this many times in one place without bursting into laughter.

Maybe the laughter was suppressed by trying to figure out this bizarre self-filling water station:

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Because you know. When I’m looking for “deionized” or “high pH alkaline” water, I want to go to my local supermarket and fill up a jug using a machine that looks like a mutated soda or ice cream dispenser.

That’s definitely one of the weirder things here.

Slightly less weird, but also very Californian, is the fresh sushi bar:

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A sushi bar in the middle of the supermarket.

Sure, why not.

That sushi bar is actually a part of the larger ‘kitchen’ section of the store, where they also sell sandwiches and salad bars full of hot food like mac n’ cheese. Right next to some cafeteria tables and a private room where cooking classes are held.

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Oh but don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen, I saved the best for last.

After everything I’ve shown you, is there any part of a supermarket you think Lazy Acres is missing? Merchandise to show the world you belong to their unique brand, perhaps?

Well yes, that exists.

An Instagram account?

Wouldn’t be a hipster, vegan supermarket without letting fans interact with overproduced brand advertisements over social media.

Or maybe, just maybe…

You think they’re missing a massive beehive right in the middle of the store.

Well, if you thought so, you’d be wrong.

Because they already have it:

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Not the Bees!

Look, I’ll be honest with all of you right now. When this place opened up in the shopping center over by my house, I didn’t have a particular desire to go in. We only happened to be there tonight to buy dinner.

Looked a little bougie. Real expensive, healthy supermarkets aren’t exactly uncommon in California, so I’d seen plenty and didn’t expect much.

But when I saw a god damn case full of bees in the middle of the store? I lost my mind.

Why would anyone want to go to this place for a second time after they find out there’s an actual, legitimate chance for bees to be released on an unsuspecting urban population in the middle of an enclosed space?

It’s just wild.

If nothing else, I can complement Lazy Acres for having nice counters around the edges. The meat, seafood and bakery sections all had good selections:

Plus I got a really nice meal out of the kitchen area!

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Yet unfortunately, alongside the craziness of the bees, it also introduced me to this monstrosity…

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So I’m pretty sure everything balances out and I will never go back to this crazy place.

California hath bested me.

Saying Sayonara to 2018

Saying Sayonara to 2018

I’m sure most people would agree that 2018 was a maddening political clusterfuck, no matter which side of the aisle or where in the world you sit.

While I can’t help but agree with the hope of moving past that in the new year… At the same time, I sort of disconnected myself from the news-y world in 2018 and focused a lot more on myself.

Overall that wasn’t a bad decision. A lot of nice things came out of the more chill personal year!

For instance, all the video games I played. Did my big splurge on that yesterday so you don’t have to be bogged down with it here.

This post is more about my actual life and times.

Seemingly the most poignant place to start charting out my year is with my health. That feels ironic considering the first week of Winter Break was spent dying in bed, but I’m talking about the grand scheme of things.

A sizable chunk of my 2017 year in review was devoted to finding out about my blood disorder, ITP, and crazy things like the hospital stay that resulted from our early attempts to treat it.

It’s kind of insane to think that we’re more than a year out from that now, especially since so much of my stress at the time was getting better enough to cover Milo Yiannopoulos at Halloween.

Equally hard to believe I spoke at a conference about that coverage this year.

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He’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Tangent aside, this year I never had a big medical scare. In fact, the whole incident inspired me to be better to myself, as this summer I started regularly going to the gym for the first time.

Even lost a little bit of weight in the process. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few weeks of holiday eating and falling behind while sick reversed that progress.

The summer was also significant to my personal growth this year because I started my Summer 2018 Initiative: Writing something here on my blog every day.

My drive to force myself to become better at my craft each and every day persisted past the summer and into the fall semester. Then my buddy Spencer encouraged me to try to be concise with all of my posts for the sake of practicing, which has definitely helped.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve cut an extra 500 words off of these since.

Speaking of, 2018 was when I turned 21 and got to enjoy some of the perks of that! Like going to comedy shows at bars. Or meeting up with friends at bars to celebrate things.

Sure, I may have found out I’m not a fan of drinking, but a whole new world of spending time with people has opened up.

Back to the original point though. Putting more effort into my blog has proven fruitful, because as it turns out posting something every day really drives up that website traffic:

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Can’t wait to see how big that bar gets in 2019 when I hopefully get a whole year of pseudo-daily posts out!

Also on the media front, I finally caved and got a few new gizmos to play with this year. Instagram, Paypal, LinkedIn, Discord…

I don’t know that I’d say any of them have significantly impacted my life per-say, but Instagram and LinkedIn have been interesting insights into the world of photo-based and work-based media.

Ah, did I say the dreaded “w” word? Guess I should talk about that too.

2018 was a bizarre transitional period for work. The spring semester had me stepping down as an editor at the Daily Titan so I could focus on writing for the journalism capstone class.

Some really great articles came out of that, including fun reviews, covering the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council and this soon-to-be award-winning piece about restaurant gradings around campus.

However, I decided not to return to the paper for the fall semester. Gave more priority to my major and minor classes, knowing graduation is slowly rearing its ugly head.

Quicker than I thought it would be at the beginning of 2018, I should say. A really happy part of the year was finally finding a mentor for my Senior Honors Project and working things out with the program director to graduate on-time rather than needing an extra semester!

On top of that, I won a pretty huge scholarship over the summer and followed that up by receiving a promotion at Gladeo to head the reporter-interns. Not only did I get to do some really cool interviews and stories, I also got to start working on management outside of the school paper.

Also I covered Obama for Boom.

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Enough said.

I suppose that really caps off all the big things I can recall. Sure there were some smaller things like going on my first real date with a girl, cracking open my old desktop and finding some wonderful things and finally shaving my beard for the first time since 2016.

But otherwise that seems like as much fellating myself as I can handle for one year.

So! Here’s hoping even more great things happen in 2019, where it seems I’m slated to finally move past my schooling days and enter the workforce full-time.

Yikes.

Let me know about some of the great things that happened with you this year, with all the negativity buzzing around on TV I’d absolutely love to hear why 2018 was great for people!

Bangers and Monster Mash

Welcome to another blog post focused on aesthetic things.

Don’t know why I’ve been doing so many of these recently, but I’ll hedge my bets and blame the new Instagram account and my Visual Comm class for both making me focus on the appearance of things in the world around me.

Today that happened to come into play when I went out for pseudo-lunch/dinner with some members of the Boom crew as a mini-gathering before we host something larger later on in the semester.

Dr. Sexton brought us to a place down by Fullerton College called The Olde Ship.

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If this picture alone doesn’t suggest it, The Olde Ship is essentially a British pub smack dab in the middle of Old West Yankee country. It’s apparently a small chain in Orange County, if you can count two locations as a chain restaurant, but I probably wouldn’t.

Because the place definitely feels like a pub you’d find in some small village in England somewhere.

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Not that I’d know what that feels like to be fair, as I’ve never been to England before. But it seems like exactly what I’d expect based on popular media. Like the Kingsman movies.

We all know that popular media is a good barometer of what things are like in real life, right?

I suppose that’s as much of an interesting observation as any, the fact that I implicitly gauged a location’s authenticity by the aesthetic I’ve noticed in pop culture. But to be frank that’s not what I wanted to touch on with this place.

Nor did I want to touch on the corned beef sandwich I had. Except I will briefly just to say that they made a pretty darn good corned beef sandwich. Not quite as good as my parent’s corned beef and cabbage, but I didn’t want to go down this route in the first place because I’m not fully prepared to tackle the ‘home cooked meal vs. restaurant quality’ debate at 8:45 p.m. on a Monday night. School has me too wiped for that.

Instead I wanted to talk about how bizarre it was seeing that traditionally British-style aesthetic intermingling with, of course, Halloween decorations.

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Yeah the whole place was covered in fake skulls and cobwebs and fancy little pipe cleaner spiders. All of those kitchy Halloween decorations that suburbanites love to coat their houses with as October 31st approaches.

I can’t say it wasn’t cute to see that kind of decor in such an unexpected place. But I do feel like I have to say that it was unexpected to see those two aesthetics clashing together.

Now granted that may, once again, be a problem of my own sheltered sense of scale. Maybe there are tons of pubs over in ye olde England that love to decorate their things with cliché, kitchy Halloween stuff. It’s just not the kind of thing I’ve ever personally heard of in my limited, media-driven understanding of the world.

In a way it’s kind of cool that I got to take that interesting observation out of lunch/dinner. On top of the wonderful company, of course.

But maybe there is some bigger, underlying point about media representation and worldview. I’m just frankly too tired to know whether I should dive into it any further or if I’m just crazy and rambling about nothing.

Which, to be fair, is a very strong possibility.


Before I signed this one-off, I did want to mention that my focus on aesthetics in these last two post was actually for a more substantial purpose than just corruption by my liberal college education or whatever.

While taking pictures for my Visual Comm aesthetics assignment, it really got hammered into my head that iPhone photos are way huger than I thought they were. Which, in turn, led me to realize that the reason why I’m filling up all of my media space here on the blog so quickly is because I almost exclusively use iPhone photos.

So taking pictures of buildings at Pasadena City College yesterday and of this pub today were somewhat underhanded attempts to practice a new form of throwing pictures up on my posts without having them be humongous messes I have to deal with down the line.

If all the pictures I’ve taken seem smaller than usual, that’s why. It’s probably going to be the norm from now on.

The prophesied social media expansion

At this point, making new social media accounts really just feels like I’m splitting my soul into more horcruxes.

Yeah as a bunch of my friends have likely now noticed, I made myself an Instagram account today. Deep down it hurts to have further compromised my anti-social media stance of personal morality…

But my boss at Gladeo asked if she could tag me in something on the platform today.

I couldn’t just say no to Michelle, especially after she and her sisters threw us Gladeo Leaguers such a lovely party up at their home in Topanga Canyon yesterday.

Which, as a side note, is why I didn’t have a blog post yesterday. Was busy having some great food, meeting a bunch of folks who I’ve only heard of/met online, and enjoying the view:

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Talk about a backyard, am I right?

So yeah… I’ve got an Instagram now. I guess I’ve been meaning to make one for some time considering it’s supposedly a good resource for work-related things. But I’ve been putting it off as long as possible, so for right now it feels like a defeat.

I don’t think I’m going to be using it for too much at the moment. Not even sure if I want to put these blog posts up there, seems like that would be an odd billboard to advertise them on.

Except I might be totally lying and do that later, since I only really use my other social media accounts to advertise this stuff as is.

Who knows?

I don’t know, man! Having new social media things to focus on is always weird and stressful for me, so I’m going to need some time to get used to it. It’s already kind of stressing me out when I flip between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all within a few seconds of each other looking for updates.

Plus, the color contrast that now exists in my phone’s social media folder doesn’t help.

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Why did you have to be a not cool color like everyone else, Instagram. Who died and made you in charge of fancy reds and oranges and purples?

God look at me, yelling at an app on my phone over text. Clearly this is going to be a mistake.

At least until I get past this period of following everyone I know and watching them follow me back in somewhat equal droves. That’s where all of the current frequent little alerts are coming from.

Ah well. I guess while I’m here I can slip in some brief other bits of news that don’t necessarily require another full space to occupy.

For instance, my car is all better! That was the catalyst of my angry, venting post the other day so I think it’s worth saying that that’s doing well now. We got the steering wheel readjusted and I can actually drive it now.

Which means I can go to school and not have to worry about the stress of car troubles on top of everything else. Considering I have a lot of other stressors between an exam and another essay to write for the beginning of this week, I can’t complain about getting that done.

Might I add that it’s amazing to me how that stupid little rant that lasted 300 words and didn’t mean much of anything to me got more likes on this blog than anything I’d written for two weeks prior? You continue to astound me, Internet.

Also, in other news, we’re throwing my Mom’s official birthday party tonight.

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Spent a lot of time making the house all fancy for it, so I figured it was worth mentioning. Alongside a second happy birthday shout out for her, of course.

Hopefully all the drunk adults stomping around upstairs won’t make it too much harder to do my assignments considering all of my teachers decided to screw me over the same weekend that we’d been planning this event to happen on for weeks now.

But I digress.

Because I think that’s all I wanted to touch on right now.

So, wish me luck not going too crazy and succumbing to the power of a child wizard prodigy with all these extra horcruxes laying about.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, here’s your chance:

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Got myself that cute grandma pic for my profile.

Like I said, not sure what’s going to be going down there just yet. But it could wind up being genuinely important work stuff on occasion.

Might be worth a visit just for that.