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Wrap Up

Glancing over my Twitter and Facebook feeds, it looks like 2013 was a crappy year for a lot of you. While I did get out of a year-long relationship, there was plenty that made up for it. For example:

1. Paid off my car loan.
2. Paid off most of my credit card debt.
3. Went to Russia and met some very nice people.
4. Ate a ramen burger.
5. Became a Friend of Tom for reals.

Things I’d like to accomplish for 2014:

1. Write here more often.
2. See how far I can make it freelancing in Production. (Because no one really wants to work in Entertainment in this town.)
3. Meet up with you more often.

Happy New Year!

いただきます!(Itadakimasu!)

If you follow laist, you probably saw this post about ramen burgers. If you haven’t, I’ll wait for you to read it.

Are you caught up? Good.

Ever since I had read about ramen burgers through LAist’s sister site, gothamist, I was craving something I’d never had before. The concept intrigued me. The image weirded me out. Was it possible that the twain had finally met?

What sold me on the concept was the description of the flavor. In short, shoyu ramen with a hamburger patty would be available to hold in your hands in the form of a sandwich.

Mind you, when I saw the name “Keizo Shimamoto,” my gut reaction was to think that another eccentric man from Japan wanted to make an extremely popular dish even more convenient. Japan is famous for taking food to crazy levels, and this guy was adding himself to the list with his creation. What I didn’t realize is that he’s a nissei (second generation), just like me. We’re American as it gets, but there’s still a strong tie to our country of culture.

Anywho! When I found out that his ramen burger was coming to LA, I wanted to try one. I emailed a friend to see if she was interested and she was. I warned her that we’d have to go early since they tended to sell out quickly and offered to get her coffee on the ride over. (It always pays to bribe your friends, especially since this meant all plans to sleep in were now cancelled.)

From what I’d heard about Brooklyn, the burgers were practically gone before they officially opened. I’d seen several people retweet/repost the laist article on several social media sites and worried that we’d face a massive crowd at 8:30am. All worry faded when I turned into the driveway of Mistuwa and saw only a handful of cars and maybe thirty or forty people lined up.

Eleven o’ clock rolled around and people were getting antsy. In the hours that passed, we’d been offered paper fans, tee-shirts, and bottled water. Someone announced that we would be allowed to go into the store shortly. Something delicious was being prepared – you could smell beef cooking. I sincerely prayed it was the burgers.

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Groups of about ten to twelve people were allowed inside at a time. Everyone from local news crews to people passing through the store had their cameras and smartphones out to capture the organized chaos going on behind the glass.

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The guys behind the grill were trying to time the patties and the “buns” so that both would be perfect.

ramen burger


Sauce was spooned on, followed by a handful of arugula and a sprinkling of green onion.

ramen burger


The whole thing was popped into what looked like a sheet of paper, but a quick pull turned it into a convenient container.

ramen burger


We had to hunt down a table. The whole food court was packed with regular customers and all of us who came for a ramen burger. We managed to find a spot and dug in. Three people sitting nearby asked how the burgers were.

ramen burger


It was exactly as I hoped the ramen burger would taste. The noodles were al dente with a little bit of crunch on the top, the sauce melted a bit with the meat and turned into soup, and the green onion gave it that perfect kick. It was literally a mini-bowl of shoyu ramen with hamburger – similar to what I’ve done with instant ramen and leftovers. And the wrapper kept almost all of the juice from dripping down my fingers, leaving a perfect last sip of broth at the end.

When I finished the last bite, I was sad it was over.

ごちそうさまでした, Shimamoto-san! Thanks for a great meal!

(The rest of the pics can be found here.)

Edit: You can see the back of my head in a CBS news story here. I managed to grab a screenshot:

ramen burger cbs

Lesson Learned (RE: Comedy)

Mark asked me if I wanted to go to a comedy show in Santa Monica. Since my birthday is fast approaching, I’m not really in a social mood, so I declined. “It’s okay,” I thought to myself. “I’ll be much more comfortable at home watching something on Netflix.”

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So that just happened. I even refreshed the screen to see if it was a fluke but no such luck. Looks like it’s going to be a DVD night tonight.

Because I Laughed At A Typewritter Ribbon Joke Last Night

Being unemployed means a fair amount of dead time exists between the hours of 9PM and 6AM. To fill those hours, I’ve been watching a lot of things on Netflix. So much in fact, that I’m running out of things to watch.* I’m actually looking into the recommendations the site keeps pushing on me to view, and it’s been about fifty-fifty in terms of like/dislike.

The Jack Benny Show has been popping up lately, and I think it’s due to the fact that I just finished a documentary on Johnny Carson. The first scene is with Jack Benny and Rochester going over a draft of Jack’s biography:
JB: Let’s see what you’ve got that’s written already, huh? Oh, for Heaven’s sake. Rochester, look at the way you’re typing. Some of the words are so light, I can hardly read ’em!
R: Boss, I’ve been asking for two years to buy a new ribbon!
JB: Why should I buy a new ribbon?
R: Because pulling the old one out and dipping it in grape juice is ridiculous!


I laughed at that. Because I think I’m one of the few people of my age group who grew up on the typewriter.

That’s right, hipsters. Yours truly grew up using a TYPEWRITER. While my friends had word processors or a Macintosh computer, I prepared sheets of typewriter paper with margins and clacked my way through about five pages on the life and times of some historic figure. If I wanted to make text pop, I typed out the word, retyped it (to make the ink darker), and adjusted the roller a notch so I could underscore it. And I always had to reuse ribbon (thankfully never to the point of having to re-ink the thing).

Don’t even get me started about formatting the whole thing. One tiny mistake and I’d have to start the whole page over.

I felt incredibly awkward coming in to class with my one sized font while the other kids had different fonts, sizes, and styles. Eventually my parents got tired of having to listen to me type away into the wee hours of the night and invested in our first computer when I started high school. It took fourteen years for me to catch up with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately I didn’t come out unscathed. Having been trained on a real typewriter, I am the current day nightmare for editors in regards to formatting. It took me a long time to stop indenting paragraphs with five spaces before I discovered the tab button. I hit space twice after a period (it’s taking me forever to type this post trying to break the habit). I detest the automatic setting of ten-point font when hitting enter to start a new line on Word. But I’m slowly adjusting.

It’s The Girl In Me Coming Out

A friend of mine is getting married this weekend. Her wedding is at an awkward fashion time: 4pm to 9pm. It’s not late afternoon, it’s not cocktail hour, and it’s not black tie. This meant I *had* to go shopping for a dress. (I didn’t really, but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity.)

Anthropologie is one of my favorite stores for girly clothing. They aren’t cheap, but man…the little frills, cuts, and colors are AMAZING. The wedding was a good excuse to visit, and I had the 15% off card they give during the month of your birthday. Full priced items could be taken into consideration with this coupon. I was excited.

Five or six dresses later, I walked out of the fitting room with two maybes and the rest as go-backs. I was disappointed. I gave the sale rack a quick glance, and discovered this dress:



I was thrilled. I had seen this dress in Vegas during the pageant, but it wasn’t in my size. This one was my size AND it had been marked down an additional $40. It looked amazing on. I wouldn’t even have to have it altered (unheard of for a girl of five feet). You’d better believe I snatched that dress. I even splurged on a purse and a bottle of perfume. A necklace that my cousin’s girlfriend gave me would complete the whole outfit.

Time passed, and I started having doubts. The dress fit the late afternoon time frame, but could I pull it off when it hit evening hours? Would I be shunned like Scarlett O’Hara when she wore her green afternoon dress to a morning barbecue?

And then a miracle happened: Anthro decided to hold “Anthro Day,” where members would get 20% off when they showed their card at checkout. I headed over, hoping they would have something. The first lap around was fruitless, but then this dress made itself known:



I tried it on. It was perfect. It worked for all hours that the wedding and reception would fall between. I wouldn’t have to dig out my low-cut convertible bra. It’d help bring out the color of the Veggie Boyfriend’s eyes if we had to pose together for pictures. And it would be 20% off.

I figured I could wear pearls with this dress, but the bride-to-be posted this necklace on her Facebook page:



The urge for something sparkly around my neck hit me like a big rig, but I didn’t want to wipe out my budget. I lucked out at Forever 21 (or Forever XXI, as they now like to be called) and found this necklace for about $13:



It’s been ages since I’ve been this girly. Since it’s so close to the wedding, I won’t have time to do another outfit change. At least I hope I won’t find time for another outfit change. ;)

P.S. This has been sitting in my drafts for a few days. I ended up buying an evening clutch and a couple of shades of eyeshadow. :/

Three Of My Biggest Valley Fears

I’ve been temping in the San Fernando Valley for about three months now. This means that I take two of the worst freeways in existence in order to get to work: the 405 and the 101. Having spent all of my life on the Westside, I dread the commute to and from the valley. My biggest fears include:

1. Getting stuck in gnarly traffic due to an accident.
2. Getting stuck in the valley because of brushfires.
3. Getting hit by another car somewhere on the 405/101.

Mind you, I dated a guy who lived in Tarzana for two years. He was not a fan of driving, so I was the one who made the trek through the Sepulveda Pass. I’d only swing by late in the evening or early in the morning to avoid traffic. If there was an accident, I’d push back my arrival time by at least a couple of hours. If the hills were on fire, we’d communicate via IM. If the weather wasn’t LA’s usual sunny self, I drove with extreme caution in order to avoid an accident. Knock on wood, I managed to avoid those three fears during those two years.

In the last month, it’s like those three fears decided to come out and play. As of now I have:
1. Been caught in extreme stop-and-go traffic because a car caught on fire near the 101. (This would happen the same day a big rig flipped over. Luckily it was on the opposite side of traffic.)
2. Had to stay in the valley for a few extra hours because the Sepulveda Pass caught on fire on Friday. Dinner was great, and I got to see a friend, but I’m not a fan of valley heat plus fire.
3. My car was hit yesterday while getting on the 101. The damage is minor, and hopefully it won’t take too long to fix. (At least it wasn’t as bad as my infamous accident in 2009.)

Three strikes on you, Valley. Your parole officer will be in touch.

The Hack Felt ‘Round The World [Wide Web]

Last week, I discovered that my checking account had several unauthorized purchases on it. During the last week of July, I apparently bought myself a new Blackberry (to be shipped to Nigeria), some expensive wine, two subscriptions to different dating sites, something at WalMart, and miscellaneous charges. After settling things with my bank and filling out paperwork, all I could think was, “At least they didn’t make any huge purchases.”

Silly me. Had I scrolled down a few more days, I would have seen the purchase of almost $880 made through StubHub.com.

I’d been hacked good and proper. It wasn’t a small amount of $400 taken from me; now we were talking something that was just under $1300. I wracked my brains trying to think of how/when/where I became careless with my debit card. The strange decline for $7 at Subway? The time I paid my parking ticket online at work (the company’s server would be hacked later that day)? Maybe even the time I made a late night deposit at my local ATM?

Then I came across this blog post that several friends had shared on Facebook: “How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking.” I read the post, then checked my Amazon and iTunes accounts. Sure enough, my debit card was on both of them. Oh, Sh*t.

I’ve deleted all the cards on my Amazon account (even though I haven’t made a purchase from them in months). I’m trying to figure out which card to use for iTunes, but it may be a little while before I purchase anything from there. And it just means I’ll have to take into consideration how many places I want to use my debit card.

Even with the hassle, I don’t feel like anything truly horrible has happened. It could have been way, way worse: my Social Security Number could have been compromised, my credit line could have been affected, or someone could have tried to treat themselves to a vacation (although it’d be short – this is *me* you’re stealing from, after all).

Blackberries and Dating Sites and Fraud, Oh My!

On Thursday, I woke up around 3:30am and saw the message light blinking on my phone. I checked my email, and saw that I had a receipt from Paypal. The gist of the email was to confirm my purchase of a new Blackberry for $183, and that to ensure my purchase, I should sign up for a Paypal account. Scanning further, I saw that the phone was going to be shipped to this address:


My first thought was, “Huh…Gmail is getting sloppy with its spam filter.” My second thought was, “This junk email looks really, really good.” And it was good: my full name was in the salutation, the address that popped up in the hyperlink was for Paypal, and it wasn’t asking me for additional information to confirm my purchase.

However, my Paypal account is not linked to the email address where the receipt was sent. The phone ordered was AT&T-based service (not my phone company). And the clincher: the “confirmed” shipping address was in Nigeria. Last I checked, I lived in Los Angeles.

Since it was the middle of the night, I was ready to dismiss the whole thing and mark it as spam. However, something was nagging at the back of my head: the parts that seemed fishy were truly fishy (seriously, Nigeria?), but some parts seemed like the real deal. I logged into my Paypal account to see if any recent transactions had been made, but nothing had happened since June. I checked my other email address to see if anything weird was happening over there, but things were good. All that was left was my checking account.

When I logged in to my bank account, my balance didn’t seem out of whack. Which is why I was surprised to see that an authorization for $183 for Paypal was the first activity item on the list of transactions. Scanning down further, I noticed several other strange postings:
1. A $25 purchase for a Walmart in Florida.
2. A paid subscription for Match.com.
3. A paid subscription for Zoosk.com.
4. A purchase of $170 at Wine.com.
5. Miscellaneous foreign fee charges (mainly for the British Pound).
6. A $90 transaction for ProCredit.com.

Fortunately, the two dating sites had refunded the subscriptions back to my account. I’m guessing that the hacker neglected to confirm his/her purchase, and the websites decided to release the funds. I’m also guessing that my hacker doesn’t care for the guy I’ve been dating, since two different dating sites had been contacted.

I always thought that I’d feel horribly violated if my bank account had been hacked. I’d panic, terminate all of my cards, and live the rest of my life paying things out by either cash or checks. I’d have the most complicated of passwords for any account and I’d actually make a point to change them every ninety days (eventually switching to thirty when another close call occurs). But instead, I thought, “Ugh, this sucks. Better call the bank and have them send me a new debit card.”

My bank was incredibly efficient and sent me a new debit card overnight. I took a personal day to make sure everything was in order – I didn’t feel like venturing more than five miles away from home when I only had twenty dollars in cash. (I have credit cards, but I don’t use them.) I stayed in and watched episodes of Futurama on Netflix.

Was there something I could have done to prevent this? Perhaps there was. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what it could have been: I haven’t been traveling, I haven’t made any large purchases recently, and my card never leaves me. For sure I’ll be a little more careful when I use it, but for the most part, I have to chalk it up to bad luck.

I’m Still Here, I Swear!

It’s been ages since I’ve updated here, but if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen that I occasionally participate in social events. (Although I realize that this is a moot point if you subscribe to the “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” train of thought.)

Quick highlights of what I’ve done:
1. I completed another stint as a PA for Miss USA, but if the title on my credentials is anything to go by, I was part of Field Production Audio (they meant to put assistant).
2. I’m a temporary EA for a company in Sherman Oaks. If you celebrated the Fourth of July at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, you saw my boss play with a fourteen piece band.
3. The place where I’m temping has some kitschy stuff. There’s a waterfall with fake salmon swimming upstream, a creepy-looking chimp band, and an underground bomb shelter. (I wish I was kidding about that last item.)
4. I participated in my first 5K. Since I haven’t been to the gym in over three months, I ran about 1/3 of it and walked the rest. It wasn’t a fancy event, so I don’t have an official time, but I managed to finish up in about 45 minutes.

There was a month between item number one and item number two where I got together with another unemployed friend and ate a shocking amount of LA-made queso and other comfort foods. (I’m still amazed that I didn’t have to start buying bigger pants or zit cream – it was that bad). We had a good excuse: two assistants who were looking for the next gig and were getting tired of hearing how great our resumes were.

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There were queso fries before this burger.


While I can’t promise I’ll post on a regular basis, you can be sure this blog will be here for a while. It is, after all, one of the few ways I’m able to let you guys know I still exist.

One Letter At A Time

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So that happened last August. I got a familiar ding on my phone and discovered that the gay ex-husband had changed his BBM username to match mine. Either due to friendship or being lazy (I think it’s the latter), it still reads “theletterjae.”