Never Judge a Book by Its Cover [The Gift that Keeps on Giving PT. II]

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They say you should never judge a book by its cover. & this past weekend, I did nothing near that. Literally. I got to nerd the fuck out by volunteering at the Newberry Library bookfair. I love the Newberry Library! I don’t frequent it as much as I should, sadly, but that’s a work in progress. I was a little bummed when I learned there were other cool activities going aside from the bookfair during my shift, at what I thought was already a fun thing to do! I should’ve submitted myself for another shift!! Grrr— Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve! Anyhow, it was such a good way to nerd out & do me & be around what I like/ love. I was checking everything — & nearly everyone 😉 out. Lol. I did not discriminate. Literally. 😊

A few months back, I donated a copy of The Cubicle Diaries Volume III for the bookfair & as I was there, I realized I should’ve donated more!!! Screw the profit! I’m more concerned about getting my product around! Great marketing! But whatever, I donated a copy & looked for it as I surfed the stacks. I had no luck finding it. There were so many books! It was literally like looking for a needle in a haystack. & I had to let the customers have the upper hand by not getting in their way. I couldn’t make it that obvious I was pleasing my own needs being around so much art! Plus, what if someone had already snatched it up!?! I’m hoping that.

It was great seeing all the random people, being around all those immortalized authors. In a way, I felt like the guy from You, the show now on Netflix that most don’t know started out on Lifetime! Fun fact. I’m also, in a sense, like Penn Badgley’s charter on Gossip Girl. Anyhow! Books! Because that’s what matters. They’re all recycled. Books are truly the gift that keeps on giving. There’s a nod toward my series of short writings under the name, Clouded Judgment. [keep scrolling]. It’s funny how I got to “experience” that moment in reality as I gazed at all the books instead of just writing about it 2 YEARS PRIOR! WOW!

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I was able to bounce around from genre to genre. I was OK, for once, just being a window shopper. I was reminded being a floater had an advantage. The cookbooks were cool. They gave me some food for thought 😉. The books on film & entertainment had me thinking… The travel section: I was like, thanks for the ideas, but I’d rather experience in real life than read. Yes, I could’ve got some leads, but that’s where I challenge myself by “figuring things out.” They gave me a lead for research, so there you go! Someone, or people, donated a bunch of theatre playbills. They dated wwwaaaaaayyyyy back & it got me thinking about my collection of playbills & how I should be going to the theatre soon! I think the blank book section hit me at a soft spot. The opportunity for anyone to write a story, good or bad, I’m for. We don’t always understand art, but that’s OK. That’s kind of the beauty of it. It can be for their eyes only, or for the world to see. Writing, physically, as in pen to paper, I find very therapeutic. That’s why when I’m not blogging or writing & creating future best sellers, I’m writing, writing. I think we all have a story to tell, but it’s up to the individual, or writer 😉, to make it a page turner. I wish I donated books for that section, to give anyone the chance to write. Now, I’m pondering on how important “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield is! The mystery section had me thinking, who are these people? Especially the hotties!!! Please, speak nerdy to me. I had a moment of stillness in the self-help & psychology section. LOL. I was like, not today! 😊 I tried to keep my distance from the classics section. I could feel myself melting every time I got near it. I would be like, yup, I have that one on my bookshelf! The comic books section: I bet people were fishing for gold there. I was also sneaking a peek there to see which ones have made it to the big screen. I’ll admit, I’ve been sucked into the Marvel universe. I’m SUPER excited for the sequel to Doctor Strange. Marvel’s 1st horror movie! [happy face emoji with hearts as eyes]. I’m also excited to see Robert Pattinson as The Batman. Reminds me, I need to que Gotham. & I’m fascinated with the whole Arrowverse going on. The photography section: in case you didn’t know… photography is a[nother] hobby of mine. It was funny because an aperture book kept standing out to me & I always use aperture. It reminded me how I have been longing to take a photography class! You can teach yourself, but it’s always good to get fresh takes on things. Language books: teach me something new! I was fixed on learning how to say, There’s something in the coffee in any language possible for the longest. No witchcraft books in the religion section. Hmmm… I’m concerned. Or maybe my big eyes didn’t cross any. I did still have to work! I was nostalgic & felt like a kid in the children’s section, thinking anything can magically happen. There was a sense of warmth being there. Then, being in the fiction section, I knew anything can happen in fiction 😉! Hahaha.

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The bookfair was organized by genre, yes, but I think the more exciting part, & possible intent, of it is that the books, & DVDs, CDs, games, etc., weren’t highly organized & broken down, so it gave one the opportunity to really expand their horizons & discover more. OH! & I’ll share, with there being various people coming in & out, especially in the city, & with the Newberry being just a rad place in general, you best believe I experienced A LOT of people with BO! I was like, oh no! Next section! People walked away with boxes of books! I overheard many people asking themselves & fellow patrons on how they were going to carry all their goods on the train!?! Ha! City life! 😊

I prayed the entire time I wouldn’t get a papercut or slice myself on a book end. Bookends. All that’s in between. I like volunteering. I don’t do it often, but I do it. I’m all for giving back. & what was even more of a rewarding factor was that I received an email from the Newberry Library stating this past bookfair was the most successful one they’ve had thus far! Could it be because of me?! Of course! That’s [kind of] what they alluded to. 😉 hahaha. Was it because there was an actual author/ celebrity there doing manual labor & not being paid to be seen or sign books or give a read? Who knows!?!? I was trying to be incognito, but you know that paparazzo, they will find their way. Plus, aside from all that, I have a deep interest in the Newberry. I totally feel it. Never underestimate the power of the library & more importantly, NEVER judge a book by its cover.

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Summer Sabbatical, 2019B

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Mid 2019 has approached! The first half is done! I feel pretty great about everything. How do you? I have to sometimes stop & be like, OK, this is where you’re actually at & I’m totally OK with it! I’ve come a long way. & it keeps getting better! I’ve reached a good place. Not a comfortable place, but a good place. You should never live too comfortably. Yes, it was dark for a while, but after every storm there is a rainbow. Ironically, I’ve actually saw rainbows lately, too. That’s after the acid rain falls & summer storms, of course. Gotta love Chicago & it’s unpredictable weather! That’s life. & remember: we must listen & pay attention when life is talking to us. 2019A ended in a minor storm, but it was only to flush everything out. “When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know.” Right, legendary Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac? The rain has washed me. It was a great midseason finale.

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During summer sabbatical I looked forward to exorcising myself of all the bad I’ve encountered as of late, a.k.a. “My Time at ‘Cliniswirl,’” & launching into 2019B clear & happy & headstrong! What’s also great is that everything going on in my fantastic life is GREAT footage for “Midwest’ Best!” Hahahaha! It’s all so crazy! With 2019B launching, that also signifies the second half of season 3! I swear, the story writes itself. Luckily, I’m the EP. It’s magic & anything can happen with magic. I’m excited!

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I’ve gotten a lot of answers I was looking for. I’ve done some unofficial soul searching. Things aren’t so easy when you’re indecisive & look at things from 2 solid perspectives. I decided I was going to let things [really] fall into place. There’s only so much in our control! & yes, I still have a soul. Actually, if I haven’t shared already, & if I have, sorry to be repetitive, but my soul, what’s left, 😉 is divided into 3: it’s old, it’s British, it’s Robert Downey, Jr. from the 1980s. All those mixed with me, that is me. That over-the-top-extraordinary individual they call, Ronnie. I felt like I really needed to get back to me! I was in & out of this sick funk. I was still doing me & having a good time, but I knew I needed to make changes in other areas. Otherwise, I was going to really be in a spot I didn’t want to be in, a place that I had worked hard on to let go. Spoiler alert! Season 3A closes with “JC” leaving Cliniswirl, dramatically. Go figure. There’s definitely a bang, or two. Hey! It’s not an Otter Holmes story if it’s not scandalous & fun & thrilling! Then comes a break. I will share, what happens with me & what happens with “JC” are different things. Watch JC, read me. 😊

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Aside from exorcising myself of Cliniswirl & the whore-ible bosses that ran the show, or tried to at least, I’ve really focused on catching up on my sleep! I was lacking sleep for a long time. Then came the time where I felt like I was depressed because I was sleeping so much. My hot body just needed to rejuvenate. I’ve also been able to give undivided attention to “Midwest’s Best.” I’ve been able to come up with some crafty stuff for an excellent piece of work. I’m still not ready to premier it. Just know that the cook is in the kitchen with a cool chef hat on.

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I arranged it so that I had a few weeks in between leaving Cliniswirl & starting my new gig to do me, hence Summer Sabbatical. I’ll admit, I had originally only planned a week, but after I resigned from Cliniswirl, I was like, yeah, fuck you, be lucky I gave you notice. My two weeks’ notice was actually 2 business days. That should sum it up on how bad I didn’t want to be there. I had to do me. I did go back to LA in the beginning of June, which I would say “launched” summer sabbatical, but it’s always summer there. & I was just beginning to see actual results & answers on where life was taking me. At that time, I was REALLY just going with the flow. That trip was just an escape from the city here. This past LA trip was one of the better ones. I spent a lot of time with my family & things actually went pretty well! I did get to hang out with some friends, not all, but a good handful. & I didn’t need to detox for days when I returned to Chicago. That was an accomplishment. Sometimes, I’ll be down in the dirt & I’m just like, when will I ever learn?!?! But that’s life. I’m still living & learning!

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After I quit Cliniswirl, I was eager to go somewhere, travel, get out, do something. It’s not like I’ve deprived myself of anything. I also went on holiday at the beginning of May to the south: Charleston, SC., Myrtle Beach, SC., & Savannah, GA. I was just wanting to feed the travel bug in me. But, again, I knew I needed to chill & sleep & take it easy & in some form or way get reacquainted with Chicago. Chicago IS like an onion, you can keep unpacking it & once you think you’ve learned something about it, dig a little deeper or view what is around you & then you’ll be like, OH!

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With this new change, I’m going to see another side of Chicago & I’m going to take it for all its worth! The weather truly was on my side during summer sabbatical. If it did rain, it was an excuse to stay home & I was, & am, OK with that! I love my apartment. I binged watch so much random shit. But when it was sunny, which was a lot, humid or not, I was out & about. I took some of the best pictures that looked seriously picturesque. I was like, this looks fake. I did a lot a nature-like things. I felt like such an old school writer who went to the park & sat under a tree & wrote & pondered. Mentally I escaped from all that was around me. I love when you can find tranquility in or around chaos. I didn’t just spend all my time getting wasted. 😉 Although, there was plenty of that. This little piggy’s fatass started running by the lake again. I got to do a lot of everything. & I wasn’t rushed or limited on time. Like every person who gets super happy, I packed on a little weight, but I was like, fuck it, I’m still hot! & I’m happy, so fuck it! Now, I have to lose it. LOL. It’s all l good. I like exercising. & you best believe I took advantage of whatever free museum days I could! There’s so much to do & see.

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I did escape to Detroit, Michigan. I wanted to go somewhere & it was very accessible. Gotta love that Megabus! Plus, it helped me with my I-want-to-see-all-the-Midwest-while-I’m-in-Chicago mission. I’ve been to Michigan, but I hadn’t been to Detroit, only the airport via a layover. I had a good time in Detroit. Everything worked out. I didn’t know Canada was just across the river. I was shocked when I learned there was an MGM Grand! I also have a passion for Motown. While I walked the streets of Michigan, & mind you, I did A LOT of walking, a piece of me wished I had experienced Detroit in its heyday. That place was probably the shit! Now, it sadly carries this stigma of being ghetto & corrupt & dangerous. I was fortunate enough to have a great experience. I saw beauty & greatness in it. There was a lot of great street artwork. It just has to reestablish itself.

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Summer sabbatical was exactly what I needed. It really helped turn things around. Everyone always raves about Chicago being the shit in the summer. It was something I had already known & experienced, but now, I think I truly am going to experience something great & different. I feel like I’m going to see a whole new side of Chicago it’s great! I get a fresh start & the opportunity for a new outlook on things.

SCAD_Savannah, GA.

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My Time at “Cliniswirl”

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WARNING: This article has quite the spoilers for the pending premier of Otter Holmes’ fictional hit Hulu series, “Midwest’s Best.” Yes, the show is already a hit & hasn’t even premiered. #buzzworthy

As you may know, I am from Los Angeles, but I currently reside in Chicago. I crashed coming here. It was one of the biggest & best risks I have taken in that thing called “life.” Yes, & sadly, even though we grow older, some still can’t seem to find one. Money can buy you a lot but not everything. & as for those who have said, money cannot buy you happiness, you don’t know where to shop or how to spend. Let the nouveau riche in you out & splurge a little.

Anyhow, back to me, because let’s face it, it’s always about me. 😉 JK! I like to believe I am still humble & SOMEWHAT innocent. Hahahahaha! ANYHOW! I crashed Chicago & didn’t have a job. I gave myself one month to figure shit out. & if you know me, which most don’t, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I started Chicago on a grind, no, not on Grindr, & hustle; this fast thinking mind had to figure something out. At the time, what I did know was, I wasn’t ready to go back to Los Angeles.

I secured 2 jobs within the first couple of weeks of being here. One fulltime, one part-time, both paying low. I just needed something. The fulltime was just something I called “work.” Nothing fulfilling, nothing promising. I then secured a job at the infamous, “Cliniswirl Enterprises.” & that’s when I definitely knew I was staying in Chicago. Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Fiona Goode; Thank you, Dionysus! I quit that fulltime-dime-a-dozen job & kept the part-timer. I said I was a hustler…

When I first started “Cliniswirl,” I thought it was a great company. See me 3 years later, months only to actually figure it all out. I was sooooo pleased to be there. It’s downfall, at the time: it was in the fucking suburbs! & not just the outskirts, THE FUCKING OUTSKIRTS! Never would I have had of imagined… lol. But that’s me, finding myself in predicaments only one would be like, how in the fuck did I really get here?!?! Sticky situations! Call me “Elmer!”

Anyhow, my first job within Cliniswirl was just to get my foot in the door, I guess. After learning the business of the environment about a few months after I started, I was like, there’s no way in hell I’m staying here! I can’t. Been there, rocked that. That division was the bottom of the barrel. B o t t o m. OMFGG! We’ll call that division, Shit Show 1. It literally was like a shit show, & I don’t use that term often. There was NO communication. You were trained to do something completely different from your job, by people who didn’t actually do your job. It was literally like you were chained to your desk. Your voice was never heard. The only real challenge the job offered was not going off on anyone, keeping your cool. The levels of hate that was obvious in the air, OMG! It was bad. & they hired anyone! Literally! Anyone who could pass a drug test, & even then, a bunch of the scoundrels came via a temp agency, so they probably weren’t tested? Who knows? I mean, yes, even I started there, but I’m not that bad! 😉 I’m not just any random off the streets. I was their rare find. I have waaaaayyyy more to offer than most [of those] people. & no, I’m not being cocky about it either. I know what I’m capable of. Do you? Plus, I was paid very low for that position. VERY low, for the company’s holdings, but it was what that position was paying & that showed a lot & it showed a lot when they weren’t willing to pay more. In retrospect, that was a foreshadowing of the company. I just hadn’t been exposed to the rest of it all, yet. This mega company, a “leader” in the industry. YEAH. FUCKING. RIGHT.

I found myself in a dead-end job. I was like, hell fucken no! I am not getting stuck here. I didn’t like the job & I was over the people. There were very few people I did like, & I’ve learned, don’t stay at a job for the people, stay for you & it’s potential! If you become friends after, then so be it. The commute was not worth the job. NOT. But, Cliniswirl was a big corporation & “always has positions available for growth & opportunity & they like promoting within” & yada-fucking-yada! HA-fucking-HA!! We’ll get into that soon. I mentioned I was becoming miserable in that position, yes? If not, there you go. I dreaded going to work. It was taking a toll on my then hot body. Plus, I was still figuring out life in Chicago. I eventually quit that part-timer.

When you sign on for a job at Cliniswirl, you must be in that position for at least a year. Some positions are 18-months, some 2 years. Lucky for me, all the jobs in the Shit Show 1 division required a stay of 18-months. Go-fucking-figure. I said I find myself in sticky situations. I knew I was not going to last 18-months in that position. There was no way. I had to start looking for a new job & I had just “decided” I was going to stay in Chicago!

Then, a spec of light came from a far. Cliniswirl moved its headquarters closer to the city, which meant my commute was going to be chopped in 1/2. Cliniswirl liked to recruit young talent. They fed off it. That’s because fresh out of college kids who move to the city are desperate for a job & Cliniswirl was desperate to have anyone stay longer than a week after they were thrown with the wolves & not have to work on their ongoing issue of turnover — & not just in Shit Show 1 division, the entire company. Soon the secret will be shared…

As a part of recruiting city talent & being so far out there in butt-fuck Egypt, Cliniswirl had shuttles that went from the city to the suburbs, & they heavily promoted public transit. So, Cliniswirl not only paid you, they actually paid for you to get to work. The shuttle was what kept me. It was a bonus I was never privileged to.

It was learned Shit Show 1 was NOT moving closer to the city. That was bad news #1. I was going to be stuck at that company going further than everyone else. Bad news #2: they were cutting off the shuttle I was taking —basically the only thing, aside from a check, that kept me there. Cliniswirl was only going to offer shuttles to the new, closer location. FUCK ME! I don’t drive, I’m a city boy. Driving, in this city, doesn’t really make sense & it’s fucking expensive! The worst was pretty much there.

Then, the best thing my director, “Barb,” at the time, did for me, aside from giving me a job, was grant me permission to bid out of my position at 1-year instead of 18-months. Cliniswirl knew they weren’t keeping their end of the bargain when it came to recruiting city people & the benefits they offered. The sucky thing: I STILL had a few months to get to the 1-year mark. Fuckers. It was sooner than later though. They weren’t going to let me work remotely. YEAH RIGHT! Not from home or from the closer office. Mind you, there was also a Cliniswirl office in the heart of downtown Chicago! All these resources & one could not utilize them. But they also let people work in other states without management… Believe me, I will get into that later. So many contradicting double-standards there. This is just the tip…

My commute was HELL for a few months. HELL! I seriously don’t know anyone who would do the commute I did. Mind you, I don’t drive & I wasn’t going to get a car. It went from bad to worse. Them midwestern winters… But, like an idiot, I was loyal. & like an optimist, I saw the brighter side of things. I was also very fucking patient. I made the best out of my situation.

My 1-year mark approached & I wasted no time looking for a new job within the company. I had started before then. I went on holiday to Mardi Gras, & yeah, I was recharged, after coming down & detoxing –I will NEVER stay 6 days in New Orleans again, not a good idea, but 10 minutes into returning “back to the cubicles” of Cliniswirl’s Shit Show 1 division, I wanted to walk right back out. It was like watching plastic melt. All that I had gained, I lost. & I don’t mean weight. I put my internal job search pedal to the metal. I was seriously like, fool, what are you doing here?!?

Yeah, most people would’ve given up on the company, but I had worked hard to get there & I didn’t want my experience of Shit Show 1 to affect my entire outlook of Cliniswirl. I knew there was more to it. I just had to survive bootcamp. What comes easy won’t last, what last won’t come easy.

With the help of the gods & life doing its thing & persistence & my charm you will never admit you love, I landed a position in division Shit Show 2. I felt like it was a total upgrade, my own personal promotion. Hell, for all I know, becoming the janitor was getting a promotion after leaving the trenches of the company. That place was disastrous. I don’t know how people work in those situations. When the atmosphere is very public & obvious, have a little dignity for yourself. If you could land that job, you could more than likely find something better. Have some confidence in yourself.

While in Shit Show 1, one of my old –pun intended– department-mates, an old, annoying, loud, desperate seeking attention, old maid, who I nicknamed “Chupacabra,” was recorded on the company phone line gay bashing another department-mate. It was reported & all that bitch got was a slap on her nasty tired face. Then, there was the time I met probably the craziest, scariest person in my life. & not in any attractive-way-like either. I would say, THIS BITCH WAS PSYCHO!! I had never felt so watched & stalked in my life. I had pity on the bitch, but again, have some dignity for yourself & know when to step back! Yeah, I’m a celeb & all & I should be aware of the packaged deal… But this deal was the real deal! & I was like, yeah, there are straight up crazies in the Midwest, like they talk about… That bitch still haunted me after I moved to Shit Show 2, & that was when I had to get nasty. It was awkward in that division, & in retrospect, the whole company.

Things got better, for a moment. I felt a lot better about Cliniswirl & my situation when I moved to Shit Show 2. I was soooo happy to be out of Shit Show 1. SO HAPPY! I was in a whole new environment, new world. I was closer to the city, too. So, new real estate also. The building itself was a total upgrade. It wasn’t like they were trying to dress an old person in a young person’s clothes. At the time, my attitude was, hard work DOES pay off. That spec of light turned into a beam, I nearly thought I had died! I decided to place my stunner shades on & everything was back under control.

It turned out it was more of a flash in the pan instead. There was more & better of everything, for the right reasons. My transition reassured me that Shit Show 1 was a disastrous shit show. Shit Show 1 was like a big, huge, angry beast in a small kennel that obviously did not fit, coming out of the cage; the manpower was out ruled by the demand for business. All the while, Barb was doing nothing to perfect it, nor did I think she was going to. She passed everything on to people who didn’t care. As long as business stayed somewhat afloat, & nothing was extremely obvious, nothing money couldn’t fix, the management did not give a rat’s ass. That rat was evolving into the mother possum.

Barb’s management staff had no interest, swirls in their eyes & they were sober, I think. It was all dead-end. Barb was never around either. Doing what? Only God knows. & Lucifer. I liked Barb. I knew where she was lacking, but I liked her. I was surprised to know how many people hated her. Maybe my perspective is different. Well, it’s different.

Coincidentally, Barb & my new director, “Christine,” knew each other. They were both Cliniswirl lifers & both had big egos. Barb’s wasn’t as bad as Christine’s. Different ballgames. I felt like, as big as Cliniswirl was, was as small as Cliniswirl was. Word got around fast & everyone seemed to know everything & everyone & everyone was always playing some game or card. Looks were deceiving. Everyone wears a mask.

I fell in love with my new position, & it took me a lot & long time to fall out. I think it was because I was more invested on what the tasks called for & offered me: exercising my skills, office skills that was — & I mean actual office skills, not like the scandalous ones needed in The Cubicle Diaries 😉. The environment: I was able to keep tame, in my mindset, & not let it get to me, as bad. I have been in shitty environments, so at first, Shit Show 2 didn’t bother me in the way it bothered my peers. Shit Show 2’s atmosphere was better than Shit Show 1’s. It was shady versus ghetto, still both unprofessional environments.

One of the many downfalls of Cliniswirl was, it was growing faster than it could manage –everywhere. & Cliniswirl was not really for investing into protocol enhancement & it did not invest into its people, especially good or decent beings. A lot of different management teams claimed they were for process improvement, but every time I discussed it or proposed it, it wasn’t acknowledged, shined upon. It was all at their leisure, as if they were actually someone. I’m sorry, I thought I was at some movie studio or something. & everything with the “manager,” “Zoey,” was, next quarter, next quarter.

Every shit show division claimed there was good structure & leadership & training & SOPs, but in reality, the known secret, aside from Cliniswirl being a private company, which meant it could do whatever it wanted to & get away with it, was doing  things “the Cliniswirl way,” which meant you figured everything out on your own! One received no real training! You were thrown with the wolves, literally, in the deep end, & it was up to you to figure it all out. By the way, everyone was inundated. Even the management. That’s why they never saw anyone gone from their cubicles, note: certainly not happening in Shit Show 1, not going on multiple long breaks or surfing the internet doing EVERYTHING @ their privacy-less cubicle or watching movies, while standing up in their face or in one of the huddle rooms, or smoking in the huddle rooms or doing inappropriate things in the bathroom while surfing hook-up apps that started in their privacy-less cubicle 40 minutes prior! Or just gone or not knowing they showed up for work. But this did not all occur on your time, dear prior management, & in return not let one work remotely because you didn’t trust them or wanted to maintain you power by dictating or claim that you were competitive with other employers but couldn’t & didn’t want to keep up with the Joneses, was it?

“Cliff” was Christine’s boss. Cliff had a Napoleon Bonaparte-like syndrome with a Machiavellian attitude. I don’t know what was worse. Cliff was all bark & no bite, an overgrown brat. Cliff was super loud, & liked to inject fear into people, especially his management staff. Cliff had very strong ties to the “executive office” at Cliniswirl. If only they knew all that he said about them. I’m surprised they hadn’t heard from his office 2 floors down! Everyone kissed Cliff’s ass, & it was very obvious & annoying. I think one of the major issues I had with my management of Shit Show 2 was that I didn’t kiss their ass & I didn’t play the game & they knew I wasn’t going to do it & they hated it, they used that against me. I know my value & again, I wasn’t going to stoop down.

Working at Cliniswirl, I saw another angle of corporate environment. The egos – LMFAO!!! The budding one of “Zoey,” my former “manager.” “Zoey,” as Christine would say when she was talking down to/ about someone, which was most of the time because she was a wannabe know it all, & wannabe bitch, was as useful as tits on a bull. Zoey was lazy & entitled. She was NEVER around. When she became the “manager,” or as most referenced her, additional waste of the division’s money, her ego began to grow larger than her head, & gut. She was given the position. She lost out on another gig & NO ONE wanted “Valerie” in it. Too bad, everyone frowned after she was crowned.

“Valerie” was my previous supervisor who “resigned” but we all know she was forced to quit, because that was the position she put herself in, the position Christine allowed her to be in for so long! Everything went back to dumbass Christine! She was the incompetent that had allowed most of everything to happen. She was to blame, especially if Valerie, who was deemed as the problem was gone. Cliff, as controlling & dictating as he liked to be, had a soft spot for Christine, & vice versa, & it was sick & gross. A lot, not all, like me, were fearful of Christine, too, & I would just laugh in & at her sad face.

Back to what I was saying… Zoey was the pointless manager who had a budding ego, like one of the sad directors, “Tessa.” There were so many things comedic about “Tessa.” I’d giggle to myself when I would see, or hear, her stomping around the office. Tessa would try to act like a hardcore bitch. Tessa’s claws, & tongue, were always out. Tessa was not thirsty, she was dehydrated. & she would purposely hire youngin’s. I would be like, bitch, I’ve fried bigger, battered fish than you! When thinking her claws were out toward me for some specific reason. Tessa’s ego, like Zoey’s, was comedic & entertaining, like when you watch a dog walk on its hind legs. A lot, not all, were intimidated by Tessa, too. Tessa & Christine were office frenemies/ rivals, especially when it came to Cliff. They would prance around the office, not only like their shit didn’t stink, but like they owned the bitch, & they would compete for Cliff’s attention & then shout & joke about being able to control their boss & tell him what to do. It was gross.

I want to get into a lot, but I don’t want to get into everything. Stay tuned for “Midwest’s Best!” What I will share is, over time, I became fed up with EVERYTHING at Cliniswirl, all across the board. I wasn’t down for it [anymore]. It no longer called me; I saw no real opportunity there. In Shit Show 2, I was more exposed to the other shitty divisions & it became a no-go for them, too. There was no [more] FOMO. The place, as a whole, was very obvious to me & everything was “well known.” It wasn’t until the end of my stay when I actually realized everything, especially other shitty things done to employees in other shitty divisions & racism, to say the least. Talk about awakening! An Epiphany! Plus, I’m pretty sure, actually, I was assured by Tessa, that Christine abused a lot of her power by doing what she could, get away with, by not letting me transfer. There were all sorts of “subtle” forms of retaliation I could resort to. I did say, spoiler alert! 😉

Everything was clear to me & my peers & the dead, but somehow not really clear to the HR rep, “Iris.” “Iris…” HA! We had a pleasant interaction at my exit interview. It was funny[ier] the second time we met; she was a lot nicer & her attitude changed. I told her a lot. I was upfront & clear about everything. It was my time to speak why it didn’t work out at Cliniswirl: the battles, the actual truth-hurting reasons, all that was wrong with it, & I was going to be vocal. I held nothing back. Of course, she defended the company & management. If her & I agreed on something mutually, I don’t recall it. I don’t recall her actually agreeing with me on anything. There was more of an understanding with Valerie & “Jack-off Jeff.” It was more of an understanding & she was reserved about it.

I could see the black in her blue eyes. Iris knew nothing was going to be done. Why? Because I was leaving, they were relying on the turnover rate to “clean” everything up [& fuck up the fresh start they were hoping for], & it resorted to Cliniswirl being a private company that did whatever it wanted to & hopefully get away with it. I felt like meeting with Iris was not much of a help. She tried to dismiss all my arguments, kick them to the curb. I began to see she had succumbed to that sad place. This was all nothing new. I was another providing actual proof. Some just need to be reminded, I don’t just blow smoke, I spit fire.

One of Iris’s many excuses for the behavior of the company was, this company was not built overnight, & if you’re expecting things to change overnight, you’re wrong. Um, I’m sorry, but people have been complaining about the way it was for how long?!?! Known secrets! Don’t act like what I shared was new news or just gossip or complaints of a disgruntled employee [hmmm…. that would be a good title… 😉]. Everyone had the same story. & since Valerie left, yes, with your help because Christine was only going to keep sweeping things under the rug like she knew how, but fuck, even that literally took a village, an army, the real problem was illuminated & that was Christine.

Christine wasn’t good with confrontation, so she would always pull the bitch & old school seniority card out on people to intimidate them & scare them off. But, like Cliff, she, too, was all bark & no bite. Christine knew I am my own person & what I’m possibly capable of. & my last, last, last, last, last straw was when that inexperienced, uneducated, egotistical fill-in-the blank-here improperly evaluated me, & probably wasn’t expecting me to find out either, but I did 😉, to a potential boss within the company that happened to be very candid with me about the situation. It was on the slanderous side, instead of the usual scandalous. For someone like Christine who didn’t like drama, sure started it. I refused to be judged by someone like that. & if there were things that occurred under their reign, Shit Show 2’s whore-ible management, that made them look bad & not in control, then that was their bad & it was an obvious sign they did not have control over their department; that was an indication of their weakness[es]. The older people were more childish than the younger people. & if it looked like any of its non-members of management had control over the management or department, then that individual should not be penalized. It would be the management’s fault that they’re not in control.

Good things did come out of Cliniswirl. There are a few plotlines in “Midwest’s Best” take place at Cliniswirl; writing inspiration. I met some great people there, some fucking hottt people. (There was a lot of eye candy!). There was a gym & discounted lunches, but & more importantly, I met “Charlie” a.k.a. “Bill,” my costar on “Midwest’s Best.”

I did experience a different kind of “scandal in the office” work drama. That was not my mission. At first, when I started & when people started finding out I write, they were like, are you going to write about us!?!? My response was, no, you’re not that interesting. Then, later down the road, people then started saying they didn’t want to be written about. They assumed I was writing about them, because they knew they were being shady!!! & my response then, was, well, don’t give me reasons to write about you & I won’t! I, again, found myself in a situation where the story writes itself 😉.

Getting out of Cliniswirl was my number 1 priority. I was ready to move on. I was tired of riding the waves of drama. I had all the answers I needed to not be there. Plus, I was not going to have my Chicago stay, because as much as I love it, Chicago is not forever…, be defined by Cliniswirl. Hell-fucking-no. It was a great experience, but I don’t ever want to go back. I was reminded, I only needed this job to stay in Chicago. & now that I’m situated, I can move on up & out! It’s time to work & live in the city & unwrap a whole new part of the city & more importantly “Midwest’s Best!”

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-unknown artist

“The Cubicle Diaries: Anything to Be on Top” Volume III

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438 pages. 25, some rather long, chapters. The height of the series. The conclusion. That’s “The Cubicle Diaries: Anything to Be on Top.” My God! I seriously thought this day would never come. This is literally something I’ve dreamt of & pushed so hard to make happen. I put A LOT of pressure on myself, & one of the few of my many flaws is, I’m tooooo hard on myself. So, imagine that. I just kept thinking, I must produce this, I must get to the finish line. & here I am! Out of breath, sweaty like the pig I am, or rhino I should say, & thirsty like a mo’fo! Hydrate me! Pop the mother fucking champeeeezy! This makes 3!

I’ll be honest, I was REALLY pushing for the book to go live in 2018, the way latter of 2018, but that thing called ‘life’ tended to get in the way of things, as it does, especially if you’re living a good one. Anyhow, while I was editing volume III, which took all of 2018, I then started to tell myself, don’t rush. I mean, good art should NOT be rushed, that’s a fact & I can definitely speak from experience. 😉 I was torn because there was a piece of me that kept telling myself, get it done, get it done! That’s the on occasion impatient part of me, but I just call that my drive. 😉 & then there was the piece of me that was like, don’t burn yourself out! Don’t half-ass it. I didn’t want my passion for my project to die out. I still wanted it more than ever, yeah! But I didn’t want the “I’m over it!” feeling & have it be like it was something I was obligated to do & not be able to enjoy. Because I knew one day, I would reflect & miss it & then have remorse over those emotions, especially if I truly love my work. It’s kind of like having braces, going to college –college work wise— or doing a TV show. You live and love it at first, it’s exciting, then you get over it, then you want out & years down the line, you’re like, that was a great time of my life! I wanted to take it all in. Blowing off social events because I had to edit, not calling such & such to have a 2-hour convo about nothing, not going to that free museum, not sleeping, being somewhat anti-social, writing/ editing on the way to work, on my lunch, on the way home, stopping myself from avoiding the author representatives on their follow-ups for the finished product: all things I loved doing for the sake of my book series, my project, my life! I did have self-discipline, obviously, but they, “the company” helped me, too, a lot, & I encouraged them to.

I took my time with the cover art. I thought, how can I make this one different from the others? We see the black rose –multiple times. We see people gossiping, watching each other, & “working” together. Let’s see where the “magic” happens, lets go to where it all started: the cubicle. This cover art is very different, it’s in color! As for the back-cover art, I thought, do I stick to what I’ve done to make it a whole, or do I really switch gears? The front’s getting a makeover. I saw the inner MEs -LOL- battling with each other in another form. Decisions, decisions… In the meantime, all I did was continue to work on the editing & let time make the decision making over my uncertainty. Then I was re-re-reminded, never give up!

I also had to think, this is the conclusion, how am I going to make this all work? Make it different? I have a good product, that’s not played out –which is in my favor, & my take is a fresh take. I’ve focused on making my product unique & fresh with a take that hasn’t been done before. I like turning, thickening plots, no dragging the foot, a little on the faster movement, a hint of old school –just a hint! Traditional and classy elements where they should be. If something is boring to you, it’s going to be boring to your readers. You must keep them wanting more —literally!

Then, there was “Holiday Madness.” All I’ve ever done is talk about “Holiday Madness.” It’s the height of the story, the near climax –pun intended. 😉 It’s the longest chapter of the series! I had to divide it into 2 & even those individually are long! It’s thematic. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a 7 deadly sins theme to the now chapters. The chapters, at the time they were 1, took me 3 weeks to edit, & I was consistent. “Holiday Madness” is a story of its own; a story within a story! A true teleplay. 😉 I LOVE “Holiday Madness,” but I think “Skeletons in My Cubicle Drawer” is probably my more favourite chapter. It shares soooo much! Hell, it’s just as long! & besides, “Holiday Madness” is something of its own.

One of my other major accomplishments for volume III is the crossover between “The Cubicle Diaries” & “Midwest’s Best.” This crossover is the start of something new, new & great! I’ve given away a lot in this entry, but I won’t give away everything! One of our beloved villains makes a major move from the west coast to the Midwest. That individual will relocate to Chicago & have interactions with & become a recurring figure on the fictional hit Hulu TV show, “Midwest’s Best.” This individual will cross paths with “JC” & “Charlie” & start anew in the white city, & this person is ready to paint red all over it.

This volume, I feel, truly is scandalous. Yes, the others are, too, but this one… my God! There’s a particular plotline where you’re just like, damn! That’s super shady & fucked up & this person works with that person! I wasn’t joking when I decided to have Trust No One as 1 of the 2 main taglines. The other being, Know Your Coworkers, which is also very true, in reality & in the book. & Yes, there are a lot of OMG! moments. The sexxx scenes are graphic. You’re welcome. 😀 I hope as a reader you get aroused. You’re welcome. 😉 Volume III has a few different backstories going on. The cast of characters is reduced, somewhat. I swear, when I think of some of the chapters & plotlines & interactions among the characters, I hear a score of violins going on in the back of my mind. “The Cubicle Diaries” is very episodic, very TV show, or soap opera, -like. I want to say “Agnes” is more evil than comedic? I’ll let you be the judge of it. The narrator has not lost its sense of sarcasm & is on the way of being one of the best storytellers, to-date. Everyone gets their last hoorah. Even people we haven’t heard of since volume I. It’s very full circle like. Everyone wants to be on top –pun intended & some do. Volume III is more cutthroat & grander than ever.

It’s funny, because people who have read the first volume tell me that it’s scandalous & what the characters do to each other is brutal. & then, they learn it’s just the beginning of a series & they’re shocked even more! My usual answer, there’s A LOT more & it gets better! & that’s the thing about “The Cubicle Diaries,” it gets better & better. I didn’t want everything paraded out in the first volume. I planted the seeds, watered it, & have watched it blossom. I love every volume, but this may be my favourite. Don’t quote me. I also recently had someone share with me, no matter how subtle I tried to be about “closing” everything up, LOL, that he thought I could go for a fourth if I wanted to. It had me thinking…

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Press Release

New novel charts the dramas and scandals of corporate American life

Otter Holmes releases third and final installment of ‘The Cubicle Diaries’ book series

CHICAGO – Otter Holmes is back in the literary limelight with the third and final installment of “The Cubicle Diaries” book series that creatively exposes dramas and scandals of corporate American life. The series follows the lives of officemates who experience the perils and pleasures of mixing their personal and professional lives.

In “The Cubicle Diaries: Anything To Be On Top – Volume III” (published by Xlibris), limits and relationships within the Los Angeles walls of The Firm Firm are pushed to a height like none before. Personal levels and workflow are more intense and cutthroat than ever, especially to secure the seat that only suits one. The third volume depicts that some employees, frenemies and foe workers will do “Anything To Be On Top.”

Main protagonist Derek drives the story. Making his life more interesting are Louva, the office gossip queen and a frenemy of Derek; Agnes, the volume’s main villain; Doris, the human resources director and the ongoing villain of the series; Mingche, an employee of The Firm Firm and a frenemy of both Derek and Louva. She is also an opportunist and someone who wants to be on top; veteran comedic relief acts Karla and Ramona; MaryHelen, an entitled diva around the office; Amanda, another entitled diva around the office and a frenemy of MaryHelen. Readers will find an interesting connection between Derek, MaryHelen and Amanda; and Samuel, the director from The Firm Firm’s Northern California office. He has a dark history and side to him.

“It’s relatable. It’s entertaining. There’s at least one character in the book that people will be like, yeah, I work with that kind of person,” says Holmes.

Ultimately, “The Cubicle Diaries: Volume III” is not just a story of corporate life but life in general and what it means to be human in a competitive world.

“The Cubicle Diaries: Anything To Be On Top – Volume III”
By Otter Holmes
Hardcover | 6×9 in | 438 pages | ISBN 9781984569202
Softcover | 6×9 in | 438 pages | ISBN 9781984569196
E-Book | 438 pages | ISBN 9781984569189
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Otter Holmes currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. He enjoys travelling, photography and being a good storyteller.

Corporate America, Foreign

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Recently, I got a new Microsoft program. Why? Because yours truly must write. & nothing is forever & always. Subscriptions must be renewed. & as much as I would like to, I can’t just write on paper & then upload it to the internet. Or maybe I can…? Hmmm… & since everything is downloadable via the internet now, those days of printing, pictures more notably, but even things on paper, too, & using CDs, has nearly become obsolete, the program’s key-code was printed on a paper card. One might say even that’s a little ironic. The problem? The sticker that covered the key-code wasn’t user friendly. It was hard to come off & when it did, it peeled off the damn code! & whatever didn’t peel off was rubbed off! WTF?!? I was like, great! & since, now, a lot of “Customer Service” is via some stupid chatroom or a list of links that eventually only ask you, was that helpful? NO! They never are! Those stupid chatrooms are no help either. A lot are not good at communicating, let alone via typed words. I was like, great! I’m screwed! & then, of course, we know how some major AMERICAN corporations do, they outsource everything to some foreign country where the language barrier is worse than the chatrooms that are probably outsourced, too! & us American consumers who support these AMERICAN products know we’re going to face a challenge calling these “Customer Service” numbers not only because of the language barrier but because of the stupid, horrendous automated system that refuses to connect you to someone live, foreign or not! & half the time the automated system can’t recognize your voice! OH, & don’t get me started when it is so quick to just hang up on you after being on the phone for over 20 minutes!

So, I call, after digging & digging for an actual number to dial. Yes, on a phone to use that thing called a voice, to hopefully speak with a live person to get to the point and not have to interact with some distant relative of Suri or Alexa, or my current roommate, Google home. I was eventually connected to someone, go figure, overseas. The experience went rather well. I didn’t/ don’t want to be biased, or for God’s sake, seen as racist, because you can’t do a Goddamn thing now without being perceived as a racist. BUILD A BRIDGE & GET THE FUCK OVER IT! As harsh as it may sound, it’s NOT all about you. It’s about ME! LOL. Stop being like the stereotype, then people won’t discriminate you. The guy & I chatted for a bit, a 2-hour bit. I’d about say we’re new BFFs now and when, not if, I go to the Philippines I have a tour guide and somewhere to stay. I talked to him more than I do with some of my acquaintances. Hell, even some of my family members! Because now-a-days no one talks, they fucking text! & no one knows how to use a fucking period. They just know how to act like they’re on one! & that they do really good. When I read people’s emails & texts & posts, I’m like, WTF are you saying?!? It looks like one long ass sentence. & mind you, I’m not a scholar, it’s just so damn obvious. & everyone relies off of spill check! LOL. Maybe it’s just the English in me.

Anyhow, we got to talking & we started talking about work & how it is for them over there & how their hours accommodate Americans and yadayadayada. Everyone accommodates Americans, except for the Americans, because, again, it’s all about us. 😉 They basically work graveyard all the time. Then, we started talking about wages. I didn’t want to get too personal because that’s personal. But we all know why American companies outsource in the first place. I know they get pennies to our great American dollar. Then, we started talking about the exchange rate. I know the Philippines is cheap, but I learned more from the conversation. Then, I got to really thinking. I thought, these fucking American companies! They charge an arm & a leg for products, expect Americans to pay it, which they do! & then pay these people pennies to the dollars & on top of that, refuse to give Americans those jobs to invest into their own country. But isn’t that how it all works? Greed. Meanwhile, these CEOs, American fucks with their own ego, probably larger than the size of their gut that they rest their clasped hands on, are raking in fat paychecks, stealing from the company, causing the economy to go down & then expect to get bailed out by the Government, when needed. It’s all a vicious cycle, that’s the “American” way, & in a sense, it’s something to do. Anyhow, that’s nothing we all haven’t already known, yes? BUT at the same time, on the contrary, America is helping these people be exposed to a life they would have never experienced, talking and meeting interesting & celebrity-like people like me. We’re giving them their American dream, kind of. It’s just very, very distant. I mean, with the rise of virtual reality, it’s basically like they’re here, so maybe THEY are having their cake & eating it, too?

The rep basically told me they earn $7 USD a day, which can be “decent” for them. $7 USD?!? WTF?!? I was like, OMFGG! Is any minimum wage in the U.S. even $7.00, per hour? $7 USD can only get you so far at the Dollar Tree/ 99 cents store & the dollar menu — at certain fast food restaurants! In American eyes, they must save for months to actually do something risky, if they can, because most of them believe in getting married and having children at a young age. HA! Makes me wonder, are there foreign millennials? I think not. They still have values & morals, so no. I took away so much from that convo, that short 2-hour convo that probably could’ve jeopardized his job. Sorry fella! They, I believe, truly appreciate their job, unlike most Americans. No American in their right mind would work for $7 a day, not even under the table! Most would barely work for that triple an hour. It’s just not possible. & I think almost anything is possible. 😉 This isn’t 1934. According to Americans, they don’t make enough as it is. They, we, never do, which is true because of the greedy American companies that are here, & then you have to think about living expenses, because everyone is entitled to a little fun. All work & no play?!? Get real! & then there’s Tio Sam, as I call him. That fucker comes first, literally. I guess it is a “man’s world” because there isn’t a Tia Samantha. But in time there probably will be, especially with all these movements. & everyone’s always complaining about housing being sooooo expensive, too! Then, I laugh, hard –er! & these American companies expect you to just take it & swallow it. It’s worse for the locations, in America, where there really isn’t much to offer & these people HAVE to take it — & swallow it.

Here I am getting a program to write stories, more notably about the workplace, the American workplace, as scandalous as can possibly be; a story/ triology 😉 that brings to light allllll the things we shouldn’t be doing during work hours, but we do, well most, because I still believe, not necessarily so naively, that there are Americans that actually care for their job, that are still here, & don’t just IM or surf the internet or gossip all day, or falsify documents just so they don’t have to actually work or call in sick from being tooooo hung over, or call in late to go on a job interview to contribute to the bad habits of the next workplace where they hope they’ll get even more money, or are scoping out their next colleague they want to shag or ruin! & this affects EVERYONE, even the scared little chicken shits that pretend like they don’t want to be involved but do, because the only thing worse about being noticed is not being noticed, & those chicken shits gossip when no one is around, or at least think no one is around. Plus, someone WILL sell your bitchass out. Nice people are nice, but essentially, they have no backbone & are just as guilty as anyone else. Believe me, I wanted to ask the rep that soooo bad if all that occurs, but I know the business. Of course, it probably does!

It’s a game for the corporate American foreigners, too, because in their eyes, they have a “good job,” but because there’s so much Goddamn outsourcing, they’ll just bounce to the next American company that’s over there. I also started to think, does “The Cubicle Diaries” really occur there? [I’ve pretty much answered my own questions!] Hell yes! Stupid question(s) to myself! No one likes their boss! The cutthroat aspect of it, yes! There’s probably a lot of pressure on them to keep us Americans happy, because at the end of the day that is all that matters…, so their contract doesn’t get pulled and sourced to another 3rd world country. I’m sure a lot of mixing business with pleasure goes on there, too. Put a bunch of people, attractive or not, in a confined space, & someone is bound to hook-up. We all have needs, literally! The guy is married —- to his coworker. They met there. Go figure. But do they have scandal and drama? Yes! I’m sure the ones who actually deal directly with the corporate Americans, that gave them their job, the foreign “higher ups,” are probably just as cocky as the next American, or probably are American themselves housed there. Do these corporate American companies that are currently being foreign treat their employees the way a lot of corporate American companies on American soil treat their employees like here & try & instill in their mind that this is the only & best job you’ll ever have, & that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, & good luck finding a new job because when they call for a reference, you won’t get one, a good one? Yes! The rules may be different, but the game is all the same. Is there a legal system there, employment wise, like there’s one here? I’m not sure. Because we all know, aside from being “great,” how shady & scandalous, & entitled & pompous –OK, I’m stopping, Americans can be & some will go to any extreme to blackball you, especially when it comes to your income. All it takes is a few words… Plus, given my exchange with many foreigners, the men are EXTREMELY cocky, & I’m just like, kick it, fool! What do you REALLY have to offer? I’ve experience that in America, imagine non-domestically, & not to sound racist, here we go again… disclaimer needed, this isn’t your hometown/ country. It’s a privilege for you to be here, so don’t try acting like a dictator in a free country – yes, this is still a free country! There’s a reason why your family left where it’s from. Don’t get ahead of the game. It annoys me when foreign people come here & begin to bad mouth America & begin to feel entitled. I’m just like, shouldn’t you be thankful you’re here?!? Who in the hell do you think you are?!? It’s so annoying when they get mad they can’t take advantage, yes, advantage because they do, & even natural born citizens are worse! of Government benefits & not have to work. Be like everyone else & get yourself a fucking job!

Then I thought, if it wasn’t for work, socially, would we be the people we are? Work life is very crucial to us. For some, it’s all they have. Some, or most, dread it. & then there’s the ones, the few, who literally have never worked a day in their life. No happy hour after work for you! It’s happy hour every hour. I wanted to ask, do you get free health insurance, but I didn’t want to go there, because I pretty much know the answer. I also wanted to ask about PTO & OT, but we were on the phone for too long already. & then I thought, sadly, no wonder these places outsource… I also couldn’t help but think, do they feel like an American working for an American company dealing with American people? They are people, too. All it really is, is corporate America, foreign.

The Last Days of Edgewater

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3 years. That’s how long I’ve been in Chicagoland. It has gone by rather fast. The first year was a whirlwind, life was chaotic. Then, I kind of got a grasp of things, & was “living” a little. Then, it got crazy again. [I mean, it never stopped, but…].

The time I’ve been in Chicagoland, I’ve lived in Edgewater. There was a minor, minor stint in Avondale, but I try & block that piece out. It was so short, it was like it never happened, but that’s where I stayed when I landed. I had only one plan: make it work. I had no idea what the hell was going to happen when I got here. All I had was my last teaching job check from China. All I knew was, I had a month to find a job in order to stay & I did. It was one of the biggest risks I’ve taken, & I’ve taken quite a few. Reminder: things will only happen if you take a risk. Kind of sounds like a Kelly Clarkson song, ‘Breakaway,’ but it is very true, & like all clichés, they’re true.

When I was able to figure things out, kind of, I found a small, yes, very, very small, apartment in Edgewater. It was cheap, great, I was living alone, even better, & I’ve always wanted to live by the water –go figure! I did mention I’m from SoCal already. Edgewater is waaaayyy across from where I landed, & it was somewhere I wanted to be. I landed in the winter, & I knew once the weather was going to warm-up, that’s where I wanted to be. All I’ve ever heard here was, Chicago is the shit in the summer. Yes, speaking now, it is fun! I’ve also been asked countless times, why would you leave LA? & why would you come to Chicago in the dead of winter? My answers: LA isn’t everything, & if I can make it through winter, I can make it through anything [metaphorically speaking 😉. I did, after all, study English. BUT I’m not a scholar & tend to speak in slang, so don’t be so quick to judge].

The place where I got the apartment, at the time ‘The Windale,’ has since closed for renovations. Hopefully they make those apartments better! The Windale was cheap & month-to-month. It was ideal for someone just trying to make it happen. The problem was, it had a bad reputation, long ago. The Flats, not a type of gang or musicians’ group, took it over & “renovated” it, but like Edgewater, it had some stigma to it. Apparently, Edgewater used to NOT be the business. It’s good now, I’ve heard a lot, but I’ve experienced the better part of it. It’s “up & coming.”

The Windale was clean, but the Property Manager was a bitch. He was anal & weird & annoying. He watched the cameras all the time. Talk about no trust for your tenants, even after cavity searching them! That place was so institutionalized. I was like, um, excuse me, if I didn’t have rules like this when I lived with my parents, why in the fuck would I have these silly-ass rules while I’m paying to live here!?! I was like, hell no! This is not cracking. I was needy, not desperate. I get it, in a sense, it was for my safety, & yadayadayada, but come the fuck on! Guests weren’t allowed after 10 & couldn’t spend the night, on the weekends, yes, but they had to leave their ID at the front desk. You couldn’t make a peep after hours. You had to be in full-on attire while walking around. If you were bumming it, you were pushing it. If the Property Manager didn’t see you dump out your trash on a daily basis, from watching the cameras, you were reprimanded. Apartments were checked on a monthly basis. The mattresses were wrapped in plastic wrap. They were called “efficiency” studios. You were limited not only on much, but also the appliances you could have in your “room.” I would barely call it an apartment.

Then, they built a community kitchen. OMFGG!! Lucky us! A full kitchen & table setting & oven! OMG! I’m so blessed! & then you had to get rid of all your appliances in your room. At that time, I found a new apartment, so I was like, peace bitches, I’m out! & keeping my shit. It was like a halfway house! & everything was like, step out of line & you won’t be able to renew your lease! Your month-to-month lease! I was like, Jesus, Dionysus, Fiona Goode, get me out of here! For the longest time, I couldn’t open my room window. It was a clean apartment/ building, but that’s because even the dust couldn’t settle! I was only at the Windale for a few months. I couldn’t take it. I was like, no matter how much I lower them –on occasion– I still have standards & dignity. I’m not that desperate.

I walked around the neighbourhood, not to be a hood rat, & discovered the Grandeur. It’s one of the biggest buildings in Edgewater. I called for an apartment & made an appointment for a viewing. The minute I walked into the apartment, I fell in love with it. I’ve always lived in studios, & I was ready for a one-bedroom, but when I walked into this large studio, I dug it. It was large, in my price range, & located still in Edgewater but in the midst of everything: the train, the “beach” –hey, if there’s sand, a current, a lifeguard, & the word ‘beach’ in the title of the place, it’s a fucking beach! The library was down the street, speak nerdy to me, lots of eateries, & Aldi & Whole Foods, I was set! I loved the archways in the apartment, the light fixtures. I had a great view of the street. If I walked to the fire escape, I could see the lake, or “beach” rather 😉, & plus, one of the better parts, I had a built-in vanity in the closet. It was perfect. I applied & hoped to get it. Plus, there was a sick-ass move-in special, if your credit was good, & that was an offer I couldn’t pass up. One of the better parts of the Grandeur was the Property Manager there. She was loca! She told it like it was & I forged a good relationship with her. They say, birds of a feather flock together… Most people hated her, but I adore[d] her. I told the Windale to fuck off & go find someone else’s trash to dig through when I was approved for the Grandeur. The Grandeur Property Manager actually helped me move-in. Literally. The Grandeur is only a block away from whatever is left of the Windale, but she helped me. I was so thankful. I’ll admit, I’m limited on who I can turn to [in general & here]. I’m on my own. & it’s not that I’m toooo proud/ prideful of a person to turn to people, I’m just like, I know what I got myself into, I will find a way to work it out. Plus, people are funny, & not in a good way, but that’s a whole other story. But I’ll add, people are narcissistic, no comment, & people are flakely. I get it, we all have shit going on but My God… I’m just like, no one has time for that. That’s why there’s hired help!

Anyhow, I moved into the Grandeur & fell in love [with it –the apartment]. It was the first 18-month lease I’ve ever signed. It sounds like a lot, yeah, but when you think about it, a year goes by fast, & I had just come from moving from Los Angeles, moving from another continent, moving from another neighbourhood, moving from another apartment. I needed some type of structure & place to sit tight for a while until I really figured shit out. Plus, that was part of the move-in special. I was like, fine. This is all in MY best interest. Little by little I got more & more of my stuff from California, & more & more I was able to feel like I was ‘home.’ It was, & is, a great feeling. It’s funny because I did have some of my belongings, but it wasn’t until I got my refrigerator magnets did I really feel a change. It’s weird. I used to never collect magnets [of where I travelled to], but I started to & it’s just something cool. I can reflect & think, OH, that one time in… & then laugh to myself because it was probably some over.the.top scenario/ predicament I got myself into & survived! 😉

I customized my apartment to ‘me.’ All artists should be surrounded by their own artwork. Aside from my apartment in China, which I LOVED, the Grandeur was the biggest building I’ve lived in. I took advantage of everything –in the neighbourhood, because I knew one day, my same train of thought of being in California & China & everywhere now, it would all end. I didn’t & don’t want to have the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve train of thought & be like, shit! I should’ve done this when I was there & yadayadayada…

The cool thing about Chicago is that it has so many neighbourhoods, & every neighbourhood offers something different; they’re unique in their own way. The problem with Edgewater was that it offers nearly everything, so I never really had to leave it! But, I’m a vagabond, the 8th rather, & I’m big on ‘flaneur,’ so I pushed myself to get out & get acquainted with Chicago as a whole. The thing about Chicagoland is, once you think you’ve seen something, you still have more to discover. Things are always changing here. There’s lots of pop-ups & just various things going on. It has its pros & its cons.

My 18th month lease ended quick, like I knew it would. When it did, I still wasn’t fully prepared to move/ leave. Time does fly by when you’re having fun… & I was still in love with the apartment. But I’ll be honest, I don’t see myself living in Chicagoland for the rest of my days. There’s still a whole world to discover & conquer. I will be here for a bit, but again, I couldn’t, & can’t designate everything to just Edgewater while being here. I knew where I wanted to live next: closer into the city, but I wasn’t prepared. I renewed my lease, but for only 1 year this time, & even then, I knew a year would still go by fast, but at least I had something new & different to look forward to & still get the most of Edgewater while I could. Plus, I may not be in Chicagoland forever, but I’m not ready to leave now. It’s funny, because being 3 years into it, I could see myself going for 3 more, but my original goal was to make it 5 years overall. We shall still see.

I wanted to live in Wrigleyville. It kind of reminds me of Hollywood. Hollywood was my one true love I let go. I like Wrigleyville’s history & grunge, & the fact that most people only go to Wrigleyville & not necessarily call it ‘home.’ I also didn’t mind calling Lincoln Park my next home. It was good I was better founded/ grounded & had options & time to think.

I signed for one more year & like I knew, it came fast. I had one more year to take advantage of Edgewater, & boy did I… 😉 I broke it to my Property Manager I wasn’t going to renew. I mentioned it to her when I renewed the first time. She understood. Aside from what most people think, & hate of her, because she knows it, lol, I dig her. We had a good relationship. She went off on me a few times, but I was always respectful & patient with her. I’m big on communication & we’ve always communicated. Plus, she appreciated the fact that I was a ‘low-maintenance’ tenant that wasn’t always complaining or giving her a hard time. Plus, my on occasion ‘thank you’ gifts of wine & beer were helpful. She also loved the fact that I was/ am a clean person. She would praise me on that. She would tell me, some of these people live so disgustingly! Of course she was more vulgar than that, but you get the picture. She would be like, I love everything about your apartment! She referred to me as ‘China,’ because I lived in China & when it came to call for references on my previous housing, she was like, I’m not going to call China. It was funny. She also referred to me as ‘Beverly Hills,’ because when I called her, it said the city I was calling from was listed as ‘Beverly Hills.’ It’s the ‘310’ area code. So that was ‘our code’ & her name for me. I don’t think she’s ever called me by my government name. Not even when she’s yelled at me, or in her way, talk normal to me.

The Grandeur offered me a renewal for the second time, & they wanted to jack up the price even more & that’s when I was like, NO THANK YOU! It wasn’t the Property Manager, it was the actual company & she ultimately had no say in it, plus, I was ready to move this time around. The housing in Chicagoland can be pretty costly, which I kind of get, but for the most part it’s cheap. I come from California, originally Neptune –the planet, but I’m sorry, if that’s the case where I’m paying a boatload of money to live somewhere I’m not buying real estate in, then I might as well go back. The locals crack me up on 2 things. Well, more than that, but when I hear them complaining about housing, cost wise, & traffic, I’m like, you don’t know shit! Save it for someone who cares or naïve enough to believe you. The roads in Chicagoland are built horribly, yes, so I can understand that, but try being stuck in Westwood or Hollywood or Culver City [in general] or at the 101/ 405 conjunction on a daily basis during rush hour & then we can have a decent conversation.

Aside from my Hancock Park/ West Hollywood apartment, my Grandeur apartment was the longest apartment I’ve ever lived in. I got to looking, & got a lead on a cool apartment, just my type —another studio! & the irony was, it was going to be available at the time of when I was going to move. They say, everything happens for a reason, but I think a lot of it has to do with timing; timing is everything. Plus, my new apartment is exactly where I wanted it to be: Lake View East, which is also in Boystown & essentially Wrigleyville. It is 2019, we should be able to have our cake & eat it, too! 😉

So, I left Edgewater, in search of something new, something different; continue my voyage. What’s funny is my Grandeur Property Manager actually helped me move out of that apartment & into the new! LMAO! Of course, she criticized the new one once she saw it. She was just praising herself, & I give it to her. My new Lake View East apartment is different on many levels. The Grandeur Property Manager reminded me how everything comes full circle: she helped me move in & she helped me move out. Of course, I compensated her on the matter! & actually, she was nice enough to let me stay an extra day because the entire city was held hostage because of the -21 degree temperature that occurred. It was a lot warmer when I did move, 19 degrees. It literally felt warm/ hot. Them Midwestern winters… It’s funny because I wanted to get the MOST out of my Edgewater apartment before I left & go figure, the last days of Edgewater I was trapped in it! Literally. Like seriously! Be careful what you wish for… 😉

As for my new Property Manager, I don’t know… I’m just like, this guy… but we’ll see. He’s not so bad, but I can see his character[istics]. I’m aware of certain things & we’ll just see. I do LOVE where I’m at though. I obviously choose it for a reason. The apartment is more on the ‘vintage’ side, & the building, as a whole, is a lot smaller: 6 units versus 150. Going back to my roots! & I truly think I’m going to see a whole different side of Chicago. Edgewater is lively, but Lake View East/ Boystown/ Wrigleyville is more city, city & there’s definitely A LOT more going on. It’s going to be a whole other experience. I did only sign a one-year lease here, & I’m definitely open to renewing for another term, because I really like this place, but we’ll see how things pan out. Plus, a lot can happen in a year, no matter how fast it can go. I just can’t help but think, is the beginning of something new, or is this the beginning of the end for my stay here?

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