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


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…



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


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?


Little Blue Book


Otter Holmes says, a life lived is a passport book stamped.

As I was preparing to renew my passport, I couldn’t help but think of the last ten years & all that I’ve travelled/ discovered. I’ve been VERY fortunate.

For those who have one, just because your passport book isn’t stamped, that doesn’t mean you haven’t done anything or travelled or lived, per se. & the same goes for someone who doesn’t have a passport at all. Are you holding yourself from a lot? Yes! The United States is a great place to roam & learn about, but it’s not everything. The United States doesn’t have the history & offerings a lot of other countries do. But if you have a passport & it hasn’t been stamped, what the hell are you waiting for? Go back & think why you got one in the first place. What are you waiting for?!?

We all live different lives, we all have something going on, we all have different aspirations. Sadly, some have no urge to travel at all, & I’m just like, whoa! Red-flag! I don’t know if we’ll be able to be friends. [How do you expect to grow?] On occasion I’ll stop & tell myself, this is life 5 years later. This, however, is life 10 years later. This is life 10 years later! & I can barely imagine life in 10 years from now!

Some people get a passport with hopes that will push them to travel, & sadly never do. How do those sayings go, actions speak louder than words; don’t talk about it, be about it. [I can’t fucking stand people who are all talk, & do nothing but talk]. Time does go by fast, but sometimes, it goes by slow. It’s funny how time flies when you’re having fun, & slow when things are dull & boring. Should we always be doing something? Not necessarily, but only YOU know. It’s also funny how time goes by slow when you’re a kid & fast when you’re old[er]. Do we only have fun when we’re old? NO! I remember when I got my first passport. It was because of my first Euro-trip, which was great! Like no other. I had, & have, a passion for travelling. I had been to Mexico a lot, but then all you needed was an ID to cross the border. I’m from SoCal in case you’re wondering.

It does tick me off a little when I go somewhere & customs doesn’t stamp my passport. They’ll sometimes scan the book instead of stamping it, or there’s some “alliance” or agreement within that [European] nation & it doesn’t need to be stamped & yada, yada, yada. Thanks for the memories, fuckers! Yes, I’ve been shorted a few stamps. I also have a little trouble understanding how passports are considered invalid 6 months PRIOR to expiration?!? Why can’t it expire when it expires?!? Everything else does!

I then received my new passport & held it in my hands & stared at it & pondered. I couldn’t help but think, this little blue book… where’s next? This is my pass to the world. Pun intended. I know where I want to go, but where will I end up next?

I’ve learned, having travelled with quite a few people -no further comment…, I like travelling alone! I prefer it. I’m OK with it. It’s a whole other experience & you meet people like you, because yes, there are people like you, but not entirely like you. 😊 It’s a good, reassuring feeling.

I’ll dread the day passport books become obsolete. They’ve already invented a card & that machine that scans your eye. Can you steal any more fun away?!?! I get it, it’s for our security but what the hell!?! As it is, we can’t speak freely anymore –even in the U.S. – pun intended or make jokes without offending a certain group of people. Seriously, what is the world coming to?!? As good as things are becoming is as bad as things are getting.

I cherish my passport. I also cherish & appreciate the fact that I’m an American. E pluribus unum. That’s right, baby! For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means, out of many, one. It’s on the cover of that little blue book you’re neglecting. We, as Americans, have access & are privileged to so much, most don’t realize it. Add it to the list of things taken for granted. Americans can skip a lot of needing-to-obtain-a-visa drama.

It’s time. For new memories, new ventures; stamps I’ve never had before. So, get out there & do something new & different. Or hell, revisit your favourite out of the U.S. destination. Go somewhere foreign. You’ll never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet. To the next 10!

Retrograde Mercury

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Why is everyone so gaga, & for some, alarmed, about this Mercury retrograde?!? Why all of a sudden? It’s cracks me up because people who aren’t even into astrology or cosmology are all into it, worried, making their own assumption of things. [Some people are just full of shit]. I’m just like, please, stop! Why, all of a sudden, is the media publishing articles about blood moons, blue moons, & super moons. It’s nice, really nice, they’re acknowledging them, yes, but how many of you actually paid attention in class? You’re only following it because it’s a form of trend? It’s also nice, however, to see other articles being published other than all this goddamn “racist” shit, or other articles about the President of the United States of America. It’s become sooooooooooo annoying how nothing can be said or done without being called a “racist.” A comedian, or comedienne, can’t even do their job for Christ’s sake! Everyone’s so offended & yadayadayada. How about this: GET THE FUCK OVER IT! Like they’re all so perfect. People set themselves up for failure. Jokes are meant to be made. The definition of racism is not what it used to be, it’s abused now. But when a certain individual race makes fun of their own race, it’s permissible?!? Society & double standards: the way it’s going, will it [now] ever be understood; everyone is an enemy? Anyhow, this isn’t about that, there’s too much of that going on. This is about the current Mercury retrograde in action. Is all that’s allegedly going on just a hoax, a superstition? We all have our assumptions & beliefs, but what exactly are the facts, especially when it comes to the behavior and lives of others? So many questions, & like always, not enough answers. But what I think we can vouch for, and act off of, is our own experiences. & in order to reflect off those experiences, one must be into astrology & pay attention!

Back to me, because after all, this is my page. I’m obsessed with the moon. I’ve shared that before, countless times, especially its dark side. 😉 I think strange, & magical, things happen when the stars align. I’ve read a few articles on the current Mercury retrograde. They share similar & various things. What I’ve took away was that it basically tells you to put your life on hold & don’t do anything drastic. OK… What about that saying, life goes on? I’m not going to put my life on hold 3 times a year for almost 2-3 weeks. I can’t even do a cleanse that many times! It’s not recommended. LOL. I’ll admit, since this retrograde occurred, I’ve witnessed certain odd things happen. That’s because I’m aware of it, & it helps being an observer. I can’t help but ask myself, is it all a coincidence? Timing? They say, timing is everything. Personally, I don’t see the retrograde as something bad. Sometimes in life we must take a few steps back in order to move forward & really thrive. I know the steps I took back, recently, & like everything else, I saw it as a lesson learned. Life is full of lessons, trials, & tribulations, but will we really learn from our mistakes? For every action there is a [chain] reaction. Do some really want to better themselves, or are they loving the fact that they’re chasing their tail like a dog looking like an idiot? I don’t like making the same mistakes twice, but sometimes we have to do things a few times in order to really figure things out. I’ve learned nothing comes that easy. Life has a funny way of working & it’s always talking to you. Another question I can’t help but ask is, are the aliens this OMFGG about the retrograde? Do they even care? What do they know. Imagine all that we don’t know & what’s really going on out there?

I’ve also heard it wasn’t just Mercury in retrograde, it’s 6 other planets! Um, it now really has me thinking, is the whole fucking solar system going backwards?!? Who knows?! But actually, I’m not alarmed because I’m pretty backwards myself… It’s already been proved what’s available on the world wide web is controlled. Hell, even my blog is controlled, because if I really published what I thought & felt, I’d be in A LOT of trouble. Some things are better left unsaid; it’s also good to keep ‘em guessing. 😊 What people don’t know won’t hurt them, or will it? Everyone has their own ideas & ASSumptions.

Is the retrograde something to be alarmed about? Is it to blame for the wackiness of others? People don’t like admitting fault, & everyone has an excuse for everything. What about when it’s not occurring?! What’s the excuse then? I also recall reading an article that there may be some miscommunication/ tension between one & his coworkers. Hmmm, I’ve experienced that in real life, yes. & yes, my coworkers, especially as of late, have got on my goddamn nerves! But they’re not worth the typing, not this time around. & speaking of coworkers… “The Cubicle Diaries: Volume III” is under construction, & baby, it’s GOOD! I’m soooo excited for it! Stay tuned. A lot can happen in a day, but a lot can also happen until August 19th. May the force be with you.



I love my apt. I love the layout of it. I love that it’s vintage-ish. I love being home. I feel like I can really call it “home.” It’s in the biggest building I’ve lived in thus far. Actually, my China apartment, which I LOVED, was just as good & in a bigger building. I don’t miss California, per se, but I do miss Hollywood & the last apartment I lived in there. Anyhow, I love my current housing situation. I’m fortunate. I live right by the train, have great eateries in my neighbourhood, & of course, a library. Sometimes I force myself to get out because I get too comfortable. We should never live too comfortably, by the way. My neighbourhood has nearly everything. I also live right by the “beach.” I traded beaches for lakes. Hey, if it has sand, a current, a lifeguard, & the word “beach” in the name of the location, it’s a damn beach! I like my property manager. I also have a great street view. In front of my windows I have trees, so I can have some public privacy when my shades, not stunners, are up & open. Sometimes I’ll sit on my couch & ponder & watch people as they pass by. I’m a spectator.

In the winter, the trees are naked, their souls are exposed [“Nymphomaniac” vol. I & II]. In the spring & summer the trees are full & green. Last year I wrote about constantly seeing spiders in my window pane. I saw all sorts of kinds. I was a little alarmed, but then I thought, like always, life is talking to me. My English senses came to me; we must read the signs! I looked up spiders & was relieved.


As of late, which I thought was very strange because I’m infatuated with this animal, I’ve been seeing many blackbirds. So much irony here. I love them, ravens the most, & crows are cool & interesting, but are there crows in the middle west? Sometimes I can’t tell the difference. I also love Edgar Allen Poe, & let’s not forget his infamous work, The Raven. Plus, I love “One Tree Hill” & ravens are always there. Aside from basketball & drama, ravens underscore the entire series. If it weren’t called “One Tree Hill,” it was going to be called “Ravens.” Anyhow, I’ve visited his grave, EAP’s, by the way & that was a whhhoollllle other ironic experience. What I thought was ironic [now] was those beautiful little blackbirds began to visit me, especially in the winter. Aren’t they supposed to fly South? Especially during them Midwestern winters? There were flocks of them. They were even tweeting, not Twitter/ social media status! & singing & fluttering merrily. It brought so much joy to me. It reminded me of my magical time in Portland where I crossed them, too. Strange. “We spend much of our lives seeing without observing.” –A.Warhol. I thought, again, life is talking to me. So, what did I do? I looked up blackbirds. They say, blackbirds represent knowledge & intelligence. I couldn’t believe it. Life was sending me signs of knowledge & intelligence. We can never have too much. With those comes confidence & with confidence you can do anything. You can also do anything with a lot of money, but I’m not there yet. In life, we have a purpose & I want to do as much as I possibly can. I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. I’m still learning & like a lot of things in life I’ve learned, I’ve learned the hard way. But all its done is make my character richer & grander. Sadly, I still make mistakes, not necessarily the same ones, thank God, but I’m only human… or am I?

Blackbirds also lead to represent transition & transformation. Very, very ironic!! I want to say I am exiting a major trial & tribulation stage of my life. I’m a different person now than what I was before. I like to believe a better one. Living in Chicago, I’m living a whole other life — in a great way, not a con-artist type of way. I feel that I’m maturing & growing & becoming more knowledgeable & I do strive to be a better person. Every day is a new day. Every day offers something new. I’m all about reinvention. Is it because I’m from Hollywood? No. Hollywood helped me embrace it. I’ve also learned to not let fame & success get to my head. It’s OK to be happy one day, sad the next, lazy after that, hyper & cracked out after that & then want to be alone. I won’t deem you as “bipolar.” I might ask if you wanna kick it! Most fear change, but don’t you find something wrong always answering when someone asks you, what’s going on? & you find yourself answering, same old’, same old’? How about same old’ lame old’! Every time someone asks me that, I try to give a new & different answer each & every time. But that’s just me. If you’re content on where you are, then so be it. How are you ever going to get anywhere if you don’t challenge yourself? From what I’ve learned in the past will guide me, hopefully. In life, we must be bold. It’s OK to be scared, but don’t express that emotion. People will use that against you. That I’ve learned. People, like Hollywood, love to pick you up & bring you down. Although, I’m happy with this stage of life, I’m also ready for my next transition & transformation. [See “Phoenix,” “Clouded Judgment.”] & it’s because knowledge & intelligence & transformation has got me here to understand there is more to life than what we have now.