Social Schizophrenia (part 1): a post about ‘Net Hypocrisy’

Riddle me this: How is Edward Snowden any different from Joseph McCarthy? On that note, is “Net Neutrality” our generation’s McCarthyism? What is “big data,” anyway? I can’t be the only one concerned about the vagueness of all these debates and buzzwords. Why should our government have to answer to its people when its citizens fail to entertain the thought that these tactics are for their own benefit? They’ve been doing this a long time — keeping you safe, that is — why demand answers that you’re going to ignore regardless of their validity? It’s a give and take, people.

We’re living in an era reminiscent of the Red Scare. Have we learned nothing? The people obsessing over privacy online and the NSA’s alleged wrongdoings are the same jackasses sharing their every thought on Facebook and posting shirtless selfies on a seemingly daily basis. Is this real life? Are you kidding me? I have no words … mainly because I have no desire to spark a debate among those charming individuals who commit such offenses. One can only hope digital Darwinism weeds them off the Internet within the next decade. And yes, I did make up that term for the sake of this argument.

Modern day philosophers warn that the eruption of the Internet and “big data” (seriously, wtf is that?) is making our society dumber. I respectfully disagree. Rather, I’d argue that easy access to essentially infinite information shines a radiant spotlight on the intellectually inferior. Wow. I sound like a total elitist. Sorry. (I’m really not.)

The free flow of knowledge – not information, but knowledge – is truly fascinating. Search engines can only give us answers to what we already know to be true; people, on the other hand, inspire us to ask questions we never knew we wanted answered. That’s a convoluted way to make my case, so I’ll have to further elaborate when I’m not so scatterbrained.* And for that, I am actually sorry. Stay tuned for more liberal propaganda about the state of the Web from yours truly. So, um, bye? You stay classy, Internet.

*Author’s note: I’d like to apologize for the disheveled disaster that was this blog post. I didn’t even proofread it before posting. How out of character. Ah well. See you soon!

50 Shades of Updates

In case any of you were curious, here is a brief summary of what I’ve been up to these past few months (in lieu of maintaining this blog):

  • I became the “marketing and new media coordinator” at an upscale tennis and fitness club in LA. The industry isn’t an ideal fit for me, but the job isn’t without its perks … I work from home 75% of the week and have full creative control of the club’s in-house and online marketing/social media presence. Not bad, eh?
  • As the title of this post suggests, I finally finished Fifty Shades of Grey. Wow. That book was something else … I can see why housewives the world over were so easily hooked. The writing style and vocabulary usage are beyond tantalizing – both sexually and literarily speaking. I sincerely hope EL James used her Fifty Shades earnings to design a “nice kitchen” for her family … she most certainly deserves it!
  • I also started another blog – two, in fact. The first is a digital chronicle of my “sessions” with a fictional therapist. My insurance doesn’t cover mental health expenses; blogging is free. As much as I’d love to share the link, I think it’s best I let my prospective employers/lovers/best friends/etc. uncover this one on their own … it shouldn’t be too difficult. My other project – which is actually a “co-venture” between myself and a friend – is a satirical Tumblr targeting Arcade Fire as “sellouts.” Silly and undeniably hipster as it may sound, this blog soon became a suitable creative outlet for both of us. Yay Internet.
  • While we’re on the topic, did I mention I’m a Web designer now? OK, I’m honestly far from it; however, I AM a master at Squarespace 6 (because that’s totally a skill) and recently developed a pretty phenomenal website for a trainer I met at the club. I’m in the process of making additional changes to the homepage and navigation structure, but I’m impressed with my work nonetheless.
  • In December, I seriously considered moving to San Francisco. I interviewed for what appeared to be a mundane inside sales job at an IT staffing and recruiting company (whatever that means). I didn’t get the job, but I learned a valuable lesson that day: I have absolutely no interest in sales. None whatsoever. So thank you, unnamed tech company, for sparing me the time and mental anguish of pursuing a potentially soul-destroying career in sales.
  • I turned 24 last month. Cool. At least I’m no longer 23? *cue Grumpy Cat meme*
  • My social media presence has been seriously lacking. “Hire me as your social media manager/[insert generic title here] … I was once a social media MAVEN … circa 2012.” Although it has become an integral part of my “career path,” my enthusiasm for social networking on a personal level has been on the decline over the past year and a half. At a glance: Facebook won’t stop changing its design/layout, Twitter has become cluttered with more information than any normal person could possibly digest, and the other social platforms have either been purchased by the “Big Two” (FB and Twitter, obviously) or are too obscure and seemingly useless to maintain users’ interest. If only everyone used Path … Dave Morin, you are fucking brilliant.
  • Finally, on an entirely unrelated note, I recently developed a fondness for the comedic genius/absolute disaster known as BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood. As much as I hate to admit it, Robin Thicke has earned some serious respect points for his impeccable performance … not to mention his apparently innate ability to assimilate with African-Americans. Who knew? You go girl.

Well, I think that about covers it. I’m not sure how often I’m going to check this blog, but it’s definitely nice to stop in for a visit every now and again. See you never!

I could not, would not aspire

OK, here is an unnecessary breakdown of “the life and times of Andie Gomez,” in blog form. Sorry. Memoir soon (as in 10+ years) to follow.

(1990 – ?) I was a complete terror of a human being from the time I could form a sentence. A foul-mouthed rebel without a cause (at least in my own mind), I spent the majority of my adolescence stripped of the priveleges enjoyed by my peers … including a brief period without a bedroom door circa 2004. (I don’t even want to GO there.)

Cut to: Despite my constant rule-bending in school – particularly my blatant disregard for my high school’s attendance policy – I miraculously graduated in May 2008.

Cut to (exactly two weeks later!): A relatively harmless misstep which shall remain unacknowledged until my future memoir … or an FBI background check for the genuinely curious.

Cut to: BSing my way through my B.A. (I know, I am oh-so wonderfully clever). Andie Gomez: Political Scientist. That’s how bachelors degrees work, non?

Cut to: As has been the case for the past year, what the hell am I doing in LA? I’m not an aspiring actor (or anything, really), and aside from my shameless addiction to the E! network, my interest in the entertainment industry is basically nonexistent. Damn you and your perfect weather, you terrible West Coast city.

For those of you haven’t been religiously following the intimate details of my life as outlined in previous blogs, here is a brief overview. (Disclaimer: most of it bores even me. Feel free to stop reading now … mom, that includes you.)

Since 2012ish, my life has been a blur of fledgling startups, unemployment, underemployment, and a series of painfully cliche quarterlife crisis bullshit. Oh, the angst and drama! I’m still uncertain as to how I made it out of college with a degree in anything other than advanced slackerism (thank you ASU), but I did it so who the hell cares how I got there?! Slightly off-topic, I know, but I’m allowed SOME bragging rights for graduating from the renowned Harvard of the Southwest. Whatever.

This may be a different topic for a different day – and likely is – but it seems like a fitting conclusion. Maybe, maybe not. You tell me (or better yet, keep it to yourself).

Although I expend a borderline excessive amount of energy criticizing the aspiring actors/directors/circus clowns I encounter on a daily basis living in LA, I can’t help but admire their tenacity. Take their oftentimes outlandish dreams out of the equation, we (the aspiring so-and-sos and I) actually have at least one thing in common – raw fucking ambition. Yes, I may think most of their “dreams” are flat out idiotic and delusional, but at least they’re clinging to SOMETHING. While I have the drive to be “insanely great,” I unquestionably lack the relative insanity needed to work toward – or even identify – a specific life goal.

Unless, of course, you count working at my leisure on projects I deem worthy of my time a 5-year plan … (to be continued)

Mein (post-grad) Kampf

OK, ok, ok … I will come out and admit how incredibly overdone and angst-ridden this post is, but ’tis the season of quarter-life crises and thus I feel the need to jump on the bandwagon and bitch about “mein [post-grad] kampf” before I attempt to take my life and blogging career more seriously. My mom may be the only one who reads this blog, but starting mid-September I promise to stop being a self-absorbed wannabe blogger and write about topics outside my day-to-day first world problems.

So, here goes nothing. Sorry for the high school style whining.

Like the majority of my Millennial peers, I have recently found myself in a seemingly never-ending death spiral of financial disarray, uncertainty about the future, and a complete and utter lack of direction in life, to put it bluntly. I have spent the past month(ish) working at a job that pays less than I made at 18, all while continuing to look for full-time jobs and attempting to persuade my parents to support my low-budget rock and roll lifestyle for a while longer. So far so good, but my 15-year-old, spoiled-yet-lovable brother has really put a damper on my ability to shake them down for the occasional $30 Seamless order. Thanks a lot, Cristobal.

I recently spent a few days visiting a childhood friend in Chicago, which was enjoyable but certainly not without its downsides. In case my readership couldn’t tell from my Tumblr (, I have an insatiable “travel bug” and will jump on pretty much any chance to venture out of my comfort zone … even if it means braving 91 degree weather with humidity levels I never wish to experience again. Yehk. I somehow managed to get my parents to fund a good portion of this trip – OK, 100% of this trip – under the guise of my looking for jobs in the area. While this excuse wasn’t a complete fabrication, the aforementioned weather situation totally ruled out Chicago as a potential place of residence.

But anyway, this friend (whom we’ll call “Princess of Freight” for sake of confidentiality), has been kicking ass and taking names at the company SHE STARTED upon moving to a new city last May. She may be a high-maintenance pain in the ass at times, but I love and admire her nonetheless; her hard work (see: her 65% is most people’s 110%) and dedication is truly an inspiration. PRINCESS OF FREIGHT: I hope you’re reading this, ya’ jagaloon. I love you to the moon and back … and your sickeningly comfy bed, too!

So clear you can see the Hollywood sign! omgz.

Back to me, though. LIVING IS EXHAUSTING. To add to my present struggles attempting to pave my way in the City of Angels, I’ve frequently found myself giving strong consideration to moving away for a few years (2-5 years max). The reason being, upon semi-careful consideration, I have come to realize most of my favorite things about living in LA require exuberant amounts of money. As much as I hate to shed light on my financial status, I most certainly do not have the luxury of a disposable income at this stage in my life. Although I’m not 100% ready to pack up and move back home with my parents, I have had a strange pull toward the city of Denver and will definitely be exploring this option more in the coming weeks.

HOWEVER, in closing, the Best Coast lyrics asking, “Why would you live anywhere else?” (re: SoCal, presumably) seem to play on repeat anytime I consider moving away from this terrible, wonderful, pain in the ass city. CONUNDRUM. I love the ocean, the weather is almost sickeningly perfect, and I’m not all that confident I’m ready to ditch this place just yet. I guess “only time will tell,” to use a perfectly relevant cliché. I’ll keep you posted, mom! Thanks for (unknowingly) talking me off the ledge these past few weeks. And to everyone/anyone else: Thanks for sticking with me despite my excessive ramblings and general lack of direction in this blog. I CAN DO BETTER, I SWEAR.

Much love,

The kind of high-maintenance that thinks they’re low-maintenance (the worst kind)

I’m difficult. I know this. I don’t think this makes me anything special or interesting as a human being … this is simply a long-overdue blog post blaming my parents for making me a pain in the ass. Also, the title is an homage to my favorite movie of all time, When Harry Met Sally. Goddamn that movie is fantastic (R.I.P. to the incomparable Nora Ephron).

Food & Drink
I really, truly dislike chain restaurants. I’m not trying to make a social statement about the evil nature of corporations or any other left-wing, indie nonsense; I simply know other, more delicious cuisine exists elsewhere. The obvious exception, of course, is Taco Bell. (I’m sure there are others, but for the sake of this post I’ll just go ahead and come clean about my love affair with Crunch Wraps and Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos and be done with it.)

I find flaccid bacon absolutely abhorrent. And while we’re at it, raw onions; discovering onions hiding out in my food is an almost surefire way to ruin an otherwise splendid meal. I ask servers to “hold the onions” on pretty much everything … you can never be too careful.

I’m shamefully guilty of ordering off the menu at restaurants. In-N-Out employees probably rue the day I was introduced to their “secret menu.” But hey, I can’t help my love for soggy fries (fries light), burgers without meat (which is officially called a grilled cheese for all you vegetarians out there) done whatever “animal style” actually entails, and the fact that three flavors of milkshake (Neopolitan) in a single cup are more delicious and fun to consume than one. Besides, if they didn’t want patrons to order off that menu they should probably refrain from revealing these “not so secret” items on their website – just a thought.

I drink fair trade coffee – specifically that of the Latin American persuasion. However, this by no means implies that I have a personal vendetta against Starbucks. Over-roasted espresso beans aside, their baristas make killer dirty chai lattes. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love their holiday drink menu?

I prefer craft beer over domestic. I just do. I live in far too entertaining a city to drink Blue Moon (sorry mom). On another alcoholic note: I strongly believe life is too short to drink well vodka. I will gladly shell out the extra $2 for a cocktail that doesn’t taste like hairspray, thank you very much. Oh, and wine of course … I’m undeniably particular about that, too.

Creature Comforts
Any bedsheets under 500 thread count just will not cut it. My mom is to blame for this – I mean, who buys nice sheets for a 10-year-old? I paid my 250 thread count dues during my semester in Madrid, where the comfortable bed trend apparently never gained traction. Moreover, I’m certain these six months of “slumming it” sleeping on a cot-like dorm bed and a few dozen hostels entitles me to a fancy sheet set (or three).

Despite it falling apart in every conceivable way at the moment, I still love my German car. The leather seats. The great sound system. The way it drives after a tuneup. I’ve put nearly 80,000 miles on it since 2008 and loved every minute. I do, however, wish someone had told me this five years earlier…

“European cars are sexy and rare and a terrible plan unless you have piles of money for maintenance. Or are the type of person who likes to date people that unexpectedly and violently melt down.”  (credit: Kelly Williams Brown)

As pretty much everyone in my immediate circle of loved ones will attest, I am extremely affected by my geographical location. I need at least 300 days of sunshine, I hate hot weather (anything over 80º is the absolute worst), and I love knowing the ocean is just a short car ride away. Like most Los Angelinos, I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to the beach; however, knowing it’s within arm’s reach is enough for me. In the words of Bright Eyes, “I found a liquid cure for my landlocked blues.” Yes, I know Conor Oberst was talking about alcoholism, but for the sake of this post let’s just pretend it’s referring to my getting the f*ck out of Phoenix, AZ and working three blocks from Venice Beach for a few months.

No Me Disculpo / Closing Statements
Call me high-maintenance or what you will, but I’m a self-proclaimed member of the “finer things club” (credit: The Office) and see no reason to make excuses, apologies, or anything of the sort about my preferences. There are most certainly more subjects to touch upon on this topic, but I’ll cut myself off and simply say, in the paraphrased/completely revised words of the late Sid Vicious:

“… [I] know what I want
[and] I know how to get it.”

*(Again, I know this is a slight deviation from the original lyrics, but I love the Sex Pistols and I highly doubt they’d care.)

Who cares about the classics, really?

Words to live by, as written by authors whose works I will briefly touch upon in the coming paragraphs:

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” -Mark Twain

OK, I have a confession to make … writer friends, please reserve your judgments. Despite my ability to recite this quote without hesitation, I have not read a single book of his since being assigned “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” back in my rebellious high school days. To be even more shamefully honest, I’m not even 100% sure I read the book in its entirety. I know, I’m awful.

“Write drunk, edit sober.” -Ernest Hemingway

Likewise, I have admittedly never read a single work by this seemingly alcoholic genius. I did, however, visit several cafes and restaurants he’s said to have frequented in Madrid while I was “studying” abroad. That doesn’t exactly make up for my lack of appreciation for classic literature, but I’ll go ahead and give myself a little pat on the back for these minor feats. I should also note that one such restaurant, Sobrino de Botín, was walking distance from my apartment and is said to be the oldest existing restaurant in the world. I know, that’s pretty impressive; just another testament to Spain’s greatness (current economic crisis aside, obviously).

In spite of my apparent indifference toward most works of fiction, I really do love reading. My books of choice since entering college in spring 2009 have comprised snarky-yet-candid memoirs, off-color collections of essays, and what I have recently coined as “cynical self-help books.” Although I wouldn’t exactly call these books “cerebral,” the authors behind them have helped me immensely in terms of writing – particularly within the blogging realm. I have always loved writing, but learning that other sarcastic, quirky, slightly insane women (and men) exist AND have lived to write bestselling books about their haphazard past lives, has been an inspiration.

I suppose I do feel slightly guilty for neglecting the classics. The aforementioned quotes have basically been my mantra since I began my “serious” writing career some years ago, and yet I cannot seem to find the mental fortitude to read anything published more than 10 years ago. While I’m being candid, I’ll also like to assert that I’m not above admitting my sway toward David Sedaris’s recent masterpiece, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls over Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. My undying adoration for the hilarious literaty styles of Sedaris and his peers is – quite simply put – unmatched by my alleged feelings of obligation toward books 3+ times my age.

As you’ll hear me say many times from here on out, “no me disculpo.” Roughly translated: I make no apologies. I just finished reading an awesome work of the “real talk” variety entitled Adulting: How to be a grownup in 468 easy(ish) steps. It was fucking brilliant, and it was written by a fellow twenty-something named Kelly Williams Brown. If you’re a Millennial desperately seeking direction in life, do yourself a favor and read it immediately. Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now, recommended it on her blog a few weeks ago … and for good reason. I’d write more about it – and maybe I will sometime in the future – but I don’t think it would do it justice. Adulting covers everything from “how to procure food so you won’t die” to an overview of “what your parent are not” (one being an ATM, which I’m sure I’ll adhere to soon enough … sorry mom). Just read it, ok? You can thank me later.

Oh, one last shameful confession about my apathy toward classic literature: My interest in The Picture of Dorian Gray can be solely attributed to Zooey Deschanel’s character in “(500) Days of Summer.” I ordered the book while still in Madrid and couldn’t make it through the first thirty pages without feeling infinitely annoyed. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls elicited a nearly identical response as Summer’s “meet-cute” story while I sat alone reading at a Los Angeles dive bar not long ago. Apparently craft beer, David Sedaris, and a mutual appreciation for dark humor and politics make for an excellent friendship one-night stand. I highly recommend trying this or some variation thereof if you ever get a chance.

At the risk of sounding boring or overly self-involved, I’d like to close with a line from Adulting that is simply too awesome to keep to myself (twenty-somethings take note):

“Because here is the truth: Most of the world doesn’t give a flying fuck about you.” (p. 7)

Fifty Shades of Something or Other

Summer in Paris - 2K11

Well, here it is … the obligatory “look out world, for Andie Gomez has graduated!” blog post. In this episode, I have chosen to revisit my nearly abandoned blog in an attempt to write something more enjoyable than resumes and cover letters. Moreover, because I am still slightly in denial of my alleged adulthood, I’m going to go ahead and whine about #postgradproblems and my possibly outlandish workplace preferences.

30-day recap

What have I been doing , you ask? For starters, I took about two weeks off from writing pretty much anything – text messages, emails, online complaint chats with Bank of America employees, etc. My final weeks of school were brutal writing-wise thanks to a class which shall not be named, but I’ll leave it at that … I can finally form written sentences now and I suppose that’s all that matters.

Oh! I also dabbled in reading Fifty Shades of Grey sometime last month (hence the blog title). I only made it through 35% of the Kindle edition before the e-library took it back, but I’m pretty sure I got the gist of it. I admittedly enjoyed E.L. James’ writing style, however the jury is still out on whether I’ll try reading any of the Fifty Shades trilogy again in the future.

Resumes. Resumes. Cover letters. Resumes. Etc. 

After spending approximately three weeks avoiding anything resembling productivity, I finally managed to completely rewrite my resume. It looked absolutely stellar last night, in my opinion, but after further review it appears my “summary” section is a bit more self-serving than career counselors would deem appropriate for a twenty-something seeking actual employment. However, it’s not like I can begin a resume with something like this:

Snarky, easily excitable ASU graduate with mild Attention-Deficit Disorder and a stellar (/slightly twisted) sense of humor. Plays well with others given adequate incentives and prior verification of team members’ competence. Specializes in writing, editing, and delivering of sass.

Alternatively, I could go with an antiquated objective statement:

To apply my marketing experience, love of fashionable blazers, and expansive knowledge of pop culture into a position at [insert company].

Recently decided upon workplace preferences:

As a twenty-something with 8 years work experience, I am obviously uniquely qualified to make the following requests and speculations about hypothetical conditions at an imaginary workplace …

In an ideal world, I would work in an office where a “business casual” dress code is embraced, but not overdone. While I may not be ready to splurge on an entirely new professional ensemble, a happy medium between “startup chic” (a la Zuckerberg with fashion sense) and Don Draper is definitely doable. Besides, I would never deny an opportunity to add a dozen more trendy blazers to my wardrobe.

Perhaps most importantly, I would sincerely appreciate relatively lax standards as it pertains to punctuality. Although I certainly would never consider noon an appropriate start time, some revision to the typical work hours doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable. You want 9-5? I’ll give you 10-7! I have a killer work ethic – that counts for something, right?

I would also appreciate an office where the stud in my nose is accepted and not entirely out of place. On a related note, I also hope this fictional work establishment remains somewhat selective about the kinds of “self-expression” allowed in the office. My refusal to surrender my youth and remove my nose piercing in no way implies a willingness to share an office with someone covered in tasteless tattoos and/or surface piercings. Ew. I’m a tolerant person, but unattractive body adornments are something I just will not accept in my immediate and frequent presence.

Putting all those aside, I would like to make an honest request for a job that is challenging, fun, and constantly changing. The Millennial Generation (with support from 1990s pop culture references) has romanticized the hell out of the “dead end job” concept, which I’m sure is a contributing factor in my anxiety toward the topic. In other words — I blame Daria for my irrational fear of being ensnared by one of those dreadful things.

And that, my friends, is all I have for today. Have a fabulous week!