As for the road trip: Milwaukee involved a nice visit with my cousin Joe and his wife Jamie. They are both only a couple years older than I am, so that is always strange, but it was good to see them. Josh and I also briefly went downtown and admired the lakefront and interesting architecture (no time for art) at the art museum. Madison is a cool little hippie/college town with lots of restaurants and fun shops. Like Ithaca, but better. Hmm...Madison, Boulder, Northampton...all hippie/college towns that are a lot cooler than Ithaca. It was nice to see Kate in Minneapolis, though I found the city - and especially the Mall of America - to be underwhelming. You have to understand, it was always my childhood dream to visit the Mall of America...it was a GIANT MALL WITH A SNOOPY-THEMED AMUSEMENT PARK IN THE MIDDLE! Unfortunately, the shops are extremely mediocre - nothing I hadn't been to, and the amusement park is now PEPSI-themed. That's right, PEPSI instead of Snoopy. A little piece of my soul just died. Iowa is exactly the corn-filled state you imagined. Sadly, no Kevin Costner. Missouri was fricking hot as hell and I remember really disliking my time in the car there. There is a bar in Norman, Oklahoma (another college town cooler than Ithaca!) that has ladies' night on Thursdays with no cover and absolutely free, unlimited beer for all those carrying two X chromosomes. Amazing. Visiting Erin and eating Sonic (Josh has been waiting to eat Sonic pretty much his whole life) was also fabulous. My beloved Honda Civic nearly died in Barstow, CA. We stopped to get gas and suddenly the engine started racing and the car would not shift out of park. Bad times. We tried a few more times, to no avail, then called AAA and waited for a tow truck. When the tow guy got there, the car worked again. He and the mechanic theorized that perhaps the transmission just got a little too hot. I felt kind of like a jackass, but a jackass who didn't have to pay for a new transmission - so I was totally fine with it.
And there you have it. My third cross-country trek. I think I've visited 40 states now. I'll be okay with never driving cross-country again. (And so will the Honda, which now has over 97,000 miles on it.
As for LA...the apartment (by the way, it's not the one I posted below...I am a dirty liar) is in a GREAT location in Sherman Oaks. I can walk to the Cheesecake Factory...and walking at all in LA is so rare that it makes me feel a little better about eating cheesecake. The apt is also very spacious and cute, and I promise to post pictures when I get a new digital camera or steal someone else's. It is still pretty empty, but I did buy a mattress, boxspring and bedframe (and got them delivered!) for $224 from a guy off craigslist yesterday. Sure, the fact that he kept brand new mattresses in his garage in Reseda is a little sketchy, but who am I to judge? I also bought a dresser, nightstand, desk and chair for under $500 from a great little store a couple blocks down on Ventura called Cost Plus World Market. The next plan is definitely getting a fridge at Sears or Best Buy (both have full-sized ones for $399.99) since I have been spending my days rather hungrily.
I also am trying to find a job. I had an interview today for a paid internship in talent management. Not my ideal field, but company is also a production company and does a ton of stuff, from TV to film to commercials, so there are a lot of opportunities within the company. The posting on the UTA list interested me because it said it was great training for your first assistant job - not getting coffee, but not throwing you onto a tough desk with no help. There is also great opportunity for advancement, as 5 of the 7 interns they've had are now working as assistants in various departments there. The job is mine if I want it, but the downside is that the company uses the term "paid" very loosely: It's $150 a week. That won't even pay my rent. Now, they promise that people move up quickly - sometimes in a matter of weeks, or just a month or two. So being an intern there for a month and then moving up might actually be more lucrative than sitting around job hunting and not making ANY money for a month. I am going to keep hunting and see what is out there, but they want a decision very soon so I'm kind of conflicted. I had a long talk with Katie about her agency experience, and she has mixed feelings. Yes, she recommends it for the training and learning experience. But does it suck hard core? Yup. It seems like working at an agency can be a fast-track to moving up, but is giving up your life and happiness worth it? I don't know. And what if I am so overworked that I never have time to write? It's possible that working fewer hours at a less-powerful production company might actually help me reach my career goals more quickly. Every writer has a different story of how they got to be where they are...one of my teachers got an MBA. Another wrote movie reviews for Variety and then was a publicist. So I know there really isn't a path I MUST take to succeed. I just need to find some kind of path.
P.S. The aformentioned celebrity sighting was Andrea Bowen, the 17 year-old who plays Teri Hatcher's daughter on Desperate Housewives. She was eating at Mel's Drive In on Ventura with her friend and both their moms. How refreshingly normal. She is quite pretty, but wears a lot of makeup.