Moving back to LA / I finally figured out the difference between renting from a realtor and renting from an owner

I’m back in LA!

I’ve spent the past 4 years living about 50 yards west of the Santa Monica/LA border. It feels good to be back. Really, I only moved about a mile. I’ve been out here 6 years and I’ve always lived within a one mile radius of the West LA/Santa Monica line, except for those couple months I spent living on the floor in the Palms area.

Our last place was managed by Sullivan-Dituri, a nice real estate company that seems to manage every other building on the west side. If you see a bug, drain clog, or any other issue, they’re on top of it. Some guy will show up the next day and fix it and everything will be cool. Before you move in to a Sullivan-Dituri owned place, it’s repainted, floors redone, and maybe there’s even a new fridge. Great stuff, I miss those guys.

Our new place, while bigger and more private, is filthy. We’re renting it from an older Chinese couple that apparently kicked out the previous tenants. Upon initial inspection, the place seemed fine, if a little outdated color-wise. That was fine, this house is from the 40s and we were looking for a place where we could use our treadmill and where I could make a little recording studio without bothering the neighbors. It soon became apparent that our landlords had not felt the need to clean or have anything repaired. We realized pretty quickly that we were sharing our new place with an army of ants and some kind of monster/rodent that scratches at the other side of the wall in our bedroom closet.

The landlords, rather than hiring an exterminator, dropped off a case of Raid ant traps. We hired Maggy Maid to come in and clean. We figure these combined efforts would clear out anything that was attracting ants and make the kitchen appear clean enough so that the Mrs. and I would feel comfortable enough to cook.

After the Maggy Maid cleaners left, the place looked pretty much the same. I’m sure it was a lot cleaner, but the faded yellow bathroom tiles still gave it the impression of being dirty. We checked around to see if anything else needed cleaning, and apparently they neglected to clean around the refrigerator (the most disgusting refrigerator you have ever seen) as we found a half-full bottle of Budweiser full of ants and a chicken wing underneath. We told the landlords that we had found the probable source of our ant infestation but when we inquired about getting a new refrigerator, preferably one without a rusted out everything, we were told “We’ll keep an eye out for deals.”

So we went to Best Buy and bought one ourselves. Hey, now we own a fridge. The Best Buy delivery guy said he’d take the old refrigerator to recycling if we’d like, but our landlords made us hold onto it so they could donate it to their church. So, now someone at that church has the most disgusting refrigerator in LA and probably a full colony of ants to go with it.

Our spending started adding up.

$687.20 for the new fridge
$30.90 for contact paper to cover up the fugly kitchen tiles
$140.00 For Maggy Maids to disinfect the place
$35.40 for felt pieces to protect the floor from furniture
~$50.00: Raid, ant traps, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, sponges, brushes, lightbulbs, laundry detergent for multiple loads of rugs/cloths/clothes affected by leaking showers and sink

(Handy Renter Tip – Contact paper is great for covering up ugly tiles. We got ours on Amazon.)

(The Mrs. did all the work. I spent the afternoon playing Madden 13. Trust me, it’s better that way.)

The worst thing ever is moving and then moving again right away. We did that 4 years ago when we realized our apartment was connected to our neighbor by thin pieces of sheet metal in the heater and in the medicine cabinet. She talked a lot about her foot fungus. Also, the first time we turned on our TV, our downstairs neighbor came up to complain about the noise as her bedroom was directly below us. Both of these women were yoga instructors. That’s just an FYI.

After experiencing that drama, we were very interested in making this work (we still are.) However, we needed to look at our options. In our email communications with the landlord I quoted California Civil Code 1941.1 in order to let our landlords know that while we’re trying to make this new place work, we have a justifiable reason for breaking our lease should it come to that.

A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
  • Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
  • Gas facilities in good working order.
  • Heating facilities in good working order.
  • An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
  • Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
  • Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
  • Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.

Yesterday, a professional exterminator (as opposed to me running around socks-only with a bottle of Raid) stopped by and sprayed around the inside and the outside of our house. It’s been about 24 hours and so far no sign of any ants. I may have just jinxed it.

Today’s issue is mold spores in our toilet bowl. I have already begun my research on message boards and eHow, two resources that seem to only deliver bad and inaccurate news. Let’s see what Yahoo Answers has to say.

Now we’re treating this like our homeowner experiment. Luckily instead of this house being a fixer-upper, it’s a you-fixer-upper, which is easier and cheaper, but really it’s no fun having your landlords in your apartment every day. I am getting used to it though. Last Wednesday they spent the evening supervising a handyman while I sat in the living room nursing leftover Labor Day Tecates.

You can bet I’ll be hiding a half full can of Tecate when I eventually vacate this place.

Announcing The [Screenplay] Bitch List

THE BITCH LIST

The Bitch Pack announces  The [Screenplay] Bitch List, as seen in Bust Magazine.

On this list we will have un-produced screenplays that not only pass The Bechdel Test, but that  feature female characters who are:

Brilliant
Intriguing
Tenacious
Creative
Heroines

We’re keeping a tally of votes from entertainment industry professionals of scripts they see in 2012 that:

Pass The Bechdel Test for more than one page:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it

2. Who talk to each other

3. About something besides a man

In general, we’re also always on the look out for:

Female characters who are-

Active instead of passive

And dialogue that is-

Beyond the stereotypically “female” speaking roles, ie. about just shopping or babies.

We’ve partnered with Pop Change (where popular culture meets social change) to better facilitate data collection for the list. Pop Change was started by Dr. Eleanor Morrison, a graduate of USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Please sign up here to be part of this new tide.

It’s sad to see that only two Oscar nominated films passed The Bechdel Test (see below). Women talk to each other about all kinds of things in real life besides men, so why don’t women do the same more in our “best” films?

Thanks to Feminist Frequency for this video describing this year’s field of nominated films and if/how they made the cut.

We will announce the results in January 2013.  The Bechdel Test page has breakdowns of movies that have already been produced and released. We will concentrate on scripts that perhaps should get made.

Shout out to the creators of The Blood List for horror scripts and The Black List for just great screenplays.

Email us your votes with your affiliation to biatchpack@gmail.com.

Thanks for playing and we look forward to hearing from you.

 

T & A Do Valentine’s Day

One of our names begins with T and the other with A – we’re a magical combo representing the front and the back, the best of both worlds, the humps and the lumps. We’re women with similar life paths, who came to Los Angeles ages ago and earned our stripes looking for love among the Hollywood hipsters. We are here to share what we’ve learned with you, with the charm of Southern gals and the smarts of city vixens.

A has dated so many LA guys that she couldn’t come close to naming them all, and sometimes doesn’t recognize them in public.

T has managed not to kill her boyfriend, somehow.

Please come join us at our Facebook Page.

We flipped flopped on ya–

The A-Side:

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day – that special time when every intersection in LA is filled with makeshift florist stands peddling drooping balloons and sad-faced teddy bears to anyone dumb or desperate enough to stop on their way home from work.

But you gentlemen are much too tasteful to grab a handful of glitter-dusted roses for your lady on your crosstown slog, right? You’re going to get her something more creative, more exotic, more sensual. Something that costs $8.99 at Trader Joe’s. You’re going to get her an orchid.

I’ve received a number of well-meant orchids in my lifetime. How many lived to see a year? None. How many of those relationships lasted that long? Guess.

Some might tell you fellas that delicate-yet-fleshy orchids convey your desire for passionate seduction. You think: What a sexy yet elegant gift that shows my originality and thoughtfulness! And here’s what ladies think: Great, he got me an orchid. God, I’m going to have to take care of it. I’m just going to kill this thing. I should throw it out now. We’ve noted this problem before.

What orchids really say to a woman is: Your beauty will fade like this flower. The death of our relationship is inevitable, like the death of this plant. I’m thinking mainly about your vagina, which is a beautiful blossom that will someday wilt and die.

It goes both ways, because that’s also a metaphor for how we feel about our relationships with thoughtless orchid-givers: may as well end it now, because it’s just going to dry up and then we’ll have to trash it anyway.

Be careful, if you want to keep your lady around: avoid the Curse of the Orchid and don’t give one this V-Day. Or at least get one that’s already cut, so she won’t have to feel guilty about trashing the empty pot along with your relationship.

The T-Side:

A’s right- a finicky plant that you have to attend to its every detail that rarely blooms would remind me of a touchy pain in the butt boyfriend who never blossomed into a real man.

And definitely no orchids from Teleflora. Miss Representation will tell you why. Here’s an excerpt: “After Teleflora’s highly offensive and degrading Super Bowl commercial, which implied that women would exchange sex with any man who could afford a few flowers, hundreds of folks took to Twitter to express their dismay and disgust, using hashtag #notbuyingit.”.

I’m a woman. I think flowers are wonderful, but honestly I’d rather my boyfriend spend money on something I can eat. Yes men, feed your women. If they’re not mental, they like food. I’d rather go pick stuff that looks pretty and smells good on my own, what with the lack of public services in Southern California, I have my choice of overgrown eucalyptus, butterfly plant, hyacinth and sage sprigs down by the “river”. Call me a hippie.

The first Valentine’s Day I had with my boyfriend, he brought home a huge dozen red roses. It’s traditional and emblazoned in his brain, even though he’s a non-traditional guy in every other sense- that this is what men do for V-day. Over the course of the last five years, we’ve decided to alter this course and put those fifty bucks towards a lot of snacks instead of something that will croak and stink up the house in a few days- you know- plant sludge.

So, men, don’t succumb to it- the holiday hoopla. It’s not what some of us more modern women want. There’s phallic symbols and there’s what I’m going to call vagic symbols– orchids, clams, mussels, other so called aphrodisiacs- #notbuyingit. Figure out how to come up with some creative magic of your own.

T&A Do The Bitch Pack

One of our names begins with T and the other with A – we’re a magical combo representing the front and the back, the best of both worlds, the humps and the lumps. We’re women with similar life paths, who came to Los Angeles ages ago and earned our stripes looking for love among the Hollywood hipsters. We are here to share what we’ve learned with you, with the charm of Southern gals and the smarts of city vixens.

A has dated so many LA guys that she couldn’t come close to naming them all, and sometimes doesn’t recognize them in public.

T has managed not to kill her boyfriend, somehow.

Please come join us at our Facebook Page.

The Bitch Pack is a collective of female film students and professionals working in Hollywood. Look out for them at upcoming film festivals and happenings. Hear this new breed howl:

Where are you from?

LA, all over California and The East Coast.

How did you get your name?

Guys have been traveling around in “Wolf Packs” after The Hangover, so why not women?

How did you guys identify each other out of the herd of Hollywood hopefuls?

There was bonding over a couple of our old teachers (one male and one female) putting us down- saying things like- we should just work in development or maybe, maybe we could get to write tv movies. One of them goes around trying to sell a “summit” on how to make it in tv when he’s never been on staff on a show. They set limitations for us and that’s wrong.  Some teachers want disciples, not people with minds of their own who aren’t afraid to express themselves. There really needs to be more education reform.

We feel like we don’t need to take crap from anyone and can work together to fulfill each other’s visions, and not accept what we were being told just because our tastes don’t lead us to writing movies like How Do You Know or  The Vow for instance.  We’re not only into mushy non-sense that’s marketed to women. Movie makers need to give movie viewers more credit.

We separated from those around us who judge us and identify themselves by things like how we appear and what we eat. We know someone who paid for an agent and tells everyone his career is “skyrocketing”. We know you don’t pay agents upfront.

We don’t go around telling everyone lofty stuff. Everyone in “Hollywood” is so pretend elitist, it’s ridiculous. We’re just doing what we can and recognize the potential in one another.

What do you bring to the table in terms of entertainment?

Execs are always saying they don’t know how to get young people into the theaters anymore. Maybe they’re talking to the wrong people.

We’re movie goers; we’re the audience too and 90% of what we see is crap. We write stuff we want to see that’s not offered. We write horror with female protagonists and off beat coming of age. Young women want to see more than Twilight, ok?

To the Hollywood establishment- call us if you want to know why you’re at a 16 year low in box office returns. To them we say, bitch please~ women viewers are smarter than you give us credit. We want better. Give us the resources to make it.

We understand marketing and transmedia as well.

What’re your domination plans?

We found a couple great mentors. We’re not going to drop their names. One is a strong woman who’s brains and muscle. She built her own empire and knows how to give back. She’s coaching us on how to get stuff done. She’s helped other film makers when they were starting out—like John Cassavetes. Our other mentor is a riot. He’s just the best. He’s realistic and above the frey. He’s made things you’ve seen before and probably love, if you’re not of the Bride Wars persuasion.  He encourages free-thinking.

We’re also in contact with other graduate students at a different, near-by, supposedly rival film school. We watched The Golden Globes with them and are cooking stuff up with them for an Oscars party.

We also have the advantage that one of us has Irish citizenship if anyone out there has any cultural significant ideas for international co-funding, we’ll pitch it to The Irish Film Board, who are all very nice.

Favorite movies?

American Pyscho, Drive, Submarine, Kick-Ass, Attack the Block, Rocket Science, Bubba Ho-Tep, Perfume, Raising Arizona, Kill Bill, Death Proof

Favorite Hollywood haunts?

Candy stores.

Places that are dark and serve grilled cheeses and pirate chais.

Totally.

Nom nom and a yum yum.

Find The Bitch Pack here. or @biatchpack

 

T&A Do New Year’s 2012

One of our names begins with T and the other with A – we’re a magical combo representing the front and the back, the best of both worlds, the humps and the lumps. We’re women with similar life paths, who came to Los Angeles ages ago and earned our stripes looking for love among the Hollywood hipsters. We are here to share what we’ve learned with you, with the charm of Southern gals and the smarts of city vixens.

A has dated so many LA guys that she couldn’t come close to naming them all, and sometimes doesn’t recognize them in public.

T has managed not to kill her boyfriend, somehow.

Please come join us at our Facebook Page.

The recent popularity of “Shit Girls Say” has illuminated the fact that as much as we women are all unique and special unicorn creatures with individual talents and dreams … it’s also not hard to make amusing generalizations about the dumb stuff that comes out of our mouths (don’t get upset, you can play that game with anyone).

So in that spirit, and in the interest of being less easily-mockable in 2012, we’ve identified some less-than-flattering behaviors that a lot of us (at least the young fun-seeking variety) are habitually guilty of.

Crafted from our own and our friends’ experiences, we present to you–

T&A’s New Year’s Resolutions for LA Ladies!

We’re gonna try our best to follow them this year, and you should too (congratulations if they don’t apply). And please, never ever say to us “I had SUCH a good sleep.”

Have fun with your New Year’s Eve activities and don’t beat yourself up if you’re not in a lip lock with someone at midnight. You could be avoiding someone with secret lip herps.

Here we go:

Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in gracefully.

Don’t wait in long lines for nightclubs, cupcakes, or Target clothes.

Start or finish that project you talked about last year.

Don’t pick up the phone or answer unsolicited texts after midnight.

Go home when your friends are ready to leave — don’t count on finding a ride (i.e., having a regrettable hookup).

Keep your phone charged and a spare charger in your purse.

Get enough sleep and enough calcium.

Talk more with your friends about topics other than the guys you’re dating.

Don’t say anything about your friends you couldn’t say to them in person.

If you decide not to talk to one of your friends anymore, make sure she understands why.

Be kind to other women.

Plan your own future — not just “ours.”

Don’t count on sex or sexiness to get you everything you want.

Don’t say “no” because you’re scared.

Don’t pursue someone who isn’t showing reciprocal interest.

Don’t be a coward about ending a relationship — do it with tact and respect.

Explore the city outside your own scene.

Remember who you were before you got here.