Halloween is normally my favorite holiday. There isn’t anything better than horror movie marathons and buckets of cavity-inducing candy.

I woke up on Halloween excited for the day ahead of me. Even though I was scheduled to work the closing shift I was confident that nothing could ruin my favorite holiday. I was wrong.

Before going into work I had already assumed that it would be an easy going day. It’s Halloween and everyone is going to be out. Nobody is coming to Target right? When I walked into work at 3:55pm everything about the place said “Run as fast as you can and never come back.” I ignored my better judgement and clocked in for what was about to be my worst shift in retail ever.

For starters, the systems were down. All of them. Our cash registers were only taking cash and credit and all of our other “process-related” devices were down. How do you run a retail store with barely functioning registers and malfunctioning computers? The answer is not well. My early assumptions that the store would be a ghost town fell flat when a sea of last minute candy shoppers raided our aisles. Now we have cash registers that are moving at the slowest possible pace and they are only taking certain types of payments. Blumhouse couldn’t produce a better horror story than this one.

What happens when a community that relies on using EBT cash and stolen gift cards can’t use their questionable forms of payment? They yell. Who do they yell at? Me. For eight hours I had to listen to angry customers yell about how stupid I am for breaking Target’s computers. I wanted to break Target’s computers, I held back. One lady got upset over fifty cents. FIFTY CENTS. When I get to the point in life where I am yelling about fifty cents somebody please dig a plot and throw me in the ground.

After eight hours of frustration, yelling, theft, and the occasional suicide joke my night was finally over. Halloween had been a horrifying experience and I had escaped with only some mental health damage. As much as I want to go home and watch Michael Myers slaughter obnoxious teenagers I have to be at work at eight in the morning.

Hopefully after tomorrow I won’t need anger management courses.

I love Los Angeles.

Growing up I never went to any big cities. My parents are the farthest thing from city people so we rarely ventured out of our comfort zone. When I became old enough to travel on my own I became kind of obsessed with seeing different places. From Washington D.C. to New York City, I fell in love with each new city I stepped foot in. Soon began one of the biggest inner conflicts I would have to date, which city would I live in? I’ve always loved New York, but it is so cold. DC is beautiful, but have you seen our president? Which one would I choose?

Los Angeles has always been a distant dream of mine. I never thought that I would be brave enough to live three thousand miles away from everything that I know. I still don’t know if I’m brave enough. I fell in love with the “City of Angels” moments after leaving LAX. It’s amazing the feelings you can catch for a place after spending only forty minutes in the back of an Uber, but it was soon after that when I was convinced that this was the place for me. At first glance Los Angeles is the poster boy for beautiful weather, beautiful people, and beautiful opportunities. It is the literal center of the entertainment business and is home to most of America’s greatest stars (I’m talking about you Anna Kendrick). After spending one week in La La Land I was sold on the “dream chaser” theory and began planning my move.

Three months and a three-thousand mile drive across the country and I was here, Los Angeles’s newest undiscovered star. I arrived with a mind full of ideas and inspirations and a plan to be somebody. Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. Being a screenwriter has always been something I’ve pictured as unattainable. Very few people get to pursue that line of work, how could a small town guy from Virginia make it? I’ve always seen Los Angeles as somewhat of a dream, but I didn’t know how true that statement actually was until I lived here.

When people ask me how life in Los Angeles is I don’t know how to answer them. I want to describe how amazing it feels to be in the city of stars, but I don’t know if it is amazing or not. It’s a reality that often looks beautiful at first glance but is horrifying underneath the covers. Everyone here is so self obsessed and it’s beautiful but also terrifying. How do I know who is real and who is putting on a show? Everyone is always putting on a show. I constantly find myself questioning if moments are real. Every moment feels like some distorted version of reality.

I don’t know what LA is yet, but right now it’s my beautiful nightmare.

I know it’s been a week since I posted a journal. I wish I could blame it solely on my lack of internet, but that got fixed on Wednesday. This week was filled with distractions that caused my procrastination to flourish. I can’t say that it won’t happen again, because it will, but I promise to try my hardest to write in between Super Mario Levels.

Honestly this week was pretty boring up until Friday. I spent every day at work desperately waiting for the weekend. I would sit here and tell you about the woes of retail, but I have more important things to talk about today. First and foremost, Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con.

If you know me then you already know how big of a geek I am. Most of my t-shirts contain some reference to Star Wars and I have a Pokemon tattoo on my ankle. Comic Con is my church. A stadium filled with comic books, action figures, and the actors from the original Power Rangers. What more could a young boy want?

Comic Con is not just a place to meet your nerdy heroes, it is also a place where you can dress up as those heroes. Forget Disneyland, this is where dreams come true. Not only can you can take a picture with Deadpool, you can do so while meeting his creator. Speaking of which, I met the creator of Deadpool. This was probably one of the greatest moments of my young geek life. He also signed my New Mutants #98, also known as the GREATEST COMIC BOOK EVER. Look it up.

On top of meeting the great Rob Liefeld I also met a number of other great geek heroes. This list of heroes is related to everything from Bob’s Burgers to iZombie, but instead of wasting your time with names you won’t recognize I’ll just sum it up with- DO YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is no small man, physically or personality wise. Twelve year old me would have had a mental breakdown if given the chance to meet “The People’s Champ.” Twenty-Three year old me almost had a breakdown for the same reason. Although I am not the avid wrestling fan that I was in my young teens, seeing The Rock was still a fulfilling experience. The only thing that would have made that experience better is if he wasn’t promoting the Jumanji reboot. Listen it’s not that I’m not going to see the movie. It’s just that I’m not going to see it in theaters.

On top of meeting the Rock and Butch Hartman, I also waved at Stan Lee from a reasonable distance. My childhood is happy.

I’m sure you are questioning why I was unable to complete daily journals while going to Comic Con. Questions like: Ryan Comic Con ended at six why didn’t you write when you got home? Ryan it only takes fifteen minutes to write a journal why couldn’t you take some time out of your day for us? Trust me, I am hearing your questions and I have an answer for you. Actually I have two answers, Super Mario Odyssey and Stranger Things Season 2.

How am I supposed to get anything done when Nintendo releases another beautiful Super Mario game and Netflix releases another season of one of their best shows? Exactly, I can’t. I’m sorry that I ignored my responsibilities and replaced them with things that I enjoy, but I was stuck in the Upside Down.

I am going to release reviews for both Super Mario Odyssey and Stranger Things 2 later this week. Until then head over to Netflix and get lost in the Upside Down yourself.
 

Work was not fun today.

Luckily I was given the gift of Redbull which single-handily carried me through my day. After experiencing what might have been the longest day of my life (not true, but added for effect) I was excited to spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing and playing video games with friends. Little did I know this little dream was soon to be crushed by some higher being.

As soon as I got home I attempted to start the weekly video call with my parents, one of my favorite Sunday traditions. I was met with a brick wall of disappointment when I realized my internet was not working. Being decent with computers and most forms of technology I was confident that I could fix this little issue. The next two hours consisted of me yelling at a broken modem, crawling under the house to check the connections, and listening to the customer service robot as she attempted to understand my angry babbling. As you can guess, I could not solve our internet issues, and reluctantly conceded to our customer service overlords. They will be out here later this week to fix the issue. This is the apocalypse.

People often jokingly say “I don’t know how people lived without the internet.” I however do no feel that this is a joking matter. How did people live without internet? They relied on maps to get around? I can’t drive to the grocery store without getting lost. How did they survive without Google? I am constantly trying to figure out important questions like “What’s Aaron Paul’s favorite breakfast cereal?” How did they survive without Donald Trump’s tweets? All of these questions swim constantly in around my brain. I mean dial-up era was hard for all of us, but at least I could get to Nickelodean.com eventually.  Thankfully I was born at the beginning of the technological boom and I have been blessed with Google and video games since I was a child.

A lot of people would try and counter this describing how technology has ruined society, and I respect their efforts. It is a beautiful thought believing that the technology and the internet is the source of our deepest problems. Society however, has always been messed up in some way, and the people in it will take advantage of whatever is thrown at them, technology or otherwise. Life without technology was definitely simpler, but simple isn’t always a good thing.

Either way, these next few days are guaranteed to be some of the worst of my life and I am using the last of my phone data to post this journal. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post until my internet gets fixed or until the zombies override the encampment. Don’t cry, I’ll be back soon.

Aaron Paul’s favorite cereal is Cheerios. You’re welcome.

I need my own car.

I couldn’t imagine living in Los Angeles without a car. Most likely if you need to get anywhere (Except coffee shops because they are literally on every corner) you are going to need transportation. Being that I can’t afford to take a Lyft/Uber every time I need to go somewhere, and I do not have the patience or the time to take public transit, I must own a car. I drove my 2001 Honda Civic across the country solely to ensure that I could drive to In-N-Out, and it was totally worth it.

Even though I have the means to get wherever I need to go, there are just some moments when it’s more convenient to take an Uber. I love taking Ubers. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a bad experience in an Uber car (sorry for those that have), but the Ubers in LA are usually nothing short of entertaining. I took one Uber in Venice and the Uber Driver played strictly Britany Spears for the entire 45 minute Uber ride. It was glorious. Until I have a bad experience (like the Uber Driver only plays Brad Paisley) then I will HIGHLY recommend using them.

Today was my roommate’s birthday celebration, and what a celebration it was. Unfortunately most of you do not have the pleasure of knowing my roommate Matt, but he is by far the funniest person I have ever met. Honestly he doesn’t even try, comedy just oozes out of his pores. Watching him entertain people for fours hours was basically like watching a long comedy special. Plus someone made food (the real reasons I got to parties) and of course there was cake. Everything was great until I realized I had to be at work at seven in the morning, and then I was once again facing my biggest foe, no sleep.

After realizing that it was after one in the morning and all Ubers would cost too much I decided to walk home. If my mom reads this I know she is going to have a heart attack that I walked home at one in the morning by myself, but it only took fifteen minutes and the only time I got scared was when a big dog barked at me, so it’s okay mom.

Work is going to be fun tomorrow.

I am the least hip person you will never meet. I wear graphic tees, Star Wars shoes, and occasionally a nice plaid collared button-up shirt. I never use abbreviations when I text, I don’t know what most of today’s slang means, and I have no idea what a “Post Malone” is.  When I go out I cycle through the same four shirts because I am too cheap to buy anything decent. You are probably wondering why someone lacking so much in the “hip” department (the personality trait not the body part) would move to one of the hippest cities in America, and I do not have an answer for you.

Now I want you to use your imagination for this next part because I am going to describe to you a situation that I was. I wish that you could have seen it for yourself but I was too entranced by the world around me to take pictures. Are you ready? Let me set the scene.

We are in Downtown Los Angeles, we have just driven past the bulk of the city to a quieter area to what is better known as the “Fashion District”. We park on the side of the street and make our way over to a small brick building with a single body guard standing outside of it. He asks for our names and makes sure that we are on “the list”, my heart beat has increased. The bouncer waves us on and we enter through the open front door. Straight ahead is a stage made of astro turf, one more time for emphasis, astro turf. On the walls are some of the most beautiful and intense oil painting I have ever seen. In the corner of the room is a table. On that table sits a stuffed red raccoon with a fake apple in it’s mouth an a collection of poems focusing mostly about grocery PLU codes. In the next room there is an open bar that is serving mostly tequila, not sober Ryan would have loved this part. Scattered throughout the two rooms is the largest variety of people that have ever been in one place. Someone of them are dressed to impressed, one guy is wearing Beetlejuice tights.

Enter Ryan, a generic looking white wearing the khaki pants that he wore to work that day and the same collared shirt that he out wore the week before. There is a Pokemon tattoo on his ankle, but nobody can see it. He is wearing the look of perplexity, how did he get here?

I hope your imagination did you justice. The next fours of the night went well and I found myself enjoying this moment of hip life. For the first time in recent memory I went out with friends and was the only one who didn’t drink, and I felt great (that’s something that I’d never thought I say). There was also this mini-concert in the middle of the art show, which contained a lot of flashing lights, a smoke machine, and bubbles. One song begged everyone to yell “Fuck Golf” during the chorus as a notion towards the depletion of fresh water sources due to golf courses. My family loves golf but it was a beautiful moment.

Remember how I said that I wear the same outfit that I did the week before? People noticed.

Although it’s not something I could see myself at every Friday it was definitely an experience worth having, and I don’t think I’ll ever look at golf the same way again. The people were amazing and the art was mesmerizing, and it was by far the most “LA” I have ever been. I left feeling satisfied and with a weird new attraction to PLU codes.