As anyone who read last year’s recap can attest, 2006 sucked. Therefore, I made it a resolution in 2007 that I was going to go into the year with a positive attitude, stop dwelling on the negatives, and work my way towards gaining better financial footing to prepare for the next phase of my time here in Southern California.
The very next day, I get a phone call from the Bicycle Casino informing me that my services were no longer required.
January: Lose my job at the Bike, completely unexpectedly. (Granted, I knew I was in hot water for a couple of shortages, but I didn’t think I was going to be let go.) On the bright side, it gave me a chance to stay home and watch the Seahawks pull off one of the most incredible escapes in playoff history, as an almost sure field goal is botched by the Cowboys, giving Seattle a very hard-fought victory. (They then get knocked out the following round by Chicago.) I continue to flounder for a little while, then set out for one last foray into the film & TV biz. Miraculously, one of the resumes stick, and I get picked up as an intern for a low-budget feature film. While it didn’t pay money, I was confident that the experience I earned on the set would help me find future gigs.
February: Despite getting “promoted” to a paying position on the film crew – that of craft service – I soon come to the realization that I chose the single most unorganized and incompetent film to work for. Given the turkeys that the production company had been a part of (Ghost Rider, Baby Geniuses, various direct-to-video and locally released drek), on top of the blatant nepotism demonstrated in the film (the writer-director, who can neither write nor direct, wrote the screenplay for his sister, who can neither sing nor act), I guess I should’ve seen it coming. It takes me a week to recover from the shoot, and the job search continues again. I put out a resume to a Craigslist opening for “Casino Customer Service”, and even get a call back for an interview, but decide against it in favor of another courier job, like the one I did around this time last year. Hey, I hated doing it then too, but at least this one pays by the hour, so it’s gotta be better, right? Meanwhile, we have the annual Super Bowl party at riversidedimple‘s house, where I get to try out my original game idea, The Time Bomb. Everyone enjoys it, but I find the next morning to my dismay that my video camera had acted up and failed to record any of it.
March: Just like last year, my decision to work a job that relies heavily on driving directly coincides with the time of year that gas prices swell up to extortionate levels. (My first day on the job, gas was $2.75 a gallon. The very next day, it was $2.83. The day after that, $2.91. Gah.) Right around this time, my money situation goes from critical to dire. The bright side was that I attended a DDR Supernova tournament in Carmel Mountain with djtyrant and fortheonesilove, and not only did I win my first competitive match in a major tournament (in about four years, bear in mind), I took first in the Freestyle competition, where I took the song “I’ll Make Love to You” quite literally.
April: I continue humping the courier job, posting resumes to various openings in various positions hoping to find a better opportunity. Nothing arises from them. At this point, funds have gotten so tight that my weekly shopping trips consisted of 6-packs of Crystal Geyser, two cans of Lays Stax, a loaf of bread, and three packages of cold cuts.
May: The Casino Customer Service listing reappears on Craigslist, and I reply again, aware that this time I won’t pass it up. I score an interview, and upon the recruiter learning exactly why I was no longer under the Bike’s employ, made it clear that hiring me was going to be an uphill battle. I somehow manage to convince them to give me a chance, and after acing their entrance tests, they give me the position. After five months of absolute squalor, things finally start to look up. (Of course, my parents didn’t like the position I had been hired for; they thought I’d just taken a job as a riverboat gambler. It took a while to explain to them that no, I’m not putting any of my own money on the line; and no, I’m not actually playing.)
June: Training begins. The good news is that it’s probably the most fun I’ve had on the job. The bad news is that it’s 24 hours a week, which again doesn’t help my money situation. At this point, my credit card and checking account are both maxed out, and Ben had to shoulder 3/4 of the rent. Jason hosts another game night, I host Time Bomb again, and this time I get some (though not all) of it on tape. (Look through the “Loogaroo Productions” tag to find the videos.)
July: Work starts in earnest, but not before getting screwed out of yet another week’s pay because I was late for my badge appointment at the Gardena PD. On the bright side, I get to participate in the West Coast flight of Game Show Congress 6, where not only do I get to host both my favorite game show (Pyramid) and one of my originals (Buried Treasure), I got comped into the Sunday luncheon for my trouble (which I somehow manage to stay awake for, given the fact that I was working 10PM to 6AM at the time).
August: With a steady and reasonable paycheck coming in now, things finally start to stabilize. I quickly learn several games in the casino, and manage to change my hours to a much more manageable 4PM-Midnight. dmnsux0rz pays a visit during a week-long stay to interview for a position at Blizzard; while he didn’t get the job, he can console himself with the fact that he’s the first (and thus far, only) person to beat me at Yoshi’s Cookie.
September: I cross the two-year mark for living out here in Glendale. Jason, Ben and I take in a game at Dodger Stadium in their ultra-cool all-you-can-eat Pavilion, where I deduce that baseball ain’t so bad when you’re partaking in free food. I take the Pai Gow Poker test at work and ace it on my first try.
October: I start getting put on Pai Gow tables, making me the first person out of my training class to bank the game – despite having to wait an extra week to start because of the badge mishap. In anticipation of an additional paycheck in November, I make the first discretionary purchase I’d made in over 10 months, buying Guitar Hero 2 and instantly falling in love with it.
November: The craziest birthday ever. I manage to finagle myself into getting the Saturday after Thanksgiving off, affording me the chance to visit home and see my brother for the first time in about four years.
December: After about a month and a half of waiting, I’m informed that I’ve gotten the raise that’s attributed with banking Pai Gow, and am even more pleasantly surprised that it’s about $2 more an hour than I anticipated. Christmas falls directly on my off days, affording me a chance to again visit my family for the holidays.
In summary, the first five months of the year really sucked, but the last three have been really awesome. If I could make a resolution for 2008, it’s to keep this momentum going. There were times last year when I was seriously doubting whether or not I was going to make it out here considering how bleak things were looking, especially during the spring of this year. But I toughed it out, got some much-needed and much-appreciated support by my friends and family, overcame it, and now I’m stronger than I ever thought I’d be on that fateful January day. My parents sometimes get on my case for adopting a werewolf as my online mascot, but with last year’s troubles behind me, I can’t wait to have a monster year in 2008.