2014 Year in Review – Part 1

USC campus. Photo by Richard Sutton
USC campus. Photo by Richard Sutton

Note: Apparently, my 2014 was quite busy, and so my (very delayed) year in review has been divided into three parts. The first is a general overview, the second is detailing some of the neat things I got to do (which you can also see in my slideshow I already did), and the third is summarizing some of the things I read, listened to, and watched. The remaining two parts will be posted over the next week.

2014 was a roller coaster of a year. When Rich and I decided in 2013 to pick up and move two time zones away, part of our reason for doing it was for the adventure. This year, our adventure continued and included London, hospital stays, and lots of celebrity interactions.

On the education/job front, I started out the year with an internship at The Hollywood Reporter that I ended up having to quit in March because school was just too overwhelming for me to be able to focus on everything, and something had to go.

School was crazy stressful: I ended up changing my thesis … and then changing it back to the original idea. A couple of classes may have been too much for me, and I admit to having a bit of a stress breakdown due to being unsure as to what I was doing. But, all’s well that end’s well, and I ended up walking in May, extending my thesis deadline, submitting it in July (where it was accepted), and graduating in August.

Photo by Apostolos Despotidis
Photo by Apostolos Despotidis

Over the summer, I had an eight-week internship with a cultural arts blog in London (more on London later) called Culture Whisper, where part of my job got to go to the press night of the Barbican Centre’s art/technology exhibit Digital Revolution, the press night of the photography exhibit Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album at the Royal Academy of Arts, and got to write an article on fan fiction for them.

Then, August rolled around and I was suddenly unemployed and on the job search. While looking, I managed to get some contract/freelance work as a proofreader (and still doing it – contact me if you’re interested), helping update a theatre professional’s WordPress blog, helping one of my teachers research a book, and a still ongoing job as a personal assistant for a local radio journalist. (Hey, parents: trying to convince your kids to mow your lawn? Tell them it’s a potential future job skill: that’s just one of the many tasks I’ve done.) I even did some cat sitting / managing over the Christmas holidays which earned me enough to buy us a new printer. (Considering our old one was bought at a garage sale over 10 years ago, we were well past due.)

I did manage to get some paid writing: in January of 2014, I got my first paid byline with an article on the Welcome to Night Vale podcast tour on the LA Weekly blog. In June, my radio documentary piece I did for the class of the same name was published as part of a longer piece on the LA work day for KCRW’s UnFictional, and then one of my job searches included a trial day with RYOT, which gave me the chance to write three articles for them (although, alas, didn’t get the job). I also started a series of audio interviews for potential selling of geek women about what it’s like to be a female geek in today’s world.

photo of Rich used for the audio documentary I did on him

In October, I managed to get two part-time jobs, each working 20 hours a week. One was as an office coordinator with an extremely small translation company: so small that I was working out of the home of the two owners. It’s contract work which hasn’t been getting any hours lately, which is why I haven’t been talking about it. The other is with The Norman Lear Center based out of USC. Technically a temp job that was supposed to be for the semester helping with their website, the job was extended in January towards other tasks. Rich is still working nights as a security guard, and you can hear a little bit about that in that radio documentary piece I mentioned above.

Additionally, while I didn’t one of the jobs I applied for, it led to me being asked to volunteer for the LA Film Festival in a capacity I can’t really talk about until my job is over. Meanwhile, on the social media front, I was followed (and still am) by indie singer Jill Sobule, the subeditor of The Sun, actress Patricia Tallman, and Deadline Hollywood on Twitter in 2014.

Of course, the lack of a job from August until October meant things got very tight for us: we were dangerously close to becoming homeless, and ended up getting a title loan as well as going to food pantries and getting on food stamps to help cover finances. Thanks to that and some help from friends and family, we were able to struggle through until my other jobs kicked in. We’re still tight, but things are slowly looking up.

On the health front, I started off the year with a physical thanks to USC’s health insurance, learning I was down to a reasonable weight, and it’s a good bet I lost more when I was in London. Meanwhile, we noticed that Neko had a weird darkness on her chin that after a visit to Banfield Wellness informed us that cats can get acne as well. The cure involves attempting to rub medicine on the affected area as a shampoo: believe it or not, Rich and I remain unscathed. And on a more serious note, in November, Rich ended up in hospital. I plan on writing up a separate piece on that when I get some time. As part of the aftermath of that trip, he went to an eye doctor and found out he has to get bifocals.

Stay tuned for part 2 & 3 to be posted soon.