1 year of SDSurvivalGuide

This Saturday will mark the 1 year anniversary of SD Survival Guide.

I’ve worn a few 2-dimensional identities in my life — the kind people use when they’re trying to describe you to a friend. They’ve varied from “Anthony’s girlfriend,” to “redheaded lesbian” and at least one unpublishable moniker in-between. Slowly, over the past year, “writer” has been taking over.

For that, I am calling this a success. The encouragement and feedback I receive make my fucking day, ya’ll, because I constantly think about how happy I would be if I had an audience for a book, and if I could write one that is worthy of them.

Many of you lament that you’ve gotten behind in my posts, so this week I hope you enjoy an excerpt from each one.  And pretty, pretty please write me a comment, text me, or send me a snapchat with any thoughts about my writing.



Cutesy post introducing SD relationship with the weather: Hypo-manic with fear, we discuss rain and sun and fog in a tone that is easy to confuse with eagerness.  Oh, we’re not pleasant or easily amused; we’re terrified.

Nausea-filled regret at first post + epic tale of misogyny: Trapped in a bar stool between smokers, a railing, and his body, I felt like a cornered animal.  Even as I chewed him out for what must have been at least 20 minutes, he stood alternatively with his face so close to mine I could feel his breath or with his crotch against my leg.

Attempt to draw in San Diego Googlers using keywords: There’s sort of an ennui in happiness and stability, and this is not the best town in which to forage for chaos. In this heaven, we’re a bit oblivious to evil and all the fun it brings.

Party story about violence against inanimate objects: The bear arm results from the potent combination of three things. Me, alcohol, and unrequited lust.

Here's a drawing of Katelyn murdering a unicorn.

Examining  appropriation of LGBT culture: I thought of the trendiness of swinging, straight couples hunting for that perfect bisexual woman who will love both of them in a harmonious triad, and 1-dick-per-relationship policies.  I thought of dudes who ask me to sleep with their girlfriends, but insist that they at least be allowed to watch.

Party Monster Kill Switch + I freaking love Sour Cream: “Fluffy bear got me through a lot of hard times, too.”

Katelyn's planning to use this purple vase with her 3 hose hookah next.

Thrift shopping primer for San Diegans: I still thrift primarily to impress people at parties. I try to be selective, but having a conversation starter is more valuable to me than closet space.

My embarrassing familiarity with hangovers: But then everything is too loud so I sit in a dark room. Everything is too dark so I move to a dimly lit room. My blood is uncomfortable.

The “Gay Gambit” + map I found: “Gossip Gril is Vagina Stronghold?” I said, unimpressed. “More like where I go to remember I hate lesbians and cigarettes.”

I wanted to remember how bad I am at math and make it about alcohol: Ok, I lied, sometimes we feel poor and we drink piss water. Can I find a drink that doesn’t cost more than my student loans?

sdsurvivalguide-banquet-chicken-fingersBlaming orange juice for my problems:  I’ve been living off gatorades and cheese-foods since Monday. Cheese comforts me. Katelyn, I said, I want something like chicken fingers or macaroni n’ cheese. Something little kids eat.

Carpe diem for stupid people: I just want to know, how is throwing on a trucker hatt, getting smammered, and drooling on a young woman while she gyrates against your crotch seizing the day?

Another picture by Mel Marcado. I wasn't too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked "so cute, like an anime character."

Reviewing a little SD rave: It felt like being in a kindergarten where you’re allowed to eat the crayons.

What is our civil duty to interfere in bad situations?Pro-tip: pretending to be my “boyfriend” in order to “rescue” me from some asshat is going to annoy me almost as much as the dude telling me I’ve got pretty teeth 10 times in one night.

I fell in love with a stripper: “No,” I said in her ear, “I don’t care if he gets off. I want you and he has the money.”

Lame short post b/c I procrastinated getting ready for SCA War: Each fight could represent their last day on earth, so at night we party.

mac-n-cheese-pizza-ketchupKatelyn told me to blog about pocket cheese: . After getting off work at 7 and taking your pre-party nap and laboring over your costume, there is no time for food. You can’t chop a salad, you can’t toast a sandwich and juice a carrot. You have to eat on the go. So we have this thing called “Pocket Cheese.”

K1-to do listSaga of my christian-phase closeted love-triangle: I hadn’t had an orgasm since I found Jesus.

Some 35-year-old said something I didn’t like, so I blogged about it: Ah crap. I’m that stubborn young woman who doesn’t like to be told what to do with her life and doesn’t have respect for people’s personal beliefs.

I got the slut strep: How do you tell your doctor that you may be responsible for spreading a nasty disease with a Jameson fueled make-out binge? (Forgive me, for there was a dimly lit bounce house on premises.)

An ex-boyfriend said something I didn’t like, so I blogged about it: An expired apology is one that is so old in respect to its crime that it’s completely missed its window and should stay in a deep basement to rot with the rest of your baggage.

I got the slut strep AGAIN: I can barely stay awake, and when I do manage, I’m confused and vaguely nauseous.

my kaleidoscope of face parts

Artsy thing I wrote about a warehouse party: She liked me. I shouldn’t have been surprised; wives always like me, come on to me, kiss me. Yet, she focused on me so quickly, when my irises were just starting to quicken again.

I missed Pride because I was sick and I examined my coping strategies for FOMO: Do you realize how many strains of new and exotic viruses are flying in from around the country, world even?  No thank you, spawn of swine flu.

Audio interview (I procrastinated so I never transcribed it): For my very first local celebrity profile interview, I’m featuring a very close friend and source of my inspiration, Xanadu Rocketship.

hungover-couch-girl-cartoon-underwearBuncha theme ideas for parties: I have been throwing theme parties since I was 7. I would plan for my next birthday just as soon as the last one passed, brainstorming ideas in my journal.

Almost missed a deadline for a post, but my brother called and I was inspired: Other people don’t sound like themselves on the phone, but I just hear my brother in the hot piece of plastic against my ear. He mentions how the Illuminati or maybe the overlord lizard-brains are monitoring our call, trying to intercept it, how he’s been really into conspiracy theories…

I attempt to forgive myself for not knowing enough about pop culture: Due to my delusional escapades as an alien princess, a Christian, a heterosexual… my connection to reality is a bit flimsy.

mr-scumbag-from-sprint-telephone-business-card-college-storeI learned that Sprint has tricksy awful sales-hobbits: Katelyn needs a new phone as well, because it never seems to work when I need her immediate attention and dammit why doesn’t she ever text me back?

I spent 3 hours making an OkCupid manifesto: You are meeting a stranger. Off the internet. You do not need to invest heavily in this date.

Benefit of being a writer, life lessons are now blog fodder: But when I checked my bank account Monday and discovered my wallet was stolen I wasn’t sure if I felt more like a victim of crime or a victim of my hangover.

6 monthiversary is an excuse to analyze keywords!: I know there’s plenty to do, I know there’s stunning and quirky and intelligent and sexy people in this city. I am making it my mission to connect these people together.

Taco Wow Cafe San DiegoDelirious with new technology: I’m relentless. I won’t stop. The smartphone eats my dreams. I don’t need to sleep. I have 7 years of technology to absorb.

Sometimes I kick people in the butt and I have to leave the party: Now I’m no stranger to butts in my face, but I don’t like stranger butts in my face, and this guy didn’t even know my name.

comic-lesbian-first-sleepover-sexBoobs: There are basically two ways to be a feminist at a party. One is to stand up for your beliefs and counter any bullshit the best you can, whether through reasoned quips or belligerent screaming, as is necessary. The other is to realize you are outnumbered, down another drink, and to instead store up your dismay and upset for an angry blog rant.

I struggle with coming up with something so you get to read my diary: If only, if only, I can become such a celebrity that people will want to read my diary.

Cutesy post about tourists: This weekend I met a woman from Chicago who awed at the mountains, and yes they were very effective at blocking my cell reception but I stopped cursing T-mobile and also spun in a slow circle. Ok, yes, I’m looking at them. Wow.

Lame last-minute blog post about Halloween costumes: I’m down to 15 minutes before I need to start assembling my own costume, and I realized if I really do want to provide a service through this blog, I can at least share some last-minute, cheap and lazy, DIY Halloween Costumes that I found / imagined.

Lookin' like a supermodel in my onesie jam jams.

I’m so full of myself I ask people to tell me something I don’t know when they say I’m beautiful: Make yourself memorable with a fraction more thought given to the compliments you choose…

I often leave parties without saying goodbye and why you should do it too: Immediately a man I didn’t know put his arm around me, people were dancing barefoot in the backyard to no music at all, and worst of all, I realized, everyone was dry as paper. Sober.

Based on Eysenck's personality theory (I didn't make this up) -- click for larger view.

An introvert said something I didn’t like so I wrote a blog post about it: Yes, the Eysenck test divides emotional instability by introversion/extroversion. But I won’t accept cherry-picking the emotional problems you identify with as a valid “diagnosis” of introversion. Perhaps, like I did, you have a secret extrovert inside of you who is trapped by feelings of moodiness and pessimism.

I played a game of Cards Against Humanity and I was bored so I wrote a blog post about it:  In general, just realize that nobody is paying attention to you because this game is designed for narcissists.

Got lost. Doesn’t matter, had waffles: As you probably already heard, I scooped chicken and waffle alike with my hand shovels into my mouth bucket, and then wiped all with individually packaged moist towelettes, and felt sated and warm.

grinch-who-stole-facebookToo much upworthy pissed me off:  If I don’t know the person too well, such breaches have me reaching for the “hide” or even “unfriend” buttons. Facebook only lets me see you in one-dimension, and the one you’re giving me is ugly.

I whine about not wanting to go to work:  I know that when I have to go back to work, the night previous I will be a restless mess of reluctance. I will do something pathetic with my time, like watching cable television and playing solitaire on my iPad. I don’t know why, but I waste every moment that is my last, simultaneously berating myself for not doing something more valuable with what I still have.

electric-grape-leather-80s-comic-strawberry-blondeBar story about a guy being nice to me: The “wrong” bar and my general lowered expectations for birthdays should have set me at unease, but maybe I just feel like I can do anything in a pair of Jeffrey Cambell’s and 1000 square inches of electric-grape leather. Maybe I could even accept free drinks from strangers.

Mean Girls don’t actually exist:  I find it immensely rewarding to get people to come out of their shells, even if it is a shell made out of gender shenanigans.

Kitty-leggings-patterned-tightsCigarettes are like little puke torpedos: Luckily drunk-sami became a smartphone photographer so I’ve managed to reconstruct memories of Jenga and flogging.

Don’t read this when you’re drunk; trust me I’ve tried: I’m beginning to identify two major structures in which a party group can operate. I’ll call them the Creatives and the Nostalgics.

Another attempt at Google traffic, but it’s actually a decent read if you ask me: Those kinds of conversations, about how SD is so nice and the weather is fucking rad, are immensely boring to me.

Thank you again for reading (I fucking mean it) and please tell me in the comments below which posts are the SD Survival Guide “must reads.”

San Diego on Smartphone

I have become a tourist in my own town.

I knew I was on the path to this. Start a blog about San Diego. Start paying attention to San Diego. Why don’t I just start a San Diego fan club?

No. I hate this place, remember?

But now I have a nice camera in my pocket at all times. I’ve been starting to notice that places are beautiful. I’ve been starting to take picturesque landscapes of the shoreline. Who am I?

Or just pictures of half eaten tacos. By the way, this was a stunning fish taco. (OB Pier)

Or just pictures of half eaten tacos. By the way, this was a stunning fish taco. (OB Pier)

I am Sami 2.0. I am evolved. I am smartphone.

Late at night I poke my thoughts into a 5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inch glass and aluminum and plastic box.

“I am now learning from my magical endless home screen that if I want something explained to me like I’m a dumbass, go to Huffington post. Huffington post now relegated to my ‘after 1am feed'”

I show my friends things they already know. “Look, I can just talk into it, and it becomes a text message.” Yes, we know, Sami. Our iPhones have been doing this for years. This is what it is like writing a blog about San Diego, to San Diegans. They all have a vague sense that they already know what I’m telling them, but they endure me because they like me or maybe just because I’m pretty.

“I can feel myself getting smarter. The singularity is near.”

I’m relentless. I won’t stop. The smartphone eats my dreams. I don’t need to sleep. I have 7 years of technology to absorb.

“Flow (SwiftKey) should have a drunk sami mode. If it weren’t so goddamn noisy in this bar I’d yell at the microphone thingie.”

Every pretty thought is a potential status update. Every interesting encounter, a photo opportunity. I am now taking a LOT of pictures of lizards.

Pet Kingdom is my favorite zoo in San Diego and yes that is a real alive lizard.

Pet Kingdom is my favorite fish/reptile store in San Diego and yes that is a real alive lizard.

“LTE is a lie.”

(Well, Tmobile LTE is a lie. My friend with Verizon informs me that his network is shiny and perfect nyah nyah.)

Smartphone isn’t all joy and wonder. I find myself getting angry with less than perfection. Smartphone severely disappoints me. The future was supposed to be limitless! Why wont it share my 3rd party contacts with 3rd party apps? Why does it prioritize the LTE network (0 bars) when there are perfectly well-functioning 2G or 4G networks nearby? Why do I live in a hobbit hole in La Mesa?

“Smartphone is crawling into my psyche. Head explodes with thoughts as soon as it hits the pillow. Resorted to half a xanax, sublingually.”

Yeah, anyway, I am going to be weird ’til I figure out all this new technology.

Cell Phone Plans in San Diego – Survival Guide Style

First I’d just like to say my I can feel my blood cells crying inside of me. There is a lot of poison in there. I hadn’t been doing my usual thing Wednesday nights and boy did I just jump right back into old habits last night. I have confusing text messages in my phone from “Poppa Sara.” Everything is still in my wallet that was in my wallet, but it has been thoroughly re-arranged. This morning my mouth tasted like chocolate cake and eyeliner.

Anyway. I need to talk to you about smartphones.

My phone is not very smart. It is a feature phone I bought in 2011 for $99. It has a slide out keyboard. It *can* connect to the internet, but I like to avoid that. Instagram is not even an option, haha, no, why would you even think that?

samsung-gravity-touch-T669I got bad olives or a bad roofie in my martini one Goth Night @ the Flame and a phone just like this one went way down into a toilet. I tried to fish it out but there was nothing I could feel except my lost dignity. So I re-ordered it off Amazon. Besides a brief stint with CHINAFONE, which was cool because it had A FREAKING RADIO ANTENNA but not cool because it didn’t send picture messages even though it had a camera wtf… I have been loyal to this phone for the past two years.

Samsung T669 Gravity Touch, your time is coming to an end. I need 4g. I need more than 2 megapixels. I need Facebook in my pocket.

Katelyn needs a new phone as well, because it never seems to work when I need her immediate attention and dammit why doesn’t she ever text me back? Anyway, she went in for the HTC1. The sales rep, who for now I’ll call Mr. Sprint Guy, saw me send a text message on my piece of junk and slyly said, “Actually, we have a Buy One Get One sale on this phone next week.”

I tried very hard to replicate the face I made then but I think I’m a little too hungover.  Just imagine this with me making a creepy “heeeeeeeeee?” noise:


I guess I could have just put a picture of Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black.

Mr. Sprint assured us that he’d be able to get me in to their plan, “Oh yeah, I can work you in there,” even though Katelyn and her family are maxed out at 5 lines. With the Katelyn family discount, that would mean $30 a month or less for unlimited high speed data. And a free HTC1 (well at least half off). Sign me up.

Plus like, shiny matching lesbian phones. Adorable!!!

See, I’ve been with T-mobile for years and have never gotten a subsidized upgrade. My parents always stole my device upgrades. Now I’d have to pay full price to change my phone. Or $200 to leave T-mobile. It was $200 I was willing to pay…. or at least try hard to get out of paying. I mean, my reception really, really is terrible.

We went back the next week and the same Mr. Sprint was there again! He grabbed our two HTC1s, a couple of Otterbox cases he said he could price match to Amazon, and started ringing us up.  Then things got weird.

Katelyn: “So you can grandfather in Sami to the plan, right?”

Mr. Sprint: “Well, I actually have to change the plan, but it’s really just a change in the name.  It’s basically the same thing. It’s hard to explain. I wish I had something to show you.”

Katelyn: “Wait, you’re changing the contract? Can I get a printout to compare?”

Mr. Sprint: “They’re just changing the way things are named and the way the numbers are organized, but it’s basically the same thing. I can’t know the actual numbers until after it’s rung up and the taxes are added.”

Me: “What do you mean by ‘basically’ the same?”

He got a little uneasy because I called him out all cold-blooded like I do. Katelyn repeated her request to see a printout of both her current plan and the new one. He grabbed a pamphlet and showed how her current plan works. He had to clock out to avoid overtime, so he handed us off to a supervisor. She walked us over to a tablet, and showed us a magical webpage that I can’t locate now. Seriously where is that webpage? It was kind of like T-mobile’s pretty webpage, in that you could easily mess around with the plan and see what kind of price it made.

I got on chat today and got the details for you. I lied a little bit. Also I wasn’t as nice as I usually am to customer support because Cathy (not her real fake name) was inept and went on a completely inexplicable tangent and also my liver is made of sadness right now:

Cathy: Thank you for visiting Sprint. What questions can I answer for you today?

You: I’m trying to get to this webpage they showed me in the sprint store that showed us how to have 6 phones on a plan

Cathy: I would be happy to help you with the Sprint services.

You: Thanks, so how do I get to that webpage? I started trying to look at a plan but it only let me add 5 phones

Cathy: Once you submit your personal information during checkout, you will receive a credit evaluation to determine your eligibility for service. There is a page in the order process that will indicate if a deposit is required at this time.

Cathy: If additional information or a deposit is required after you have submitted your order, one of our Order Support Agents will contact you.

You: That is totally not what I want

You: I just want to know what the plan looks like to have 6 phones. Currently I am with T-mobile and I was thinking of switching to sprint if I can have 6 phones

Cathy: Alright.

Cathy: I am going to ask you a few questions to better assist you today.

You: ok

You: See tmoible has a nice and easy to use page here: http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans/family.html…

You: I thought you have something like that

Cathy: How many of those lines will be smartphones and basic phones?

You: 6 smart phones

Cathy: How much data would you need for each line? Do you prefer 1GB or unlimited?

You: unlimited

Cathy: Thank you for the information.

Cathy: Based on the information you have provided, the Unlimited, My Way plan will cost just $360 per month, before taxes and fees.

Cathy: On the Unlimited, My Way plans, the first line is $50 a month, the second line is $40 a month, the third line is $30 a month and each additional line (up a total of 10 lines), is $20 a month.

Cathy: Each smartphone will require either a $30 unlimited data package or a 1GB data package for $20 a month.

Cathy: Each line on our Unlimited, My Way plans receives unlimited talk and messaging.

You: Ok, thank you for that information, that is exactly what I needed!

Cathy: My pleasure.

Cathy: Are there any other questions I can help with?

You: That’s it

Cathy: Thank you for visiting http://www.sprint.com.

Ok, have I lost you yet? That was really boring. I apologize. Wait, no I don’t. NEVER SAY SORRY. Never.

The important thing to realize is that $360 is NOT ‘basically’ the same as her current plan. Katelyn left the pamphlet* at work, so I can’t give you exact numbers, but her current plan + $30 a month is more like $180-200 dollars. Um, no. Mr. Sprint your new name is Mr. Scumbag.

mr-scumbag-from-sprint-telephone-business-card-college-storeYou should have seen the look on Ms. Sprint’s face when Katelyn did the math for her, and it sunk in that she had been living in Mr. Scumbag’s fantasy world where a $100+ difference is basically the same. Except the name is different. Right.

We walked out immediately.

Moral of the story, kids, always insist they show you a print-out before they take your credit card. And if anyone has an old smartphone they don’t want I’m in the market….  Not that I couldn’t drop 600 dollars right now for a brand new shiny one but I don’t feel like carrying around 600 dollars in my purse at all times. Ya ya ya I know there is insurance but Anxiety is not a cooperative member of the United States of Sami and insurance doesn’t make the panic go away when it’s two days before Christmas and there’s a hole in my car and… that’s a tale for another day…

All told, it’s not that Sprint is worse than any of the other cell phone companies out there — they’re all about the same when you average out the pros/cons — it’s just important to remember that some salespeople are scummy scummy loserfaces and they don’t care about your feelings. And also if you really want 6 phones on a Sprint plan, stick with the old plan and just add an additional phone on a separate line for $80 cuz you’re still better off that way.  So, put on your consumer armor and don’t let the Mr. Scumbags of the universe trick you into giving them lots of your moneys.

*I can add this pamphlet to the interwebs later if anyone would like that. Probably should, as a public service.