Q’s Billiards – Stress, Nachos, and Slightly “Coming Out”

q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, nachos

Q’s Billiards
11835 Wilshire Blvd (@ Westgate Ave)
Los Angeles, CA 90025

It is a strange thing, this thing called “unemployment.”

You would think that without having a job that sucks up my time, energy, and mental capacities for 8+ hours a day, I’d be living a carefree life of leisure. Everyday is Friday!

It’s true. Sometimes. Sometimes I can’t believe the life I have. I wake up in the morning…when I wake up. I don’t have to shower and “get-ready” unless I plan to leave the house, and even then, I only shower if I have to meet someone, and even then, only if that person is someone who doesn’t already know about me and my life. If I’m running out to the grocery store or bank, you can bet I’m in yesterday’s sweats and flip-flops. I can have a glass of wine and crash early, or I can stay out all night because, like I said, I don’t have to answer to an alarm clock the next day.

However, there is the more common, sucky side of not having a regular, full-time job that naturally sets a rhythm to your life.

This is where I am about to reveal a little tidbit of my life about which you might not know unless you’re an uber GoogleGeek and have nothing better to do than to click through sneaky little links on my site, put two pictures and two pictures together, and find out who I really am and what I do in another life. (I love writing about this as if this were a big deal to a lot of people.)

But I am not that presumptuous. I do not assume that you care that much about who I really am. Let me have my grand “coming out,” you four people who actually read The Delicious Life! :)

I have talked about unemployment over and over again (and over again!), but at a certain point, you might have noticed that I no longer referred to it explicitly as “unemployment” because I realized that “unemployemnt” wasn’t quite truthful. I started saying “no regular, full-time job” because technically, I do have “work.” I write. However, unless someone is on the full-time staff of say, The Los Angeles Times, writing for a living is a highly irregular lifestyle. Yes, kittenz, I can sort of say that “I write for a living.”

Whom you once knew as The Delicious Life is also someone else, who does work, sort of. I must reveal that I am really…

Ruth Reichl!

Just kidding.

It would be my hot, sweaty, soaking wet dream to be Ruth Reichl. Or Gael Greene. Or Jonathan Gold. I would sell my sole (but not my soul) to be any of those real writers who get to jet around the globe and get paid for eating. Wow.

No, I am a blogger, and though I don’t get anything but enough change for a cup of coffee from the GoogleAds on The Delicious Life, I do get paid a little bit more for blogging elsewheres.


Wait. That’s it? The big “Coming Out” was revealing that I have other paid-blogging gigs? Who cares?!?! And why was that something that had to be kept under wraps in the first place?

The reason I never mentioned it before is that I have to use my real name on the other blogs as part of the contract. I was reluctant to do that because I was afraid that perhaps someone might figure out the connection, and realize that The Delicious Life is me, too. Back then, I was in the mind-set at the time that I would be looking for another job, I didn’t want any potential employers to potetially find my blog and read all the nasty things I could potentially say. Plus, I occasionally write about the people of my past and present, and wouldn’t want them to 1) see that I do nothing but blog all day, and 2) just in case I ever wrote something not so savory, I wouldn’t want them to find out via my blog. Well, we know how that turned out.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that yes, despite all my whining about not having a regular, full time job, I do work (but I’m still not ready to say for whom – baby steps), but it’s a strange “work,” this blogging work life. Technically, since I am not fully regularly employed, it could mean that I have this carefree I-set-my-own-rules lifestyle, but it’s quite the opposite. Now I really am responsible for myself. I don’t have to wake up to an alarm, since blogging is sort of a “when-you-feel-like-it” schedule. However, I don’t wake up to an alarm because I naturally wake up at 6 am every day because I feel the self-imposed of stress of having to get up and start writing. It’s a weird thing.

I am busy writing all day because if I don’t write, I don’t get paid. It’s different from a regular job in which some days, you can “call-in sick” and just make up for it later if you have to. If I call-in sick, I don’t get paid. That also means if I really am sick, I have to power through it, or I don’t get paid. I also edit/lead, which means that I have to think about other things like recruiting, events, etc. It’s fun. It’s fast.

It is also very very very (!) stressful.

Lately, it has been more stressful than usual. You will notice that when once I used to post every day, sometimes twice a day, I have let days go by where I don’t even look at my own blog, let alone write something for it. Trust me, that alone stresses me out, and that’s just my personal blog.

There is also this other problem that comes from family’s and friends’ perceptions what I do all day. I think that this notion of not having a job equates to that same “carefree lifestyle” that I must lead. That being the case, I am often called upon to do things that someone who has a ton of free-time can do. I don’t mind doing it – airport shuttles, babysitting, errands, waiting for a delivery – and in fact, I am more than happy to do it (especially the babysitting), but it takes away from “work.” However, the more stressful situation is when I am accused of ignoring them. They all have jobs (or else the
y have spouses who have jobs), so they don’t quite understand that I work twice as hard as they do, for less than half of what they make.

q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, nachos
i spell relief n-a-c-h-o-s

Stressstressstress. Forehead-sweating, vision-blurring, jaw-grinding, fist-clencing, hair-pulling, shoulder stiffening stress.

And when I am stressed, I used to do a very nasty thing, but I quit that a long time ago. Now I must find temporary de-stressing comfort in food. You think food blogging makes you fat? How about stress from food blogging?!?!

Nachos are my comfort food. Actually, a Citron/soda is my comfort food, but I don’t want to come across as a girl “with issues.”

Oh right. Too late.

q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, drink on a menu
sign of “issues”
q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, salsa nachos
salsa by ragu

I don’t care who makes them, how they are made, where they come from, as long as the nachos have deep-fried tortilla chips that are solid enough to hold mountains of melting cheese and salsa that rains down on my gut like hell-fire. Olives, guacamole, sour cream only if you’re amateur like that. I am amateur like that. :)

The nachos at Q’s Billiards on Wilshire definitely went the way of amateur, but they were good enough. The chips were a little too thin and fragile, and the “salsa” was so mild I was sure they had mistakenly poured something out of a jar of Ragu. However, sitting at one of the front tables in the vast, lofty space that was uncharacteristically devoid of overgrown frathouse boys for a Sunday afternoon, nachos washed down with a Citron/soda were a much better option than what I was facing.

q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, the scene
uncharacteristically pleasant
q's billiards, brentwood, los angeles, ca, cigarette machine
my old form of de-stressing

If it were the usual Happy Hour on a weekday, or evening on the weekend, I wouldn’t walk within five paces of the place that shares airspace with Cabo Cantina. It is almost always overrun by UCLA students with fake IDs and alums who can’t seem to let go of their frat house days. But on a Sunday afternoon, for the one hour I allowed myself away from the laptop, I was a little bit relaxed. Just a little.

** a year ago today, they paid me back with kiriko sushi **

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chubbypanda October 27, 2006 at 1:29 am

(Let’s try that comment again *with* proof reading.)

Ouch. That’s tough. I can’t say I’ve been there, since I went the complete other way to an Asian-conformist-engineer-salaryman lifestyle as a middle manager, but I really can empathise. In some ways, it sounds like you’re living the life I didn’t have the courage to choose. You write for a living. I always wanted to.

My dream in college was to be a food historian. I even snuck a second degree in History into my course schedule when my parents weren’t looking, nearly killing myself by working full-time at programming internships and taking double courseloads. My parents didn’t even know I had a degree in anything other than Computer Science until my graduation.

I studied for the GREs, got letters of recommendation, and scouted out Universities with Ph’d programs in food history. I even secured an advisor at my university. But, before I’d graduated, I landed a promising job in an up-and-coming software company. I chickened out and took the easier, planned, parentally approved road. As an Asian, I was always given the choice of “doctor, lawyer, engineer, or bum”, and I couldn’t bring myself to be viewed by my parents as a “bum”. Four years later, I’m a department manager at 26 with a huge office on the 15th floor, a window view of most of OC, a secretary, and a legion of underlings. I make good money, my parents are proud of my, I’m getting married, life is good, and yet, I’m still oddly unfulfilled.

I think I food blog because a part of me still wants to taste the road not taken, even though I know I’ll never have the courage to take it. You’re not unemployed. You’re a contractor, a consultant, a paid expert, in business for yourself, a freelancer; gloriously free. You’re incredibly brave and strong to have chosen the life you have. I admire you for it.

There are days when I wish I could have been more like you, and chosen the other path.

– Chubbypanda


2 Chubbypanda October 27, 2006 at 3:21 am

Hmmm… Didn’t mean to sound like I was tooting my own horn there. Please don’t take it as such.

– Chubbypanda


3 Acme Instant Food October 27, 2006 at 6:53 pm

Yes, we’ve made the connection. Yes, we love you.


4 Anonymous October 27, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I haven’t had the nachos but I went to Q’s to watch a Lakers game last season and found that the burger and french dip were about the worst I have experienced.


5 onetomato October 27, 2006 at 10:31 pm

i’ve just had really bad experiences at q’s i think. the frat boys, that strange comination smell of old rotting beer remnants on the taps and the faint whiffs of old cleaned up barf that floats through the entire bar. eek! as for your old “de-stressing” puffs off a cigarette…i’m ashamed to say that i still indulge. sigh.


6 rick james November 20, 2006 at 1:40 am

hey sarah,

i feel your pain… i’m a writer too and its hard to be creative on a daily basis… it is very stressful and i think it draws out the crappy side in me more than i would like… oh well… i chose it, so i guess it comes with the territory…

try meditation… ;p


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