A single candle-light on Normal avenue following another fatal shooting in East Hollywood, the fifth in the area this year

Today, Put Your Sunscreen On And Get Ready for Another Walk, Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 83)

During a time of so much change, one is not unreasonable to ask themselves: what can I change? There is much work to do at home. Many lines to dial up, different items lying around needing to be stored in better places, handfuls of books to finish reading, and more.

But even when we see each of these tasks through, almost at the same time we close the cover on one set of interests, ideas, and responsibilities, we acquire new ones. Before we know it, we find ourselves swept by another cycle of work, traffic, and the need to slow down before it’s too late again.

Maybe that’s the single reason why death is so inconceivable: life as it moves seems like it can never be complete, even if sometimes it feels like it’s just a breath away from closing the covers on us for good.

In my own life, I believe I’ve walked through the same streets that too many young people have not had enough time to see as more than just more concrete they’re confined to.

I believe I owe it to each of them, and so many more lives that have come and gone, to continue putting together the pieces for serious visions of a better Los Angeles, one step and one breath at a time.

Here is to continue working for it, but first, to walk some more for it. The light is calling, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 39

The week ahead will once again move quickly. Just this Monday morning I’ve got two more masks to deliver to another buyer, bringing my total to 30 masks sold for the first week with the accessories.

I’ll head out to the San Gabriel Valley for the delivery, where maybe I can pick up some dumplings afterwards, if not some milk-tea with boba, it feeling like ages since I enjoyed either. Afterwards, I’ll make my way back across to downtown Los Angeles, where I’ll pick up more plain masks from Zenon, the Oaxacan fellow whose work has supplied this whole journey with the goods.

The day from there should transpire, as it usually does, like salt in the palm of my hands. After downtown, I’ll have to decide whether or not to traverse out to Compton, to see Aaron, the brilliant screen-printer whose expertise has given our masks their rightful names; we have also discussed stickers, which it’d be wonderful to get started on.

It’s just that apart from more for Los Cuentos, I’ve also got the 16th episode of J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast to edit for. The good news is that the episode has already been recorded via phone, but the other news is that for some odd reason my voice sounds completely muffled throughout, meaning I’ve got to re-record my parts so I don’t sound like I’m in a bubble.

If all goes according to schedule
, I should have the 16th episode by mid-week, keeping consistent with my two-week intervals between publication.

I’m working on making all of it more stabilized, Los Angeles, but I’ve learned that consistency is the work of miracles coming together. I’ve also learned that if I’m really going to improve on such things as schedules, it helps tremendously to learn from and collaborate with others.

To that end, it’s my pleasure to announce that I’ve been accepted to a publishing workshop this summer with none other than the Los Angeles Review of Books.

It’s been ages since I attended a summer workshop, nearly five years, to be precise, but I’ve realized that if all of my work is not just going to continue, but blossom all over the city like the Spring sunflowers, tulips and daisies prevailing over it now, then I’m going to need to learn from other professionals in the field. I’d say connecting with a group of professional publishers at LARB is an ample step in that direction then, wouldn’t you?

But now we’ve got to hit the road once again Los Angeles; the cuento continues.

J.T.

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Join Who Is Your Neighborhood at LACC this Saturday, October 12, 2019

That’s right! Los Angeles City College is celebrating the College’s 90th Anniversary in East Hollywood with quite the event: a Community Resource Day this Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM on the College Campus.

Naturally, the team behind Back 2 School and I have got to be a part of the special day. So we’ll be staffing a table at the event, where we’ll be talking with visitors about our annual Back 2 School Party, our local Neighborhood Survey, and more ways to get involved with our ongoing efforts to uplift this side of Los Angeles. We’ll also be debuting our brand new banner, courtesy of The Think Farm. Come enjoy the festivities with us!

J.T.

Top 5 DON’TS with Your Friends this Summer

Okay, so hanging out with your friends (or not) over Summer can be a little tricky sometimes. This is especially true when you’re mostly used to seeing your friends at school since once school is out, there are different challenges that come up like not being able to see each other, or not exactly knowing what to do when you do see each other since you’re not on your usual routines. Here are five tips to keep in mind to make the most of all of it!

1. DON’T underestimate how much fun you can still have without your besties this summer. While it’s true that once school is out you can technically spend more time with each other without teachers looking over you, more often than not, summer STILL keeps you from many of the friends you enjoy talking and laughing the most with. This can feel very isolating. At some points you may even ask, “If we’re not seeing each other, are we still friends?” You’ll have time to figure this out later, but for now, just know this: you can definitely still enjoy the gifts of summer sunshine even without the cast of your besties surrounding you.

2. DON’T worry if it seems like “things are suddenly changing” with your friends for some strange reason. The fact of the matter is that things, including people, are always in motion. Even through the sluggish nature of the season at times, things continue shifting all around us. Take the tectonic plates of Southern California, for example; in less than three weeks this summer 2019, we’ve had hundreds of earthquakes rattling everything around us! So even the earth is moving, my friend, just like us. As it was during the shaking and rolling quakes, the whole feeling of “being out of control” over what happens with your friends can be strange and overwhelming. But then, after you get through it, it’s actually a pretty cool Cuento to look back on. And you know how much we love Los Cuentos!

3. DON’T just copy what your friends are doing because that’s the only way you can stay friends. I’m going to remind you of a little secret we can all lose sight of as we “grow up” together: It’s a myth, as in, not true, that you’ve got to be “just like each other” to remain besties with your buds. The fact is that each of you can do the things that satisfy you personally, even if they’re very different things. You do not have to walk all the same streets together, or even walk and talk in the same way. If you truly “got each other’s” backs, you’ll respect the differences between you. 100!

4. DON’T let your friends miss their next chance to win a new Los Cuentos Hoodie. That would just be selfish. And wrong. Tell them about the contest so you can all give it a shot together like true friends. Or, I guess you can do it on your own! It’s your life! Don’t let me stop you!

5. DON’T just watch your friends’ stories online and figure that’s all there is to do. I know, this one is really hard. Our phones are addicting, even if most of us don’t like admitting just how addicting! But there’s good news: Human beings were doing just fine without smartphones thousands of years before they took control of our fingertips! Which simply means that you can definitely take just a few hours away from your phone to do something of your own thing. But hey, isn’t it ironic, or just a little funny, that I’m advising you to take time off your phones from my website, which by default requires you to be online, and which probably means you’re still spending more time on your phones watching other people’s stories, which is what this item on our list is advising you not to get stuck on?!

Okay, that’s enough, then! Excuse me while I unplug for a little while, friend.

J.T.

5 NOs to Remember with Your Fam this Summer

JMBTMS_SALV_1110
J.T.’s Great Tio on Grandpa’s side; San Jose Guayabal, El Salvador, 2018

1. No, They’re Not (Always) Trying to Make Life More Miserable. Think about it this way: with everything going on at school before summer break, it’s likely that you didn’t quite have a plan about how to get through summer break. The same is true for many parents and/or siblings. So all of a sudden, you’re all ‘cooped up’ at home again, and there will be challenges. Sooner or later, someone’s emotions are gonna get high, and then, let’s be honest: someone’s gonna make a mistake. Trips will get canceled. Stuff will get lost, and other things will go wrong, too. But it won’t be just because your family’s (always) out to make life more difficult for you. It’ll be ’cause all the ‘free’ time during summer in Los Angeles can be a burden for a lot of us to get through without fail. Accept it!

2. No, They’re Not the Worst Family in the World. Let’s face it: even if you know it’s not all their fault, there will still be times during summer when it’ll feel like your family just doesn’t get you. And since you’ll still have to live with them even though you’re from two different planets, it’s gonna feel like you’re just stuck with them. But here’s a secret: the differences you have with your family, if you can see them for more than just what makes you opposed to them, can be the things where you learn the most from. Even more than what you learn at school! But it sure doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to settle the differences with your counterparts.

3. No, They Can’t Just Leave You Alone Every time You Want. Here’s a fact: your privacy is a key part of what makes you the unique person that you are. But now here’s another fact: when you live with others, there are going to be times when your privacy will simply not be possible. You’re going to have to learn how to share. I remember when mom would cook lunch for my brother and I, and how I’d be so selfish. I wanted the table all to myself. Or, if I had to share, I wanted the best seat. Little did I know then that getting just my way every time I wanted it would simply make life less interesting. Eventually, I’d not only get better at sharing the table with my brother thanks to learning with him, but I’d also get better at sharing with others in general. And now I love sitting down to eat with my bro whenever we get the chance. (Love you W!)

4. No, They Don’t Just Want to Take All Your Stuff to Leave You with Nothing. Now here’s one that makes enough sense, but which is hard to remember: sometimes you lose things to find other things that you need. Wanna know how I know? Occasionally, when not heeding guidance like the one in this post, I’d get the Xbox taken away for misbehaving, or I’d lose all my TV privileges. At first, I had no idea what I’d do without my electronics. But then, I got creative. And eventually, I got to writing. This would one day turn into JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller. Now, you and I both know we can’t get enough of this blog!

5. No, Things Won’t Always be This Way. Although you might not believe it, the fact is that you will not have your family right next to you all the time. Slowly but surely, you will meet other people, and you will find other things to do besides being with them every day of the season. Then, one sunny morning day, you’ll not only be able to find your own way, but you’ll have to.

This brings up one key question for me to ask all the Youngs out there. If you could find the best possible scenario for you to ‘leave’ your family with before setting out on your own life, what would that scenario look like? What would you want for your ma’ or your pa’? And/or what would you want to ‘give’ to your siblings before you could no longer ‘give’ them anything else? If you’re up for the challenge, answer these questions with no less than 300 words, then send it over to yours truly for review. If you think you can do it, then GO! The future is counting on you!

J.T.

BONUS: How to Outline Your Summer 2019

JRG; Spring 2019

So you want to enter the new Los Cuentos Hoodie Challenge by Jimbo Times, but you’re not quite sure how to get started. You’re in luck, because in this bonus post I’m going to show you exactly how you can create the outline for your shot at the prize.

The term “outline” is not a very fun word. It sounds like a school-word. Plus, anything with the word “work” in it likely describes long, difficult tasks, and I know you’re not trying to do more long, difficult tasks than you need to. But guess what:

For kids in big cities like Los Angeles, summer is actually filled with long, difficult tasks. The most important of these tasks is survival.

You’ve got to survive.

This is what the outline is actually about. Because if you don’t have at least some plan over what you’ll be doing this summer 2019, it’s just going to drag on. An outline is just that: it’s a plan. Now here’s some top secret information for you to see how it works:

The J.T. Post Outline; Summer 2019.

Do you see the way that I’ve planned, or outlined, the summer for myself? For every other day between now and at least the end of next week, I’ve got a specific goal for Jimbo Times. It’s very simple, too. But the hardest part of the entire outline was just getting started on it.

But now, whenever I get anxious or feel like I just don’t know what to do, I look at the outline and it brings me back into the game, telling me where I’m at, where I need to go next, and on. Your outline for your Los Cuentos Hoodie will do the same.

Let’s say you’re a Young out there who wants to make their own list for Summer 2019 to get that Black & White Los Cuentos Hoodie. First off, just copy and paste my lists from Parts I, II and III, then change them into your own. Next, you’ll need to make your podcast. Let’s see what the outline for that will look like:

The J.T. Post Outline; Summer 2019.

See how simple that is? And yes, if you’re wondering, I did just copy and paste the outline for Summer 2019 and switched the colors around to make it different. Why? Because it’s simpler that way!

Now, drop everything else you’re doing, pick an item for a project from the list, and get started on your outline. It’s your Summer 2019.

J.T.

How to Beat Summer 2019: Part II

Greatness Looming; Spring 2019
Los Cuentos with David; Spring 2019

So it’s the second day of summer and you did everything outlined in How to Beat Summer 2019: Part I, even though you didn’t quite do everything (since I’m still waiting for my next round of (five) subscribers). But even after that you feel like you’re still not enjoying the most awesome summer of all time yet. Why? This is because if you’re anything like most humans, sometimes your mood–like the weather–is simply going to change by the day. First, understand that June Gloom is totally real. Second, fear not! Below are three additional tips for you to start making Summer 2019 your best right now, right away:

1. TAKE A BROOM AND DUSTPAN. FIND AN AREA. SWEEP THAT S***. Try this for just an hour. Admittedly, an hour of sweeping floors at home will seem to pale in comparison to an hour with your team on Fortnite, but all of us know it’ll eventually be time to put the game down. When that time comes, think about this: everything at home besides the game, from the distance between the couch and the TV, to the way the pictures in the living room are framed, to the fake art on the walls and the old toys, and even to the boogers you hide underneath the desk, is all arranged exactly the way it is because of somebody’s doing.

And so, if you can make just a few simple changes to the way your living room, kitchen, or some other spot at home looks with just a little bit of cleaning, you right away boost your chances to create change in your social and emotional life too. How? Because the person you want to be out there needs to start with the person you are at home first, and the person at home always needs to get organized before they can do big things out there. Now, the hardest part of cleaning house is just getting started with the cleaning, but I guarantee that once you get going, you can really get into renewing the space around you as a therapeutic experience. Don’t believe me? Watch THIS.

2. WRITE (or PAINT, or DRAW). It may come as no surprise to you that I’m something of an ambassador for literacy, or the ability to read and write. In particular, I like reading books and talking about books and telling others about books they’ve never heard of and also looking for new books and different ways to get those books and even different ways to read them and—you get my point. However, have I told you about how much I actually enjoy WRITING, too?!

Here’s another secret for you to keep in mind. This entire website, and all of my creative work everywhere, started with just a little bit of writing when I was a teen. Don’t believe me? See it with your own eyes, skeptic. This is why I believe the most important part of summer is the creative work that you emerge with at the end of the season. Now does this mean you still have to write even if you’re not much of a “writer”? Actually, yes it does, because writing is a proven way for anyone to release emotions. But doeit mean that writing is the only way to release emotion? No. You can also paint or draw, or even dance. As long as you’re picking up one of those pencils (or brushes or feet) of yours and splashing ideas on to the paper (or canvas or floor) of something authentic to you, you’re setting up for some major payoffs this summer. Now, what to write about, you ask? Oh, don’t worry about that, How to Beat the Summer: Part III will have plenty of options for you.

3. LEARN HOW TO CUT YOUR OWN HAIR. THEN DO IT. Okay, now this tip doesn’t need to be read too literally. As in, let’s move one step at a time here. But think for a moment about the benefit of learning how to cut your own hair this summer:

I. You’ll save $15 every two months, which in a year becomes nearly $100 on savings since you won’t need to go to the barbershop or salon (much love to the barbers and all the stylists out there, though). $100 can get you a lot of Los Cuentos Merch.

II. You can’t get mad at yourself for a bad haircut (because when it’s your fault instead of someone else’s, it’s all good). The same is true when you make your own eggs, pancakes, or other meals. And ON THIS NOTE: substitute “Cut” for “Cook” and “Hair” for “Mac & Cheese” and then message me as soon as you need someone to taste the samples. It shall be arranged!

III. You stand to love yourself for cutting your own hair (or cooking your own Mac & Cheese, because if you look fresh or eat good all thanks to your own genius, that’s what it feels like to be a rock-star).

Now let’s be frank, neither haircutting or home-cooking are quite for everyone, so it’ll be okay with me if you actually avoid this last tip (though if you’re brave enough to actually cut your own hair, let me know). Your cleaning and your writing, however, will be absolutely key if you hope to win the next contest for Los Cuentos. Expect the announcement of our next contest in How to Beat the Summer: Part III, scheduled for this next Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM. Set up a reminders! You will not want to miss it.

J.T.