Tag Archives: work

Poodle Springs.

Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake, California

I went to Big Bear and all I got was this lousy cold.

Well, actually I also picked up some postcards and some nice scenic shots of the lake and had a good time playing games with friends. Some germs I picked up while in Big Bear just came back to haunt me the following weekend when I was in Palm Springs for an archivist conference. Super drag!

In Palm Springs I managed to lead a pretty awesomesauce panel on privacy issues in archives (yay panel), and then came back to LA Saturday night and spent the rest of the weekend flopping between the living room couch and my bed. I’ve been doing my best to not hack up my lungs, but only with moderate success.

So while I’m confined to spreading my germs within the limited square footage of my apartment I thought it would be a great time to think about not being caged by illness and to relive the past two out of town weekends.

The view from my hotel room balcony, Palm Springs

The view from my hotel room balcony, Palm Springs

When I think about Palm Springs it’s really tough for me to not call it Poodle Springs, since my knowledge of the area was very recently limited to little more than Raymond Chandler’s mocking pseudonym for the city and an awareness of the existence of a crapload of midcentury modern architecture.

I’ve driven by the town on the way to Arizona and Texas.  It’s an easy 2 hour drive from my corner of the LA metropolitan region, but for whatever reason I’d not made my way out there yet.  Now that I’ve been I’d say it’s worth a revisit.  Between getting as much out of the conference as possible and then becoming miserably sick I didn’t get to see as much of the town as I’d hoped, but I saw enough that I now know I want to go back.

The conference hotel was ridiculously expensive so I looked for alternatives.  My inner hipster really wanted to stay at the ACE hotel, but it was even more expensive than the conference hotel!  Instead I ended up three hotels down at the Curve, which despite lukewarm Yelp and tripadvisor reviews is actually a pretty nifty little hotel.

The Curve has the bones of an old motel, but an updated outer appearance.  I got an upgrade from a standard peasant room to a a mountain and pool view room.  I was a little worried that the noise from the pool would be bothersome, but I wasn’t in the room much during the day and they were good about shutting down music and controlling noise after 10pm.

The hotel was great and I’d stay there again.  I had lunch and evening drinks at the ACE, and though the ambience in the diner was retro-fun, the hotel itself didn’t seem all that fancy.  I didn’t see the inside of any hotel rooms there, so I can’t speak to that, but the hotel bar, pool area, and corridors weren’t much swankier than the place I stayed at.

I should probably frame my hotel reviews with the statement that I’m not too picky of a hotel goer.  Sometimes I read hotel reviews and feel like the reviewers’ expectations are way too grand.  I once stayed in a motel in Monterey that my traveling companion said was the type of place where hookers take their clients.  I really didn’t see it that way, but I’m a pretty easy going traveler.

Mostly when I look for hotels I like to find non-chain locations in older well maintained buildings that retain some old timey charm.  Not everyone I know appreciates this aesthetic, but that’s what you’re going to end up with if I’m left organizing the travel plans.

Balcony at the Curve hotel, Palm Springs

Balcony at the Curve hotel, Palm Springs

So the Curve was perfect for my requirements.  I had some mediocre food at Lulu’s Bistro in downtown Palm Springs, but had a pretty exciting blueberry lemon lavender shake at Great Shakes around the corner.  Mixed reviews on other food I also ate there, but there are so many restaurants I think I’ll have to go back and try out a few other places.

I got a little peek at opulent midcentury design with the chance to visit Sunnylands for the conference reception.  I’m not really sure which architectural style is my favorite, but I’ve got an ever growing appreciation of midcentury modern design.  All those strong clean lines and industrial materials are pretty sexy.

Sunnylands, Palm Springs

Sunnylands, Palm Springs

Being out in the desert means seeing stars!  I didn’t drive far enough outside of town in the dark to really appreciate the night sky, but that is definitely at the top of my list of reasons to drive back out into the desert.  I probably should try desert camping one of these weekends to really get to see the universe.

Now, if I could just kick this cold I think I could call last weekend a smashing success.

How a show full of poo jokes motivates me to be myself.

At various points in life I thought I wanted to be a writer, a journalist, an actor, a film director, a history professor, and an archivist.  I think I spent like two weeks (hours?) thinking I’d want to be a computer engineer like my Dad when I was in the single digits age range, but maybe this is just hazy memory and I’m filling in the blanks with something that sounds nice.

In various unofficial capacities I’ve done a little bit of everything on that list (aside from computer engineering).  If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen in some form.  It may not pay your rent, it may not be the ideal dream situation you thought up in the first place, but if you’re so into a particular thing you will make it work in some fashion.

Lately my biggest pet peeve is people talking about what they “really want” and how the world is keeping them from doing what they’re really into.  I try to think up exceptions to this.  Like, say your dream is to be a skydiving champ, but you can’t afford to go skydiving on a regular basis.  But the more I think about it, the more I feel like a person who wants it bad enough will figure out how to earn and save up the money to do it.  It’s all about owning the choices we make and deciding what we’ll sacrifice for the things that really matter to us.

It’s hard to admit this to yourself and the people around you.  It sounds nice to have ambiguous creative goals or lofty career aspirations.  And sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it is that you actually want.  I mean, I don’t think we always know what we’re willing to jump out of a plane for, and that’s where the hang ups are – suspended in mid air, awaiting some kind of landing.

I’m in the process of reevaulating stuff.  As I get older a lot of my earlier wants are still hanging around, but a few other to-dos jumped on the list that are jostling for higher ranking on my life list. I don’t yet know which goal is going to come out on top and serve as my parachute to keep me from splatting on to the earth at a zillion miles an hour.  It’s kinda scary and kind of liberating, but mostly I’m trying to take it as motivation to flex some muscles that’ve been sitting on the back burner.

Watching Workaholics is incredibly motivating.  This might seem like an odd statement for a show with a lot of juvenile humor.  AV Club summed up the jist of the show with: “Workaholics is…about the extended adolescence of post-college life, where an unchallenging first job and the proximity of close friends ease the transition into the real world.”  And in the interview one of the creators really nailed it by saying they “try to be smart in the dumbest way possible.”

The first half of season one isn’t all that great, but it really hits its stride by the end of that first season.  Hilarious.  Originally I was gonna write about how much I relate to this show, even though their biggest demographic is teenage/young adult boys and I’m a closing in on 30-years-old female.  I’ve got a soft spot for any show that privileges buddy relationships over other relationships, they make references to pop culture I grew up with, my first years in LA centered around hanging out at my dude friends’ apartment, I’ve worked an office job just to pay rent, and growing up as a kid in the Bay Area I used to film skits with my friends.

That last point is the motivational point.  The creators of the show spent a couple years making their own videos as Mail Order Comedy before Comedy Central saw their work and funded Workaholics (and even before that they were the kids in school who wrote and filmed their own material for nothing more than their own gratification).  That shit takes motivation, perserverance, and work.  So even though this is a goofy show with a bunch of teenage boy jokes, the guys behind it are hard workers who figured out what they wanted to do and kept at it until something stuck.

Now, not every hard worker is going to see their goal realized with a Comedy Central show (and that’s definitely not my personal goal), but it’s admirable and sorta warm fuzzies to see a group’s determination and work pay off.  The characters they play on the show are ridiculous people, but what Mail Order Comedy achieved professionally is basically a stellar example of “if you want it bad enough you’ll make it work somehow.”  Talk all you want about what you think you want to do, but if you’re not actually doing it or actively sacrificing for it, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what you think you want.

And nobody’s want is any better than anyone else’s want.  It’s hard to not let outside judgement cloud your goals – I am swatting away doubt flies all day, erry day.  If your want is to write skits centered around dick jokes and share them with an audience, that is awesome, because you figured out what you want.  Now, time for me to figure out what my dick jokes are.  I’ve been watching way too much Workaholics (and like a dozen other shows) and not working on my own Workaholics-esque goals.

(I also thought about writing how I intitially dismissed Workaholics and how this show is a great example of why you should never say you don’t like something until you give it a real try.  Man, serious life themes from a very unserious show!  My favorite kind of stuff. (And also why I sometimes still think about heading back to the ivory tower, land of making everything have meaning and piling on the bullshit.  Apparently I am just a crap fan all the way around. (Like how that Sorceress character I wrote as part of an online RPG in junior/high school lived in a tower and now I think about working at a metaphorical tower and maybe life and art have some weird parallels. (Okay, too many tangents.))))

Looming Deadlines? Zoo Time.

I’m a lucky duck and can get into the LA Zoo for free since I work across the street.  Yesterday was sort of a rough-impending-deadline day, so I decided that the perfect stress release was a stroll around the zoo in the warm sun to say hey to the animals.

When I go to the zoo at lunch I almost always take a peek at the meerkats and the koalas and wallabies.  They’re all near the front of the park and fit into that small and fuzzy animal category that I appreciate (To give you some perspective, squirrels are one of my favorite animals.  Sure, they can be awfully pesky, but they are mostly awfully adorable to me).

The koalas are always sleeping in the afternoon, but they’re still fun to aww www at.  I spotted two in the trees, including this fuzzy guy (or gal).

Koala at the LA Zoo

Koala at the LA Zoo

Below the koalas the wallabies hang out in the enclosure’s floor space.  While I was checking them out a squirrel jumped into the enclosure and zig-zagged across it, heading straight for the wallaby food bowl.  The squirrel jumped right in and started chowing down.  The two wallabies nearby didn’t seem to care.  I found it amusing that I was there to see koalas and wallabies and ended up spending more time watching the squirrel.

Squirrel is in the food bowl, but the wallaby in the background could care less.  (Are wallabies related to honey badgers?)

Squirrel is in the food bowl, but the wallaby in the background could care less. (Are wallabies related to honey badgers?)

Also, this meerkat says hi:

20130131_132933

“Hi”

There are probably some complex pro and con arguments that can be made about zoos, but I was just happy to catch some Vitamin D from the sun and get out of my cubical enclosure across the street.

Cocktail versus exercise smackdown.

arthritiusdrinking

Magical juxtaposition in a screen grab.

So, I think the Arthritis Foundation is telling me I should go to the gym instead of making this cocktail.

What won out?  Well, I’ve got text to finish for an online exhibit, so a lighter inspired-by cocktail won out.  (And maybe I should be slightly insulted the ad seems to be suggesting I’m using booze as medicine?)

Dear body (when I first typed this I accidentally typo’d “Dead body” – gosh universe, slather it on thick why dontcha!?),

Tomorrow I will do more exercise than the 15 minute pilates video.  And even if we still feel sick-ish (I’m still recovering from a cold of epic-ish length), we’ll at least walk around Griffith Park a bit.  Both Saturday and Sunday.

I promise I love you more than I demonstrate,

Mallory

Saying that stuff on the internet makes it real and true.  And for tonight – cheers!

1 shot gin, 1/2 shot triple sec, 1 shot lemon juice, 2 dashes bitters, shaken on the rocks, and then topped off with soda water.  Ta-da!

1 shot gin, 1/2 shot triple sec, 1 shot lemon juice, 2 dashes bitters, shaken on the rocks, and then topped off with soda water. Ta-da!

So much for this being about my professional life.

1. Studying for Archival Certification exam.  Drank a beer and then dropped (too much) money on books (the beer softened the financial blow) for book order part one (it’s like being in college, except you don’t get student loans, instead you are simultaneous trying to pay the undergrad and grad loans back while becoming an employable professional, hah, oh life). I already have a handful of books from grad school and there are a few places around town where I can read the older ones, but nearby libraries don’t have the newer archival books – too expensive and specialized I guess?

2. Nothing makes me feel more feminist than insurance companies and the way they handle birth control in the U.S.  I’ve had four different health insurance companies over the past three years (both PPO and HMO) and none of these companies will let me pick up more than one month’s worth of birth control at a time, even if the doctor’s prescription specifies 3 pack pick up at a time.  Ridiculous.  What am I going to do, OD on hormones?  Give them out to teenage girls with disapproving parents?  All it does is cause me extra hassle and trips to the pharmacy for the same exact number of pills I would get whether or not I picked them up every month or every three months.

My friend who recently returned from studying and living in Germany for two years told her German doctor that she would be without health insurance for a few months once she got back to the U.S.  The doctor prescribed a year’s worth of birth control (like in the U.S.), and then my friend went to the pharmacy and picked up the year’s worth of birth control (not like in the U.S.).  Why can’t it be that simple here?

3. Game of Thrones is over for another season, sigh. But True Blood is coming back next week, hooray!

4. I’ve decided to write a fictional horror western story.  I have some ideas floating around, should be fun.

5. I’m going to Oklahoma and Texas in a few weeks for family time vacation.  I can’t wait for these next weeks to go by.

6. I feel like I’m treading water at work, treading in a sea of newspaper clippings.  I never thought I’d look forward to rehousing sheet music, but I sure am!

7. I’ve become addicted to a 2.5 mile loop at Griffith Park and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook stairs by Culver City

8. Visited Amir’s Garden in Griffith Park last weekend.  It was lovely!  Sadly I hiked up without a camera.

This is the only recent picture I’ve taken:

Image

Mr. H made Aloo Gobi from scratch lastlast weekend. It was delicious! This weekend I made blackened chicken again and a chopped salad, but didn’t take pictures. Tonight I discovered how simple it is to jazz up couscous from the bulk bins instead of buying the boxed stuff with the powder flavorings. Winwinwin.

I’ve been in a blogging drought lately.  I drive around town plotting what kind of blog updates I’m going to make, and then I sit down at the computer and get lazy.

I’ve been working on the frontmatter finding aid elements at work, which translates into a lot of hours starting at the computer in my cubicle.  When I get home I have absolutely no desire to turn on the laptop.

Mostly I’ve been watching a lot of British TV on Netflix.  For the longest time I’ve really wanted to like Doctor Who, but I watched a few episodes with David Tennant as the Doctor, and these randomly selected shows just didn’t hook me in.  I decided to do it proper and start with episode 1 of the 2005 season.  Ding!  That hooked me.  Guess I just had to watch them in order for the later episodes to have more meaning.

Once I finished that season I started watching Torchwood, and holy crap, next thing I know I’m an addict.  It’s like a slightly goofier X-Files, and I now need my crack fix several times a day.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Me falling asleep while taking notes – from a few years back.

I soaked beans overnight to cook the next day, but then I was lazy during the next day.  I waited too long, so the beans sprouted.  Rather than throw them all out I planted a few in some cleaned out yogurt containers.  I’m curious to see if they come up!  Stay tuned.

I would promise photos, but life is kinda chaotic.  I’m on the verge of being on schedule at work and school, but I’m also on the verge of getting a bit behind and I can’t let that happen!

I’m looking forward to this weekend.  I need to log some serious thesis writing/researching hours and get a schedule together for when I’m going to go to the archive to do some primary research.  Until then, time to go to sleep so I can get up and get to work!