Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Car lust

No joke, I was very tempted to buy one of these today:

The 2009 MAZDA6. It starts at $19,220. Mine would have a spoiler though.

I really did give it a lot of thought this past weekend, like, should I go down to a dealership tomorrow?

So why today, you ask? Well, because starting April 1, the sales tax in California goes up 1 percent. That's a lot of money when it comes to buying a car, money I would like to keep in my pocket. My car, a 1998 Chevy Cavalier, is getting pretty old and it has most definitely seen better days (before the 100,000 miles). And while I love it, my poor Chevy is simply falling apart and I'm not sure how much longer it can last. I actually wanted to buy a new car during the holidays but wasn't in the financial position to do so. About 4 months later, not much has changed. But the non-stop car ads that were urging me to buy before the end of the month almost swayed me. Unfortunately, I am going to have to let the good deals pass me by because I can't afford the $300+ car payment each month on top of my other bills. No zoom-zoom for me.

So what do you drive? Is yours about to die, like mine? And what are your thoughts on used cars?

P.S. I would settle for a Prius, too.

MAZDA6 image via Edmunds

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy 24

Today is my 24th birthday.
Today is also the birthday of Norah Jones, Celine Dion, Ian Ziering, M. C. Hammer, Eric Clapton and Warren Beatty. Oh, and Vincent Van Gogh. Looks like this Aries is in good company.

I don't feel older or wiser... yet. Maybe by the end of today? Not sure what I am doing to celebrate. I always feel equal parts excitement and dread leading up to my bday, so I didn't plan anything. Technically, I should be working. Technically, I don't want to. (Who really wants to work on a Monday anyway?)  And the bf wants to hang out. We'll see. I'll report back tomorrow.

Til then, I give you permission to eat some (cup)cake for me!

Cupcake image via Peter Tsai Photography

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recession Realities

About a week or so ago, I found out that my dad is going to be laid off. Yes, his company kindly gave him advance notice. The big-wigs are moving his position out of state to where the company is headquartered and no, they didn't ask if he would relocate. Jerks. Not that that would be an ideal situation for him or our family, but he would have considered it and probably accepted-- at least temporarily. But I know why they didn't ask him to move: money. My dad, a 58-year-old design engineer, costs the company more money than a young buck fresh out of college. His salary is higher as it is commensurate with experience and the cost for his company benefits is also higher because he is older. In addition, if they were to move him the company would have to pay relocation costs and possibly travel expenses. 

So I understand why they are doing this but as I have said many times to my dad, "It is bullshit." And, I will say it again, they are Jerks. Because not only are they shoving him out the door; they also made him sign a document stating that he would be a good little employee and mind his P's and Q's until the transition of his position is complete. My dad really had no choice but to sign because if he fought it, he would simply lose his job sooner and not receive the month-worth of pay they are promising him if he stays. They need him, but not enough to keep him.

Me and my dad. This is us after a choir concert at Pepperdine, hence my ugly dress.

On top of all this, they had to kick him when he's down. This week, my dad's immediate boss took him out for drinks to warn him that the evaluation he wrote about my dad's work had been rewritten by the higher-ups. The warning was that my dad wouldn't like what it said. I think this is the company's way of trying to avoid any legal issues. Let's write up a bad review on our employee so we have a legitimate reason to get rid of him. Except, it's not legit. It's bullshit. Sorry, I can't help myself.

See, this is the thing about the recession we are in. You can hear about it, read about it, feel bad about it, but maybe you don't really take it seriously until it happens to you. Affects you. Before I found out about my dad losing his job, one of my childhood friend's dad had lost his job. Now she and her family have sold the house they have lived in for 14 years and are moving to a rental house in a different city. This same friend told me last week that another one of our longtime friend's dad has also lost his job. WTF, right? All of a sudden, this economic crisis has hit painfully close to home.

Now, when I heard a couple months ago that my childhood friend's dad had been laid off, I felt for her. I understood because my dad (and my mom, for that matter) had been out of work before, and I know what it is like to have an out-of-work (aka, depressed) parent. I know what it is like to have to tighten the family budget. My dad was out of work for four years before getting the job that he is losing now. I was in college at that time and things were tough. But somehow, when I heard what happened to my friend's dad, it didn't dawn on me that the same thing could happen again to mine. Somehow, I thought that because he was doing a good job at a smaller company that appreciated his work, that he was safe. I was wrong.

What worries me now is, what is my dad going to do? How is a 58-year-old man that is closing in on retirement age going to find another engineering job in this economy? Or any job at all? He's not. I really don't know what he is going to do. That makes me sad and mad, but scared, too.

Obviously, this is a topic that many people can relate to. A Web-based video game called "Layoff" has even been created (Play it here). In it, players swap adjacent workers to align sets of 3 or more workers to make "efficiency adjustments" and save corporate money. Line up the workers and they disappear: off to the Employment Office they go! Bankers, however, don't lose their jobs in this game. And a bank bailout is available if you get stuck. Ah, a video game making social commentary. Love it.

The other interesting thing is that you are not just laying off faceless, nameless Joes (or Janes). You're getting rid of people with a story, like "Frankie, a quiet and pleasant accountant with diabetes" or "Wes, the school bus driver and single parent." My dad's story would be, "Paul, a hardworking, dependable guy who still has a mortgage and his daughter's college tuition loans to pay."

So what is your family/friend's story? Has the recession hit this close to home for you?

P.S. Sorry I have been MIA this week. Personal issues + work stress + no sleep + a cold = bad blogger. I'll try to be back in full form next week.

"Layoff" screen shot via Yahoo!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hanging tough

This is me.
and Today.

Just barely hanging on...

But not as furry or cute.

Anyone else feeling like this?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Light & Whimsy

I came across this beautiful collection of photos from Alicia Bock the other day on Etsy. Looking at them simply makes me happy. They evoke a soft sweetness and whimsical nature that I adore, and I think my still semi-bare apartment walls would agree. Here's a sampling:

I am particularly in love with her use of birds and flowers and I think that typewriter print would look great in the office of a writer, ahem, me.

If I were to buy a print, or you were to buy one, which would you choose? Check out Alicia's shop here and her website here to see all of her amazing artwork.

P.S. Her prints are super affordable!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Unleashing my inner gamer

I covet a Nintendo DS.

I don't know when this happened. When they first hit the market at the end of 2004 I didn't have any desire to run out and get one. I mean, c'mon, I was an evolved college freshman at the time; my days of gaming had passed. I will admit though, I loved me some Nintendo time as a child. We had a Nintendo, then a SEGA, then a Nintendo 64 and on and on... With a younger brother, I had the benefit of playing on the new systems and new games that he got each year for his birthday or Christmas. 

But once I got to high school and all my guy friends (including my ex) could focus on was video games, I was pretty much over it. Except for the occasional round of Super Smash Bros. I kick some serious melee-ass on that game. (Funny story: I beat my former video-game-obsessed roommate at Super Smash Bros. one time and he was in a stake of shock that I, a girl and non-gamer, kicked his butt. He wanted a rematch and guess what? I won again. Haha, don't mess!).

Anyway, it is safe to say I am not a serious gamer. I would almost always rather read a magazine or watch a Lifetime movie. But sometime between seeing my bff get a cute pink DS, watching RR's 6-year-old niece play Holly Hobbie on her purple DS and reading this week about Jamie's Nintendo DS party (where her friends took home free DS's! Jealous!), I now covet my own DS! (I also heard about how fabulous the Chicago-loft party was from Jenn and Tiffany.)

This funny new commercial with Lisa Kudrow have also sparked my interest.

(That is so how I would be: impatient!)

If I could have my very own handheld gaming device, I would choose the pink DS. Yes, I'm a girly girl! I'm the type to always pick the girl character when playing a video game, too. Gotta represent!

Or maybe I would get the super pretty blue console offered in the soon-to-be released, third iteration of DS: the DSi. I didn't get what the difference is between this DS and the last one (DS Lite-- a smaller version of the original), but I just read a press release on the Nintendo site and it says DSi has an interactive digital camera, voice recorder/music player and an application to purchase downloadable games. It is a little pricier than the older version of course, at $169.99, but hey, who can argue with the latest, greatest thing? DSi comes out in the U.S. April 5.

The first games I would get would have to be...

I have an undying love for this game--and all things related to Mario, or Yoshi!

How cool would it be to have my own personal cooking instructor leading me through dinner step by step?

A classic. One of my fave's when I had my Game Boy. Would play for hours on road trips.

I would also have to have Super Mario 64, Kirby Super Star Ultra, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and, to sharpen my mind, Brain Age.

Even though I don't have $150 (or more) to spend on something frivolous like a video game, I still want your opinion. Any of you out there have a DS? Is it all it's cracked up to be? And what games would you suggest, on the off chance I get one? My birthday is just around the corner after all. Not that I am dropping a hint for my boyfriend of anything :)

Kitty playing DS via TechEBlog
Game Images via Nintendo

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring's in the bag

Oh, I am so exhausted. Even my Cinnamon Dolce Latte can't save me today. I guess that's what happens when you stay up till 3 a.m. to finish writing a story and then wake up at 7:30 to get back to work! So excuse me for my fluff post today, it's requires all the brain power I can muster at the moment, but I am sure Coach handbag lovers will enjoy...


In between running to the police station to do the blotter, checking out the sign at a local night club and then coming back home to email my editor little tidbits/facts/quotes to add to my stories, I managed to find time this morning to pay my due-today Victoria's Secret bill. (If I haven't told you already, I can be pretty bad at paying my bills on time and often am doing it the day they are due).

As I was walking through the mall to Vickie's, I spied this gorgeous yellow leather bag at my favorite expensive store, Coach. It immediately conjured up thoughts of spring, sunny days and smiles.

I give you, for your viewing enjoyment, the new Parker Leather Large Convertible Hippie, which retails for a hefty $358 (That's about the same as my last-last-last season Holiday Patchwork that I carry religiously. Luckily, I didn't fork out that money-- my ex did.)

A classic, go-everywhere carryall in a bright hue just makes me happy.

Besides yellow, it comes in white, mushroom and sand, too.

This is actually the Parker Leather Satchel, but it is just as cute! (But pricier, at $458)

As Coach puts it, the Parker collection draws its inspiration from the vitality and whimsy of spring. Love it. Would love it more with a lower price tag, but whatcha-gonna-do? Anyhow, I love yellow and the happiness it elicits--which is why my teenage bedroom at my parents' house I had painted a truly bright yellow-- so just looking is fine by me. I'm an expert window shopper.

Have any other cute bag's caught your eye lately? What else makes you think of spring?

Images via Coach

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

As luck would have it

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As a child, I could sometimes be found-- usually on March 17-- combing the grass in search of one of these elusive four-leaved beauties. Most of the time I ended up unlucky, only finding the most common three-leaf variety. Then, in an act of creative frustration, I would simply pluck a leaf from one to add to another. Ah ha! I'm so clever, I would think, admiring the leaves pinched between my fingers. But, I do recall one or two times where I actually found the real deal. Oh, the excitement! I would run inside to show my parents my green treasure, which I cherished for a day or two until my luck dried up-- literally.

Do you have similar memories? I also remember singing this tune:

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover, that I've overlooked before...

Just that one line I would hum, over and over, because I didn't know the rest of the words.

In honor of the day, I'll share a little clover trivia with you. As we all know, the four-leaf clover brings luck to those who find it. But each leaf represents something, too. According to legend, the first is for hope, the second is for faith, the third is for love and the fourth is for-- what else?-- luck!

It is estimated that there are about 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover. Can you believe that? So for all those hours you and I spent hunting for our four-leaved Shamrock, we really were silly. But for all those times we actually found one, we were extremely lucky!

Hope you all find a little luck today, even if you don't find a four-leaf clover. 

And don't forget to wear green, lest you enjoy being pinched!

Oh, and one more thing:
Dear Mr. Leprechaun, 
If you could lead me to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that would be sweet!
Thanks a bunch!

P.S. My brother, Patrick, always thinks this day is named after him. Nah. Nice try, though.

Photo by Joseph Roper

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unexciting me

Happy Monday everyone!

So, I don't have any wild 'n' crazy, "what happens here, stays here" stories to share with you today because I ended up not going to Vegas. Total bummer. It was a little out of the budget at the moment and I decided, sadly, to do the responsible thing of not wasting my money and skipping out on work (I would have still be in Sin City today if I had gone...).

Instead, the boy and I just had a typical, semi-relaxing weekend at home. Nothing special, and he had to work half the time. Yes, I know. Tres boring.

Still, I'm thinking it was a good idea because today I am feeling pretty crappy. All of a sudden I feel a cold or something like it coming on. Not sure yet. The throat feels a little weird with a funny taste-- that's the only way I know to describe it right now-- and I have been sneezing/sniffling up a storm this morning. And I'm super tired. Hazel is sleeping next to me on my comfy pillow and I am sooo jealous!

But, alas, I have work to do. So I will try to post more later but for now I just wanted to tell you that I didn't go to Vegas and basically how boring I am :)

If you had a more exciting weekend than me, let me know so I can live vicariously through you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Icons of Glamour

I was talking the other day about how magazines can be art. I came across a great example of this in the "American Icons" spread in the April issue of Glamour, my favorite magazine of all time! (btw: Happy 70th Birthday, Glamour!)

The photography is stunning and fabulous, and it is uncanny how much some of the current-stars resemble the icons of yesteryear. My fave image is probably Emma Roberts as Audrey Hepburn. Kind of reminds me of Joanna's (at Cup of Jo) engagement photos-- big pink balloons really do make great props!

Tying in a close second are Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter, Paula Patton as Billie Holiday, and Lindsay Lohan as Madonna.

But really, I love them all! Each time I look at the pictures I have a new favorite. This is the type of photo spread you want to rip out of the magazine and tack on your wall. (In high school, I would have. But the bf might not like that idea so much.) 

So check out the full slide show here and let me know what you think.

Oh, and can we talk about how absolutely gorgeous Katie Holmes looks on the cover of (and inside) the magazine?! Geesh!

Happy Friday! As they say, TGIF! Any fun plans? I might be going to Vegas! Could be a crazy weekend...

Cover image via Glamour

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Perfect playlist

One of my favorite things to do is drive around with the radio turned up loud and just sing at the top of my lungs. And I know I am not the only one. I have seen people just like myself--maybe you?--doing the same as I pass them on the freeway!

Anyway, what makes this pretty-much-daily ritual even better is when I actually like the songs that are playing. My go-to station is KIIS FM but I mix it up with Star 98.7 and a little country courtesy KHAY.

Here's a short list of some of the songs that make me smile, make me sing and sometimes, make me sit in the car a little while longer to hear them finish:
  1. I can't believe I'm saying this but, The Climb by Miley Cyrus. She sounds so grown up on this track and I actually find the lyrics pretty inspiring.
  2. Dead and Gone by T.I. featuring my celebrity crush, Justin Timberlake. The chorus seriously gets stuck in my head, but I like it. It's safe to say JT will have my heart forever-- he's had it since the oh-so-fabulous days of *NSYNC.
  3. Two hits by Lady Gaga: Poker Face (p-p-p-poker face) and Just Dance (which just so happens to be the ringtone for my new phone).
  4. My Life Would Suck Without You by the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. She performed the song on AI tonight and did a great job--ok, she might have been straining for a few notes, but it's kind of a tough song. What struck me though is, when sung live, the song seemed to have rock edge that is absent in the highly-produced pop version you hear on the radio. (Btw, her new album, All I Ever Wanted, was released yesterday.)
  5. Speaking of pop, I heart Circus by Britney Spears. I know there are some Britney haters out there, and I am not a super fan by any means, but I have to say, girl knows how to make a comeback. And Circus just makes me wanna dance. Simple as that.
  6. Love Story by Taylor Swift. Sweet melody. Sweet girl. Reminds me of a song I would have danced to at my high school prom for some reason... Maybe because of the music video?
  7. Talk about lyrics getting stuck in your head and playing over and over and over. Don't listen to Right Round by Flo Rida if you need to concentrate or have a clear mind. Do listen to Right Round by Flo Rida if you are getting ready for a night out. Perfect pump-me-up music.
  8. Finally, but not surprisingly, I'm digging Beyonce. Loved Single Ladies--which may have gotten played out in my opinion--and now I get excited every time Halo comes on. Luckily, the radio doesn't play it so often that I have started to despise it. Dont Cha hate when that happens? (That's my lame attempt at referencing the Pussycat Dolls song.)
So what songs make you smile, sing or just sit for awhile? Do you disagree with any of my picks? Did I leave your fave tune off the list? Love to know (and listen later)!

Image via Whitestrips (as in Crest. haha. Gotta give credit where credit is due)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cookies 'n' Idol

I heart warm-from-the-oven choco chip cookies and American Idol.

Too bad one of those makes me fat. Damn. But you know, after a long day at work, I think I can let a few extra calories and two hours (well, an hour and a half thanks to DVR) of reality TV slide... don't you?

P.S. I love Lil Rounds. Amazing voice. Charisma. Stage presence. Didn't look nervous one bit and she worked that stage like a pro. She has my vote forever!

P.S.S. I am eating Nestle Toll House Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies-- the break apart kind that are too easy for words. (If you really want to know, 3 minis is 160 calories and 8 grams of fat. And I just ate 3, promise!)

P.S.S.S. Ok, too many postscripts, but I have to say I love Danny Gokey, too! AmIdol "Michael Jackson" night is going well so far! And I am only 3 contestants in. I'll finish watching without doing 10 more P.S.'s, but tell me, who's your fave American Idol so far?

Monday, March 9, 2009

So Long, Lauren, 'The Hills' will miss you

Did you all hear that Lauren is saying goodbye to The Hills after Season 5? Sad day. What am I going to do without one of my guilty pleasures? The news was confirmed last week by producers but I didn't learn until this weekend. Not that I am all that surprised. She has been hinting at it for awhile and c'mon, she has had cameras following her since high school! I would be ready to say adios, too. While I will miss my weekly dose of LC, at least I have The City to devote my Monday nights t0-- well, at least a half hour of my Monday nights anyway. Thing is, I read that the show's producers are looking for a way to keep The Hills going, sans Lauren. Now, I'm not so sure about that. Lauren is The Hills. But, I guess Audrina and Speidi's drama could be enough to fill the 15-minutes of actual air time. 

What do you think? Are you sad to see Lauren go? Can (and should) the show go on without her? Or could you care less about The Hills?

For your viewing pleasure, check out the Season 5 trailer below!

Image via MTV

Friday, March 6, 2009

A day at the LACMA

Right this way. Following the lady in lace (Gloria Swanson).

Growing up, I hated museums. Like I think many youngsters do, I visited so many on school field trips. And I enjoyed getting out of class, don't get me wrong. It just seemed like the minute I stepped into one I would get an instant headache. Maybe it is all the standing, walking, looking... I don't know.

But as I have gotten older, my fondness for museums has grown. I think my love for art truly started to blossom in college as a writer (and later, editor) for the Arts & Entertainment section of my school newspaper. I learned that it can be fun to explore the halls of a gallery and try to find meaning in the paintings, photographs and installations lining the walls. And then, to take it a step further, communicate my findings to readers in an article. When I became A&E Editor, I almost felt this duty to let my peers know about the fabulous exhibitions going on in the Los Angeles art community. I even did a weekly museum series, profiling a new venue each week: The MOCA, the LACMA, the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Those are some of the "big names" in the L.A. art scene, but in no way the only worthwhile ones. I've been to galleries both big and small and there is something to be said for each. 

Now, I would be no means call myself an expert on art-- just an art enthusiast, I guess. My favorite type of art, I would have to say, is photography. I am simply in awe a people who can take a beautiful photo and desperately wish I had not dropped out of my Intro to Photography class in college. Anyway, when I read about the Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 exhibit a couple months ago, I just had to go. It had been awhile since I had traipsed the halls of a museum and I was itching for a reunion. Trying to convince the bf to accompany me was another thing entirely, but I knew he would have no excuse not to go last Sunday. Mostly because it was the last day of the exhibit and he knew how much I wanted to go and, well, it would have simply been cruel to deny me!

This is the face of a girl who is happy to be at the museum.

So we went. And it was great. A bit warm outside, but great. I could tell RR was impressed (and possibly inspired?) by the exhibition as much as I was. I felt like I was reading the pages of the magazine's history--and celebrity history-- photo by photo. And I learned a lot about Vanity Fair, too. I didn't realize that the magazine folded in 1936, just 23 years after its launch, due to declining ad revenues. Forty-seven years later, the mag was revived. That's one heck of a comeback.

The exhibition consisted of framed vintage prints and contemporary photographs as well as a wall of some of VF's landmark issues. It was funny to see some of the same magazines that I had picked up at the grocery store checkout line on exhibit at the LACMA. But as someone who aspires to enter the world of glossies, I believe magazines can most certainly be art-- and the best ones strive to be. To go beyond the written word and tell a story through pictures. To capture the current culture in a word and an image.

I adored all the photos on display and couldn't possibly pick just one as a fave. They were all interesting and beautiful. But to give you an idea, on view was one of VF's most well-known and controversial photographs: a naked, pregnant Demi Moore. Click here to see some more of the famous photos I saw in the exhibit. (Side note: Have you guys seen this month's VF? Photographer-genius Annie Leibovitz "recreates" her Scarlett Johansson/Keira Knightley nude photo using the funny men of Judd Apatow's films. Hilarious.)

Other than Vanity Fair Portraits, I was also super excited to see the Urban Light exhibition. I have seen it while driving down Wilshire but had not yet had the chance to get up close and personal with the vintage street lamps. Unfortunately, we left before it got dark but I can't wait to go back at dusk to see them all lit up.

Chris Burden's Urban Light

Before leaving, we visited the fairly-new, three-story, 60,000 square-foot Broad Contemporary Art Museum. It is one of the largest column-free art spaces in the United States and, I have to tell you, it boasts the biggest elevator that RR and I have ever been in! It was a glass elevator that fit like 50 people!


The BCAM displays work from 1945 to the present from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, John Baldessari and Roy Lichtenstein. Think pop art, conceptual art. Provocative, subversive. Funny. Amazing. Also on view in the BCAM was the very-interesting Art of Two Germanys/ Cold War Cultures, which featured the art of East and West Germany from during and after the war.

A view of the Hollywood sign from the BCAM.

To remember my day at the LACMA, I picked up a few souvenirs, including these two mini LACMA notepads with the image of a Baldessari-designed poster on the cover. 

I really wanted to buy this book on the VF exhibition but RR talked me out of it. He said it was too much money to spend on a book I wouldn't read. I said no, I will read it. And cherish it. But the $65 price tag was too rich for my blood so I put it back begrudgingly and picked up this print half-price. $6, seriously. Score! Now we just need a frame.

Photo by Nickolas Muray of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Crawford in Santa Monica, 1929.

As you can tell, I had a fantastic time. Much has changed since those childhood field trips. I was actually sad to leave, even though my footsies were killing me!

So what's your take? Museum-lover or not-so-much?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A jolt of inspiration

I know I have said here before how much I love Starbucks. Ever since my mom began working at-- and is now manager of-- one of the coffee company's outposts, I can't seem to get enough. It could be a borderline addiction, but since I don't drink it everyday and, except on rare occasions, enjoy only one cup in a day, I don't think it is time for me to sign up for Coffee Drinkers Anonymous just yet.

But oh boy did I really need my fix today after a long night/morning. This week has been like an article write-ahon that just wouldn't end. (But I guess I could say that about every week.) Lots of last minute questions from my editor that required me to call back sources for clarification, extra info, etc. etc. On Thursday mornings, when all my stories are finally done for the week and all I have left to do is the police blotter, the simple thought of a Starbucks latte gets me through.

Now while it is the java that really counts-- and I have to say, of all the Simi Starbucks, my mom's brew really pulls through on taste-- I like that the Seattle coffee giant thinks about its packaging. I often find myself inspired by "The Way I See It" quotes on the side of my (usually) grande cup. This morning's one was a goody:

The Way I See It #280
You can learn a lot more from 
listening that you can from talking. 
Find someone with whom you 
don't agree in the slightest and ask 
them to explain themselves at 
length. Then take a seat, shut your 
mouth, and don't argue back. It's 
physically impossible to listen with 
your mouth open."

-- John Moe
Radio host and author of 
Conservatize Me.

What a smart cup of coffee, huh? That last line is classic, don't you think? Part of my job is to take a seat, shut up and listen (and take notes! ha) but it is easy to forget to do that in every day life situations. I am not really one to go around broadcasting my opinions and I am a pretty moderate person; I can usually see both sides of an issue. I guess that's what makes me a good, objective journalist. But when I am passionate about something, or having strong feelings on an issue, it can be easy to talk talk talk instead of listen listen listen. 

Sometimes opening your ears is not even about hearing someone else's point of view (instead of promulgating your own). No. Sometimes it is simply about taking the time to listen to a friend who just needs to talk. To vent. To cry even. I like to think I am a pretty good listener. I don't always have the best advice to give, but I can always lend an ear. I think it is important to remember that. God gave us two ears and one mouth. Why? The better to hear you with, my dear.

So when's the last time you just shut up and listened? What did you learn? Are you better at talking or listening?

P.S. That grande cup had a Cinnamon Dolce Latte in it. Mmm, yum. It is my stand-in while Pumpkin Spice is on hiatus... for a year. But when spring/summer comes, I'm all about the Shaken Passion Tea Lemonade with raspberry sweetner. Oh, yeah. Second question: What's your fave Starbucks drink? (Or Coffee Bean, or Peet's, or whatev). Would love to know!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Under my umbrella ella ella

It's raining, it's pouring, my puppy is snoring...

Ok, well she isn't right now, but she was earlier. Too funny to hear such noises coming out of her sweet, little body.

But it really is raining cats and dogs right now. I'm such a California girl for saying this, and many people will disagree with me, but I hate the rain. Yes, I know we are in a drought and we need it, blah blah blah. Fine, maybe hate is a strong word. So let's just say I'm not a big fan of heavy precipitation, especially if I have to go out in it. Or if I am moving, as you might recall. Just think: wet hair, smudged makeup, muddy shoes... and so many snails to watch out for!

What's worse is when it is raining and you have a really busy, stress-filled day. Like I am today, for instance. All I want to do is cozy up with a good book and a warm mug of hot chocolate. Or, just take a nap. Like Hazel has been doing all morning. What a lucky dog.

No such luck for the working girl, which is why I was absent yesterday (sorry!). But I will be back with more later once I finish typing out all my articles. I still have to tell you about the LACMA!

Red Umbrella print via Carambatack Design

Monday, March 2, 2009

The death of a Newspaper

Friday was a sad day in the world of newspapers as Denver's Rocky Mountain News published it's very last issue.

After a nearly 150-year run in the information industry, the Rocky succumbed to the pressures of new media-- namely, the Internet-- and the national economic meltdown. With a declining readership and significant losses in advertising revenue, the Rocky couldn't hold on any longer, or at least its parent company, E.W. Scripps Co., didn't think so. After losing $16 million in 2008, the paper was put up for sale in December. But no viable buyer came forward to save the paper and it was ultimately decided that Denver simply couldn't support two papers: The Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

And so the paper was forced to shut its newsroom doors on a community it had served since 1859, as well as 200 staffers whose daily duty was to write, edit, photograph and layout stories that informed and entertained, or at least did one of the two. While I don't live in Colorado and never read the Rocky Mountain News before, I couldn't help but shed a tear for my compatriots in this fledgling-yet-still-relevant field of journalism. Reporter Mike Littwin said it best in his farewell column
"I know many businesses are closing, particularly these days. But newspapers don't simply close. They die."
My heart ached as I read Littwin's words, explaining that the Rocky has been coming out every day since Aug. 27, 1860 and now it never will again. And how guys in suits cut their staff and resources, citing economics. See, in newspapers, longevity don't mean a thing. The businessman's yardstick of success is in money not stories.

But my heart swelled, too, as the self-described "newspaper junkie" shared his passion for print, saying the reason he signed up for journalism at the age of 16 is because "there isn't a job where you could possibly have more fun."

Even in the wake of the Rocky's death, News Editor/Publisher John Temple told the Associated Press that he is not pessimistic about the future of journalism at all. Some outside the news realm might not understand this, but it is a hope that journalists cling to in a time of unprecedented change. How are we to go on doing what we are doing--what we love to do-- if there is no light at the end of the tunnel?

As the Rocky's Mark Wolf said in the paper's closing issue, "This is a tough time to work for newspapers, but you don't get to pick the career you fall in love with."

Even though I am a "cub reporter," I am not naive enough to think that those in the newspaper business will not have to adapt to the shifting media landscape. Yes, the printed broadsheet (or tabloid, in the Rocky's case) that shows up on your doorstep may one day too soon no longer exist. But I do believe there will always be a need for news--in one form or another-- and qualified, talented and dedicated journalists to deliver it. 

And so today I say to those qualified, talented and dedicated Rocky journalists: Thank you for your work. It has left a lasting impression not only on the city you covered but also the history of journalism. And the void left in its absence cannot be replaced.

Front Page image via Rocky Mountain News