Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where I've spent the past 7 hours...

Gate 407 at the Ontario airport. Hubby had a commitment in Orange County until about 11pm. A cab up the mountain would have cost about $75. I could have taken a cab to the Upland metrolink station and then taken metrolink to San Bernardino and then waited for 2 hours for the MARTA mountain bus service which would have dropped me a quarter mile from home, but it would have entailed a lot of waiting, and only got me home about 2 hours earlier, so I decided to hang out in the airport. I read Us Weekly in Carls Jr with a chocolate malt. I caught up on work emails. I watched Infomania online. I started a Meetup for exploring LA. I played on facebook. I've been making good use of the time. Life is juicy today!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Random Stuff of the Day

I gave in to the rampant consumer in me and bought a Droid on Saturday. I'm having a ridiculously good time downloading and playing with apps. Somewhere in the back of my mind there's this niggling feeling that I need to do my podcast. But seriously. Augmented Reality!!! New and Shiny!!!!

While not downloading useless apps today, I got caught up with some web stuff I didn't get a chance to read last week.

Here is a random sample of my web history folder:

A New Yorker column on Uncommon Complaints about the ipad.

The Digital Edition of the Metro, the UK paper that they give away at all the underground stations. Look, I know it's a bit trashy, but I love the e-edition because it feels like I'm really there. Looking at the ads. Flipping through on my commute from Muswell Hill. And besides, the Guardian charges an arm and a leg for their digital edition. I now get my Guardian news from their android app...she says, ever so smugly.

The BBC History Magazine blogs page. Everything you ever wanted to know about the sex life of ancient greeks.

And finally, an interesting article from the London Times on the long-term implications of the icelandic volcano.

In between reading interesting stuff, we've still been redoing the living room. Hardwood floors are down and just need the baseboard. That will come later this week or next. The current job - painting. After the painting, we can get the furniture put back semi-properly. I'm sensing another trip to Ikea in my not-so-distant-future.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Facts about Life Today

1) I seriously dislike Kate Gosselin.

2) We are putting hardwood floors in the living room, which means the furniture is all messed up and the TV is sitting unplugged in the kitchen. We are having a TV Free existence, which is Very Cool. I didn't have a tv when I lived in England, and I listened to so much music, read so many books, and generally enjoyed life a lot more. That being said, tomorrow I plan on indulging in Celebrity Apprentice on hulu. I'm not one of those people who brags about not having a TV. I think the main reason people don't have TVs is to be able to tell everyone they ever meet that they don't have a TV. Very few people are more sanctimonious than those who quit doing Bad Things (ie smoking). Non-TV-owning people are as sanctimonious as they get, as a general rule.

3) Ikea does a seriously good stuffed salmon. And for $6.99. Ikea might be the new date-night spot. Salmon and bookcases in one trip. What more can one ask for?

4) I just got turned on to the Live Music Archive. I can't believe I never found this before! An archive of gazillions of concerts online, all through Open Source Audio. I'm listening to Jazon Mraz at Farm Aid. I'm a big Jason Mraz fan. I've been following his blog and I'm convinced he's done Landmark Education stuff. It's inspiring - he's out there talking about the possibilities he's creating that touch, move, and inspire him.

5) We went up to see the poppy reserve on Saturday. One of the first things I knew about California, even before I lived here, was that there were these crazy fields of poppies out in the desert. I had seen it on the news a few years before I lived here. It was another El Nino year, and the news was covering how much the flowers were blooming, and how everyone was coming from all over the world to see them. I knew I wanted to see them someday, and now it's become a yearly ritual. Every april we go up to walk around the trails, look for snakes,and check out crazy lizards. It's always a weird feeling for me - when I first moved to CA in1999 with my ex-ex-ex boyfriend Mark, we lived in Lancaster, very near the poppies. It was a pretty miserable time for me - we were on the verge of breaking up, and I was broke. Not a good time.

So it's bittersweet to go back there on our yearly treks now. On the way we always stop at the Charlie Brown Farms restaurant in Littlerock. It's the strangest farm restaurant. They sell everything from ostrich burgers to deep fried pop-tarts. I get a turkey burger. J got a venison burger with garlic fries. They use about 10 cloves of garlic, so now our car smells.

Here's a picture of the poppies. They were all closed up because of the windy weather, but still were bursting with color. And we heard there were rattlesnakes out, but we didn't see any. Bummer.

6) On Thursday I went up to my office in San Mateo for the day. Here's a Wing Picture. Those are the hills somewhere around Gilroy, which is, incidentally, the Garlic Capital of the World. When I first drove to California by myself in March 1996, I remember being blown away by those green hills. They were like nothing I'd ever seen before - so vibrant and velvety. I still want to roll around in them.

7) I am currently reading England's Mistress, the story of Emma Hamilton, mistress to Lord Nelson. She was born in slums in northwest England, made it to London where she worked in brothels, as a maid, and various other demeaning types of jobs, and eventually was 'passed on' to Lord Hamilton, the ambassador to Naples when his nephew tired of keeping her as his own mistress. Being sent to Naples was the best thing that ever could have happened to her, as Lord Hamilton fell in love with her, and actually married her. He was a widower, and really didn't have much to lose. He was 60, she was about 25. She wound up meeting Nelson while he was fighting Napoleon, and openly became his mistress. I'm still not through with the book, but according to Wikipedia, she managed to live with both her husband and Nelson at the same time, in England. If nothing else, she's inspiring for how much she was able to overcome, and how far she rose.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Last Sunday I went to the Museum of London, an amazing museum at the Barbican about the complete history of London, with four galleries each covering prehistory, Roman annexation, Medieval/Renaissance and the 17th century fire and plagues. It's an awesome spot, and highly recommended to anyone interested in London, its history and development.

This poem, written by Bernardine Evaristo, is carved into glass in the entrance of the prehistory gallery. I'm not a huge poetry person. I say I'm too ADD, but really I just lack the patience that it takes to be profoundly with words the way you need to be to really get poetry. That being said, since I journeyed to City Lights bookstore a few weeks ago, and bought a book of Beat Poetry, I've been getting more into it. I actually took 15 minutes to really be with this poem when I was at the museum, and I even took a picture of the glass so I would be able to bring it home with me.

Take a few minutes and enjoy...
(and thank you for your wonderful words, Bernardine Evaristo):


Time has frozen this midwinter night
Outside, the pavement coated with a transparent skin

Inside, I retreat into down, sensing the vibration
Of polar sheets creeping south, burying us

A thousand feet under blue ice, diverting the river
Out of the Vale of St. Albans into the Lindon Basin

Welcome home. Welcome first citizen, chasing
Reindeer over the hip joint with France,

Tropical and glacial cycles, waves of migrators -
Your long trek north, from below the Sahara,

Circling a camp fire by the Thames
The hair of wolves over tight backs; dread -

Locked beards, un-polished eyes, your slow,
Heavy mouths chewing fresh rhinoceros, roasted

No spices, unaware that you are dislocating
From France as you eat, that the Channel is rising,

That my heated body floats above a London of birch
And pine forest, of open grassland where gangs

Of straight-tusked elephants gather in Trafalgar
Square, hippopotami wallow in the brown marshes

Of Pall Mall and from Marble Arch I gaze longingly
On sheets of marigold, meadowsweet, mint

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The music I'm loving right now

Stile Antico is without a doubt my new favorite early music choral group. I've dabbled in lots of groups, too. I was an early music groupie. Seriously. I traveled around trailing a particular group of early music singers. I've been a fan of the Sixteen and the Tallis Scholars and Henry's Eight and all of 'em. But Stile Antico has set the bar high. Really high. I'm listening to Media Vita right now. Media Vita translates to "In the midst of Life we are in Death". It's a 25 minute meditation on mortality and redemption, as one reviewer on emusic said. I'm hooked.

You know what's beyond fathomable...that 100 years ago, if you wanted to listen to music like this, you had to go to evensong at Westminster Abbey. Or a really good church. And now I just download it off of emusic for 22 cents a download. Seriously, this is insane. Thousands of years of human history spent without music on demand. And I get itunes. My dad thought he was the shiznit with his 8 tracks. I have about 80g of music on a hard drive that I can take with me anywhere. It's almost criminal that I don't appreciate it more.

Speaking of which - gratitude journal time.
Today I am grateful for:
Snuggles with Lewis Hamilton (my cat, not the F1 driver. The F1 driver would be nice, though...)
A clean kitchen with more counter space now that we threw the microwave under the sink since we never used it.
My make-at-home iced mochas
That I'm finally getting over my da*n cold.
Music on Demand and kick*ss speakers with which to enjoy it (courtesy of that $5k gift card I won at Target 2 years ago).

Monday, April 5, 2010

ipads suck and horses in commercials

So the ipad went on sale over the weekend. Being a go-go-gadget girl, when I first heard about this beautiful tablet, I was certain that I'd buy one. I bookmarked the site. I ooohed and ahhhed. I dreamt of writing the Great American Novel sitting on a train, on my beautiful stylish tablet while listening to pandora.

Except you can't with the ipad. No multitasking. Seriously? For something that's supposed to be a replacement for a netbook, no multitasking? Yep, as far as gizmodo's list of 8 things that suck about the ipad goes, this is number one for me. Then I found the iphonedownloadblog's 16 reasons that the ipad sucks, (double your ipad-sucks-fun) and read about the lack of widgets, the battery life sucking, and the weight.

So yep, I'm not into it.

But what I am into is that funny Big Red verizon commercial (see above "double your fun" reference). You'll watch youtube on a horse? Man, that makes me laugh.

speaking of using horses in commercials, I love this Old Spice one. Seriously, this guy rocks. I could watch this over and over. How did they do that???

I'm tempted to find out how they did that in one take with the horse and all, but I kind of like the mystery, so I'm not going to find out.

So yeah, I'm liking horses in commercials, and not liking the ipad.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More stuff to keep up with

I've been playing around with Google Reader, finally. I haven't shared everything that I'm following yet, but I'll keep sharing stuff on my public shared page. I love the idea that Google Reader lets you subscribe to any website, whether they have an RSS feed or not. For example, I subscribed to the BBC History Magazine today, and it doesn't look like they have an RSS feed, but with a little bit of Google magic, I can keep up with what they're posting on their site without having to remember to go to their site all the time. Presto! Magic! I love it! EXCEPT...

...there are currently 385 unlistened-to podcasts sitting in itunes right now. About 120 emails. In a world where information is everywhere, it becomes very difficult to not feel pressured to keep up with everything. So I'm going to have to be very judicious about deleting stuff, and not getting down if I suddenly have 100 unread items, and simply deleting them.