Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Working From Home

I started working at home, since I got laid off my job the week before last. And I'm proud to say that some of the things I was most worried about have not been a problem at all. Here are my top 10 myths that have been debunked over the last week-and-a-half:

1. I will start cleaning obsessively. (Nope, I have had no burning need to clean, and the fur tumbleweed that I swear multiplies faster than the pets could shed it, hasn't been as bad as I thought).

2. I won't be able to share space with Gary, my work-at-home-husband. (As a matter of fact I would actually say it has been fun. We had lunch together today, and sometimes chat as if we're cubicle-mates.)

3. The dogs and cats will pester me, rendering me unable to work. (We put 'em all outside, but they're still needy. I equate it to the types of interruptions I would get from co-workers stopping by my cube -- not pesty at all, but more like a nice break from what I was doing).

4. I will let myself go. (This will shock you all, but I've gotten up each day, brushed my teeth, combed the mop, and put on clothes. If you don't believe me, ask Gary).

5. My design work will suffer. (The small projects for Erika, and the larger project for PCBC all came out great. I'm really proud of them. And they were all completed from right here at the kitchen table.)

6. Gary will come to despise me. (Hasn't happened yet!! I think the man actually does love me, bless his heart.)

7. I will be starved for human interaction (besides Gary). (This is easily resolved with a trip to the coffeeshop or pub.)

8. I will overeat. (Funny but I probably snacked more when I was in the office. Here, I just haven't really craved much and only really eat at mealtimes.)

9. I will have so much fun walking the dogs, etc. that I will miss deadlines. (So far, none missed. I have my trusty moleskine dayplanner by my side and live-and-die by it just as I did when in an office.)

10. I will feel some sort of generalized listlessness or malaise because I'm such a people person and things are just too quiet. (Well, this will just be something I'll deal with. My strategy is signing up for one of those 10-days-of-Yoga deals at a local studio. First lesson is tomorrow!).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sick day (or, how I almost went to a gay bathhouse)

So, I wake up one morning this week, all scratchy-throated, sniffly and sinusey. What with all this rain, you would not think it possible for me to be as dried out as I felt. My skin was chapped, and it felt like the Mojave in my sinus cavity. Natch, I took the day off work and went on a quest for a sauna in Sacramento.

Last year the hubs and I went to the greatest spa in Santa Cruz. It had whirlpools, steam rooms, spa services, a sauna and was the most Zen-like, peaceful place to while away an afternoon. I emerged refreshed and way healthier than when I arrived. In other words, exactly what I needed the other day, only I needed it to be located at, say, F65 (such an odd place in Sac that I have to say I’m strangely drawn to it, and wouldn’t it be perfect for a modernist, hip spa-type-dealy?).

I also recall hearing about a Japanese spa in San Francisco that would have been the perfect cure for my malaise. But again, I just needed it to be here, in our fair Sactown.

The only way I know of to get information such as “where in Sacramento has a spa with a sauna?” is to check online, and not much came up, except a place out toward Rancho Cordova (I’m specifically not mentioning the location or the name, you’ll see why).

So I drive out there, walk in and politely inquire about their services. I am equally politely informed that the facility only welcomes men. I ask if he means like, on certain days? Then other days its women? Like at the Kabuki place in SF? Uh, no. Men all the time.

I’m bummed. There were no other places listed in Sacramento (besides gyms). So I do the only logical thing. I go have lunch at the Limelight. Why there? I don’t know. They do have good food, and if I can’t sweat out my ick, then maybe gorging on delicious food will help (didn’t). So in my (delightful) chat with the friendly barkeep, I mention my day’s failed quest and after he stops laughing he informs me that I’ve visited my first gay bathhouse. Nice. And other friends have confirmed it is true. I should have known — Rancho Cordova being the home of much of Sacramento’s seedy underbelly (i.e. Centerfolds, etc.). I know, there’s good stuff too (Sky High Sports, Rascals, and the air shows at Mather, but I’m making a point here).

Now, while I’m happy for the gays of Sacramento that they have such a resource at their disposal here in our little cowtown, I want to know: where can I spend an afternoon at a spa/sauna and perhaps get a massage, without joining 24 Hour Fitness or California Family Fitness (or turning into a gay male)?

Rumor has it that I can drop in to Alhambra Athletic Club and use theirs, but will it be all gym-ish and smell of sweat and socks instead of massage oil and incense?

I’m banking on someone out there knowing how to solve this important question.

(originally posted on Sactoblog)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Returning to Sacramento

Look, I get it; Sacramento is going through hard times. From the plight of our state workers to our worsening housing market, not to mention the drought on top of the fact that the price of beer keeps going up. Things look bad all around. Except when you’re flying home from Las Vegas.

Yesterday I left Vegas: dry, brown, extremely quiet, scarily devoid of people, with casinos in bankruptcy, attendance at events down, many bars & restaurants closed (or not open certain days), and a housing market that seems much bleaker than ours. I couldn’t believe how empty the casinos were. And the horrible, horrible tourists with their pushiness and tacky outfits (although fewer people are going to Vegas, those that are there seem a little lower on the cool spectrum).

I got on the plane and as we approached Sacramento I saw all the lush green farms, the river and irrigation channels flowing, and the trees (oh, the trees). I am aware that this picture doesn’t negate the fact that we’ll face a drought this summer, but seeing all that green just makes you feel, what is it? Healthier? More optimistic?

And I always know I’m getting on a Sacramento-bound plane because the people are just a little nicer. We look up, say hi, hold the door, wait for our friends who get randomly chosen for a security check, move our bag so someone else can sit, listen attentively to the safety instructions. Sacramentans are, generally speaking, good people.

I came back from Vegas with more than just gambling losses and chapped lips — I gained perspective. It could be a whole lot worse.

(originally posted on Sactoblog)

Friday, January 9, 2009

The color of 2009

I find this incredibly interesting. Pantone has selected "mimosa" as the color of the year for 2009, for reasons having to do with our collective state of mind. Fascinating. The way that we can collectively be drawn to a color seems to me to be related to why we all go to the bank at the same time, for example. What kooky internal, unknown quality is there that draws us together in these seemingly random ways? Are we so much more connected than we even know? I know some will cry bogus, but examples like this make it hard to deny that we can have a collective aesthetic, or internal timer, or numerous other types of (quite personal!) sensibilities.

PANTONE® 14-0848 Mimosa, a warm, engaging yellow, as the color of the year for 2009. In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow.

"The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation."

I'd like to weigh in as officially loving this color, and notice that I'm already using it in my design work, here and there.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Best of 2008

OK, here goes, my personal top favorite things from the year 2008 (in no particular order):

  1. The Visitor, a great small movie. Just may be my favorite of the year.
  2. Pentagram's re-design of the Atlantic Monthly. A classy new look for a great publication.
  3. NARS sticks. Makeup that isn't too makeup-y.
  4. The utterly watchable yet utterly awful Jeff Lewis from Bravo's Flipping Out show.
  5. Anthony Bourdain, you sexy beast, I'd eat something gross with you any day!
  6. Feist. 'Nuf said.
  7. The Bonn Lair, my favorite pub, where I'll always run into at least 5 people I know.
  8. Iconoclasts on the Sundance Channel. It's high-level documentary-style, bringing together famous people who make an impact. 
  9. Tim Gunn on Project Runway. You make the whole show for me, Tim.
  10. Baby Bel cheese. 
  11. Eddie Money. Saw him in concert with his daughter, Jesse, and loved it!
  12. Typography I projects. I loved co-teaching Typography I at Art Institute this year. The students' projects were amazing.
  13. SacTown magazine. This publication raises the bar not just in our region but for cities everywhere. Bravo to you, SacTown!
  14. Etsy, the best website for my personal values -- support the little guy (gal), buy stuff that's unique & made by hand, whenever possible, and get really cool stuff. Also, it's a smartly designed website.
  15. The Magic Theater. This place is small and eccentric and worth the drive from Sacramento for a 7:30 show.
  16. Young @ Heart, a documentary that moved me. Elderly people on tour singing pop songs and proving that you're never to old to belt one out like James Brown.
  17. Dandelion, another sweet, subtle, sparkly produt from the fine people at Benefit cosmetics.
  18. Will Shortz, a toast to you for providing me another year of NYT crosswording fun! 
  19. Guinness, a tasty beer that is always reliable, delicious and lower in calories than any other decent beer.
  20. The New Yorker magazine, what would I do without you? The two weeks this year when my subscription lapsed were quite lonely and bland and I never realized how much I need you and all your attendant writers and features. Can anyone explain to me why I still read Tables for Two when I haven't actually visited New York since like 2001? Your Barack Obama victory cover was your best since 9/11.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bacon is huge right now.

Last night in class (Typography I) I uttered the phrase, "Bacon is huge right now." Maybe you don't believe me, and perhaps that sounds like an odd thing to say, but honestly, I and many friends are now Facebook "fans" of bacon, someone has a blog about bacon, my good friend mentioned a new product Baconnaise recently, plus our friends at YouTube provided this nice Obama-Bacon connection (hilarious -- you'll crack up). And don't get me started on how awesome the new magazine Meat Paper is!

What I mean to say is, sometimes trends seem really weird, but in this case, I feel we should have seen it coming. Bacon is a delightful backlash to another strong trend toward fresh, local, organic, crunchy, raw vegetables! Yes, what I'm saying is that for every powerful movement, there is an opposite (not always equal, but anyway...) movement to counteract it.

This plays well into something else that came up in class last night. A student pointed out that there's a huge trend toward hand-drawn and hand lettered type. People are craving the human touch! Of course they are, in this age of being tied to your computer/iPhone/online game/etc. It makes perfect sense that we need something to counteract all this digitization.

I know I'm not the first person to communicate this concept, but I'd like to think maybe I'm the first to say it with bacon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

People are funny.

Christian Bale and Kermit the Frog. Separated at birth? Signs point to Yes, based upon the EXTENSIVE evidence found in this blog. I mean, who has this kind of time? I barely had time to scroll through the whole thing!! Enjoy.