Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Bonus?

If/when I get a holiday bonus this year (apparently all full-time employees do), I want to buy:
  • a new digital camera (not sure what kind yet)
  • TiVo
Whatever I don't spend, I will save in my "fun stuff" cash box, which I have not put anything into in a while. This box is basically my keep-some-spare-cash-around box, so when I want to splurge on a little something (or an unexpected need for a gift arises), I don't have to tap into my checking account.

Holiday bonus, come now! I am impatient! :-)

The holidays put me in a mood that is simultaneously nostalgic and consumerist. I think they're supposed to do that, according to "the man" anyway. You feel all warm and fuzzy and festive, and you want to buy things to make you feel that way all the time. Like pumpkin-spice candles, and soon apple-cinnamon candles, and warm sweaters, and new shoes, and and and and and....I'm not usually this stuff-driven, I swear. But sometimes it's fun to indulge.

I feel so spoiled and, well, American. But at least I'm aware of it, right?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Night at the Opera

I love pleasant surprises, I really do. So when my friend Stephanie called me yesterday afternoon asking if I wanted a free ticket to the San Francisco Opera that night, I was very excited. There was a bit of confusion -- I thought she said La Racine, then I thought it was La Rondine (Puccini), and it turned out to be The Rake's Progress (Stravinsky). Needless to say, I was totally surprised when I showed up. But very pleasantly so.

The opera itself wasn't really my thing. Too Faustian, not enough making sense...and I feel like there was a lot that I just flat-out didn't get. But oh well. The performers were great, and I liked the music (good thing I'm into atonal Stravinsky). The real star of the show, though, was the set. So, So, So, So, SO COOL. It had all these hydraulic parts, with parts of the floor opening up, things coming up from underneath, and just really remarkable transformation capability in general. I can't talk about it very well for some reason, maybe I'm tired, but the design was really very good.
Here is an example: the swimming pool. The lights made it look like the water was rippling, and they had it set up so there was an open space (unseen by the audience) so that people could dive into it - they even had a small water splash happen whenever someone did. It was really, really fun.

And best of all? The whole night was free (shuttle from work to SF, free ticket, ride home from Steph)! Heck yes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sometimes, I Am Totally a Girl

Ok, so sometimes I go into what I call Girl Mode, which is less of a Mode and more of a Mood (maybe?). When I go into Girl Mode, I want to Go Shopping. Let's get one thing straight before I go into this: I am not a shopper. I do not like the mall, I don't like spending money, and I hate crowds. But sometimes, on occasion, I want...I wander around with a girlfriend and just look at pretty things. Sometimes, if the mood strikes, I buy a pretty thing. And then I feel all girlish and giggly and embarrassed but really sort of giddy all over. It's terrible, really. But a part of life, I believe.

So. This Sunday, I got together with the lovely Emika, and after a delightful lunch at Venus (always a long wait, so worth it -- though I'm sticking to me tried and true eggs benedict next time; my veggie nest was too much like a salad), I decided to take her to Bay Street. Now, Bay Street is nothing special, but it is the perfect solution to my "mall bad, shopping good" Girl Mode. It basically has all the stores I love (with the exception of Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, but that would just be dangerous), in a simple, easy to access strip, but it's not a strip mall. I'm not good at describing things, apparently, so just check out the website if you're interested.

We wandered through H&M, thinking nothing was too special (but then, that's H&M for ya, isn't it? Really good if you know what you want and they happen to have it, not so good for inspirational). But then, oh then, we decided to go to Banana Republic. This store has always been the "when I have a real job, I can go in here and look around" store for me. Not that I can justify, or afford, a $98 cap sleeve shirt, but now I can totally look around and see if there is anything beautiful on sale. Like these shoes:

which I totally purchased. They were originally $68, but I got them at 30% off, so they were under $50. For a beautiful pair of yellow/gold pleated satin ballet flats, I'd say that's pretty darn good. I've been trying to spend more than $20 on a pair of shoes lately--I've come to a point in my life where comfort reigns over cost where shoes are concerned, thanks to one Payless Shoes blister too many. Honestly, on shoes, it's worth it to spend a little more. And it's not like I'm spending $200; $50 on shoes is actually considered average-to-cheap. Who knew? Now I'm just trying to resist buying them in plum (or Brinjal Purple), which apparently is my new favorite color.

Speaking of plum-colored satin, Emika bought this amazing purse. It was only $35 on sale, and it is SO not a $35 purse. It's beautiful and glorious and I can't believe I'm talking about a purse like this but if you could only see it in person you would understand oh my god. It is lovely. Here is a picture that does not do it any justice whatsoever:

My god, it is so perfect, I am more than considering buying it in teal. Or "artisan blue." Whatever, it's teal. And for $35, I might have to treat myself. Again. Damn you, 3-paycheck November!

I think I can justify it because it looks like I'm getting a free flight to Washington for Christmas with The Boy's family. Thank you, Southwest Rapid Rewards! So, that saves me about $350...most of which I will put in savings, spend on other people's gifts, etc....but what's $35 for a truly exceptional handbag? It also comes in the beautiful yellow (which they call "kayak yellow" -- gross) of my ballet flats, but I'm not so crazy as to go all matchy-matchy here.

I am currently on a mission to find the perfect party dress...which I wanted to find in a luscious plum, teal, navy or hunter green satin, but I don't know if that is going to happen, really. But now that I have yellow satin flats, and the potential teal satin handbag (maybe I'll visit Banana Republic on the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday, aka Am I Crazy??? Maybe just a little), I should really find a dress so I can feel all pretty this holiday season.

Oh god, I am being silly. I'm stopping. Now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Checking your address on Google Maps

I'm in another video -- and this feature is really cool! Check it out! For more info, go to:

PS - it's about 30 seconds long.

PPS - I am the token girl.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Two Hour Nap, A Two Hour Nap

I just woke up from a two hour nap. What? I haven't taken a nap on a Saturday afternoon in I can't remember how long! Now I'm feeling sleepy and lethargic, and am just waiting around for my second wind.

Funny note: I just started watching Bridget Jones's Diary, and have noticed something funny. Shirley Henderson's character Jude is described as spending most of her days at work locked in the women's bathroom, crying about her boyfriend/husband. Shirley Henderson also plays Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies (which came out one year after Bridget Jones). In case you don't know, Moaning Myrtle is a ghost who spends all of her time crying in the girls' bathroom. Coincidence? I think not! :-) Also interesting...I had no idea she was not a young adult (around the age of the rest of the kids in HP) -- she was born in 1965!

I went to IKEA today and used about half of the $80 gift card I received when I purchased my couch to buy the kind of almost-frivolous home decor I would probably not use my own money for...things like candle dishes, baskets to organize my linen closet, and a spring-form cake pan. And a garlic press, and an egg slicer, and a bread basket, and some super cute candle holders. I love having "free money" at IKEA. I am such a nerd.

Now I am on a hunt for some pretty looking and pretty smelling block candles. It's easy to find the Christmas or "holiday" smelling ones (and actually, I already have an apple cinnamon candle ready in the linen closet...I bring it out every year for a month or so), but I'm having a hard time finding something pumpkin-y. We were at The Boy's cousin's house the other night, and they had these gorgeous orange candles that were almost mosaic-like, and they smelled deliciously like fall. Not like pumpkin pie, but definitely pumpkin. I would love to find some of these! Any ideas in/near Berkeley? The scented candles at Walgreens and IKEA are just not doing it for me.

Ok, now for a list of links I've been saving up for far too long:
  • Barack Obama came to work last week. The line to get in was intense. It was standing room only. And I thought he was a very very good speaker. The link will take you to information about the visit, as well as to a video of his speech/Q&A.
  • This puzzle floor is way cool. Way cool.
  • Not that I need another tote-type bag, but check this out. I really, really like it. And now that it was just payday (in 3-paycheck November!), I'm having a very hard time resisting...
  • GradGirl wrote about her recent transition into being the boss at her work. One thing she doesn't like is the loss of that feeling of employee camaraderie. Now, I'm not going to say that there's no manager-employee boundary at Google, or that there isn't a definite difference between employees and their superiors, but it's definitely different from most places. It's a very odd sort of non-hierarchy here, especially in the engineering departments. I mean, there are different levels of employees and managers, but it's just a very open communication line. There is a lot of freedom, and a lot of this sort of trust, I guess. Also, the managers of my team came with us on our recent off-site trip to Sky High Sports, where even the "higher up" engineering directors played Extreme Dodgeball, getting really into it when we ended up playing "grown ups vs. kids" against a very talented group of 10 year old boys who had the day off school.
  • If you want to know about some really cool new Gmail features, click here. It's actually a very nice and friendly explanation of the features.
  • An article about my friend Peter.

My downstairs neighbors have been playing very loud music for the last hour and a half (maybe more, since I was asleep). Le sigh. Time to be productive.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rainy Saturday

Today is Saturday, and it is raining. The Boy and I slept in until a glorious 10:00am, and then went to buy me a little $25 bookshelf that I found on Craigslist. We went to a drizzly Berkeley Farmer's Market, stocked up on approximately $45 worth of fresh produce, cheese and bread (between the two of us), and I drove him to his tailgate. Now I am curled up on my comfy couch, after having eaten some yummy deviled eggs (from already hard boiled eggs I took from work on my way home on Friday -- they're just going to go bad anyway, right?), watching the U$C/Cal game and being generally pleased.

My only complaint is that my apartment is a bit chilly. The windows are really old, and I don't think they keep the cold out very well. Additionally, I haven't quite solved the rug situation, so my hardwood floors are bare and not absorbing any of the heat, or cold, or whatever carpet/rugs are supposed to do to make your house warmer. Do any of you readers out there (hellooo? I know you're out there somewhere!) have any low-cost, renter-friendly suggestions for keeping the cold out and the warm in? I have a rather old space/wall heater, and I'm going to have to give in eventually and make my landlord get it to operate, but it's probably expensive to run, and I'm sure it doesn't work all that well anyway.


Other than that, things are business as usual at Chez Kim. I haven't gotten as much cleaning done today as I would have liked, but I did pay my bills (and there are still two more paychecks coming this month! Granted, the second will go almost entirely to December's rent, but still...Wahoo!) Time to start thinking about holiday shopping...? It is November, after all.

Hopefully this rain will ease up a bit. For now, I'm going to turn on my mini-dorm-sized-space-heater (seriously, it's like 6"x6"), put on some slippers and curl up on the couch with some hot chocolate and my knitting. Go Bears.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Writers' Guild Strike

A writer friend sent me this video, and I thought I would share. Simple and informative. Check it out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Man, vacation was a good idea. We started down the coast to Santa Cruz, to visit my little sister and take her out to a nice lunch. She was very appreciative--and we certainly remembered what it's like to have just started college...and how nice it was to be taken out to a good meal every once in a while! We ate on the pier, and saw tons of seals. A great way to start out the trip!

We stayed at the Lighthouse Lodge (my yelp review), which turned out to be great. The photo below is of the lovely vaulted ceilings.

The main attraction of this vacation was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. So much fun. Photos below:

adorable otter

I loved these jellies!

These too...

Oh, and these...

I'm wild about otters!!!

We also ate at the amazing Passionfish restaurant (my review here). This was our big splurge meal ($100 total for the two of us), though really, considering the fact that we had a 1/2 bottle of wine, 2 salads, 2 entrees and dessert, that's really not too bad. I wish we had eaten here a second time instead of spending almost as much at Blue Moon (my review here), which I'm not even going to link to because it was so unpleasant. BUT, Blue Moon was the only unpleasant thing about the vacation. And I wish we could go back right. now. It was really fun to do a "grown-up" thing like taking a vacation. Ah, having a job :-)

Project Clean My Apartment is going pretty well. I need to do a good Swiffering and there are still things here and there that need to be put away, and there's a big load of cardboard (boxes from the couch) that need to be flattened and folded for recycling...but overall, it's ok. Hopefully it will be clean enough to take pictures of tomorrow. I'm sitting on my new couch right now, and it's just so nice!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Real World: IKEA

Ok, so I know I REALLY haven't posted in a long time, but I was on vacation. And I will post pictures of adorable otters soon. And of my new couch. Maybe even tomorrow. But for now, check out this video:

I think it's a funny concept; kind of reminds me of a combination of flash mobs and improv. I'm bummed that the one girl basically has no character, but if someone like Jessie* had been involved, it would have been way funnier. In the world of comedy, if you are a female, you have to work a little bit harder to be taken seriously. Or funnily, I guess.

Blogger says that funnily is a word. Ha. Ha. Ha.

*if you type in instead of, you get a scary bible website. Try it. It's very fun. (not really)