Interweb Finds: A vintage trailer makeover, dogs annoying cats with friendship & more

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Merry (almost) Christmas, friends!

Soon, John and I will be hopping on a plane headed east to spend a week with our families back home, and I can’t wait to finally break out my beloved winter coat I never get to wear in sunny SoCal. It’s going to be nice being spoiled by our parents again.

I’m not hauling my laptop with me, but I’ve got a couple posts scheduled to keep this space fresh in the meantime. And when I return in time for New Year’s Eve, I plan on digging into some coding and design to debut a new layout that’s going to be clean and simple but still have a little flair. I’M SO EXCITED, GUYS.

But for now, here are those interweb finds you came for.

A visual alphabet-dictionary of unusual words. My favorite is scripturient: possessing a violent desire to write.

The musical middle class is getting squeezed:

“The truth is that touring is hardly a big moneymaker for many bands. It’s expensive. It’s viciously competitive. It’s tiring. And not every band can command the $100 or $200 or $500 a ticket that acts like Beyoncé and Madonna can. As such, tour revenue has become more unevenly distributed among artists over time, exaggerating music’s superstar economy and contributing to the hollowing out its middle class.”

People who live near the Hollywood sign are trying to hide it and decrease traffic in their neighbors. How? By making deals with Google and GPS company Garmin to place it somewhere else entirely on the map.

I really enjoyed this interview with Chris Rock. An excerpt:

“To say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

Sometimes, people say really stupid things on the internet. Do they deserve to be called out? Sure, probably. Do they deserve to be blasted by the media, ridiculed by thousands of strangers online and get canned from their job? One journalist responsible for the demise of a woman’s career reconsiders.

HI. SWOON. I adore this vintage trailer makeover.

I literally got teary-eyed watching this: dogs annoying cats with friendship.

Aaaand we’re going to double down on the HuffPo pet videos, because we can: shelter pets at the Christmas dinner table.

 

That’s all from me for this month—I’ve got packing to do. Have a happy, stress-free week!

Going home

going home

When I was planning my trip home to the East Coast for Christmas, I envisioned coming back seeming different somehow. More cultured maybe. Lively. Slightly tanned, better hair.

And, well, I indulged in that mindset a bit. I got a dramatic new haircut. I made a point of getting some color at the beach last week. You know, the important things in life.

But the more I thought about going home magically changed—at least on the inside—it dawned on me that maybe that was the wrong approach. True, I have changed in a lot of small yet significant ways. And I’ve learned so much in just a few short months—about myself, about the journalism field, about the City of Angels, and about what uprooting your life to start a new adventure with your boyfriend and pursue a dream looks like.

What I didn’t think about at first, though, was how everything back at home would be changing on me. Time didn’t stop the day I left Maryland. Things wouldn’t feel the way I remembered them from before. In many ways, home would be plenty different on its own without me making a conscious effort. Transforming as the result of personal growth and experience is a wonderful (and necessary) thing. Altering things about yourself to seem more interesting than you actually are? Not something I want to ever get caught up in.

What I don’t want to change? Goofing around with my sisters at a significantly decreased maturity level. That amazing spoiled feeling of being fed and pampered by your parents. Knowing no matter where else I choose to live, home base will be here for me when I need it.

It’ll be just a week of family time before I head back to L.A., and I intend to make the most of the whirlwind trip. John and I have a “Four Christmases” style visit ahead of us, so things may be a bit quiet around these parts (as they have been for the past week). But I’ll be checking in for an end-of-year post and spending the downtime I do have brainstorming what 2014 will be like for WTH. There will be changes, yes. But at its heart, still the same blog it’s always been.

In the meantime, if you’re celebrating, have a Merry Christmas. Make the most of it—you never know how things will change.

Be present and give presents

Fatty Christmas

(These are my dogs in elf sweaters—$3 apiece at Target. Best purchase of 2012 by far.)

I made a rather impulsive promise in my last post to remove myself from the online world for three days starting on Christmas Eve. So far I’m living up to that promise—today’s post was scheduled ahead of time!

Honestly, it was long overdue that I take a sabbatical (however brief) from the Internet. As much as I love the web—all the information readily available, the personal connections I make daily—I’m realizing I need to start monitoring my use of it more carefully. As it turns out, there IS such a thing as too much information and entertainment. I believe that when the comfort of web consumption distracts you from creating something meaningful outside of the blogosphere, it’s ultimately to your detriment. Being a writer doesn’t mean being chained to your computer around the clock. It means gaining real-world perspective elsewhere and making a mental note to write about it later.

Christmas reindeer

John and I went to the Baltimore Museum of Art on Saturday to check out the new contemporary wing. Talk about gaining perspective. I’ve never seen a work of art and NOT been amazed and humbled by the fact that what’s in front of me is the product of utter fearlessness, dedication, and reckless abandon. So much of the art we saw was evidence of that truth. Those artists don’t let time waste away guiltily browsing Jezebel headlines or accidentally spending too much time stalking strangers’ Facebook photos. They’re too busy creating, because there’s simply not enough time to do so in the first place.

bokeh Christmas lights

I’m no artist. I can’t draw or paint (not very well, anyway), and it wouldn’t ever cross my mind to sew banana peels back together and call it art. But I can appreciate that someone else has. And I can treat my own creative endeavors—art forms in their own right—with the same respect by spending more time observing, reflecting, and recording without immediately thinking to myself, “Can I blog about this?” It doesn’t mean I won’t, but that’s not where I want my mind to go first.

penguin Christmas

I have to say how thankful I am to have my love for film photography for these very reasons. Whereas writing does have its limitations (it’s only ever gonna get published if I put my ass in the chair), photography forces you to get your ass out of the chair and explore. Before I picked up my 1975 Minolta SRT-202, I never would’ve had a non-crazy excuse to pull my car over to the side of the road and take in the beauty of a patch of woods. The act of photography itself practically begs you to reexamine just about everything, and it requires you to be physically, actively engaged. There are no easy distractions.

Christmas lights

While I wrote this under the assumption that someone would be reading on Christmas Eve (after all, it is a wonderful time to veg out and partake in a few mindless activities), I encourage you to unplug and enjoy some time away from the computer, too. I plan on getting a little exercise, wrapping the last few gifts, and reading (for fun!) before Santa comes. Most importantly, I’ll allow myself to recharge a bit so that when the inevitable return to the working world comes, I’ll have some renewed energy to tap into.

To those who celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas.

Witty Title Here Christmas

This is all it takes…

…to make your cozy garage-topped bedroom feel like Christmas.

 

All I want for Christmas is the ugly Pandora bracelet Kay’s jewelers won’t shut up about… except not really.

I have a question for all you men out there: Do you feel advertisements inaccurately convey your utter desires and wants? Or are you REALLY itching for some golf clubs and nose hair trimmers this Christmas? Because that’s what Dad’s about to get if inspiration doesn’t strike soon.

Seriously, what is up with the continuous gender stereotyping when it comes to holiday ads? Do I, at any point during the year, reek of the Macy’s fragrance department? No? Then don’t buy me Dior J’adore just ’cause it’s on TV. It might make Charlize Theron rip off all her multi-million dollar diamonds and gown, but that’s just wasteful, and it certainly is not going to make me fling off my Banana Republic clearance sweater out of sheer excitement.

Men so often complain that women are hard to shop for, but really we’re easy. As in easy to shop for. Not easy easy. Well, some of us. Anyway– a gift should just be pretty and/or thoughtful. Nothing makes a girl swoon more than a gift we know took some contemplation. (“Ooohhh, that ION hairdryer I’ve been dying to get ever since my hair was frizzy that one night six months ago! You remembered! God, you’re amazing.”) Really, that easy. That’s just an example, though. Don’t take that as a hint, people, or I’ll be severely disappointed.

Men, on the other hand, are impossible to shop for. Clothes? You’ll never wear them. Books? You’ll never read them. Gift cards? You’ll use them to buy someone else’s Christmas present, don’t lie. Men are much more picky than women. The only guy I’ve yet to have trouble with shopping-wise is John, who’s actually fun to buy for. (I actually ran into him today while Christmas shopping. Have you ever accidentally run into your significant other out in public? It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for two months or two years– it’s kind of awkward, in a cute So what are YOU buying? kinda way.)

So at least I’ve got one dude down, but the Faja and step-pop really need to make it easier to shop for them. There are only so many coffee table books and ties you can buy a person. Dick’s Sporting Goods’ website is advertising pistols though– it’s what every man wants!– so that might be a nice way to shake things up.