My house has a nook. Technically, it’s a breakfast or a dining nook, but I didn’t put a table in there, so no eating terms can correctly be associated with it. I decided I needed this space for storing all sorts of stuff, so home to bookcase and cabinet and vacuum it became; and besides, there wasn’t room for more than just a small table there anyway. I prefer eating dinner in front of the TV when alone, and there’s great plans for a dining area that will be discussed in a later entry…
Anyway, the nook. It’s small, and it’s between the living room, bathroom and kitchen, but it seems to qualify as a room in it’s own right. The nook:
I have a sponge mop there. Isn’t that classy?
The other side of the nook looks about the same. Yeah, I’m short on space to hide things like vacuums. Note the two folding chairs I keep around for guests. Cheap at IKEA!
But look back at that first pic. That shows what’s really important at my place:
Everybody loves bathrooms. It’s the most important room in any place, when you think about it, because it’s the one room that, when you need, you really *need*.
Well, *I* love the bathroom, anyway. Please, come and visit mine.
I love my shower. It’s got a nice strong spray. Also check out the makeup mirror my Wonderful Girlfriend installed. She’s the one who’s handy with the power drill and wall anchors.
Yes, those are claw feet you see there!
The other side of the bathroom isn’t as nice, but it’s the most important part.
It has not just the toilet, which is a nice old-fashioned strong-flushing kind. The frosted window just looks out on a solid wooden slat fence. The little metal shelf is invaluable since this place is horribly short of storage and, well, even a Wonderful Girlfriend needs a lot of towels and washcloths.
So, welcome to my home. Please feel free to use my bathroom.
So, as noted in the “last entry”:http://juniorbird.com/archives/000347.html, every Christmas we go out of town and stay in a hotel. This year was no different, with Christmas celebrated at my grandmother’s while my parents and I stayed at a hotel.
For many years we stayed at the Four Seasons in Houston, but they never remodeled. Sometimes an old-fashioned hotel can be nice, but the unremodeled Four Seasons was just an expensive place with threadbare carpet and, worst of all, cheap furniture with drawers that barely pulled at all. So we changed to the Intercontinental, which was beautiful, if a bit expensive, and was frequented by Air France crews so it had a French TV channel in all rooms, which my parents loved. But expensive is expensive and my parents are always happy to cut a budget, so we found the “Hotel Derek”:http://hotelderek.com/.
Derek is a modern hotel, newly-built and well-located. The interior designer had a fun theme: a hotel for a man named Derek, who the designer saw as an aging British rocker. So the interior is eclectic and fun and filled with bright accents.
My room is pretty well-designed, with an attention to detail and only a few bad touches (sadly, one is the alarm clock — a failing shared, admittedly, with just about every other hotel out there). A few pics, as per the request of my Wonderful Girlfriend:
The meat of the room is along one wall, where the TV, the mini-bar, the mirror and the closet are all built into alcoves:
If you look under the TV there, you see a few boxes, which fulfill the role usually assigned to a chest of drawers:
I actually like this, clothes are kept out of the way but it’s all very stylish and, best of all, the drawers never fail to pull as they once did in the Four Seasons.
Next to the alcoves is the desk:
Past the desk, along the exterior wall, is a built-in sofa:
In some nice attention to detail, there are contemporary photos of urban items next to the sofa:
The bed is giant and comfortable, although I have to say I found the pillows quite hard even for me:
Even the bathroom is stylish:
There are a few mistakes. The desk lamp is too stylish — quick, how do you turn it on and off?
(The answer: it’s a three-way light, tap it once for each light level)
The clock radio is difficult-to-operate, with too many functions; there has to be some better wake-up solution than an unfamiliar and multi-buttoned machine:
The curtains, seen behind the sofa, are also a bit of an annoyance; look at the picture above, where’s the blackout curtain? Now look again:
The answer is, behind the light curtain, the reverse of what you see in most hotels. A new arrival may not know of the blackout curtain, and anybody coming in after dark won’t be able to tell if it’s down or up without lifting the light curtain aside. And even after discovering the existence of two curtains, there’s the matter of operating both of them. The light curtain has a pull chain, the blackout is operated with a crank:
Sadly, the crank is difficult to operate with the light curtain down.
But that’s all there is to complain about. I like the hotel; after all, how can you hold anything against a place that turns on the fireplace when they turn down the bed?
For some reason, business schools seem to actually want proof that I’ve gained academic success in the past, so I’ve ordered transcripts from all two of the colleges I’ve attended. The transcripts tell a lot about me, but they also tell a lot about the schools.
I love Christmas! Starting in about, oh, July, I quietly sing Christmas songs to myself. When the season comes along, I’m like a little child; I even look forward to the TV weather maps that show Santa’s position on Christmas Eve. All this regardless of the fact that I’m, technically, Jewish.
See, my mother’s Jewish and my father Methodist. When I was born, they decided not to confuse me and shuttle me between Saturday and Sunday services, so I was raised in a non-denominational way. But we still celebrated Christmas. It’s just a cultural thing — my parents were kind enough not to deprive me of the consumerist festival that takes place every winter. Which is cool, ’cause I like things.
Our Christmases were extra-weird, because we haven’t had them at home with a nice tall tree and a roaring fire and all that. Up until I was five, we had classic Christmases at my grandparents’ ranch, but when my grandpa passed on, my grandma sold the ranch and we began to celebrate Christmas in either my grandma’s apartment or in a hotel room in an exotic (well, usually less-than-exotic) vacation destination.
This year: grandma’s apartment in Houston. And here’s the pictures (we’re all dressed up for brunch).
Santa’s here to give out gifts!
Some people don’t like having their pictures taken, I guess
They don’t seem to mind when they’ve got presents, do they?
All the presents have been given out, so it must be time for me to cook dinner!
Okay, these pictures aren’t too festive. But then, as my Wonderful Girlfriend often points out, my family is way white.
I’ve taken no pictures of the loot as, well, no loot for the Los-Angeles-residing members of this family; didn’t want to try to schlep boxes of stuff through Terrorist Alert Level Orange. And thus I am _muy antojado_. Without widgets and electronica and books and foodstuffs to touch and cherish, there’s this doubt in the back of my head that Christmas really came. Can I wait until I return to see my TiVo? Will it really be there when I return? Man, I want *stuff*!
This was going to be an entry about how nice it was to visit my grandmother in Houston get a good, simple steak, from a good cut of meat, which is something it’s easy to do down here but not so easy in Los Angeles, where they persist in putting all sorts of things on a steak. But then I learned that, thanks to Mad Cow Disease, my tasty tasty meal may turn my brain to mush; so, instead, I’ll write about risk management and how the beef industry has done a bad job of it.
Nobody ever told me that, when I grew up, I’d have to be continually revising my resumé. New jobs, new areas of concentration, and now business school — everybody wants my resumé. And the perpetual topic of conversation and fear of every job-seeker — is my resumé up to snuff? Is it good enough? Does it head straight for the circular file or for the hiring manager’s desk? And, gosh, now I have to figure out how to market myself to business school applications committees.
About a month and a half ago, I moved into a new place. It’s a little house I found for rent about two miles away from where I used to live. The new neighborhood, to the southeast of the old, is lots of fun and filled with stores and restaurants — photos of that someday, maybe, in the future.
The house doesn’t quite fit into the ‘hood; all the other buildings are 10-20 unit apartment buildings but, on this plot of land, there’s just three small houses. They all seem quite old, with wood paneling on the interior walls and little internal wiring. But I love my new house! It’s cozy and has been fun to fix up. And, now that it’s fixed up, the pictures will begin.
Since, between the new job and the “business school applications”:http://wadearmstrong.com, I’ve got next to no free time, we’re going to do this one room at a time. First room: the living room.
The only real downside here is that the gas heater on the far wall is the only source of heat for the whole place.
I’m not a big home entertaiment center kind of guy, but I’ve got to have my TV and cable. Best of all, the laptop’s got wireless Internet thanks to my AirPort.
If you’re ready to leave already, here’s the door:
The view out the front window ain’t great, but at least I’ve got a tree:
That tree grows like a mother and I have to keep it clipped back!
That’s the first room. Gripping, ain’t it? More rooms to follow.
My favorite cooking method is probably roasting. It’s simple, it’s tasty, it’s easy, and it’s good for so many different foods. I love roasting and find it a lot of fun. So, lacking any particular inspiration for a food to cook this week, I decided to roast. I picked out a nice, inexpensive piece of beef at Whole Foods and got going.
Sundays are good days to have something out-of-the-ordinary for breakfast. It’s impossible to be too motivated to work on the last day of rest, football is on the TV, and, having slept in, brunch makes almost as much sense as cereal. I like to make Iron Chef brunches — see what’s in the fridge and concoct something that’s just slightly breakfast-y out of it.