Monday, February 24, 2014

FUN in LA: The Huntington Part 2

We went back to the Huntington! It turned out that we happened to go on day 2 of the Camellia Show, so they had camellias for sale outside and inside they had the winning camellias on display.

They were all so beautiful! I had no idea there was so much variation within the species, it was incredible to see the differences in size and petal shape.

After we left the camellias we popped into the greenhouses, and eventually we made our way over to the Chinese garden, which we had missed last time.

The customary shot of the back of my mom's head.

We also walked through the Children's garden, which we had never seen before! It may be built for children, but everything was just my size.

It was the perfect day for a garden stroll! It was so nice to be outside enjoying the clouds and the slight chill. I know people living in places that get a real winter probably think I'm crazy, but there's no fun in 80 degree days in January/February, so I relish the few cloudy days we get.

I can't wait to go back! I'm seriously considering getting a membership. There's always something new to see!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

FUN in LA: Salvation Mountain

To be honest, I don't even remember when or where I first heard about Salvation Mountain. It's possible that I first saw it during it's cameo in Into the Wild, or in the A Beautiful Mess archives, or that I just saw a picture on tumblr somewhere. The first time that I thought of it as a place that I could actually go see was when my mom and I went to Palm Springs in 2012, and I wanted to make a detour to see it on the way. We were planning on going, but we ended up just staying in Palm Springs where there was air conditioning. (I don't know why we always end up going into the desert in August, but there you go. Driving out to the middle of nowhere in temperatures over 110 degrees doesn't always seem like the best idea.)

So what I'm getting at is that I've wanted to see Salvation Mountain for about 2 years now, so I was very excited when I brought it up to my friend Isabel and she said she wanted to see it too. We decided on a day and made plans to trek out to Niland to see Leonard Knight's creation. I was so sad when I heard just days before our trip that Leonard had died, and that news cast a different light on my experience of the mountain. It went from a piece of art to one man's life's work.

It took us about three hours to get down there, and the last hour of the drive there was literally nothing around. Just road and desert. When we finally caught sight of the mountain it was this big splash of color rising out of the emptiness. We walked all around it, inside it, and climbed the mountain and I was just blown away by it. Just the sheer size of it is incredible, and then you realize that one man built the whole thing and it becomes that much more mind-blowing.

There are signs on the mountain designating it as an American Folk Art site, and Isabel said something I thought was really interesting, that Salvation Mountain felt "very American." She talked about how the monuments and tourist attractions in Europe are usually religious, and this was like the American counterpart. I liked that a lot, it got the American Studies minor part of my head buzzing. I totally agree with her. I think in relation to the European cathedrals and shrines that were built as tributes to God over hundreds of years by thousands of people, it does seem really fitting that the American version would be built by one man all by himself out in the desert. It was hard to shake the John the Baptist vibes I got from the place too; a voice crying out in the wilderness that God is love.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Club: Ready Player One

I haven't bought a book for myself that was not required reading for a class in a quite some time. Maybe the October before last? I get most of my books from the library (especially convenient now that there's an app, so I can request new books on my phone), but around Christmas the Barnes & Noble by my work closed so I picked up some books in the clearance sale. Ready Player one is the first one I've gotten around to reading.

The plot: it's set in the US in 2044, and most of the population lives their lives plugged into a virtual reality called OASIS. When James Halliday, the creator of OASIS, died he set up a scavenger hunt hidden within the game and announced that the first person to find the easter egg he hid would inherit his estate. The prize is especially important because so much of the population is living in poverty, but also because corporations want to win so they can own and monetize the OASIS platform. The book is narrated by one of the egg hunters, Wade Watts.

I really liked Ready Player one. It's got elements of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Matrix, and John Hughes all rolled into one. Halliday was obsessed with the 80s, so all the characters know obscure facts about music & movies released in the 80s. I'm really glad I read it after You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried; while reading it I kept thinking that Wade would probably have read YCIMIYT for his research.

Also, it made me more interested in Dungeons & Dragons than I've ever been before. So there's that.

Read any good books lately?


50 Book Challenge count: 3

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Care Package

I forgot to mention one other thing that happened in January! I received the most wonderful package from Elis!

The package had a lovely card, a mix that's been living in my car stereo, and some beautiful prints. I'm a big fan of Elis' photography so I was delighted to have some of her prints to hang around my house!

Thank you so much for brightening up my January Elis!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What happened to January?

One minute I'm ringing in 2014 and the next minute it's February and it's been over a month since I've updated my blog. Crazy! So what happened in January?

I snapped some pics of Minka looking adorable

Had a round of ginger ales with my lovely co-workers.

Bowled the night away at our office holiday party

Played Cards Against Humanity

Saw Broken Bells play on Jimmy Kimmel!

And had the most amazing burger at Eureka. (Seriously, if you go try the Fresno Fig Burger)

January was quite an interesting month over here! How was your January?