Out with the Old, In with the New

End of March update:

New restaurants: Freebirds at USC. Cheating a bit because I’ve been to Freebirds, but the one in Austin, like four years ago. Like Chipotle on steroids. Brat’s Brothers in Studio City. A twist on the hot dog joints we tend to frequent, with lots of kinds of brats, from standard ones to crazy exotic ones like ostrich, duck, and alligator. The real star is the multitude of condiments, though – wasabi mustard was a big hit. Not particularly atmospheric, though. Barney’s Beanery in Santa Monica. Fairly standard sports bar, but I *love* sports bars. Some unique burgers, which were really good, and some of the best seasoned fries I’ve ever had. A touch pricey, perhaps, but it is Santa Monica. Kyoto Sushi 3 in Valencia, on well-guided advice from a friend. Relatively inexpensive, and very tasty.

New things cooked: Grilled lamb chops, except I don’t have a grill so I broiled it instead. Still very tasty. The marinade was really good. I might cook the lamb a bit longer next time. Paired it with frozen mixed veggies – which let me just say, why does everyone seem to think carrots are the most awesomest mixed veggies? There were way more carrots in there than peas, corn, or green beans, all of which I like WAY more than carrots. But I digress. All the other things I’ve either cooked before, even though it’s been a while (fried chicken tenders, fried pickles) or came from a pre-made meal (stir fry a couple of times, hashbrowns, sausage links).

Household: Did a major cleaning early in the month, which made me a lot happier with my space. Now to just keep it that way.

Reading: Yeah, not going so good. I’m kind of stalled out on the book I NEED to be reading (Down and Dirty Pictures, about the 1990s independent film movement), though when I jump into Game of Thrones I’m pretty captivated. I just have been devoting more time to writing and going out than to reading.

Credit Card: Well, I had one paid off in the sense that I moved the balance to a non-interest one. But then I had to get my car fixed and now it’s not paid off anymore. Baby steps.

Blogging: The Cinema 101 series is underway! Only a few posts in, but I have plenty of ideas for more – just got to get time to research and write them. Suggestions for topics you’re interested in are still welcome. The Godard series on Row Three is still on hold, because I need to finish Down and Dirty Pictures before starting on Brody’s Godard book. Other things on R3 are ramping up, though – we’re all kind of redoubling our efforts to keep content flowing there (which is where a lot of my writing and planning energy have been going), so be sure to check out what we’ve got going on. Screenshot quizzes are back, Netflix Instant Recommendations are ramping up, Movies We Watched is back and hopefully weekly now, and we have a new 3×5 review series that’s pretty awesome.

Mid-February update:

Eating out less often and more adventurously is going well. I went to Ratata in Westwood, Fair Oaks Burger in Altadena, Lotus Vegan and Pitfire Pizza in North Hollywood, and Pink’s, Groundwork Coffee and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood. And cooked at home a whole lot more. Didn’t get too adventurous yet on cooking new things, but I did do some cinnamon French toast, which I don’t think I’ve ever cooked on my own before. So I’m counting that. Hope to ramp that up in the next few months and try some new dinner things.

I’ve been focusing on dishes in the “being domestic” thing, and getting better. It’s just a question of getting in the habit of doing them immediately, especially since I’m often not home for several evenings in a row. I also did some major cleaning in the bathroom, so that’s good. The rest of the apartment…uh…work in progress. Reading more is happening, but not in substantial amounts. I am getting some reading in before bed and on most lunch breaks, though.

The rest of the stuff is in various stages, but I am working on most of it actively. So, yay!

Original Post

All in all, 2010 turned out to be a pretty good year for me. It started off really crappy, with the startup I worked for hitting financial trouble and having to lay everyone off. Lots of meals of rice and ramen for a few months, but I can’t really complain because I ended up getting a job offer from the University of Southern California within three months, working in my field as a writer/video editor. I started that job in June and it’s been a great experience, and being back in an academic environment (even though I’m in administrative operations, which is faculty/staff support rather than working with students) is perfect for me.

In September, I started dating Jonathan, so at long last both my professional and personal lives are far more on track than they’ve ever been before. Earlier this year, I started volunteering at Cinefamily, a repertory cinema in LA that I’ve been patronizing regularly since I moved out here, and that’s been extremely fulfilling. Getting this blog redesigned and posting a bit more regularly to it has also been fun, and only taking away a little bit, I promise, from my posting at Row Three, where I still do the majority of my film posting. Thanks to Row Three, I’ve been able to get press passes to a few film festivals and build relationships with some publicity reps out here, which have opened up lots more opportunities for film watching and reviewing than I’ve had in past years.

But I do still have a few goals for 2011, now that a bunch of the big things are taken care of – I’d like to focus on some smaller, more fun, and more domestic things.

  1. Eat out less often, but more adventurously (fewer chains, more locally-owned places).
  2. Cook something new at least once a month.
  3. Get my apartment clean and keep it that way (specific goals of this – do dishes immediately and sort/fold clothes promptly).
  4. Spend most of my lunch breaks reading instead of playing on the internet.
  5. When faced with the choice to futz around online or read before going to bed, choose to read.
  6. Go to at least one music festival.
  7. Go to a film festival not based in Los Angeles.
  8. Move out of the Valley (okay, this is a big one).
  9. Start buying, conservatively, furniture and decor that actually match instead of the hodgepodge I have.
  10. Pay off a credit card (this conflicts with several of the other things, I know…*sigh*).
  11. Start a Cinema 101 series on my blog.
  12. Do a Jean-Luc Godard series on Row Three, which includes reading Richard Brody’s Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.
  13. Explore LA off the beaten path, starting with the walks in this book.
  • Jandy, come join myself and many other RowThree folks at TIFF this year. We know a place with pretty cheap (if rough and tumble) accommodations…

    • I really, really want to. That’s my first choice if I can afford it, not least of all because I want to meet all of y’all in person!