Monthly Archives: October 2012

Doing it Right: Halloween, Disney Style!

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A few years ago, I was on the hunt for a career change – and I consider myself uberlucky because the career change actually found me.  I was working as a Data Analyst for a great firm, but only at Part Time – Walt Disney Studios, at the time with a contracted position, asked me if I would like a spot on their Space Planning Team and I jumped at the chance to not only leave my current job but work with some of the best and brightest in the entertainment industry.

The holidays here are celebrated in style, but most of all – Halloween is the coveted centerpiece of all the grand holidays.  And, if there’s one thing we here at Disney know how to do – it’s play dressup! When I walked into work initially, I was a tad disappointed by the lack of holiday spirit – but as the day waned on, I noticed more and more fabulous group, individual and little kid costumes.  The happiest place on earth today was definitely our lot!

Halloween Decorations =)

Ariel, Miss Devil and Woody

I’ve got an Angel on my shoulder, but a Devil in my head…

Hands down, best costume was the Mad Hatter!

Our LOVELY Starbucks Crew! ❤

Cotton Candy for lunch – #JUDGEME

Causing trouble, per usual…

Quotable: The Only People For Me

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The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
Jack Kerouac

Tech Tuesday: Do You Have Klout?

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Venn Diagram of Social Media

In this day and age, it’s become slightly tiresome to stay on top of all the Social Media Trends; there are just so many ways you can connect with people that websites can either become redundant, overwhelming or in the most severe cases – both.  Several of my friends coyly admitted that they’ve become discouraged to use social media because it’s just “too much” for them to want to handle (their words, not mine).  And to a point, I completely agree with them.  How you pick and choose your social networking sites is slightly analogous to picking where to sit at lunch during your first day at a new school; your environment, the information you choose to share and the connections you cultivate are all indicative of this choice.  Each Social Media site that I use has their eerie similarities, but also pronounced differences.

Everyone and their mom’s dog has a Facebook and at a very base level understands the purpose: sharing your life and ideas with a predetermined group of people and one rarely exceeds the 420 character limit of a status update.  With the new “Subscribe” option, one could make their Facebook relatively public – but I know very few non-Celebrities that have ascribed to this.

A website like Path is similar to Facebook with the types of things you can share – music, links, photos – but you’re limited to engaging a group of roughly 150 people. Why this number you ask?  Well, I’ll tell ya – it’s because of Dunbar’s Number, which basically states that the number of people one can maintain a social, stable relationships with is somewhere between 100 and 250, but scholars believe it’s at about 150.

And then there’s Twitter – you can elicit control over your audience by toggling whether you want your page public or private; at a basic level, hink of these two options as either the Facebook option or the Path option.  When public, anyone and everyone can read, and search for, your tweets – while private, your tweets are only seen by a select audience that you allow. Twitter is wonderful for being succinct and witty, but any and all responses are limited to 140 characters.

I love examples, so let’s throw a few out:

Let’s say you want to share a link to an important cause (the upcoming election, Superstorm Sandy, adorable kittens, etc)….

  • Do you have an opinion you’d like to share?  If so, something like Path, a blog like WordPress or Tumblr (or Blogspot…or Xanga…or, well, you get the picture) or Facebook is your best bet. If not, you could simply post your link to Twitter with the title of the article.
  • Do you have an audience that you’re trying to reach (or, avoid)?  If you want the biggest reach, I’d lean towards a public Twitter profile;  if you’re only interested in your pre-existing social circle, go for Facebook; and if you want your post to reach a niche crowd, go for Path.

Let’s say you’re out to eat at an amazeballs restaurant and want to share your meal with your friends…

  • Do you want to post a picture of it?  Then navigate towards Instagram – snap your shot and share away at your leisure.
  • Are you eating with long lost friends? Check the group into Foursquare or Facebook – hell, even post that picture you took with Instagram while you’re at it.
  • Did you have the best time ever and want to tell everyone how ridic the food and service were?  Log into Yelp and write a formal review of your swanky time

When you’re part of one or two sites – it’s fairly easy to understand the entirety of your audience:  if your Twitter account is private and you don’t allow subscribers on Facebook, you have an excellent idea of who your target audience is when you post.  But what if you’re playing a juggling act with social media accounts here there and everywhere?  That’s when you use Klout.  Klout takes someone from a Social Media Queen to the Social Media Queen Bee by aggregating data from a number of measured social networks

When I joined Klout a little over a year ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into – and adding another social media site that was an aggregate of the others seemed more than redundant.  But, what I’ve discovered over time is that Klout is to Social Media what Google Analytics is to Webpages.  By factoring in multiple social networks, Klout’s goal is to discover how many other users are engaged with each and every post you make, regardless of the source.  Your Klout score is between 1 and 100 and takes into consideration two factors: the topics you’re considered influential on and your social network (the people that influence you as well as the people that you influence).

As of today, these are the Social Media Networks that Klout considers relevant (and as a sidenote, I believe because of it – these are also the most important social media sites to be involved with): Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress, Last FM and Flickr; however, they’re currently looking to integrate Quora, Yelp, Posterous, Livefyre, Disqus, Bit.ly and BranchOut.

Last, but most definitely not least, there are perks of being involved with Klout.  Those perks aren’t whimsical, idealistic badges (*cough*foursquare*cough*) – they’re actual, tangible, physical, hold them in your hand and covet them Perks and all because you are considered influential!  Below are some of the wonderful ways Klout has thanked me for being a social media maven and I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to both enjoy and share them.

Argo Premiere with treats, drinks and delectable snacks!

Fair Trade USA & Klout Perk:
Allegro Whole Coffee Beans
Alter Eco Mini Dark Noir (chocolate bar)
Choice Organic Teas Roobios
Coco Cafe Cafe Latte with Coconut Water and Espresso
Honest Tea Half and Half Organic Tea with Lemonade
Lärabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough food bar
Near East Quinoa Blend Rosemary and Olive Oil
Stash Roobios Tea

Klout Perk from Fit Frappe: Samples of each flavor and a huge container of my choosing. Plus, a jumprope!

The Audiofiles: Required Listening for HARD’s Day of the Dead

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Halloween is a magical time of year for most people but once you’ve been to Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday Gaucho style, there’s really no turning back. Instead of just one day of tricks, treats and costumes you can spend the better half of the month in costume.  Now that I’m a little older and a tad more mature, I don’t feel the need to party the way I did for it in college.  I still have a hard time saying no to fun, but I’d like to think that I pick and choose my battles a little more wisely at this point.

Like I always rave about LA, there are so many – almost too many options when it comes to getting down with your bad self.  I tend to be swayed by the social factors – like which of my friends will be there and who would be down for group costumes; but it also comes down to taste in music, how far you’re willing to travel and preferred venue – house party, festival or club. And since I’ve moved to LA, I’ve basically covered all of the bases.  My first year, I went to Monster Massive, Hard Haunted and spent the week in Santa Barbara; in 2009, I stayed in to study for the GRE and hang out with my kitties; in 2010 I went to Avalon for Dirty South and last year it was a combination of a great house party in Newport thrown by close friends and seeing Nero slay it at the Music Box. And finally  this year I’m going back to my festival roots and hitting up HARD Presents Day of the Dead.

I have somewhat of a lovehate relationship with festivals – they’re crowded, the lines are terrible, lots of pushing and sound systems failing, the beer cups are small,  the drinking area is in an undesirable location and lets not even get started on the bathroom situation.  But then, there’s this glorious flip side: magical experiences with new friends and old, ridiculous people watching, amazing costumes, incredible performances, surprise guests and celebrity sightings. Over the past few years I’ve been known to say the phrase “Never, ever again…” while leaving but I just keep coming back for more.  I went to HARD summer and had a fabulous time so I figured why not give it another whirl – the Metro is free to ride and runs until 3am, perfect for us nocturnal kittens who thrive on the freaks coming out at night.

To better prepare myself for next Saturday’s mayhem, I’ve made a little playlist of the artists I want to see next weekend. Let the countdown to Day of the Dead begin!

Tracklist

  1. Knife Party – Internet Friends
  2. Justice – Genesis
  3. Zeds Dead ft Omar Linx – You and I
  4. Major Lazer ft The Partysquad – Original Don
  5. Blue Foundation – Eyes on Fire (Zeds Dead Remix)
  6. John Dahlback ft Erik Hassle – One Last Ride (Tommy Trash Remix)
  7. Tiesto vs Diplo – C’mon
  8. Jack Beats ft John B – All Night
  9. Dillon Francis & Kill the Noise – Dill the Noise
  10. Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (Zeds Dead Remix)
  11. Moguai & Tommy Trash – In N’Out (Tommy Trash Remix)
  12. Jack Beats – Get Down
  13. Bo Saris – She’s On Fire (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
  14. Chris Isaak – Wicked Games (Soul Clap Remix)
  15. Clockwork – Airflow
  16. Diplo ft Lazrdisk Party Sex – Set It Off
  17. Dillon Francis – I.D.G.A.F.O.S.
  18. Zedd – Stars Come Out (Dillon Francis Remix)
  19. MGMT – Electric Feel (Justice Remix)
  20. Knife Party – Centipede
  21. Major Lazer ft Nina Sky – Keep It Going Louder
  22. Florence + The Machine – Spectrum (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
  23. Felix Cartal – Love (Clockwork Remix)
  24. Knife Party – Rage Valley

[Food Porn] San Francisco v1

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To me, there’s nothing quite  refreshing as going back home and visiting family; it gets my head right and puts my heart in check.  From roaming the streets of Chinatown to watching the Mountain Dew Skateboarding Tour  to going out and dancing the night away at Ruby Skye with my favorites, San Francisco has a little something to do – and eat – for everyone.  One of my dad’s favorite things to do while I’m home is find new and exciting places to eat. According to him, I used to have quite the adventurous appetite but somehow as I grew older I started getting picky – it’s gotten to the point that most of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles know what my usual‘ is.  So, much to my father’s delight I let him make most, if not all, of the food decisions over the weekend and my stomach couldn’t be happier.

Friday was the first full day I was in the city – granted, it was a little tainted by the fact I had to do some work from the apartment, but no matter – the simple fact that I essentially can work from anywhere is fabulous!  For lunch, I visited him at work in the Symantec headquarters so I could finally meet his lovely coworkers, and then we ventured off to find our lunch!  We bounced a few ideas around, but once we walked past Osha Thai our decision was made.  The best part about Osha, besides how amazing the food is, is there are a few different locations in the city – so wherever you happen to be, you won’t have to venture far to get that yummy Thai food in your belly.

We started off with some delicious drinks – my dad got a Thai Iced Coffee while I sipped on a Green Tea Mojito, super refreshing – and appetizers.  There are a few Thai places in LA that pride themselves on their Duck Spring Rolls so it’s a good point of comparison – and oh my wow, they were amazing! I would’ve taken a picture but we ate them too damn fast.  For our main course we split a steak salad and dug into some of the best massumun lamb curry ever.

Massumun Lamb Curry from Osha Thai

Bummer and Lazarus: Tequila, Ginger Beer, Cucumber, Chilies

There’s a bit of a food tradition my dad and I have when we visit each other; it’s 5 letters long and is the best thing ever…if you guessed sushi, you’d be correct!  Literally every time we get together, we collectively crave it.  So this time, I let him to the picking and choosing of where to go – there are so many good sushi places in SF that you really can’t go wrong.  This time, the choice was Ame at the St. Regis Hotel.  Now, we’d gone under the premise that this fusion Japanese food was going to be sushi – well, (a) wrong and (b) I’ve never been so happy about my dad being wrong, ever!  First of all, Ame is one of the only Asian influenced Michelin rated restaurants in San Francisco – and their modern American take on cultural Japanese food is mouthwatering.

I started off with a Bummer and Lazarus, a signature drink from their incredibly extensive cocktail menu; they literally have a drink for everyone – beer, sake, wine, mocktails – you name it and they have it. We split a few appetizers but they were a little on the small side and between all of our appetites they went very fast.  Next up was the main course – I was pretty overwhelmed by the menu and there wasn’t any sushi per-say, so thank goodness they have a ‘Taste of Ame’ sashimi plate that comes with lots of delectable goodies like a sunomono salad with uni.  I’m not exactly a sashimi fan, but after eating here I might become one!

Taste of Ame Sashimi Plate

I was beyond stuffed after my entree, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try their beer donuts, if the establishment wasn’t so damn posh I’d suggest calling it the Homer Simpson because it essentially combines his two favorite things.  The donuts came with some of the richest chocolate sauce I’ve ever had covering the entire plate and a healthy chunk of Stout Ice Cream in the center. Omnom…

Beer Donuts with Chocolate Sauce and Stout Ice Cream

When we woke up Saturday morning we were all still full from dinner the night before so my step-mother and I took an adventure out to Chinatown during the day to get our walk and talk on.  After a few hours strolling around, I got a huge craving for BBQ Pork Buns – and I was definitely in the perfect location to fulfill it.  We walked for literally a minute and stumbled into Gourmet Kitchen to snag a few and I basically devoured them like it was my job.

BBQ Pork Buns

It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to my family and the city that I love, but doing it over a great brunch at Prospect makes it so much easier. I usually go for the Eggs Benedict, but I was in the mood for something different and hearty – making the Prospector a shoe-in.  Bacon, eggs, potatoes, sausage and corncakes – such the well rounded American breakfast, but get anything at Prospect and you literally can’t go wrong.  Beyond making a great breakfast, it was also delicious as leftovers when I got back to Los Angeles that night.

The Prospector

Quotable: The Human Experience

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At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Aside

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’m a born and raised Apple junkie that only deviates into the world of the PC for work. I’m currently the owner of a gorgeous 27″ iMac, a first generation iPad and a lovely little iPod shuffle that I call ‘Shuffleufagus’; despite being hounded on by about 60% of my friend group, I’m proud to say that I have not (and will not) cave and purchase an iPhone because I’m head over heals for my Droid.  I have gaming systems, I have cable, I have internet – I basically have the entire e-gamut covered, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a genuine interest in what those Apple Guru’s will come up with next.

ImageIn attempts to remain competitive across the breadth of the mobile market, today Apple introduced it’s first tablet – set to hit stores on November 2nd.  The iPad Mini comes in around 8 inches and costs a pretty penny – a 16GB mini without a cellular plan comes out to $329 and with one comes out to $459.  It’s weighs roughly .7lbs and is crazily less than 8mm thin.  Conversely, the iPad 2 comes to $399 and the brand new iPad with Retina Display comes in at $499 – both devices are roughly 10 inches tall.  There’s a considerable amount of flack that Apple is receiving – and many are wondering how they can remain competitive in a market where there are euivalent products at a much lower price.  The Amazon Kindle Fire HD, for example, is a seven inch tablet that comes in either a16GB or 32GB version depending on your preference, and respectively costs $199 or $249 – significantly less than the retail of the new iPad Mini.

Fortunately for the Apple camp, there were a few other unveiling today that made the nerd inside me go SQUEE!  A 13 inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, a MacMini and a new generation of iMac. The new iMacs are being rolled out in two different sizes with 27 and 21.5 inch screens, respectively. I have to say – I’m head over heals for retina display anything; I was playing around on my dad’s new Macbook Pro over the weekend and I kind of fell in love with it.  The design is sleek, sexy and slim – it’s light weight and gorgeous, just the way a laptop should be!

The main selling point of their new laptop and desktop computers is the idea of a ‘Fusion Drive‘ – granted, I didn’t know what one was until the conference, but after doing some digging I think I figured it out. A fusion drive basically the marriage of a solid state drive (SSD) and a magnetic drive (HDD), eventually giving your computer the quickness of having a flash drive and the storage space of a magnetic drive. As I understand it, applications in high rotation will sit on your flash drive so they can be used with ease, but the rest of your files will sit on the magnetic drive to be accessed at your leisure.  The hybrid drive is in no way a new idea, but the Fusion Drive is an example of Apple branding at work. Now, I’m not about to run out and snag myself some new Apple swag – but if a Retina Display laptop happened to wind up under my Christmas tree this year I wouldn’t be at all upset about it…

Tech Tuesday: Apple’s Big Unveiling