Friday Frivolity: Girls

Quick post today as I am gearing up for ringing in the New Year this weekend but I meant to share this great preview last week.

One of my favorite movies of 2010 was Tiny Furniture, written, directed and starring the brilliant and witty Lena Dunham.  While I haven’t always been a mumblecore fan, Tiny Furniture just nailed postcollegiate female malaise perfectly.  Of course, how thrilled was I to learn that Ms. Dunham has created a new show for HBO called Girls!  Produced by Judd Apatow (which certainly can’t hurt the funny), Girls looks like it will be a delightfully droll comedy about the challenges of life in your 20s.

Check out the trailer.  If you don’t say “that is my life” at least once, you’re probably too mature and responsible to be reading this blog anyways.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you in 2012!

Music Monday: Holiday Tuneage

‘Tis the season to already be annoyed with holiday music before Christmas has even had a chance to get here.  I love holiday music but I tend to prefer to have it as a soundtrack for holiday activities (present shopping, decorating, baking, or trying on Christmas party outfits) rather than a 24/7 stream from Thanksgiving day on.  Luckily, as I am only two days away from being on a plane headed home for Christmas, I feel festive enough to listen with reckless abandon.

Everyone has their holiday favorites and The Waitress’ Christmas Wrapping is mine.  I love that it has a great narrative and a danceable beat and manages to not get old, even during daily listening sessions.

So, deck those halls and trim those trees and raise a cup of Christmas cheer and get ready to rock!

Friday Frivolity: The Reason for the Season

This Friday feels especially full of frivolity, as Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes my week-long vacation home to Texas.  I love the District and have had such a great couple of months but I’m looking forward to going home for delicious eats and quality family time.  With my vacation next week and Treat Yo’ Self-themed holiday party tomorrow evening, I finally feel filled with the holiday spirit.

Of course, living in the gravy-drenched heart of the Bible Belt, I would often spend this time of year accosted with reminders that there is a reason for the season.  I’m not particularly interested in the religious aspects (especially given Christmas’ pagan roots) but as the year comes to a close, I always find myself taking advantage of this time of year to remember how lucky and fortunate I am.  This blog, while fun to write (and hopefully fun to read!), is chock full of a lot of first world problems.  I often look internally to myself for this blog but in the spirit of the season, I wanted to look externally at the world around me and see if I can make a little change.

So, for this holiday frivolity, here are ten truly fantastic charities, all of which would make great gift options or give each of us a chance to pass along our good fortune.

1. First Book – A great charity that has donated over 85 million books to schools and youth programs that serve at-need children.  I grew up in a house that was full of books, so making sure every child has access to reading material is a favorite cause.

2.  Partners in Health – PIH focuses on providing universal access to primary health care, fighting disease as a means of fighting poverty, training community  health workers, and partners with local and national governments to further their reach.

3. Animal Advocates Alliance – The AAA is a great group that focuses on moving animals out of high-kill shelters and into safe, loving homes.  Even if you can’t take in an animal, AAA gives you a great way to show your love for man’s best friend.

4. Pencils of Promise – I love PoP – 100% of online donations go straight to their programs – and I love their approach to build schools.  Just $25 provides one year of sustainable education to a child in a developing nation.

5. USO – With their mission Until Everyone Comes Home, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact the USO has on the lives of the deployed and the military families waiting at home.  I love that the Wish Book lets you designate your donation for something that has a direct impact, like a phone call home or a care package.  (Also consider Give An Hour, which provides free mental health services to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.)

6. Drive To End Hunger – Over 35 million Americans over the age of 50 don’t have enough to eat.  AARP’s Drive to End Hunger initative works both with local food banks and food outreach programs as well as working one-on-one with seniors to make sure they get the nutritious meals they need.

7. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation – There are many worthwhile AIDS-related charities, but Glaser is one of the oldest and largest, with many great giving options, especially if you enjoy shopping for charity.

8. Nothing But Nets – A great cause with a simple goals – use insecticide-treated nets to help prevent the spread of malaria.  Make a $10 donation, 100% of that money goes to one net.

9. Breast Cancer Deadline – Again, there are many worthwhile cancer-related charities and as most of us have lost someone we’ve loved to cancer, I’d encourage you to give to a local organization working in your community.  However, for national organizations, I am most inspired by the work the National Breast Cancer Coalition is doing with providing scientists with the funding and the support they need to end breast cancer.

10. GEMS – The commercial and sexual exploitation of young girls and women is a cause close to my heart as well and GEMS provides a wide range of services across the country.  Not only do the offer prevention and education on the issue, they provide transitional housing, counseling, and legal assistance to those who need it.

For more information, visit these organization’s websites or search Charity Navigator or Charity Watch for a cause of your choice.

Happy holidays!

Making Us All Look Bad

I think twenty-somethings get a bad rap.  In various media trend pieces this past year, we’re described as self-centered, immature, foolishly optimistic, or entitled, which is of course, ridiculous.  Most people I meet my age are bright, creative, ambitious, dedicated, and compassionate.  On top of that, most of us who are gainfully employed feel a genuine sense of appreciation and responsibility, having found stability in a difficult time.

Which is why I’m a little infuriated with a hot story circulating around the DC blogs about congressional staffers engage (and tweeting) about on the job drinking.  As TwentySomething City points out, while the office of a Congressman of the minority party may not be a hotbed of legislative activity and all the messages were sent using personal Twitter accounts, this doesn’t reflect well on Congressman Rick Larsen – or on twentysomethings!

This validates two complaints I often here from collegues in their 30s and 40s about twentysomethings in the workplace – 1) they don’t know how to use social media responsibly on the job and 2) they feel they are entitled to goof off/space out/focus on personal activities on the job.  Looking at the Twitter messages of the offending staffers will make you cringe.  References to taking shots in the office, showing up drunk, bragging about your taxpayer salary paying for you to watch YouTube videos – there’s really no good way to spin this.

I realize this is a case of a few rotten apples spoiling the bunch – and I’d be lying if I said I never tweeted or blogged at work or showed up nursing a hungover – but there’s something about the brazen swagger of this trio that really grinds my gears.  I also have to call into question the senior staff – what sort of work environment, especially a public servant’s office, would allow this kind of activity to happen?

Does anyone know someone who was fired for something they said on social media?  Any positive or negative experiences with coworkers exhibiting behavior similar to these staffers, regardless of age?  Share your stories in the comments!


Uncharted Waters

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m starting a new job in January that is quite far out of my “field”.  I keep throwing around the word “field” as if I’ve been employed for decades and have reached a level of knowledge and technique that would suggest that I am an expert.  What I really mean by “field” is basically that I’ve been generally working for non-profits (specifically museums) for most of my “career” and since I’m not sure I “know” how to “do” anything else, my “field” is museum education.

A note on the quotation marks – I just feel so uncomfortable speaking about what I believe to such grown-up, vast, grand concepts such as career and field and qualifications.  Even though I’ve amassed five years of post-graduate employment (and plenty of years of working while in school), I still often feel like a newbie.  Is this common?  Or is my growth stunted?

I digress.  What I’m starting to grapple with now, as the reality of my job shift is setting in, is the question of whether I can excel at something new.  I know that I am bright and resourceful and possess a fair modicum of the Protestant work ethic I was born with (the parts that Twitter hasn’t eroded away yet…) and yet I fear that being so far out of my depth is going to end in disaster, or even worse, boredom.

To help brace myself for the change, I’ve been obsessively reviewing my new employer’s website, reading news updates, and trying to make myself as knowledgeable as possible about my boss, to at least give the impression of competency.  I’ve also been spending a little time researching possible graduate program options, to remind myself that part of the reason for taking this job is giving myself the option to go back to school.  Despite all my rational preparations, I can’t help feeling nervous.

Ultimately, I think this comes back to the fact that, in many ways, I’m not as confident as I was in my early 20s.  During the end of college and my first few years following, I felt so brazen and ready for anything.  I jumped into a job that I was woefully underqualified for – luckily, my sink or swim instincts kicked  in and it worked out quite well.  Perhaps because I’ve done a bit more sinking since then, I’m a little worried my instincts might be rusty.

Any advice, readers?


Friday Frivolity: Time for a New Job

Oh dear.  A week has come and gone without a new post.  I’m sure you all could just die from not surprise.  As you can imagine, between officially giving notice and the holiday season, I’ve been a little too focused on being a productive employee (for these final few weeks, at least) and holiday party planning to do much blogging.  I hope you will all forgive me and check back in next week, for which I have a couple really good posts percolating.

For this week’s Friday frivolity, I was inspired by last night’s super-awesome-fantastic-six-seasons-and-a-movie episode of Community.  The episode (which you should all go watch RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already) featured a guest appearance by Taran Killam, who is one of my television faves.  He nailed the role of the glee choir director last night, lambasting Matt Morrison’s ridiculous performance as Will Schuester on Glee.  This appearance reminded me how much I love Killam’s work and how sad I am that he’s stuck with guest starring roles, due to his contract with the barely-adequate Saturday Night Life.

So, in the spirit of New Years and new jobs, here are a few television all-stars I think should be dusting off their resumes and finding a better home for their talents:

  • Max Greenfield – I first fell in love with Max as the charming Deputy Leo on Veronica Mars and have enjoyed every cameo he’s made since then (especially as Max’s boyfriend on Happy Endings – let’s get those crazy kids back together!)  Sadly, his perfect mix of slightly douche but vulnerably lovable is wasted on the tragically un-funny New Girl.
  • Naya RiveraHave you seen her?  Seriously, people don’t usually look like that.  On top on her looks, she’s an incredible actress with serious pipes and the ability to move.  She should be looking to be the next huge pop star, not wasting her time on the hot mess that has become Glee
  • Nate Corddry – Once a delightfully wry Daily Show correspondent (just like his brother, Rob), Corddry is wasting away on the unimaginable popular Harry’s Law.  His work in The Pacific proved he can do gritty – perhaps he’s willing to see out a guest role on Breaking Bad?
  • Ellie Kemper – Look, The Office is not a bad show.  It’s not as a good as it was but it’s not terrible.  One of the best things this show has going for it is Ellie Kemper, whose sweet, slightly dim receptionist Erin is the shining light in an uneven, post-Carrell season.  She’s clearly outgrown the show – perhaps her character can run off to help Michael and Kemper can head to funnier pastures.
  • Maulik Pancholy – Why, why, why is Pancholy, best known as Sanjay or Jonathan in my house, wasting his time on Whitney?  I can only assume he lost an epic game of Words with Friends to Alec Baldwin.
  • Melissa McCarthy – It almost goes without saying but Sookie St. James deserves better than Mike and Molly and her breakout performance in this summer’s Bridesmaids should have had her agent freeing her up for better gigs.
  • Ty Burrell – Everything good about Modern Family stems from Burrell’s brilliance as Phil Dunphy.  Even as the show has rapidly declined in quality, Burrell slays with the best and worst material thrown at him.  That kind of work ethic and showmanship would be better suited for the big screen.  It’s time
  • Finally, in addition to the aforementioned Taran Killam, let’s spring Jay Pharoah and Bill Hader from their SNL prisons.  I’d love to see the trio on a dark comedy, perhaps on FX.

As you head into your weekend, who would you suggest could use a TV job upgrade?  Leave your thoughts in the comments and have a great weekend!