On Mavens and Simple Pleasures

I’ve been trying to be better about blogging more regularly lately, though I’ve been very busy.  Part of that has included thinking about the raison d’être of the blog.  At first I intended it to be a librarian blog, but I also really enjoy blogging about other things that I think people might find interesting.  Given that I’m pretty eccentric, those “other things” include pretty diverse topics.

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s intriguing book The Tipping Point, a recommendation from my best friend.  The book basically discusses how ideas go viral, from a couple people doing something to it becoming a major fad.  Part of his thesis is that ideas spread via a small number of people who play specialized roles:

  • connectors, who know many people across multiple diverse groups and thus are able to spread ideas from one subculture to another;
  • mavens, or “information specialists,” who gather knowledge and take great pleasure in sharing it with other people;
  • and salesmen with strong powers of persuasion and negotiation.

As soon as I read this, I immediately identified with the role of the maven.  This, of course, is why I became a teacher, and then a librarian.  It’s why I write reviews on Yelp and blog about things I find interesting and pin pictures of things I like on Pinterest.  People who meet me even in passing flock to me for information, which I have to admit I kind of like.  I once met a girl at a party and we started talking about how she could never figure out where she was in Dallas, and how I had driven all over and really knew my way around.  From that day forward, I don’t think I ever saw her again, but every once in awhile I’d get a call or a text message from her when she was lost or wondered if I maybe knew a way around a bad traffic jam (and I could almost always help).  So in the spirit of being a maven, I’ve decided that I am going to talk about library stuff, but I’m also going to blog about whatever random things I find interesting and hope that some people get something out of it.  (I’m also planning on redesigning the page to make it a little easier to see just certain parts of the content.)

The thing that’s on my mind at the moment is simple pleasures in life on a budget.  One of my friends recently commented that he envied the sense of peace and calm I seem to enjoy.  In truth, I’m pretty high-strung when it comes to a lot of things, but I consider it very important to take time out to enjoy the simple things on a regular basis.  Living in Los Angeles is expensive, so since I can’t afford to go all out, I try to find little things that I really enjoy, which I shall share here from time to time.

Tonight I’ll mention Cristalino Brut Cava.  Usually when I say I’m drinking champagne, I’m actually drinking this (since I don’t think most people really know or care what the distinction between a cava and a champagne is anyway).  I’ve been able to find it for between $6 and $8 a bottle.  Pop a $7 champagne stopper on it and it’ll last for a week in the fridge, so even if you live alone you can enjoy just a single glass a night and not waste any.  And a glass of champagne only has 80 calories, if you worry about that kind of thing.  Cristalino is tasty enough to drink by itself, but I also like adding a dash of amaretto or creme de cassis.  The latter is called a kir royale, and is one of my favorite drinks.

Whenever I pop the cork on anything sparkling, whether I’m alone or in a group, I always say “woohoo!”  I do the same if I am out somewhere and hear someone else opening a bottle (although in that case I do it quietly to avoid having people think I’m insane).  It makes every bottle feel like a celebration.  A glass of it is cheap, and it doesn’t have that many calories or that much alcohol, so it’s a simple pleasure that you don’t have to feel bad about and can enjoy even on a budget.