Friday, November 30

Buying for Bookworms

“Holy snowballs, Batman, it’s Christmastime!”

But seriously, now that that’s out of my system, I love Christmastime.

I mean, what’s not to love . . . ?

“Shopping!” a lot of people might say, but not me:

1) I’m a girl. It's what we do.
2) I'm freakishly good at it.

Starving writer that I am, you’d never know it by my shoe collection.

But most of all, I love giving the “perfect” gift. You know, the gift that person didn’t know they wanted until they unwrapped it. So what if the OCD child in me screamed as they tore into said wrapping, my painstakingly perfect folds and handmade bows . . .

Giving the perfect book is especially tricky, though, unless the “givee” has specifically mentioned an author, series, or title. But as I’m on a one-woman mission to find homes for as many real books as possible, here are some tricks of the trade for those of you with less time to obsess:

Make an educated guess

Basically, creep a peek at their bookcase.

It’s less obvious than asking "So, read any good books lately . . . ?" and it’ll give you a broader sense of the authors and genres that they like. If their bookcase has multiple personalities like mine, with Jack London sandwhiched between Homer and Neil Gaiman, go to, search a book you know to be a one of their favorites, and then refer to the "People who bought this also bought . . ." section.

And probably give them the gift receipt – just in case!

Adopt a used book

And I don't mean a paperback copy of that James Patterson “novel” they made into a movie that you picked up at a garage sale.

I mean like a 1st edition of a book that is special to them, or perhaps one with beautiful illustrations or an especially ornate binding . . .

I promise you they’re out there – for a decent price, too! – and while their vestige might be lost on some as they sit quietly on a bedside table or on a shelf amongst dusty knickknacks, it won’t be on the person whose life was touched by their story.

For those interested, I highly recommend Maxwell's House of Books in my hometown of La Mesa.

There’s nothing wrong with plastic (unless you’re ocean life)

Some people call gift cards impersonal, I call them a godsend – especially ones to Barnes & Noble.

Like makeup and clothes, I struggle with spending money on books; they’re nonessentials, it pains me too say, and with the exception of some of the newer titles, there aren’t many that can’t be found either at Maxwell's or my local public library.

Now, having said that . . . the only thing sexier than a virgin book is a guilt-free virgin book ;)

Until next time, shop & be merry!

XO, Mal


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Friday, November 16

Donning the Cape


My name is Mallory – “Hi, Mallory!” – and I’m a control freak . . .

Or at least I used to be. 

The line is both fuzzy and gray, to be honest.

I begin today’s post with that somewhat lackluster confession, though, because therein lies one of the biggest deterrents of dreams; the fear of failure, of the unknown.

Pre Mal Adjusted Mallory was an honor student and a 3rd Degree black belt – a calculated risk-taker at best.

She thrived on structure a side effect of being bounced around a lot during the post-divorce years, I suspect – and was as Type A as the stereotypically Type A eldest child can be.

But then she . . . I found writing (though sometimes it feels more like writing found me) and I didn’t need to be a calculated risk-taker to know the odds were rough.

Way rough.

I mean, if some of the “best” writers EVER and by that I mean actual writers, not some celebrity or Navy SEAL or Twihard who happened to write a book died penniless and obscure, then I was in the same boat as that snowball in hell, up Sh*t Creek and without a paddle, basically.

I had already committed to writing on the inside, but on the outside I managed the anxiety of that commitment by downplaying writing as “just a hobby.”

When asked what I planned to do with my English degree, I would say, “Oh, I don’t know. Work for a magazine or something, I guess . . .” and pleasantly leave it at that.

That way, no one would be the wiser if I failed. It would suck less, somehow, if I were the only one who knew what I really wanted, and how badly I wanted it . . .

But then I was pretty dumb for an honor student.

Young, dumb, and insecure, but oh the difference your twenties make!

Success, I’ve since learned, is a moving target – a target you can’t hit without pulling the trigger first.

So, a few weeks ago, with little ceremony but plenty of pride, I changed my information on Facebook from HR Assistant at Veridiam to Starving Writer at Mal Adjusted . . . DUN DUN DUN!

No big deal, really, but it meant something to me to raise my freak flag that extra inch, to “don” the cape of Mal Adjusted and make it Facebook official. If I were Tony Stark I’d hold a press conference, too, but hey, a girl makes due. 

And speaking of press conferences:

I am very excited to announce my upcoming “Crusader Series,” during which each week’s post will feature an interview with someone else rockin’ their cape, taking life off the beaten path one day at time.

I’ll ask the questions, they’ll give us their answers, and you’ll take away from it what you will.

Here’s hoping it’s something inspiring :)

XO, Mal


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Wednesday, November 7

I Stand With Beattie

There are a million and one ways I could dive into this one, and make no mistake, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide which way is the “right” way, if there is such a thing.

But you know what . . . ? F*ck it.

They can burn me at the stake for all I care. I wouldn’t be the first writer, and bad press is still good press, right . . . ?


So, let’s start with the “facts,” as best we know them.

The following article was published online by KPBS last Friday:

The University of San Diego revoked a British theology professor’s speaking invitation last week because the professor signed a letter supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.

The visit was planned for more than a year.
Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London, was scheduled to give a lecture on how women are represented in art depicting sin and redemption at the University of San Diego on November 8.
The Catholic university withdrew that invitation on October 27. In a letter, University President Mary Lyons explained it was because Beattie publicly dissents from the church’s moral teachings. That dissent, she wrote, is inconsistent with the mission school's Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, which was supposed to host Beattie's lecture, and "with the intentions of those who have financially supported the Center.” 

"I only question those questions of morals and social ethics that Catholic theologians have always questioned or we would never change," Beattie said. "We'd still be living as they did in the Middle Ages." 

Beattie said the withdrawn invitation raises concerns about the school's commitment to academic freedom. The University of San Diego did not respond to requests for an interview by this story's deadline.

Now, here is the University of San Diego’s "Mission and Vision" statement as posted on its website:

The University of San Diego is a Roman Catholic institution committed to advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community, and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. 

Core Values

The University of San Diego expresses its Catholic identity by witnessing and probing the Christian message as proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. The University promotes the intellectual exploration of religious faith, recruits persons and develops programs supporting the University's mission, and cultivates an active faith community. It is committed to the dignity and fullest development of the whole person. The Catholic tradition of the University provides the foundation upon which the core values listed below support the mission.

Academic Excellence

The University pursues academic excellence in its teaching, learning and research to serve the local, national and international communities. The University possesses that institutional autonomy and integrity necessary to uphold the highest standards of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom. 


The University advances intellectual development; promotes democratic and global citizenship; cultivates an appreciation for beauty, goodness, and truth; and provides opportunities for the physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and cultural development of students. The University provides professional education grounded in these foundations of liberal learning while preparing students to understand complex issues and express informed opinions with courage and conviction. 


The University is committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive and collaborative community accentuated by a spirit of freedom and charity, and marked by protection of the rights and dignity of the individual. The University values students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds and faith traditions, and is committed to creating an atmosphere of trust, safety and respect in a community characterized by a rich diversity of people and ideas. 

Ethical Conduct

The University provides a values-based education that informs the development of ethical judgment and behavior. The University seeks to develop ethical and responsible leaders committed to the common good who are empowered to engage a diverse and changing world.

Compassionate Service

The University embraces the Catholic moral and social tradition by its commitment to serve with compassion, to foster peace, and to work for justice. The University regards peace as inseparable from justice and advances education, scholarship and service to fashion a more humane world.

And now, with all due respect to my alma mater . . . I call bullsh*t.
It’s the first word that comes to mind, frankly, along with a few more "colorful" expletives that I promised my mother I would stop using (or at least putting down in writing).

But I mean, c’mon, I can read – the hypocrisy is rampant.

Beyond said hypocrisy and the questions it raises about the university’s “commitment to academic freedom” is the fact that for some faculty, staff and students, this is a deeply personal affront.

I’m not gay, to be clear, but then I’m not 100% straight, either.

When I fall in love, I fall in love with a person . . . and at least once – once for sure – that person happened to be another girl.

To this day, it’s easy for me to imagine – had life gone a little differently – being with that girl in a loving, monogamous, open relationship . . .

It's almost as easy to imagine how members of the LBGT community in attendance at the University of San Diego (as well their families, who are ostensibly paying for them to go there) feel right about now.

As easy as it is to imagine, though, only makes it that much harder to swallow.

So why swallow then . . . ?

“That’s what she said!”

But seriously, without any further adieu or “smart-assery,” here is my open letter to President Mary Lyons, but one of hundreds written by those standing in solidarity with Professor Tina Beattie for what we know to be right:

Dear President Lyons,

By rescinding the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture’s invitation to Professor Beattie you have done the unconscionable by denying the next generation of leaders the opportunity and right to think for themselves and change the world accordingly.

When faced with one of the “complex ethical issues” you claim to be preparing young people for . . . you took the money and ran.

From your moral obligations as an educator and, worse, from your better judgment.

In doing so you have sorely disillusioned the body of both faculty and students that look to you as an example, and although it makes me sad to say, in this matter I too am ashamed to call myself a Torero.

Here’s hoping your donors' pockets are as deep as you think they are, because until this wrong has been righted the University of San Diego won’t get a single a cent from me, assuming as a starving writer I ever even make as much.

I hate to nickel and dime you, but apparently that’s all it takes . . .


Mallory Lynn Albrecht
Class of 2011

P.S. You can learn more about this situation as it develops at the student-run Facebook page Toreros Stand With Beattie :)


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