Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pix from Christmas

I consider myself very grateful that I can spend several days with my family and we can all get along.

We may have our disagreements but generally there isn't any bloodshed.

That's why I didn't mind spending time over Christmas with my parents, my brother, his wife and my most awesome niece. They live near San Francisco so I was able to escape into the city for a couple of hours and wander around. Of course, I brought my camera and shot some touristy pictures.

If you didn't notice, the pics are a little photoshopped.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and I'm looking forward to a fantastic 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vegas Baby Vegas

I'm like a shark. I can't stay still for too long or else I might die.

So to stay alive, I decided to go to Vegas for a couple of days. It took me four and a half hours and a tank of gas to drive there from L.A. Not too bad. My iTunes kept me company and my 19997 Chrysler Sebring is always up for the task.

If you've never been to Vegas, you MUST go at least once in your lifetime. It is a crazy unique city and I'm not sure when all the insanity will end. I was thinking that the city would literally dry up after using all its water supply but somehow they keep on finding the necessary H2O. I've heard that they recycle all the shower and toilet water but my guess is that they are stealing all they need from Arizona. Las Vegas doesn't strike me as exactly "green."

If you're planning a trip, four days in Vegas is probably enough. That's enough time to loose all your money, stuff yourself on cheap buffet food and see a glorified circus act. I don't recommend staying for 12 years like I did. I think I am permanently damaged. Of course, I can't blame it all on Vegas but I'm sure it played a big part.

As always, I was armed with my camera and snapped a few pics. I didn't have time to retouch them so you will see them in all their original glory. Sometimes I think I am a little too fond of photoshop.

Here is a very sad picture of The Huntridge where I attended many great concerts. It is now closed and run down, probably awaiting demolition.

I think they stopped having concerts there after the roof collapsed.

It was a great piece of art deco architecture.

I made my way out to Red Rock Canyon, one of my favorite places to go near Vegas.

As you can see, it is quite easy to get away from the slot machines, $2 margaritas and the cheap hookers. Red Rock is only ten minutes outside of Vegas and it has awesome scenery.

The day I was there was particularly beautiful.

There was snow on the ground!

Okay, enough of the desert scenery. You just have to be there to enjoy it. The pictures can only take you so far.

My other favorite place in Vegas is the Conservatory at the Bellagio hotel. It should have been bigger but it is still a great place to experience the different seasons. As you might have guessed, it was all dressed up for Christmas.

The polar bears were out in full force.

And since Vegas loves to build bigger and better, there is a new BIG kid on the block.


It cost 3 trillion dollars to build. (This is just a rough estimate.) I think it also went bankrupt but they kept building anyway. In this city, it is important to do everything in a big way, even failing.

And whenever a new property opens, there has to be a new Cirque de Soleil show to go along with it. In this case, the new show is called Viva Elvis and I think it's about the Beatles.

But I could be wrong about that. I tend to get my facts confused.

Go see it. I'm sure it will be awesome.

And I love the fountains at the Bellagio. They are free to watch and pretty darn spectacular.

I had dinner at Caesar's palace near the big Trevi fountains. I look like a total tourist with my big cheesy smile.

I lived here for twelve years. I'm a local damnit! I know all about Keno and paycheck giveaways! I've eaten a deep fried twinkie and lived to tell the tale!

I drove back to L.A. late Thursday night. I arrived exhausted around midnight.

Work was a little painful today due to lack of sleep but it was all worth it.

Thanks to all my friends who turned my mini vacation into such a great time!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The laws of L.A.

If you are schmoozing at a cocktail party, it is important to glance around the room every two minutes to see if you should be talking to someone more important.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Remembering John Lennon

Today is the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's murder outside his Dakota appartment in New York City.

I remember the day it happened. I was in high school and I heard the news from my English teacher. Instead of teaching us that day, she played his songs and cried. All the students looked at each other, feeling awkward. We were a little too young to understand what all the fuss was about.

Years later, I travelled to Strawberry Fields in Manhattan and saw the memorial. His message of peace and love still holds strong.

Perhaps more now than ever.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Street Art

Taking pictures is one of my favorite things to do. I think it drives my friends a little batty when I always want to stop and snap a photo but they should realize how blessed they are to be in the presence of such a creative mind.

Anyhoo ...

I realized that I've got a couple of interesting street art photos taken during my travels.

And guess what? I've decided to share them with you. Now you are blessed too.

This one is all the way from Austin, Texas. I sense a Cash/M.A.S.H theme.

And these angry squiggle faces are from Amsterdam.

And with all the pot smoking going on there, you would think it would all be happy graffiti. Au contraire, mon frere.

This one I snapped just recently. I have no idea what the artist is trying to say but it is interesting. This mural is from the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

I'm guessing this one was done by a Russian. Or maybe not. It is located in Key West and people just make up shit down there.

Intentional spelling mistake? Once again, in Key West, people make up their own rules.

Nothing says happiness like a big blue eye crying tears.

You can see this big bad baby in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. In Venice, people look homeless but apparently they have enough money for paint (and pot).

At least they know how to prioritize.

And this one is also in Venice. That's me in the lower left hand corner. Even though I sat there for several minutes, no one gave me work or food. Damn this economy!

And right beside Venice is the more uppity Santa Monica neighborhood where this classy piece of artwork is located.

I've never seen Patrick wear sunglasses before. Why does he need them? He lives under the sea for godsakes.

Of course, he also wears pants which are likewise unnecessary.

And surprise, surprise, there are some creative types in Hollywood who like to paint on walls. I'm guessing this mural was not based on an actual photo but I could be wrong.