Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Santa Monica and Venice

We're having a record heat wave down here in L.A. and so I decided to go to the beach on my day off. 

I thought it was a great idea until I got on the 405 and spent an hour in traffic at 11:30 in the morning.  There is always a little pain with the gain in L.A. 

So I finally ended up at the Santa Monica pier (along with the other tourists) and parked my car for $6. 

And this is what I saw ...






I walked all the way down from Santa Monica to Venice.  It took about an hour but there was good people watching. 

If Santa Monica is like your rich old aunt who likes to wear a lot of perfume, Venice is like your creepy homeless uncle who smokes medical marijuana. 







Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cool App of the Day

If you're like me, you're a little too obsessed about checking out new apps.  Sure, they only cost a buck or two but once you start filling up your iPhone, you quickly realize that the money starts to add up. 

So thankfully, there are some very cool ones out there. 

ToonPAINT is well worth a couple of bucks.  It turns your photos into cartoons and then you can paint them as much or as little as you want.  The end result is better if you choose strong subjects with a lot of contrast but any photo is worth trying. 

Here are some examples. 

Most of the time, I'm sparse with the paint.  I guess I don't have enough patience to fiddle with all the lines. 





And you can always be a rebel and go OUTSIDE the lines (apologies to all those Kindergarten teachers out there).  The end result may be a little frightening so play at your own risk.    


Smile!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Question and Answer time!

This is a crazy world, isn't it? 

I've got to stop reading CNN.com; not only is it depressing but it's making me nuts.  Why?  Because I read the facts but then I have questions and these questions are just not getting answered.

Maybe I should start a Q&A show but even if the questions are asked, I doubt if I would get the honest answers.  And that's all I want.  Honesty.  Which is apparently a very rare commodity in today's world. 

So here they are.  Just a few questions thrown out to the universe.  If any of these people want to fill in the blanks, please get in touch and I'll post the replies. 

Thanks. 

Randy Quaid: What bad quality banana peels have you been smoking lately?

Mark Zuckerberg: Do you have any privacy concerns of your own?

Iranian hikers: Did you really think the border was going to be well marked? Or here’s another one: Will you admit to being f^&*#ing morons for hiking in that part of the country?

Lindsay Lohan: How much of your career can you fit up your nose?

Conrad Murray: At any time, did you stop and say to yourself, “Hmmm, propofol is an anesthetic and not a sleep aid”?

Bristol Palin: If you are preaching abstinence, isn’t that kinda like the devil preaching about Christianity? Or here’s another one: Since premarital sex is so bad, do you consider Tripp a “mistake”?

Kim Kardashian: Did you feel any guilt at all when you spent over $100,000 on French handbags?

Eddie Long: Are you preparing your “To human is to sin so please forgive me” speech?

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: If you want people to be more accepting of Islam, do you really think that building a mosque at Ground Zero is the way to do it?

Asif Ali Zardari: Whose job is it to "fix" Pakistan?

Illegal immigrants: If you are deported and you leave children behind, who is breaking up your family?

I"ll think of others and let you know ...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A quick tour of NoHo

North Hollywood, otherwise known as NoHo is nowhere near Hollywood but I suppose it is roughly north of that city so I suppose I can't fault them on that.  There is a West Hollywood but there ain't no South or East Hollywood.  Just so you know. 

I've lived in North Hollywood for nearly six months and I like it.  There is a distinctly urban feel but no so urban that I am dodging bullets and walking past burnt out cars on my way to the supermarket.  There are lots of theaters here as well as acting, singing and dance schools. This is where you start as a wannabe and when you make your money, you move on down south to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills.  If you lose your money or your parents cut you off, then you probably move to Van Nuys or Northridge.  Or you go back to where you came from and suffer all the humiliation that goes along with having a failed dream.

You can tell when you're entering NoHo thanks to big gaudy sign that seems to say, "We're creative people here but creativity doesn't always mean good taste!"


And because we're creative people, we have multicolored sidewalks.  We even walk creatively


There are quite a few good restaurants in the area.  One of the favorites is the Pitfire Pizza which has plenty of outdoor seating and Ping Pong (or Table Tennis depending on which country you come from). 


And there's EAT which is only open for breakfast and lunch.  The food here is GREAT.  Note to myself; I must eat here more often. 


And right in my backdoor is the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  Here's Johnnnnnnny!

I think they do some important stuff here but I'm not quite sure.  Maybe they just watch a lot of tv and hand out awards. 



We also have the Art Institute of California.  Once again, I have no idea what they do inside that building. 

I'm starting to realize that I'm a pretty lousy tour guide. 



Like I said, there are lots of theaters.  This is the NoHo Arts Center. 


And at the El Portal theater, they are putting on "Sort of a Love Story" written by my good friend, Rich Krevolin and starring Joe Bologna (also a co-writer) and Renee Taylor.  I was at the read through several months back and I'm looking forward to the staged production.  If you are in the area, please come out and support all their hard work.  You know I'll be there. 


This is a picture of a NoHo street.  It is a creative street, hence all the colorful walls. 




The first time I saw this sign, it cracked me up.  I've never heard of a Smoke "Shope" and Wellness Center.  I'm pretty sure that smoking and wellness don't go together unless we're talking about smoking pot for a variety of ailments which we're probably talking about. 

I've noticed that quite a few of the medical marijuana places have closed up shop in LA.  Not exactly sure why but maybe the officials are becoming more strict about such places and weeding out the shady operations. 

HempCon, the big doobie expo, was recently in Los Angeles.  If you missed it, then you can always drive to Denver and catch all the excitement in November.  Check out http://www.hempcon.com/ for all the information you ever wanted to know about starting up your own profitable business.  Glaucoma sufferers rejoice! 


And this is just a used clothing store.  This is probably a great place to shop if youre roommate stole all your clothes and you want that hip retro vibe look.   


 So that's it.  Pretty amazing stuff.  We also have a Ralph's supermarket and a frozen yogurt store.  And a vegan Thai places that serves tofu chicken.  There's a Starbucks and a Bank of America and a couple of homeless people.  You really can't go wrong here.  For now, I call it home.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tarot of the Witches by Tomek Fior

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I have some very exciting news. 

A friend of mine has recently released his CD after several years of hard work and I really encourage you to check out his eclectic blend of sounds.

I'll let the artist speak for himself and this is how he describes his work:

Tarot of the Witches is a synth and piano driven concept album that fuses rock music and dance with a theatrical twist. Inspirations range from Madonna, Diamanda Galas and Tori Amos to David Bowie and Muse, giving you a wide range of sonic colors. The 10 songs representing the 10 card celtic Tarot spread are woven together with 10 interludes that represent the voice of the reader. This album will take you on a journey from beginning to end.

I understand what it's like to put your heart and soul into a creative endeavor and I hope you will join me in supporting all this hard work. 

You can check out previews of his songs on iTunes and if you like 'em,  you can buy 'em too.  Click on the link below and it'll take you to the magical world of Apple. 

Tarot

You can also check out his website at http://www.tomekfior.com/

If you like fun dance music, then I highly recommend Never Believe You Again

ENJOY! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Miracle Tree of Life!

If you haven’t heard of the Moringa tree, then you aren’t alone.

I recently read about the Moringa or the “Miracle Tree” while researching crops that are useful in third world countries. While it may lack a little in the aesthetics department, Moringa oleifera more than makes up for it in other pretty amazing ways.

According to moringamalunggay.com, the dried leaves, on a per weight basis, have:

• ½ times the vitamin C in oranges
• 17 times the calcium in milk
• 10 times the vitamin A in carrots
• 9 times the protein in yogurt
• 15 times the potassium in bananas
• 25 times the iron in spinach

The nutrient profile is the most exciting aspect of the Moringa but there are other benefits: The seeds can be pressed and the oil can be used for cooking. The remaining paste can be used for water purification or fertilizer. The flowers and the immature seed pods can also be eaten and in some cultures, are used in traditional medicine.

And there’s more …

The tree is very drought resistant and grows rapidly in poor soil. If you’re living in an area where you haven’t seen rain for months and the earth is cracked and barren, the Moringa may just get you and your livestock through some tough times.

Is there anything bad about the Moringa? Well, I read that the roots contain an alkaloid which can cause a potentially fatal nerve-paralyzing agent. Probably best to avoid the roots but who wants to eat tree roots anyway?

After I did more research, I found that there was a distributor of Moringa trees literally down the street where I live. I’m not sure why anyone needs these trees in the middle of Los Angeles but I suppose even upscale Angelenos can derive some benefits.

I bought two saplings for about ten dollars a piece. I don’t have a yard to plant them in so I stuck them in a pot and put them on my semi-shaded patio. I have no idea how well they’ll do but I guess it’s my way of seeing just how hardy these things really are.

And yes, I did eat a couple of leaves. They tasted a little like spinach.  Not bad, I suppose.  Do I feel better already?  It's a little too early to tell ...




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