Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Billboards of Sunset

Sunset is one of the main boulevards that run through Los Angeles.  I don't often venture down here because it tends to be crowded, expensive and I'm embarrassed to park my 97 Chrysler in the valet parking lots.  But today I wanted to do something a little different so I hiked all the way from Runyon Canyon and if you don't know where that is, I assure you it was a VERY long walk.

I should have taken photos of the people that I saw but I'm really not good at that.  I'm much better at taking pictures of the billboards because they stay still and they don't think I'm asking them for money.

First up, we have the Whisky A Go-Go.  I've been here once, a couple of years ago to see a friend of mine play.  It's pretty small but as far as venues go, it is legendary.  The Doors were the house band here many many years ago, Janis Joplin deep throated her lyrics up on its stage and there were plenty of other famous names who have followed.

The Whiskey is currently plastered with ads for the new movie Rock of Ages.  Tom Cruise is cast as the aging rocker, Stacee Jaxx.  I'm really mad about this.  I like Tom as an actor but c'mon, he ain't no Stacee!

The new Pixar movie is called BRAVE.  Don't know much about it except it features a Scottish lass who thinks she can kick some ass.  Ho hum.  Don't know if I'll see this one.  I'm all for girl power but this one could be a rental.  But then again, it IS Pixar and they made me love clown fish and green ogres.  

The Pink Dot is a strange fixture on Sunset.  It sticks out like a candy lollipop among the grey cement.  I've never been inside and since it really is just a convenience store, I don't think I'll be taking a trip there anytime soon.  

The billboard above advertises a comedy central show.  I'm kinda diggin' Jordan Peele.  I think he's pretty funny and maybe one of these days, I'll actually watch the Peele and Key show.  

Who says there aren't third acts?  Oh Joey, you have survived again.  This is one show that I have never watched--in fact, I wasn't even sure that it made it to another season.  

Matt looks quite happy.  One of these days, I too hope to sit in a pool wearing a tux with a script on my lap.  Then I will know that I have made it.

Anger Management?  Never watched it.  You're probably getting the impression that I don't watch a lot of tv and that impression is largely correct.  

Charlie Sheen just looks creepier and creepier.  He looks like that perverted uncle that you try to keep your kids away from.  I feel like I need to wash my hands just from looking at this billboard.  

But Stryper is playing at House of Blues on June 22.  Get your tickets now!

There are plenty of ridiculous ideas for tv shows but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard there was a reality show about long term storage facilities.  Wow.  Someone definitely slept with someone else to get this idea greenlit.  If you haven't seen it, the show is about people who bet on the contents of abandoned storage lockers.  It is exciting as it sounds.  

What do they really expect to find?  They get excited when they find old tools for godsakes!  What would be really cool is if they found a dead body or a severed head.  Or maybe just some intestines and they had to figure out if they were human or animal.  

I can't believe that I am not a showrunner.    

When did abs become so important for all those men who want to feel superficially proud of themselves?  

And why does Calvin Klein feel the need to plaster some half-naked guy with his legs wide open on Sunset Boulevard?  

What if some 11 year old from was on vacation from Kansas and she saw this provocative advertising while walking down the boulevard with her parents?  It might suddenly usher her into puberty and then her parents would have to deal with all those awkward conversations when they all really wanted to discuss was how much Brittney enjoyed the teacup ride at Disneyland.  

I don't wear Calvins anymore.  I don't look like the guy on the front of the package and that depresses me a little.  They really need to start putting fat hairy guys on the front.  That way, the underwear buyers can feel much better about themselves when they look in the mirror and strike a ninja pose.  

True Blood Season 5 has started!  

But I'm still watching Season 4 because I'm cheap and I don't get HBO and the last season has only recently been released on DVD through netflix.  I've watched two episodes so far and .... not a lot has happened.  That's okay.  I'll keep on watching because I'm a sucker for blood, sex and good looking people who occasionally get naked.  

Sookie is still annoying and I don't care if she is a fairy, she deserves to get drained of all her blood and then locked away until the series is over.  

Must have crossed over to West Hollywood.  This looks like a condom for clowns.  Gay clowns but clowns nonetheless.  If clowns had sex and wanted to be safe.  

It took me six hours roundtrip for this hike.  Not sure if I'll be doing it again anytime soon ...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The strange natural beauty of Mono Lake

Several years ago, I remember seeing some photos of weird stone formations in a lake and after finding out that the lake was in California, I was determined to visit it someday.    

Last week, during an impromptu road trip, I got the chance. 

Mono Lake is in the northern part of California, east of Yosemite.  It is very unique because it contains "tufas" which are essentially limestone pillars.  These pillars are formed when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with the alkaline lake water and precipitates form.  When the level of the lake drops (which it has over the past fifty years), the tufas are exposed.  

If you're still confused about where this place is, I have provided a map.  It takes about five or six hours to get there from Los Angeles.  

View Larger Map

I have never seen anything like this place.  Beautiful, serene, almost alien.  The largest congregation of tufas are on the south coast of the lake which is where the photos below were taken.  I can imagine that dawn would be a great time to visit and the motivation to get great pictures would definitely make me get out of bed at 5am and slog my way down to the water's edge.  Bishop is the nearest town and there are plenty of hotels to choose from.  I suggest LaQuinta because you can make your own Belgian waffles for breakfast and they allow dogs.

If you're up in that area, there are a couple of other attractions.  The ancient Bristlecone forest is nearby which has trees that are several thousand years old.  (Photos to be posted later).  Bodie, an deserted mining town, is north of Mono Lake but I didn't have time to check it out.  I've also heard that the road isn't good and I would likely need a car newer than a 1997 Chrysler convertible to make the trek.  There is also Mammoth skiing area if you like playing around in the white stuff.

This is a great area of California and I can't wait to get back.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Handsome boy

I'm trying out a new program for black and white photos called Silver Efex Pro 2 and it produces some pretty amazing results.

Here is Chan who is my pain-in-the-ass Pekingese who requires walking at 6am.  If he could walk himself, he would be perfect!