Friday, September 30, 2011

Super September Saturday

How is September already over?  Best month of the year - best people born in this month, and it's dunzo.  One quarter left and we'll be staring 2012 right in the face.  Seriously - where does time go?

Solid month for me.  Let's look back.  My parents visited over Labor Day.  Good weekends continued.
The next weekend I went to an improv show.  Becca came up from HB and stayed with me.  We went out to dinner at midnight.  And miraculously I woke up at 6am the next morning to volunteer with my ward, handing out shoes and backpacks to families who'd slept overnight to be first in line to get these items for their kids.  I had a blast and even managed to function while speaking Spanish.  

As soon as my volunteer shift was over, I raced downtown to hop on the Esotouric bus.  MCB and I had booked this tour into the secret heart of LA months ago, so I went.  Tour title: Hotel Horrors and Main Street Vice.  A fascinating view of historic hotels.  Downtown LA is kinda growing on me.
One of the stops - the old Stowell Hotel, now the El Dorado Lofts - is where Charlie Chapman lived for a bit.  And apparently these tiles are worth $5-10k each.


The Alexandria Hotel was apparently the 'it' place, until the Biltmore hotel opened.
The gorgeous ballroom because a boxing gym later on.


We had a stop at Clifton's Cafeteria for some refreshment. It's closed for refurbishment at the moment.  Guess I can't make a return trip anytime soon.

I heard more stories about ghost-occupied areas of hotels, honkey tonks, a Count Dracula Society, serial killers (like this guy) and burlesque stars of their day.  Pretty interesting stuff.  It's amazing what you can find when you dig into a little history.  Estouric was cool - I'd recommend it to someone who's got an afternoon to kill.

Next up = Time to race to the USC-Utah game.  I parked my car somewhere downtown and took my first public LA bus.  I ran to will call, grabbed the ticket that Jeff had left for me, and ran up the bleachers to watch Utah kinda fall apart.  Follow that with some Thai in Hollywood, and you've got an excellent, but very long Saturday.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blast From the Past

Blogging is last on the list right now, so here, enjoy some photos from 1999 that I scanned over the summer.  Go Pirates!







Monday, September 26, 2011

Musical Monday



Good Tunes Ahead this Fall from:
Coldplay
Feist
Florence + the Machine
Sigur Ros
Ryan Adams
Bjork
Kelly Clarkson
Justice
Deer Tick
She & Him

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Doh!

For the second time, today I had to take my iPod into the Apple Store so they could remove a silica gel bead from one of those packets that got lodged into the headphone jack.

I was not going to make a 6 hour roadtrip without being able to plug in the auxiliary cord.

Second time!!  How have I not learned?

Apparently this is a common problem.  Ladies and gents, clean out those silica gel packs.

PS - I am now another year older.  Yay!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tonight I Will Weep Tears of Musical Joy

Two words:

Bon Iver
  Bon Iver - Beth/Rest (Solo Piano at World Cafe) by pmwtumblr


I snuck my crappy little camera into their show a couple years ago.  Been watching all week to get into the zone. 
'
Bon Iver - Lump Sum from L Dubbs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Miss Universe

I taped the Miss Universe pageant (now that I have DVR!) so I can watch the full trainwreck when I get back to LA.

In the meantime, I'm having a good ole time in Phoenix now that the temperature is below 100.

From the pageant - guess the country that's supposed to be represented in these "costumes."
 1.
 2.
 3.
 4.
 5.
 6.

Answers:
1. Tanzania
2. Curacao
3. Honduras
4. Ireland
5. Panama
6. Puerto Rico
See www.tomandlorenzo.com for their commentary. 

Friday, September 09, 2011

Tourist Week Continues

My parents came to town last week as part of their summer roadtrip - they flew to Phoenix, drove to Vegas, Bishop, CA (where my dad lived as a kid), Yosemite, Bakersfield (to visit high school friends) and finally to LA, to hang out with me.  They're only a few years away from getting a motor home, methinks.

First stop - a taping of the Tonight Show.  There was a little earthquake that afternoon and even though we were in Burbank around that time, we didn't notice.  I still really want to be in one!  But just a little one.

Heidi Klum (love her!), Kevin Smith (eh) and Fitz and the Tantrums were the guests.  We got there kinda late and didn't have great seats and couldn't take any photos, but my mom grabbed a water bottle that she gifted to me.
Aftwards we ended up in old town Pasadena (love that place), where we shopped and went on a wild goose chase for food trucks at a farmers market.  We ended up at La Grande Orange cafe instead.  Once again I opted for the short rib tacos - yum.  I think dad was impressed with his Moroccan chicken, since it was a whole bird with bones.  You can't find that anymore, he says.
The next day we drove out to Simi Valley to visit the Reagan Library
I had not read up on what I was about to view, so I didn't know what to expect.
There was an Oval Office replica.
I feel like I should go read up on Reagan since I was kind of too young to remember most of what happened.  I think I'll do that.  Trust, but verify.  That sort of thing I need to know about.
We got to the Air Force One part that we thought was the pinnacle and the ending point.  Nope!  We'd only seen half the place.

The Berlin Wall is there, over a lovely view of a valley.
And I guess he loved Jelly Bellys?
We had a nice little lunch outside enjoying the view before we took off.
To Malibu!  We drove on a scary canyon road for many winding miles.  I think it's the last time I do that.  But I finally got to see more of Malibu than I did on my last trip - darn traffic.
It really is the best place.

After a quick breakfast on Saturday, the parents were headed back to AZ.  Back to hotness.  Ugh.

I spent the rest of the weekend out and about.  I did not go to FYF.  But I did meet Erin and the Toddster for lunch in Eagle Rock.  Only the baby was there - it wasn't 3-kid madness this time, though I would've welcomed it.  We tried The Oinkster and I think next time I find myself back in that part of town, I would go there again for sure.
 
My roommate and I went on a double date on Friday night (group hug at the door, anyone?  Weird).  Syrup was delicious.  I would definitely go back.  Maybe I will work from there one day while snacking on a chocolate covered waffle with whip cream and raspberries.
Here are some random photos that I have taken from various downtown trips.  Downtown LA is a world of its own.  I kinda dig it.  I'll find out more downtown secrets on Saturday when I go on this tour.



Labor Day was glorious - there was no laboring.  I stayed in bed til 1am.  This was awesome.  And then, beach time, of course.  We've got a few more weeks of summer here, which is good, because I still need to work on my tan.

And as I left, another pod of dolphins swam  by.  I love this place.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tourist Week in El Lay

Almost every time I leave home and drive east on Santa Monica Blvd, I inevitably pass several of those tour vans - you know, the ones with the roof cut off, filled with tourists, scoping the sights of Beverly Hills, cameras out and hoping for a celeb sighting as they drive by their homes.  And I laugh and feel uncomfortable for those people, because I wouldn't be caught dead doing something so touristy and gawkerly.

Welp, I went on one of those tours last week.

Apparently a good majority of one tour company's staff is Mormon, so as a fun Monday night activity, they offered to take a big group of us on a free tour.  I wasn't going to say no - it's free!  And they picked us up right near my house.  We left as it was getting dark so I don't really have any good photos, nor was I going to stand up in this van and draw more attention to myself to take photos, so these two will have to do.

We started the tour pretty close to my place.  Both the Spelling mansion and the Playboy mansion are right up the street.  Soon we came home to Bel Air, Fresh Prince style.  Or so they say.  All I really care about is a Beckham sighting, but they're out in Malibu for the summer.
We saw the place where Michael  Jackson died, Jennifer Aniston's house that she just sold, Lucille Ball's old place, etc. And no way was I going to wave as we passed Al Pacino's place and saw lights on and people around.  Seriously - I'm not waving at Al Pacino.  Awkward.
Next tourist stop in the middle of the week - The Natural History Museum.  Marc J just moved to town, so we've been trying out some new places in our free time.
We hit up the Butterfly Pavilion before the actual museum.  I almost pushed some preschoolers out of the way to get photos. 
And I miss squirrels.  Especially the black ones on Healy Lawn.


I still hate paying for museums after living in DC with free ones everywhere, but I guess this one was alright.
I kept wishing that the animals were alive.  I guess you go to the zoo for that.
This fish thing was really gross.  Kind of like the colossal squid that I saw last year in New Zealand.
And finally, the main event - dinosaurs.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the week.  Parentals in town.  More touristy things.

Skop-meh and the good parts of Macedonia

We arrived back in Skopje after that early bus ride from Prizren, and while we had to check out of our Airbnb apartment that morning, we we...