Saturday, March 29, 2008

LA Confidential

A trip downtown yielded great sights and adventurous eats.

Jason and I must have had about eight burgers each. I have seen the error of my vegetarian ways!

Give us a little smooch...

"So am I to understand, Professor Pooch, that you are arguing for a neo-realist analysis of the making of the Constitution? Why, the implications of that historical reinterpretation are preposterous!"

Bastion of book learnin' and inscrutable public artwork:

This door display is really only funny if you can read the two posters.

Exhibit A: Obesity is bad!

Exhibit B: Maximizing your fat for fun and profit.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We decided to take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather and go to Santa Cruz on Monday. Skies were sunny, weather was mild, wind was low, keys were locked in the car...

After we bid farewell to our friend from AAA, we explored a lagoon/wildlife refuge we found. It was about 40 acres of wetlands with wooden footpaths winding through the trees and over the lagoon itself.

Lots of rare birds nested there. We mostly just saw the nests.

We also saw the world's most aggressive carp. I think they're used to being fed by humans, because big schools of them would follow us as we walked the footbridge and jostle the surface of the water. We nicknamed this one Hot Lips:

Then it was on to Natural Bridges, a state park with beautiful arches and bridges the ocean carved from rock outcroppings. In the winter thousands of monarch butterflies rest there, but we'd mostly missed butterfly season. Instead we contented ourselves with exploring tide pools and harassing the inhabitants. We saw starfish:

And sea anemones, which I realized I have spelled (and pronounced!) wrong my entire life:

These were either more anemones or crumb donuts, I'm not sure which:

Mussels on the beach:

And of course, muscles on the beach:


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Soviet Russia, playgrounds play on YOU

Other chumps go to playgrounds to play. We go to playgrounds to pump iron.

But sometimes, the iron ends up pumping us instead.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Goodbye, Los Angeles...

I once again Megabussed my way up to the Bay Area. Can't argue with $30 round-trip, and I love being able to read and work on the way up. I also love the smug feeling of superiority watching all the polluters clogging the roadways.

Small wonder our bus driver chose this restaurant to stop at on the journey.

Gorgeous views on the drive up. I missed my greenery!

Little known fact: the Bat Cave is actually located in San Jose.

I saw some great wildlife on my run yesterday. Apparently deer, like leprechauns, cannot be photographed successfully. I took about 20 pictures and all of them turned out blurry. I also saw a flock of wild turkeys-- those things are scary! They came up to my waist and were seriously huge.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

Apparently April 12th is National Licorice Day. (What gave it away?)

Sorry, Red Vines, but you can’t quite compete with the 15 varieties of gourmet chocolate Green & Black’s sent me, or the 25 lbs of sugar candy from Topps:

The life of a food writer is...wait for it...sweet.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My life in numbers

ONE mini-Claremont reunion. Tim was in town and we got to hang out with him Sunday night. We counted and figured it's probably been about four years since we've seen him. We're old! It was great to see him again--somehow blog posts aren't the same as in-person conversations. I tried to get Jason and Tim to give me the Sagehen Sign, but they claimed there was no such thing.

TWO things that made me laugh recently. And for some reason, both reminded me of Karl...

FIVE new additions to the balcony. Yes, spring has sprung and with it comes my ever-optimistic attempt at an herb garden. Back row: two basil plants and the grizzled old veteran rosemary that's been with us for 3 years. Front row: pineapple sage, spearmint, lemon balm. (FYI: pineapple sage is amazing. No lie, it smells exactly like fresh-cut pineapple. Yum!)


Saturday, March 08, 2008

My Kingdom for My Camera

This story actually starts on Thursday. I'm innocently driving to my haircutting appointment, listening to the end of Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW. I hear my boy Nic Harcourt announce that they're giving away free tickets to the Blind Boys of Alabama concert Friday night, and since my favorite hobby involves driving while decoding the weensy numbers on my cell phone pad and endangering the lives of my fellow drivers, it seemed like a fine time to try to call and score tickets. Karma, which usually laughs at my face, smiled on me and I actually won tickets to the concert! Sweet! I tried to parlay my luck into getting a free haircut as well, but the salon wasn't having any of that.

So Friday night rolls around, and we make our way to the Knitting Factory, taking the metro as all cool eco-conscious city kids are wont to do. The concert was on the main stage, which is still a really small, intimate venue. The Blind Boys of Alabama are a rollicking gospel-based group who've been around forever, and are thus getting on in years a bit:

Nevertheless, they put on a GREAT show. Lots of passion, great harmonies, and those soaring gospel notes that send a shiver down the spine. Toward the end, they were rocking out and the lead singer decided he wanted to come down into the audience. Since they are literally blind, his bodyguard carried him down into the crowd as he meandered around, the song still pounding, and the rest of the band singing and playing from the stage. He walked by us several times (and wound his mic cord around our legs) and we were able to touch his hand. Many of the audience members were hugging him and clasping his shoulders, but that seemed a bit too intimate.

He stayed down in the crowd for probably 10 minutes as the song went on and on, growing in intensity. With all of the craziness, their lead guitarist was helping the other blind members navigate the stage, so he couldn't concentrate on playing properly. So who comes out to help on guitar but...

PRINCE. PRINCE! On stage, not 15 feet from where we were standing! (The wee little elf was looking pretty hot, too.) We couldn't BELIEVE that the one time we didn't bring our camera to a show, we could have gotten pictures with the lead singer of the band and gotten front-row pictures of Prince jamming on guitar. It was incredible. After the song was over, he gave a modest little bow and left without saying a word. We were hoping he'd come out and play for an encore, but the absence of any encore at all pretty much prevented that. Still, the whole show was amazing and so much fun and...Prince! Can't stop saying it!

: I got a nice link from the KCRW blog! I surely do love that station. Also, fellow concert-goer Glenn was there with a camera and got a picture of the elusive Prince. I like the blurriness, it makes him seem more rock-n-roll.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rock the Vote

Now that I have some free time, I'm thinking of starting my own candy/pastry company. I don't know if I'll really do anything with it now, but I want to start getting organized--get a logo, a webpage, stuff like that while I actually have time to do it all. The actual business of producing sweets will come later.

First, though, I need a name. I've been toying with options revolving around a play on my last name. Since it means "the beautiful" in French, there are a lot of dessert-related possibilities. I like the rhyming of "LaBau Gateau" or its properly spelled cousin, "Le Beau Gateau"--meaning "beautiful cake." I also like the sound of "La Belle & Le Beau," which simply means "the beautiful (girl) & (boy)" but has a nice ring to it. And of course, I can't decide whether I should use the proper spelling or the way my name is spelled.

So internets, I turn to you. There's a poll on the right where you can vote for which one you like, or if you have any brilliant ideas of your own (or even moderately smart ideas, I'm not that picky) leave me a comment.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

I am adding this to my March to-do list

Today I spied matador practice in the park. Complete with red capes and bull horns, but absent any apparent gorging. Truth be told, the 'bulls' all moved rather slowly and didn't seem to challenge the matadors too much.

They also used this awesome wooden cart to stand in for a bull, which moved much faster. Add a motor to this thing and I think you'd really be in business.


Purple Haze

Nine months after the big fire, the burned areas of Griffith Park are recovering nicely. [These pictures are dedicated to Jason, lover of all things purple].