Monday, November 28, 2011

Hollywood Christmas Parade prep

As is tradition here, the Sunday after Thanksgiving saw the The Hollywood Christmas Parade on Hollywood Boulevard and while not the A-list event it used to be back in the golden age of Tinseltown, it's still a fun event to mark the official start of the Christmas season in Southern California.

I headed out to Fresh & Easy to pick up a few things around 4:30pm yesterday and was greeted by this sight:

Looking east down Hollywood Boulevard.  
Notice the traffic backup.

I don't remember the parade having balloons in the past, but then again it's been a few years since I've actually attended the parade.

A little further down the street I noticed a rather concerned looking toy soldier peeking over a strip mall:

This balloon appeared to be throwing a temper tantrum:

Turns out he was just getting gassed up:

Balloon Alley.

Oscar the Grouch and a flying Elmo were also in attendance:

I used to work in that building.

In addition to the usual marching bands and celebrity guests, the parade also featured young dancers representing different cultures.  They were waiting patiently for the parade to begin.

Hopefully this is the start of a wonderful Christmas season for everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Icy finger of death...literally

This is absolutely fascinating.  From the BBC, it's the "brinicle":

Sunday, November 20, 2011

L.A. County Restaurant Closures

It's been about a month since the last one, so I decided to check the list and see who I missed last time around and who's been added to the Wall of Shame since then.  Here they are:

Work out, eat healthy, ingest contaminated crap anyway:
BALLY TOTAL FITNESS, 3531 W. Century Blvd., Inglewood CA 90303
Date closed: October 12, 2011
Date reopened: October 14, 2011
Reason for closure: Vermin harborage, vermin infestation

South Park called it:
CITY WOK, 10949 Ventura Blvd., Studio City CA 91604
Date closed: September 2, 2011
Date reopened: September 2, 2011
Reason for closure: No potable water supply or no hot water

That ain't wasabi!  Seriously, if you're eating at a place with the word "ugly" in its name describing its food, you deserve whatever they put in front of you:
UGLY ROLL JAPANESE CUISINE, 11128 Palms Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90034
Date closed: November 4, 2011
Reason for closure: Vermin infestation

I think the closure and critters are the least of this place's issues.  On the other hand, white supremacists have to eat too and it's important to know your clientele:
ARYAN CUISINE, 1126 S. Santee Street, Los Angeles CA 90015
Date closed: August 16, 2011
Date reopened: August 23, 2011
Reason for closure: Vermin harborage, vermin infestation

Karma is a bitch:
GOOD KARMA BEVERAGE, 4473 Sheila Street, Commerce CA 90040
Date Closed: August 30, 2011
Reason for Closure: No public health license

I was really surprised to see these next two hit the list.

Chan Darae is extremely popular with the locals.  It's near a couple of my former jobs and I've eaten there countless times.  Their food is fantastic, but I guess no one's perfect:
HOUSE OF CHAN DARAE, 1151 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Date closed: October 18, 2011
Date reopened: October 21, 2011
Reason for closure: Vermin harborage, vermin infestation

Definitely not in keeping with its image of upscale, gracious living:
WILLIAM SONOMA, 1112 Glendale Galleria, Glendale CA 91210
Date closed: October 5, 2011
Date reopened: October 7, 2011
Reason for closure: Vermin harborage, vermin infestation

By the way, if you'd like to check the rating for a particular restaurant, you can do so here.   And I wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving dinner with all the vermin-free trimmings!

Monday, November 14, 2011

No plot, no problem! Well actually, problem.

"No plot, no problem!" has been NaNoWriMo's slogan forever, and is in fact also the title of a book by NaNo founder Chris Baty.

Why do I mention this?  Because as of November 14, my "novel" is up to all of 3,250 words and to meet NaNo's goal of 50,000 words, you need to write 1,667 words per day.  So I'm ridiculously behind.  I think it's because short stories like the one I'm using for NaNo are short stories for a reason.  Because they're short stories, not novels.  But then again, it took doing NaNo for me to realize that.  Enough of a plot to power a short story but not a novel, at least not yet.  My main character is going to need some development before he's going to be able to carry a novel-length story on his own.  Isn't going to stop me for going for the mad dash to the finish.  That's the thing about NaNo - it doesn't matter if it's working, you just write.

The real beauty of NaNo is that ultimately it's a crapload of fun and although I'll probably never win at it, I'll still come back to it year after year.  Why?  Because it's simply all about the sheer joy of writing and everything that goes with it.  Even when it eats your soul.  Especially when it eats your soul.  That's how much we love doing it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well done, Boston Bruins. Well done.

The NHL is big on honoring the military at games, but the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins took it a big step further last night.  Just some helpful advice - you might want to have Kleenex handy before you click on play.

Very classy, Boston.  Oh, and thanks for making me cry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with screenwriter of "Fast Five"

I was just cleaning up some old bookmarked pages that I'd never gotten around to reading and found this gem on an article about 10 Cool Things on the Web.  It's a bit late (Fast Five was released last April) but is just too priceless not to share.  From the Onion News Network, it's an interview with the 5-year-old screenwriter of Fast Five:

"Morgan spent a whole day working on "Fast Five" script."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The return of "In Living Color"

Fox announced last week that the 90's sketch comedy series In Living Color will get a reboot.  Per the article, two specials will be produced and if they do well the show will go to series.

In Living Color was groundbreaking for a number of reasons, mostly due to it being a show that was targeted toward a mainstream audience despite having a predominantly black cast and it's cheerfully blatant refusal to be politically correct.  It also featured a number of future stars including Jim Carrey and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Marlon and Damon Wayans, David Allen Grier and Kim Coles.

The show also did what any great sketch show should do - introduced a number of recurring characters and catch-phrases that caught the public's imagination.  Homey D. Clown ("Homey don't play that"), flaming film critics Blaine and Antoine of "Men on Film" ("Hated it!") and gossipy Bonita Bitrell ("But I ain't one to gossip...") were just a few.  The show was also famous for its infectious theme song by Heavy D and The Boyz.

As a fan of the show, my two favorite performers were Kim Wayans and Kelly Coffield.   Kim's Grace Jones is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen.  The woman is just one thousand percent invested in her performance.  Coffield, in addition to having awesome comedy chops was also just a fantastic actress.  At the time, if you'd asked me who I thought would be the breakout stars of In Living Color, I would have picked these two.

"Would you like a piece of my tail, Harvey?"


"I find your little country really rather quaint,
in a third world sort of way."

I'm really looking forward to this.  If Wayans can bring the magic again, this show could kick the crap out of SNL.

I wonder if they'll update Lassie again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freak accident

Report: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crash caused by pilot error.  One of the pilots accidentally pushed the brake pedals, preventing the plane from obtaining the altitude needed to takeoff.

For years I had a serious fear of flying that I've only been able to overcome recently and even now, even the slightest turbulence has me white-knuckling it.  Once, in an attempt to calm my fears, someone pointed out to me that the pilots didn't want to crash any more than I did.  That made sense to me and helped a little, but it doesn't matter if it's simply human error.  I'm kind of glad I didn't hear this report before my most recent flight, because we did hit a lot of turbulence while we were up there.

I guess there are just no guarantees in life.  Not that I ever thought there were, but this is just a harsh reminder that it can all be over in an instant, no matter what precautions you take.  When it's your time to go, it's just your time to go.  But it's still heartbreaking.  There were a lot of young guys on that plane who had their whole lives in front of them and were snuffed out in a second because someone who didn't want to die either accidentally pushed the wrong pedal.

RIP Lokomotiv.