I love this time of year! With the big game coming up this weekend, I am planning on going out to buy a new TV today. I do not plan to watch the game on it, since I will be in Nevada as of tomorrow, but I do plan to take advantage of the fantastic deals available right now. I am currently torn between a Sony Bravia, Sharp Aquos, and Panasonic TV. The first question is LCD or Plasma? The second is how large? I have been doing some research and this afternoon I will head to my local best buy and circuit city (where I have oodles of discounts) to make my final decision and put down the piece of plastic that will make this new wonder my own.
YEY!! I am so excited! I just got tickets to the Isle of Wight festival this summer. For those of you who have never attended a European summer festival, it is one of the coolest events on the planet. The thing I like most about the European festivals is that they are a combination rock concert and county fair, with something for everyone in the family. Although it is family oriented, it still has a very adult fun feeling. There are clothing booths, face painting, food booths, novelties, games, rides, and loads of amazing shows going on all on the same field. Last year the line-up for Isle of Wight included Muse, Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, The Fratellis, and even the Rolling Stones, just to name a few. You camp for 4 nights by the side of the field (or stay in a hotel nearby as I plan to this year) and take in the innocent fun around you. European festivals do not follow the same restrictions placed on American festivals and actually tend to be more exhilarating. This year my plan is to attend at least 3 UK festivals (IOW - definitely, T in the Park - hopefully, Glastonbury - hopefully, V-Festival - ideally). Let me know if you have any questions about these festivals and I hope to see you there.
I saw two fabulous movies in the last couple of days and I felt the need to share! The first movie is Juno; I honestly had no desire to see this at first and was very pleasantly surprised. Up for an Ocscar, the leading actress was simply amazing and the script dialogue was hysterical. The sountrack is pretty cute too, but it does not compare in my mind to the fabulous songs in the movie Once. Once is a bitter sweet movie about a friendship and unrequited love. It is not the chick-flick that many expect to see and was quite entertaining eventhough it is about an unfamiliar environment. I highly recomment you give these two movies a try and if you get a chance to listen to the sountrack, I would take it.
I saw something either very refreshing or extremely scary yesterday; a man with a sign who was giving and not asking to receive. People are so used to seeing signs asking for money or food that many times they will just ignore and pass by the person holding the sign without even reading its contents. Lately I have actually stopped to read some of the signs only to find that they are not all asking for money. There seems to be a new trend emerging asking for emotion. In Santa Monica, a homeless man near the promenade holds a sign that asks for someone to smile at him. In San Francisco, I passed a man who asked for a blessing (and a lottery ticket). The most unusual sign I have ever seen was not from a homeless man asking for something, but rather from a young man who felt he had something to offer. I first noticed him while I stood in the Seattle marketplace yesterday; a man wearing a kilt in 50* weather. He was dressed well but he held a cardboard sign above his head; a sign I could not believe. "FREE HUGS" it read and I thought there had to be a catch. Perhaps he would hit you up for a tip or maybe he would charge for a picture. I was intrigued by this man so I decided to sit and watch. Person after person walked right past him ignoring the sign completely. Finally a tourist accidentally bumps into him and reads the sign while helping him up. "Free hugs, what's the catch"? After learning that there was no catch the tourist collected their free hug and went on their merry way. I stood there and watched a little longer until others began to notice and claim their hugs. I overheard one passerby ask "why free hugs" to which the man replied "why not"? He was doing this to promote love and charity and he asked nothing in return. Still a little weary of the hug, I pushed my friend into his arms so that I could snap a picture. Only after she proclaimed it to be the best hug ever did I actually partake myself. I did feel a little better afterwards and it definitely brightened up my day. So to the man at the marketplace giving free hugs and asking nothing in return, I say thank you and I apologize for ever doubting your sincerity.
Who would have thought one could go to Seattle to escape the rain in Los Angeles? My weekend in Seattle was cold but somewhat dry for the most part. We did have a bit of snow, but not enough to stick on the ground. Seattle is a beautiful city chalked full of traditions and history. Of course we visited the tourist spots, the Space Needle, Pikes Market, and the first Starbucks, but we also made an effort to see some of the Washington outskirts around this beautiful city. If you do find yourself in Seattle and are in search of a good meal, I highly recommend a fabulous little Italian restaurant called Denuzzios. This has to be one of the most amazing Italian meals I have ever eaten and is second in line for favorite restaurant after a small restaurant in Pisa. As always, I have included a few pics for your enjoyment.
Well this weekend I am in Seattle to take in the beautiful sites, escape the rain in Southern California, and catch a few shows. On Friday night we caught the Bravery playing at Neumos. This band is fantastic live!! Although the show started a bit late, they managed to get in every song and wowed the crowd with an incredible show. The energy of the band helped bring a tired crowd to life. The opening band, Switches was pretty good too. If you get a chance to catch either act in a venue near you I recommend checking them out. Here are a few pics from the show.!http://community.active.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-6117-3153/Bravery2.jpg!
Thank you to the wonderful people of seattle for being so polite and also to the band for being so cool after the show.
Heath Ledger's death is such a sad story and I feel for his family and friends. My wish is that the media could let him rest in peace. Every news paper I look at is full of speculation. Suicide or accident? Although I am hopeful it was an accident this is something we may not know. One thing is for sure, this incident has stirred up a lot of debate online. People cast stones and say that suicide is a selfish act. In the case of a celebrity you will usually hear that comment followed by "he/she had everything - what were they thinking"? It is easy to cast stones when you have never lived in a glass house.
Personally I have been lucky and have never had to deal with depression, but I sympathize with those who have. I have seen friends battle their demons every day. While I have had quite a few obstacles to overcome in life, I have been fortunate enough to have the inner-strength along with a strong support system of family and friends to help me through it. I can see how the smallest crack in either of those factors could have lead to a quick fall which could have been hard to recover from. On top of that, in the case of a celebrity, to live under a microscope and worry about being judged is enough pressure to weigh down the strongest of the strong.
Society looks to these people to set examples but then is the first to tear them apart for being human. Imagine waking up every morning and being confined to your house. You no longer have the luxury of walking out to the mailbox in your bathrobe for fear that it will be on every magazine cover or worse - Mr. Blackwell's worst dressed list! Your days of throwing on shorts and a tank top to run to the market for milk are numbered because you are now criticized for the type of milk you buy; skim milk means you are anorexic and full milk - well I guess you do not care about your appearance.
As a society, when did we cross this line? Celebrities are people and as such they deserve a life. We go to work each day and then come home to our personal lives. We need to remember that they film their movies, tv shows, record their albums, and perform to entertain us and then they too should be allowed to go home. If you look back 30- 40 years ago, nobody cared what Elvis or Marilyn were eating. Paparazzi were not sleeping on Frank Sinatra's lawn (that was just Frank passed out from the night before Why do we feed this frenzy that has engulfed the covers of our magazines? Haven't we learned from Diana and all of the near misses lately? I would love to hear your opinion on the matter even if you don't agree with me.
I sometimes forget how spoiled I am living in my perfect Southern California climate. I wake up every morning and out of habit I check the weather report. Quite often it is wrong because there will be a single could over the sun with the words partially cloudy written above. I have been searching the crystal blue sky for that cloud, but it never does seem to appear.
When I lived in San Francisco that image made me feel so much better about the cold weather I was surviving. Misery loves company and if I was going to suffer through the ice rain up north, then Southern California should too I thought. I was so disappointed when I would call my sister to hear the weather was beautiful and 80*. No rain as promised by the weather report - no clouds in the sky. After endless periods of northern California rain I finally decided to make a change. I did it, I moved back to Southern California. The weather has been gorgeous no matter what the reports say. I was blissfully enjoying my abundant sunshine until this morning. What happened? Did somebody forget to turn off their sprinklers? Uh oh - it's raining; this is a catastrophe.
There is a reason it does not rain that often in Southern California and it has nothing to do with global warming or God being the commissioner of the Rose Parade committee. It has to do with the crazies that live in this beautiful city. You see, just like adding water to a Chia Pet, rain in Los Angeles makes the crazies grow. The come out in swarms, driving recklessly yelling at people. People in this city do not know what to do when it rains, and I am not even talking heavy rain. The slightest sign of moisture in the air (a light mist have you) could bring out the craziest like zombies in a Michael Jackson video. As if traffic is not bad enough, if you add moisture to the equation then double your rush hour commute time. Yes I know we do not have to shovel snow or wear long underwear, but we still have our fair share of winter problems; they just come in the form of excess road rage and long commutes.
If you are planning on visiting this beautiful city soon, check to make sure Mother Nature turned off the faucet.
After many months (what seemed an eternity) of waiting, my godson finally decided to make his appearance in the world. He was actually a couple of weeks early and a bit small, but he came out with 10 fingers and 10 toes and has grown considerably in his first week in the world. Just about 4lbs and 18inches long, little Andrew was a fighter from the moment he arrived; very particular about his likes and dislikes too. He likes to be held and loves his pacifier. Sucking on his bottle nipple seemed to be a little too much effort for the little tyke, so he opted not to do that too much in the first few days. He quickly learned that this meant he would not eat so he reluctantly changed his mind on that one. It is amazing how quickly babies grow. In a little over a week he has gained 3 lbs. I tend to freak out when my scale adds three pounds, but in his case it is a good thing. I remember when I was younger people always told me I needed to gain weight . . . I should eat. Thinking back, I can't remember exactly when I stopped hearing those words, but as I try to shed the insulation I picked up around the holidays I know those are words I will probably not hear again. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a kid and know what I know now. Would I do anything different? Would you? Every moment and experience I have had up until this point has shaped me into the person I am today and I am pretty happy with that. Besides, if children knew everything adults knew, then there would be no reason for childhood.
I just returned from Tahiti and am heading out to Seattle this weekend . . . I will post about that along with the pictures soon!
Hawaii can be such a nice escape during the winter . . . even from the slightly nippy temperatures and light rain in Southern California. Although the weather was a bit stormy when we arrived, the sun found us and quickly and kept us warm. The Hawaiian sunrises and sunsets are incredible, from the ocean beach to the top of Haleakala. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii in the near future, let me know if you need any advice. Here are some quick recommendations for Maui and Oahu:
Bike down Haleakala (not difficult at all)
Mama'f Fishhouse (make reservations before your trip) (make sure to try the Poke)
Kahala hotel pumeria room (BREAKFAST)
Drive around the island - check out turtle bay
Snorkel Hanama Bay
I am also as always posting a few pics for your perusal
USC beat Illinois on Tuesday in their 32nd appearance at the Rose bowl. The game was another example of USC's commitment to excellence in football. I must admit I am happy my team won but I was shocked at some of the calls made against our competitors. Unable to make it out to the Rose Bowl, we watched from my friend's 60" TV; even the truer than life HDTV would not show us the "unsportsmanlike" conduct which continually penalized the Illinois team. Were the referees just out for them or could it be that this team that made it all the way to the grand daddy of bowl games lost their manners with their luggage on the airplane? Can anyone explain what happened?
New Years Eve was a ton of fun. We went to a private party above Hermosa pier and celebrated the night away while enjoying some of the festivities on the pier as well. The lights were beautiful and there were probably about 1000 people below us all listening to the band at the end of the pier. I do have to question the city council's choice for the evening. Big Band 2000 played through the night (not sure if they realize it is 2008 now). This big band/orchestra with a Lawrence Welk/Liberachi style did not always mesh with the young crowd at hand. The crowd seemed to dance and have more fun during the intermission when more recent 80's bands music would play . . . but still a couple of decades off. I guess this just shows the age difference between the city council members planning the event and the party goers who came to enjoy it. Personally I had a great time at our party and I could see the people in the bars and restaurants around the pier enjoying themselves, but frankly the crowd on the pier just looked confused. As far as I could see only the people directly in front of the stage (about the first two rows) were even dancing.
All in all, it was a fabulous night; the weather was perfect and the starlit sky was clear. A slight crisp in the air made it perfect for cuddling and a little midnight canoodling. I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve and I wish you a very Happy 2008!!
As we close down the holiday season, the people at Sony have one more gift to give for those of you who might be interested in the Sony GPS unit I have mentioned a few times in my blog posts. The Sony team has a 20% discount offer on the GPS unit until 1/31/08 when you purchase it from sonystyle.com. The GPS unit is pretty cool if you are on the go as much as I am. I have a large card in my camera and always have it with me . . . sometimes it is difficult to remember where each picture was from. The sony GPS unit allows me to map each picture's location so that I can recall where I was when I took the picture. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the GPS unit, visit www.sony.com/gps and if you would like to receive your 20% discount go to www.sonystyle.com/activegps
Feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions about the GPS unit.
Every year the beach cities in Los Angeles and Orange county have lighted boat parades to celebrate the holidays. Gary's company rented a boat in the Newport parade for their annual holiday party and the festivities continued through the night. Of all the boat parades, Newport has to be my favorite. They sail around Balboa island where so many of the houses are lit up and the views from shore and on the water are equally amazing. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the evening. I should warn you - I got a little creative and artsy with my camera.
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