Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Year Anniversary!

Just a quick note that Barbara and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday. We went to "The Foundry" a little restaurant on Melrose with a simple, yet elegant decor, which I have to give Chinfoo credit for the suggestion. Well Everything there was very delicious. From the appetizers, to Barbara's Trout and the Beef Short Ribs, down to the dessert, everything was spectacular.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween - West Hollywood Style!

Me, Barbara and Stone Cold Chinfoo headed down a couple of blocks to the annual West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval. My goal, was to entertain the masses with my highly detailed Brett(pronounced "Brit" in New Zealandish) costume from my favorite show "Flight of the Conchords". It was hard to find something distinctive from the show, but I thought dressing up in his day job outfit was the easiest way to get recognition:

Of course, I had no success at the Dan Mack party of anyone figuring out who I was. My hope was in the mass of 300,000 revelers that I'd get at least ten people recognizing who I was.

Unfortunately, most people thought I was just a phone salesman, saying things like "Free Phones?", "Where's the Phones?" and "Give me a Phone!" Yes, it got tedious after awhile. But it was a high-risk, high-reward costume. I got seventeen confirmed sightings. The best part was the quotes from the show referencing my girlfriend like, "Did you walk around the outside of her?" or "She's so hot she's like boom!" My favorite though was the David Bowie inspired, "Wear the eyepatch Brit! Wear the funky, funky eyepatch!"

As for the rest of the evening, a lot of awesome costumes. I could write a descriptive narrative, but getting a camera would help. Especially, one with a flash. We did get a picture of my favorite costume of the night. Fortunately, I didn't need a flash for it:

Finally, Barbara went as Betty Boop. She got a few sightings, but after a couple of hours being out there, she was starting to get cold and her feet were hurting from her heels. Well, after we met up with her friend Activate(going as Britney Spears) who had it worse off in both fronts, I think she realized how good she had it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Day 1

Day one started in LA, but ended in heaven. We left early morning from my parents place to take the five hour trek to the East Bay. Our plan was to stay in downtown Oakland because the parking and hotel situation in Berkeley sounded too hectic, so our plan was to take the subway in. I thought it was a great plan, but seeing how the trains were half filled with Tennessee Orange, I was worried about a UCLA Rose Bowl situation where all the locals made a big payday on the game.

Looking for some blue and gold at the BART Station

Once we came above ground, we tried going to my favorite beer joint, Jupiter, but seeing how it was the nearest pub to the BART Station, oxygen was hard to find let alone a place to stand there. After seeing how Triple Rock Brewery was so packed that it made the air-conditioning void, we headed for a little sandwich place that was new since I lived there last.

Since we had a few hours to kill before the game, I gave Barbara a tour of the campus. There's so much architectural history that I could take hours, but we jaunted by all the main sites, like Doe Library, the Campanile, and the west entrance. We met up at Sproul Plaza where the band performed before their final march up the stadium.

Sather Gate
Cal Band Great! Sproul Plaza

My parents headed up to the stadium which allowed me and Barb a chance to hit up a couple more of my local faves before the game. We went by Yogurt Park to remind me how great their yogurt is especially since it's about half price from anywhere else in the world. Then up to Cafe Strada, my all-time favorite coffee place in the world. It kicks ass three ways: good prices, super fast service, and awesome coffee. Get the Bianca Mocha. 'Nuff said.

After a short walk past the treehuggers, we were in the stadium. There was a large Tennessee contingent, but fortunately, Cal fans outnumbered the Vols about 6-1. The atmosphere was electric. The Tennessee fans were eccentric.

"I've been smoking in stadiums since the Civil War!"

Appalachian State made me wear black today!

Cal's defense made me really squeamish, but the offense looked pretty good. Once Cal did stop a Vols drive, I started describing to Barb about how Desean Jackson was the best punt returner in the country. As the ball was in the air, I said they were kicking it short to force a fair catch. Once Desean decided to run with the ball instead, I said he wasn't going to get much. Then, we were all jumping up an down.

It's Desean's world!

That left us on the edge of our seats for the rest of the game. We got to witness card tricks(which originated at Cal) and the ever more entertaining confetti toss preceding. Cal pretty much controlled the rest of the game, although I never feel good until it's really over. The Tennessee fans were great and they were very gracious to meet, even after their loss. On the way back to the train, we found seats at Jupiter. Unfortunately, I failed in meeting my goal of trying every single one of their beers in one sitting. Almost the perfect day..

"Please pass your cards to the right"
The Band's on the Field!!..and sixty thousand
of their closest friends

Monday, October 1, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 2

Day one was about football, but day two was just about as important. There are a lot of great things I love about Berkeley, but Barbara hadn't really gotten the tour. So Sunday was about revisiting some of my favorite things. The first was a little architectural tour. We went by a couple of Bernard Maybeck houses, who mentored Julia Morgan back in the day. The house below was built out of concrete because fires that had plagued the Berkeley hills. The amazing thing about the house, it is just celebrating it's ONE HUNDRED year anniversary.

Lawson House

Right down the street was the Berkeley Rose Garden, also designed by Maybeck. What can I say, you could just spend the whole day among the flowers looking over the bay.

Berkeley Rose Garden

One requirement on every trip is a visit to Zachary's Pizza. My favorite pizza in the whole world. Barbara said Chicago pizza is better. If there was a a catapult nearby when she said that, who knows how far she could have flown. As for the other guy in the picture, I guess I'm photogenic enough that other people like to jump in.
Zachary's Pizza - Solano Ave.

Okay. Here's the real reason for the whole trip. The North Face Outlet off of Gilman St. I love North Face Products! I love North Face Products! I have no problem typing that continuously. The Outlet is a godsend because my only criticism of North Face is that their products are normally pricey. Not here! And there is an abundance of everything. It's really a battle of self restraint. It might have been a battle that Barbara lost.

Not even half the store.
"We're going to need another SUV!!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 3

We headed out of Los Gatos midday to head down to Big Sur. There was some sightseeing we wanted to do along the way, but an accident on the highway into Santa Cruz slowed us down, but we still got some in.

Building tucked into UCSC
The deers have domesticated us!

UC Santa Cruz is probably the most beautiful UC campus in the state. It may also be the most confusing as it is nestled into the trees like an ewok village, but it's definitely worth the trouble.

A 1934 WPA Bridge along Highway 1

Just another pretty view along the highway
Ma and Pa at Point Lobos Park
The rocks are partially white from the birds

We came out to Point Lobos about twenty years ago. Some things were just as we remembered them, but still it was gorgeous enough that it felt like we were there for the first time.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 4

Day 4: We headed out midday to Monterey to hit up the aquarium. There's a reason why it's world famous. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take pictures of it all because flash photography is restricted. That didn't stop us from accidentally taking some shots.

Later on in the day we headed downtown. We went to a chicken place owned by one of my mom's friends called "Bird on a Wire". I had to give it a plug here because the chicken tasted just as good as California Chicken Cafe, but was more consistantly tasty. You have to try it to see what I mean.

William Tecumseh Sherman's House

I love California history, but I didn't know that Monterey was one of the oldest settlements in the west. This was a picture of Sherman's house which he lived in BEFORE he was a general for the Union Army. There are a lot a buildings still existing from the 1850's and earlier. I definitely want to go back and explore more.

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 5

Day 5: Our laziest day of the trip. It didn't involve too much other than breakfast, a hike and dinner.

Point Sur

Falls on a hike

Arden starting his hour encounter with Barb's iphone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 6-7

I decided to publish photos from our trip backwards. Why? It'll appear like they are in order by the time I'm done.

Day 6: We left Big Sur early for Hearst Castle which was about 80 miles. The drive hugged the cliffs for the first half, but flattened out as we neared San Simeon. Nearby the castle we were lucky enough to come up on a couple hundred sea lions along the beach.

Posing for the Camera
Front Entrance of the Castle

Indoor pool
Zebras with their baby.
After the castle we headed down to our hotel in Morro Bay, where we got the pictures of the Zebras on the side of the highway. Seeing how I'm far more familiar with San Luis Obispo, we took the fifteen minute drive down for dinner. I really like the downtown there. A lot of great local flavor that's able to fight off the commercialism like in Santa Barbara. We went to a restaurant I always wanted to try called Novo. Not just because of good reviews, but a really pretty setting overlooking the creek.

Dinner at Novo

The next morning, we got up and went to my all time favorite breakfast place in the universe, Apple Farm. Everything is so good there that I try to sample every item possible. Afterwards, we had time to walk around downtown SLO in the daylight before leaving for my show. Sad to end the trip, but the afternoon definitely left us something to come back to.

San Luis Obispo Mission

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bonds Mania!

Yes, I hate Bonds, but I do have an eye to catch history in the making. Hey, if he's going to break it anyways, why not try to see it?

We got seats in the most likely place Bonds would hit his 755th home run, the right field pavilion, which also has now morphed into the all you can eat pavilion. More on that later. The scene was wild every time he came to bat as everyone funnelled to the bottom of the section for the chance to catch history and quite possibly a million dollars.

I also thought that with all the havoc going on, that this father had the foresight to plant a helmet on his kid once the chaos began.

The all you can eat section was something I always wanted to try, but I probably would never find myself out there without any good reason other than to gorge myself. The section was well run and you could pretty much grab what you wanted. My previous record for dodger dogs at a game was three, so I was really surprised I only topped that record by one. I felt like I could of had more, but luckily reasoning set in because the next few days felt like someone was inflating my stomach like a hot air balloon. A word to the wise, try it once, but don't buy season tickets there.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Flight of the Conchords!!

My latest obsession! If you haven't caught this on HBO, it's a half hour sitcom that somehow incorporates a couple of their parody songs an episode. It's a cross between the Office and Napolean Dynamite. These clips don't do it justice, but I crack up everytime...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kobe Help Coming?

No, not really. But I did get a tip that Kevin Garnett was playing pick up at Wooden Center so I headed on down to take a gander. Unfortunately, I had a crappy camera at the time. So even a day later, my mind faded with all the other pros that were there since I can't make them out in the pics. I can safely say that Paul Pierce, Ronny Turiaf and Marko Jaric were part of the crew.
Wooden Center.
KG and Pierce outside
Pierce giving props to weasely agent guy.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sorry I'm unable to answer your calls..

There have been two products that instantly upon my first usage that I would endorse without any compensation, Plain M & M's and Bullfrog Sunblock. Now I have a third product to add to that list, my new portable Pioneer Inno XM Radio.

My main motivation is that I'm sick of terrestrial radio's music stations with comercials, and I wanted a more variety of talk options. For those reasons, Sirius you could argue is the slightly better choice, but XM has MLB, NHL and Pac-10 coverage, the top three sporting networks I could have asked for.

While the service has been great, the player I have is the topper. On top of it being a radio, it also works as an MP3 player. The best option is that if you've just switched channels and hit a song you like halfway in, you could hit the record button and it will save the whole song onto your device. I also like that you can easily set up prerecordings of certain shows and it will notify you when your favorite artists are playing on another channel.

To be fair, the negatives is that I don't get total reception, but mostly when I go through the canyons. They have a headset that also works as an antenna, so I'll give that a go soon. Also, setting the hookup into the car takes a little work, but I haven't put more than two minutes into it, so it's unfair to say.

So if Christmas comes early for you this year, get the Pioneer Inno.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jerseys.. jerseys...jerseys

It's been hard to keep up without a functioning camera, so here's a little update on a hobby of mine. In fourth grade I was extremely jealous of another student who wore an authentic Steve Garvey Dodger jersey to school. I nagged my dad to the point where I got him to take me to a store, but once he saw the price tag I got a couple of packs of baseball cards as a consolation prize. Anyways, I vowed that once I became of age that I would correct the mental scars left by my childhood by starting my own collection.

I originally started out by buying anything seen as a bargain($20 tops), but like any hobby you want the taste of the high life eventually. I have a few batting practice jerseys which are great because of their cost and makeup you don't fear wearing anywhere. But now I'm up to looking for three different types of jerseys, those from my favorite players, designs that I really like and game used jerseys that are cheap enough, but still have at least solid designs. The '82 Expos jersey is my latest purchase. It's a Cooperstown Collection jersey, but it's probably been my most sought after jersey(although I'd like the home version as well) since the real thing would cost about a month's worth of rent. The lettering definitely adds to the jersey and the 1982 All-Star Patch is a real bonus.

I'm getting to the point now where I'm starting to be real selective because I can't afford all the jerseys I sort of like. So to see where I'm going, these are the top five jerseys I'd be looking for in an ideal world:

1935 Homestead Grays - I've always been a big fan of the Negro Leagues. Satchel Paige is my favorite player but the Monarchs jerseys look too cartoony. John Gibson is my next favorite so the Homestead Grays win. Not just by default, but really think the simplicity and lining looks great.

1915 Chicago Whales - Most people don't know that there were other rival major leagues in the early days of baseball. The Federal league was created in 1914 and only lasted two years. Weeghman Field was built specifically for this team, but their stadium is still in use although it currently goes under the name of a gum manufacturer. I like the jersey because it is nicest remnant of a part of baseball history that is virtually forgotten.

1987 Cleveland Indians - Major League is a damn good movie and not just because of the jerseys. I'd say that block lettering is normally a deterrent, but it fits really well on the jersey. Plus I've always been a big fan of Chief Wahoo. I'd like to own one of these jerseys before political correctness destroys any opportunity.

1948 Oakland Oaks - Before baseball moved cross country, the west had it's own version of the majors called the Pacific Coast League. The quality of play was on the AAAA level and some quality players even stayed because they made a better living by doing so. Others, like Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams and Billy Martin decided to move on. There is a real rich history of this league, but since I'm Bay Area centric I tend to favor the Oaks. In their time, they went through a number of color schemes, but this is my favorite.

1992 Albuquerque Dukes - Watching the Dodgers growing up I was always fascinated by the players who'd be called up soon, so whenever I first saw pictures from their triple-A affiliate I fell in love with their jerseys. I have no rationale for it because they are ugly colors, but they look uniquely good as a baseball uniform. I like the home white and the earlier road red, but the duke caricature on the arm is what puts the jersey over the top.