Saturday, April 28, 2007

Walkin' the Green Talk

This was my first UCLA Festival of Books and it was quite the adventure. I knew it would be crowded and the parking (8 bucks) a nightmare so my only alternative was to take public transportation. Hey, I talk about being "green" so let's try it.

Because I live about 35 miles from UCLA I decided to cut down my bus ridin' time a little and drive 15 miles to a central bus hub. The Metro website has this great trip planner and even better directions. A $3 all-day pass and two buses and I was there.

Arriving about 10:00 a.m. I thought this was too easy, then about noon the crowds came. Thank god I got lunch early because after twelve the lines were unbelievable. Lunch was two soft tacos and I found a shaded grassy area next to Janns Steps.

There were vendors booths all over the campus from big book sellers to little self-published authors. A man stopped me and read a bit of a poem from his book. We all need more poetry in our lives and I was glad to hear his on a warm sunny day in Los Angeles, with 100,000 of our closest friends.

If you had kids this would be the place to come. There was an entire area set aside for kids books with a stage where different celebs read aloud.

I'd did make it over to the Cooking Stage to see Food Network's Chef Dave Leiberman give a demo. He wasn't as smooth as his TV show but very friendly with the crowd answering all types of questions. It was a bit breezy and toppled his sign.

Ok, so what did I save by going "green?" At 52 cents a mile from the hub, $ 12.21, oh, and 8 bucks for parking less the 3 dollar day pass that saved me $17.21 for the day. For my 15 mile trip I cut out about 14 lbs of carbon. Doesn't sound like much but this is just one trip in a Hybrid Honda so if you had some huge SUV suckin' the life out of California it would help to travel, if only for a bit of your trip, by public transportation.

Will I do this again? Yes, I'm at the Getty Center, same bus line, once a week so when we have big traffic days, I'm gonna bus-it. Benefit? Saved money, got to read my book--both coming and going--got to see some poor soul that tucks his shirt into his underpants--and doesn't care. But that's for another post.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Secret of the Getty

I've heard of people "playing" the travertine but here it is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I remember 1950s

Editor's note: There is absolutely nothing important in this post; just me musing.

For some reason, my parents didn't own a washing machine so that meant weekly trips to the Laundromat. If we were living in an apartment, which we did when we first came to Southern California from Indiana, and my mom was working, it was easier for her to haul everything to the local wash-a-teria and do it all at one time. This was agonizing because I got hauled along with the sheets.

In Culver City I remember a store next door to the Laundromat, it was a convenience store called "Pronto Market." Never did understand why they called them "convenience" stores when I was a kid but as an adult, on the way to a party, yes oh so convenient.

Bribing me with a buck allowed me to peruse the magazines and candy selections but because I was an odd kid I'd check out everything else. Who knows, maybe I was thinking of a party for some of my other ten-year-old friends and as I remember, it was a liquor store with a cold case of milk and soda and some odd snack/party items. Yup, they have those packages of little drink umbrellas, must remember those for my next soiree.

The store changed names, I can't be sure of the year, maybe in the 60s and it was an odd name, Trader Joe's. They added a few different items but still had that party theme. Buy a keg, bags of chips, case of beer, ice; that sort of fare. I'd forgotten about them until sometime in the 70s when we moved to Simi and seems like TJ's moved to the valley. Still a place to stock up with drinks for a party; nothing special.

Fast forward to the 90s--the 80s were a blur to me--working in Westlake I stopped in the store quite by accident. Someone raved about their wine selection and hey, they had a bigger store that carried quite a lot of wine and some other interesting items; fresh cheese for one. Cheese the regular markets didn't carry. I was hooked.

Now I carry my own shopping bags and in a Trader Joe's at least twice a week. I love all their dairy products including the cheese selection. Why are they cheaper than the big markets? The staff is always accommodating and they seem happy to be there, like it's a big party everyday. I look forward to April for the buck daffodils. The wine brought me in but the cheese made me a customer for life.Well, that and the fact they still carry those little paper drink umbrellas.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Loss of a Pet

Here is an interesting survey from Purdue University. They are compiling infomation about how pet owners grieve after a loss. Pet Loss Survey.

We, the Jolly Family, have had three dogs, our current is darling Buddy, the wire-haired-terrorist. It is sad to lose a pet but we've always thought the pain in losing is offset by the joy of giving them a much better life.

Editor's note: The Jolly Family is a name we've called ourselves, darling husband, lil bird, and me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It only takes one bad Geek

Back in March I had a "melt-down" in our local Best Buy. Why? Well, it might have been a combination of my neck problem, my age, and the fact that they were acting so stupid I had to get angry. The next day I went to the doctor about my neck, I can't do anything about my age and I really never wrote/called Best Buy about the idiots they have in, what they laughingly call, customer service, but I did swear off the store.

Yesterday I changed my printer cartridges and remembered seeing a recycle bin for empties; dead batteries, too, at Best Buy. Not wanting to goop up the land fill I went there and yup, they took the cartridges. Being a bit happier than I was the last time I entered their store I thought I'd check there supply of photo printer paper. To my utter amazement one staff member took me to the department and asked that staff member to help me, which he did. I mean he really helped me. He told me about the different papers and I wasn't going to buy but wanted to know if he was knowledgable, he was. Amazed I walked to another department, the same damn treatment.

What could have created this turn around I wondered? A new interest in customer service? Or maybe trying to boost their sagging image. One of their "geeks" got caught being bad and I'm sure there was a prime directive from the corp. office about being professional.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Seek help, if you need it

So sad the news from Virgina Tech but have we all known someone we thought unstable and not done anything. I feel we want to believe the best of people. I had a co-worker that nearly drove people insane with his odd behavior but, luckily, our company was proactive in diffusing the situation. What they couldn't do, other than suggest, is demand the employee seek professional help, so they eventually fired him. It saved the rest of the staff but I'm afraid we lost him and that was the sad part. A talented, troubled individual alone in the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

T. Rex comes home to roost/roast

Seems like the long extinct T. Rex has been linked genetically to our flavorful modern chicken. Yumm, I need to fix me some dinosaur tonight!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In a league of his own

Sixty years ago today, Jackie Robinson came from the back of the bus to be on top of the world. Today the LA Dodgers and all ball parks across the country, are recognizing the anniversary of Robinson's entry into an all white baseball league. What guts it took to take those steps from the dugout to first base. It must have seemed like walking the last mile but he did it with dignity, and with the support of some of the Dodgers, he walked right into the record books with a stellar ten year career.

Caps off to you, Mr Robinson.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Don't give chocolate to dogs

I take a long time to load but am worth the wait.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Carz that Cruize

Sometimes it really hits home, the power of modern culture on our youth. This time it was positive. My dearly beloved's hobby, really his lifestyle, is automotive. He loves cars, I think always has, and spends most of his retired time fixing, waxing, or promoting the sport of Streetrodding. This is ok by me as long as I get to say, whoa ever so often. He is adept at balancing his addiction with family time.

Wednesday nights are "Cruize" nights and this means a bunch of folks get in their cars and head for one of the local food establishments with a big parking lot and have dinner, stand around looking and/or talking about their vehicles, and pretty much show off their pride and joy.

Last Wednesday while parking his car, the black '37 Chevy sedan in the photo, he was stopped by a young woman with a small child, maybe about three. "Could my daughter look at your car," she said. "She saw the movie Cars and got real excited when she saw these." What a thrill, for this little tyke, to see her movie heroes come to life.

The popularity of this movie could open up a entirely different use for these cars; celebrities. My beloved could start hitting the birthday party circuit and make a bit o' extra change with his vehicle. Yeah, that's me always thinkin'.

Editor note: This photo is from our new cell phones. Passing quality for blogging.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Buddy, on patrol

Does all this pet food poison scare worry anyone but Buddy the wire-haired-terrorists? He's very aware of what has and has not been contaminated and wants everyone to be super vigilant when it comes to a recall.

What keeps me up nights, besides the pizza, is wondering what's in the food we import? Sheesh! Who is watching this stuff. I know everything is global these days but does the Food and Drug Administration not look what is coming in to the country? A little nightmare reading from the Bioterrorism Law.

If accidentally some foreign substance can get into pet food how can we be sure anything imported is safe? It wasn't the FDA or Canada's equivalent but dead pets that alerted everyone to the problem. Buy local. Support your local Crop Share or Farmer's Market for fresh produce.

Buddy suggests to check out Snopes, his fav site for correct information. Feel safe knowing he's out there protecting the pack.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This bud's for you

An Ode to a Lemon Tree

We cut ye limbs not long ago;
your branches were a dyin'.

So desperate were we to keep our tree
it was trimmin' we were a tryin'.

Through all the winter ye struggled
to shoot out branches green.

And with the breath of first spring rain
your buds are finally seen.

Oh happy Spring!