Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Luminosity at The Continental Gallery

Tonight was the last night reception for Sean Sobczak's Luminosity at the Continental Gallery:





For the rest of the photos, go here

Monday, December 21, 2009

You Tube gets in the Logo Act

YouTube follows its owner's lead and wishes everyone a Happy Solstice:

Meanwhile Google wishes everyone "Happy Holidays" with promises of more logos to come:

Monday, November 09, 2009

20 Years of Germany Now in One Piece

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, Google in Germany has this logo:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Google Honors Two Anniversaries Today

If you visit Google today, you will see this image:

Happy 40th Anniversary! Sesame Street

But that's not all.

If you visit Google in the UK today, you will see this:

Happy 20th Anniversary! Wallace and Gromit

More Google country sites are also honoring Sesame Street:





The Netherlands:

South Africa:

After checking the list of Google foreign language servers, that appears to be all of the different logos. Some country sites don't have a special logo, others use one of the above Sesame Street logos, and still others have the Wallace & Gromit logo.


Later logos:

Thursday 11/5:

Friday 11/6:

Saturday 11/7 & Sunday 11/8:

Monday 11/9:

Monday 11/9 evening:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Looking Ahead to the LA Times Festival of Books

The LA Times Festival of Books takes place every year on the UCLA campus over the last weekend of April. The event features discussion panels, author interviews, book signings, author readings, poetry, live performances, and many book vendors/publishers. I highly recommend that you attend. Here are some of the panels I'm considering attending:

Saturday 4/25 --

12:30 PM
PANEL 1122 Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Science Fiction: The Grand Masters
  • Moderator: Mr. Scott Timberg
  • Mr. Joe Haldeman
  • Mr. Harry Harrison
  • Mr. Robert Silverberg

2:00 PM
PANEL 1053 Broad 2160
Clive Barker in Conversation with Gina McIntyre
  • Interviewer: Ms. Gina McIntyre
  • Mr. Clive Barker

3:30 PM
PANEL 1044 Haines 39
History: Unknown Los Angeles
  • Moderator: Mr. William Deverell
  • Ms. Frances Dinkelspiel
  • Mr. Chip Jacobs
  • Mr. D.J. Waldie

4:30 PM
PANEL 1124 Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Ray Bradbury with an Introduction by M.G. Lord
  • Introducer: Ms. M.G. Lord
  • Mr. Ray Bradbury

Sunday 4/26 --

10:30 AM
PANEL 2121 Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Michael J. Fox in Conversation with Mary McNamara
  • Interviewer: Ms. Mary McNamara
  • Mr. Michael J. Fox

12:30 PM
PANEL 2052 Broad 2160
James Ellroy with an Introduction by Patt Morrison
  • Introducer: Ms. Patt Morrison
  • Mr. James Ellroy

2:00 PM
PANEL 2043 Haines 39
History: The Underbelly of California
  • Moderator: Mr. Miles Corwin
  • Mr. Larry Harnisch
  • Mr. Richard Rayner
  • Mr. David Ward

Monday, February 23, 2009

Five Films in 13 1/2 Hours

On the day before the Oscars, Pam and I attended AMC Theatres' Best Picture Showcase 2009 -- a one day showing of all 5 Oscar Best Picture nominated feature films. There were several AMC locations where we could have watched the films. Our first choice, The AMC Burbank Town Center 6 was sold out. So, we searched or other locations. Even though some closer options were available, we opted for the AMC 30 at the Block in Orange (since we were familiar with the locations.)

The first film was set to start at 10:30, so we arrived at 10:00 AM. It's odd to arrive at an open-air mall before anything is open. Even the background music was not playing. Anyway, we picked up our tickets from the kiosk and got in line. I'd guess that there 150 people in front of us. The line moved in starts and stops; they were admitting roughly 20 people at a time. When we were let in, we were directed to a table outside the theater. We were each handed a collectible lanyard (that was our in-and-out pass) and a non-collectible popcorn bag. We then managed to obtain seats near the center of the 2nd-to-last row. With our seats secured, and the news that the first film would start a little late, Pam got up to get some popcorn and a large Coke Zero (we already had some Reece's Pieces courtesy of Target). She got back just as the movie was starting.

So, the first film up was Milk. Having grown up in the bay area during the 1970s, I was looking forward to seeing this film. I was familiar with the events of the story and even remember where I was when I heard the news that Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk had been shot. The film covers Milk's life from when he decides to move to San Francisco up to his assassination. You watch Harvey Milk change from resident to businessman to political activist to Supervisor using different events to drive the story forward. While I enjoyed the film, my familiarity with the outcomes of those events made the film a slight let down. That said, both Sean Penn's performance as Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin's performance as Dan White were fantastic. In fact, had Heath Ledger not passed away, I think Josh Brolin would have won best supporting actor; he nailed Dan White.

Anyway, I recommend "Milk". If not in the theater, at least on DVD. I'm hoping that when the film comes out on DVD and BlueRay, that there are extra scenes, perhaps the interviews used to create the story. Seeing "Milk" also makes me want to watch the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk again. I'm adding it to my Netflix queue.

Between the first and second films we had a short break. Just enough time to hit the restroom, refill the soda and get back to our seats in time for trivia. Yes, as part of the movie marathon, they had trivia. The prizes appeared to be a choice of a golf umbrella or a grab bag (that appeared to contain a calendar, some candy, and other stuff.) Unfortunately, the trivia was handled in a lame manor. Someone would shout out a question and someone else would pick on a raised hand for an answer. Because the person shouting the questions was at the very front and we were near the very back, we couldn't hear all of the questions. Over the course of the day, the questions asked included:

1. For which film did Sean Penn already win a Best Actor Oscar?
2. What does AMC stand for?
3. Which film has two songs nominated for Best Song?
4. How many Oscar nominations did "Titanic" receive?
5. How much does the Oscar statuette weigh?

Going in, The Reader was not a film that piqued my interest. I knew that Kate Winslet's performance had already received several awards and that part of the plot involved someone reading to her character. Not knowing anything about the story definitely enhanced my experience; I was surprised! What I liked most of this film was that it made me think without being preachy. The story paced pretty well, though it took a little while to pull me in. All in all, I liked it. Still, it's going to be a while before I watch it again.

Knowing that the next film was the longest, I made sure to take a bathroom break and get both soda and popcorn refills.

I had some idea of the story for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before going in. Folks had said that, though the film was long (2 hours 46 minutes), it would keep you interested throughout. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. There were points where I found myself about to nod off or asking myself, "OK, where's this going? When are they going to finally hook up?" The film also made me think of Forrest Gump (which had the same screenwriter -- Eric Roth). I really enjoyed "Forrest Gump". Now when watching one film makes you think of another film you think of as much better, then you know you're in trouble. This is not to say I disliked "Benjamin Button". I merely thought it was OK.

I know that enjoyed it more than me. She liked seeing New Orleans age throughout the film, and kept playing "spot the location."

The break after "Benjamin Button" coincided with dinner. Fortunately, they gave us 45 minutes instead of a half hour. After scouting some of the fast food locations at the block, we opted for Rubio's. We got back to the theatre with 15 minutes to spare.

Besides "Milk," Slumdog Millionaire was the other film we were both looking forward to seeing. Yes, I knew that it had a lot of hype. And yes, I had known that the general plot was that the main character was one question away from reaching the top prize in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", had been arrested on suspicion of cheating, and how he recalled different events in his life which allowed him to know answers to the questions he was being asked. Did that impact my experience of the film? Nope. I thought it made for a great plot device to learn this man's story and his experiences. Like the interrogating officer in the film, I got sucked into his story. Of the five films, this was my favorite. If the bonus features on the DVD/BlueRay release are good enough, I'll even buy it.

With four films down and one to go, we were hoping we could get some caffeine from Starbucks. Unfortunately, a bunch of other people (who chose not to sit through "Slumdog Millionaire's" credits) had the same idea. The line was too long by the time we got there. Still, the walk outside was good and the soda refill gave us enough caffeine for the last film.

I wasn't that interested in seeing Frost/Nixon beforehand, but I wanted to say that I had seen all five nominees, so we stayed. I'm glad that I did. Now, while I remember some of the Nixon administration and Watergate, I don't remember watching the Frost and Nixon interviews. Yes, I've seen clips, but I have no memory of watching the actual interviews when they first aired. What did that mean for me? Well, I couldn't really compare the film with the actual interviews. This was not a bad thing. What got me into this film was watching the process of how the interviews came to take place -- what each side hoped to gain as a result. Enhancing the experience was the inclusion of clips of present day interviews with some of the key players behind the scenes at key events in the film. Yes, there were points where I asked myself the question "Did that really happen that way?" but then I reminded myself this is a drama. Still, I enjoyed watching the film and recommend it to any historical junkie. I'm hoping for some good bonus features when this gets released on DVD/BlueRay.

So, five films and 13 1/2 hours later, we were ready to head home. All in all, while it was a long day, it was a good one. If, next year, we find that we haven't seen most of the five best picture nominees, we'll do this again.

Addendum: The event cost $30 per person and included admission to all five films, free popcorn, and free refills (on popcorn and soda) all day. As a MovieWatcher member I could have saved $5 on each ticket by purchasing tickets at the theatre box office, but because I was not able to get to the theatre box office before the day of the show, I opted for the convenience of purchasing on-line. Even at $6 per film, this was a bargain.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hey Fat Choy

Happy Year of the Ox!

Los Angeles' historic Chinatown's 110th Golden Dragon Parade is this Saturday from 2 to 4 PM. The parade will include a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Rodgers' and Hammerstein's “Flower Drum Song." Nancy Kwan is the parade's Grand Marshal.

Pam and I will not be attending the parade this year because we'll be in the bay area for some family events (one sad -- a memorial and one happy -- a birthday celebration), otherwise we'd be there.

I have photos and video from last year's parade.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Farewell Indie 103.1 FM

It took me by surprise. Reading through Twitter and seeing this from @lametblogs:

BREAKING: Indie 103.1 No More?: Twitter is abuzz with news that Indie 103.1 is seizing their broadcast

(Yes, they wrote "seizing" instead of "ceasing"). Slightly more information was posted here. Indeed the official site had the statement that they were going internet-only.

I turned on the radio, and tuned to 103.1 FM. In between each song was the same announcement:

This is an important message for the Indie 103.1 Radio Audience -

Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option --- to play the corporate radio game.

We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course.

This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative - simply put, only the best music.

For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to www.indie1031.com and listen to the new Indie 103.1 - which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves.

We thank our listeners and advertisers for their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived, and look forward to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world.

My next stop was LA Observed, since Kevin Roderick is great at posting breaking news. His post referenced Franklin Ave.. (No surprise, since Mike Schneider keeps abreast with the LA radio scene). Mike's post confirmed the rumors that the station is going Spanish language/music with a memo from the station's onwers.

After that, my next and final stop was to Indie 103.1 DJ Tedd Roman's twitter. He described hearing the news, visiting the station's offices, and other stuff.

So, this leaves one less listenable radio station in the LA/Orange County area. Granted, with the proliferation of on-line, satellite, and other options, I was not listening as often as I used to. Still, 103.1 FM was one of my radio presets. Not anymore.

I don't know how well the on-line only version of the station will work. I personally do not have high hopes, as it will be music only. How will that be any different than finding music on pandora radio, last.fm, or any of the other on-line outlets?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Feast of Fools

Today is the sixth of January. For those who celebrate, it's the 12th day of Christmas. For others, it's the start of King Cake season. And for me, it's a chance to remember one of my favorite shows at Disneyland -- The Festival of Fools.

Here's video of the show:
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3

Monday, January 05, 2009

Winter Break is Over

The past month was a pretty slow one. However, it's a new month, and a new quarter, so that means I should have lots of work-related stuff going on. Today I fly up to San Jose to visit a customer for a few days. Fortunately, I'll be back in time for the first Downtown Art Walk of the year.

I'm not the only one who's returning from a break. Today marks the return of Blossom Cafe after two weeks of vacation and remodeling. Yes, they'll still be sporting their C grade for a few more months, but the remodeling is not related. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes they've made. I'll see them when I return from San Jose.

And one more thing. Last year at this time, Franklin Avenue had a "contest" called "The Bloggiest Loser" in which several members of the blog-la-sphere attempted to lose weight (a'la "The Biggest Loser"). The contest was not a success as folks stopped sending updates almost immediately. Though I did not participate, and though Mike is not having the contest this year, I will be recording my weight here once a week in an attempt to see if I can shed some pounds from my ample frame.

So, my weigh-in for today is 257.4 pounds. That puts my BMI at a whopping 38 (as the Wii Fit says, "That's obese!"). So, if my first step is to get the Wii to tell me "That's overweight." instead, means I need to lose roughly 55 pounds. If I wish to have my Wii Fit no longer say I'm overweight, then I would need to lose a further 35 pounds after that. For now, my goal is to shed the 55 pounds by the end of the year. That's just over a pound a week. Obviously, this means more activity and healthy eating. Traveling doesn't make this easy, but I will be recording my endeavors here.