Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rock Show At The Hollywood Bowl--Super Deluxe Update

The Police blew me away Wednesday night! But in a good way--I didn't die!
Wednesday night's show was incredible. I think I will place it in my top 5 of all time shows.
I will be the first to admit I was never a big Police fan. Sure I liked the songs KROQ played (remember Richard Blade's fawning admiration of the band?!?) but I pretty much dismissed them as just another pretty-boy new wav-y band. Only after Dale enlightened me as to WHY they were actually a great band did I take another listen. But then I was more of a Stewart Copeland fan than anything. Then last year I saw Stewart's "home movie" and I finally "got it".
So, when I heard The Police would be playing with Elvis Costello, I got pretty excited. Elvis is one of my favorite live performers and that the Police were sharing the bill was a bonus.
The show started pretty weirdly.....five minutes early and a half-full house...and I hear "hey everybody" and Elvis just starts playing. No into, no nothing. OK. After about the fourth song, he warmed up a bit and talked about his new album, "Momofuku". (Which I have not heard and I also wonder why it is named after the inventor of Cup Noodles). THEN he invited the audience to a "secret" midnight show that night at the El Rey (which is really dinky). The new songs sounded good and then Sting came out and sang along on "Alison". Of course, he finished up with (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding. A solid performance, everyone sounded great and anytime I get to see Elvis perform is an OK day to me.
So then The Police come Just a un-frikking-believeable set. Even visually, it was breathtaking. They had a high-def screen of some sort in back of the drum riser. It had to be 20x30 FEET. Real time, multi camera, like a Jumbotron, but so dang hi-res and clear. A definite addition to our viewing pleasure.
They played song after song. Awesome musicianship. Stewart was in his own little world, just banging away.
The crowd was enthusiastic, singing along for most of the songs. But then again, Sting sort of makes those kind of lyrics that make it easy to do.... do do do...da da da eeeee yooo ooh.
It was a younger crowd than I would have thought....maybe 35-40-ish. So they might have been a young-to-mid teen in 1984 (the hey-day of The Police). Is this a nostalgia band to them? Or are these Sting's New Age fans? Either way, we ALL had a great time!
Here's a set list I snagged from the OCReader:
The Police
Main set: Bring on the Night / Message in a Bottle / Walking on the Moon / Demolition Man / Voices Inside My Head > When the World Is Running Down (You Make the Best of What’s Still Around) / Don’t Stand So Close to Me / Driven to Tears / Hole in My Life / Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic / Wrapped Around Your Finger / De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da / Insivible Sun / Can’t Stand Losing You (with bits of Regatta de Blanc)
Encore 1: Roxanne / King of Pain / So Lonely / Every Breath You Take
Encore 2: Next to You
Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Stella Hurt / Pump It Up / Everyday I Write the Book / American Gangster Time / Radio Radio / Flutter and Wow / No Hiding Place / Turpentine / Watching the Detectives / Alison (with Sting) / (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

About my "supporting" photos....Dale was cleaning out his "archives" the other weekend and came across a treasure trove of old music mags. It was great fun to read about the "good ole' days" of the beginning of punk.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Bubbler in Literature!

Since this weekend was kinda crappy weather-wise I was able to make a (small) dent in my pile of NewYorkers. It is a weekly magazine, so if I'm not really on top of things, they sometimes stack up.
I was reading a short story by one of my long-time favorite authors John Updike and almost fell out of my chair when he wrote about a BUBBLER! This story, as do most of Updike's, takes place back East; in this instance, Connecticut. Which as you recall does use the term bubbler.
Here is the passage:
"The automobile garage a block away from my grandparents’ back yard had the coldest water in town, at a bubbler just inside the overhead sliding doors. It made your front teeth ache, it was so cold."

In case you'd like to read the whole story, you can read it here. It was a weird little story, and of course contained an instance of adultery. If you read it, let me know what you thought. It just left me scratching my head.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day and Flag Etiquette

My pal, MeesterCranky is always going on about how most people do not know how to treat the flag with the respect it deserves. I have asked him to make this guest post in order to enlighten the rest of us. So here goes.....

Since it's Memorial Day, I've been asked to interrupt your barbecues with a guest post concerning flag etiquette.

As a former member for three years of the AAA Safety Patrol and color guard for my Boy Scout troop, I feel uniquely qualified to tell you exactly what's wrong with these Kentucky Fried NASCAR morons who have claimed the Flag and Anthem for their own, or use it simply to signify the beginning of a million dollar death match sporting event.

Too many of you knotheads are simply ignorant of how to show proper respect for the flag and the various symbols of nationalism we hold dear in the hope the Repugnican Reign of Terror will think us true patriots, and hopefully will be persuaded not to send us off to Gitmo or one of the closed bases being converted into Death Kamps™ as we speak.

Some high points, violations of which I see all the time:

ONE: The National Anthem. It should never be interrupted by hoots of approval, sung by those hiphop divas like a gospel revival song, or APPLAUDED AT IT"S CONCLUSION. This is a major no-no. The end of the national anthem is to be met with a dignified silence. A warm glow of pride and a few heartfelt sniffles are acceptable, provided it is not done in support of George Bush.

Also, stand at attention if in a uniform, removing your hat and placing it over your heart, or if in civilian dress simply stand up and fix your attention on the flag. Singing is optional, but if you're standing next to me, don't. Not everyone can sing this song and it's painful to hear you pinheads butchering it.

I myself think we should abandon this Scottish drinking song celebrating bombing and destruction, which sounds like a toothpaste commercial to me, in favor of the more tuneful and evocative America the Beautiful, which will be ever more appropriate as our environmental policies destroy more and more of this beauty; and remind us of what we have here within our own borders as the civilized world forces us into a period of isolationism in order to protect themselves.

TWO: The flag has been paraded out horizontally across the baseball field so many times now that's it become acceptable, unofficially changing our Flag Code to allow this practice. I personally do not like it. The flag is to always be displayed erect, billowing in the breeze.

Although the Flag Code set forth by Congress has not been officially amended to accept this, authorities such as the VFW have relaxed and stated this is acceptable as long as it is supported fully on all sides. Prior to this habit developing, the only time you saw a flag lying down was on a casket.

Speaking of this practice, how many times have they trotted out DA AKSHUL FLAG FRUM DA WORLD TRADE CENTER???!!! Does anyone believe that piece of fabric survived, magically settling intact on top of the burning rubble, pristine and perfect, when they are still finding bone shards two blocks away? Come on, George, we're not all as stupid as you are.

THREE: The flag is two sided (make your own joke here), in that it has a front and a back side. This means that when you wear a flag patch on one arm you can wear the REVERSE side on the opposite arm. Really. But, if you wear only one side, it must be the FRONT of the flag on your left shoulder - near your heart. The same is true if you wear it on the front of your uniform.

This also means that when you display the WRONG SIDE of the flag, i.e. hang it vertically but place the union on the wrong side, you are showing disrespect by displaying the ass end of the flag.

So those flag lapel pins? Wear it on the side nearest your heart.

FOUR: It is incorrect to display flags at half staff for local politicians, public servants, servicemen or private citizens. Flags are flown at half staff by presidential decree and it is a NATIONAL period of mourning. Also, do not fly it at three-quarters staff, or five-eights staff; if you are unsure where the middle of your flagpole is consult a Boy Scout.

When flying the flag at half staff, raise it BRISKLY as normal - you do raise it briskly don't you? - and then slowly, with dignity, lower it to half staff. The reverse is true when taking the flag down at night.

You DO take your flag down at night don't you?

This and many more fun facts can be found at the following page:

Read it. Send it to a Repugnican friend. You DO have a Repugnican friend don't you? No? Good citizen. You will be among the last of the Mud People to be exterminated in Camp Snoopy, formerly known as Montana.

If this hasn't been entertaining enough on this day we honor people who died to give me the right to say this, you can read my blog at:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Race Day Thoughts

This morning I did my patriotic Memorial Day weekend duty and watched the 92nd running of the Indy 500. Well, for the first 150 laps or so anyway. Today it was mostly for nostalgia's sake that I watched/listened, but there were many years where I had a keen interest in the race and racing in general.
When I was a kid, I remember listening to the race on the radio, because there was some sort of prohibition to showing it live on the tee-vee. That was back in the days when it was governed under the control of USAC. The weekend after the Indy 500 the series would move to the Wisconsin State Fair Park's one mile oval track. This was always interesting if there happened to be any "unfinished business" from the previous week. The Fair Park was close to our house and we could hear the cars. My dad would take us to the track on Saturday for the time trials. Back then, racing wasn't all that popular, and the time trials were free to watch. We were dumb kids--we didn't know it wasn't a REAL race.
In the 80's and 90's I was a pretty avid race fan. The series was then known as CART and the hot drivers at the time were Michael and Mario Andretti, Little Al Unser, the Mears brothers, Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, and Emerson Fittipaldi to name a few. I would go to the Long Beach Grand Prix and Laguna Seca here in California, and sometimes travel back to see races at Milwaukee, Road America and Michigan International Raceway.
The schism between CART and IRL in 1995 coincided with my move back to California and a time of no tee-vee or cable, so I sort of drifted away from the sport. This year saw the dissolution of the CART series and again there will be only one series.
I watched about an hour of the pre-race broadcast, which I thought had a few well-done segments. One about the very real danger/injury facet of racing was interesting. Two faces from the past, Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear are now doing commentary. It was really freaky to see Michael Andretti's son Marco as a driver. Now I know I'm getting old!
Who knows, maybe now that there is only one series I'll get back into being a race fan again.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coming Soon to.....Southern California?!?!?

OK. It is May 24th and it is raining. And cold. It rained yesterday and the day before that and will probably rain tomorrow. Thursday tornadoes touched down in San Bernardino. Thunder and lightning in Huntington Beach. A few inches of hail blanketed the ground in the San Gabriel valley. Snow was sticking to the ground in Big Bear yesterday. And it is May 24th.
Last night I drove home from work and had to have the heater on to keep my sandal-clad feet warm.
Is God punishing us California sinners? Is it global warming? Just a freaky cowinky-dink?
I'll be rethinking the weekend's menus....instead of a nice alfresco grilled fish dinner, I think I'll be making chile verde.

I'm not REALLY complaining....anytime I don't have to water the landscaping I'm happy. Hopefully this will help with our short water supply. But it is really freaking me out that it is frikkin MAY 24 and raining.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lazy Girl Post

Work has been pretty nutz the last week or so. As a result I'm not too interested in sitting at the keyboard let alone actually cogitating on making I'll just put up this cool video of Brave Combo and call it a day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mondo Metro Madness!

Wow, this gas price thing is really starting to get crazy. Now people are buying GEO Metros as a way to alleviate the pain at the pump!
These humble gas-sippers are becoming much sought-after vehicles due to the extreme mileage they get. Of today's cars, only the Prius gets better mileage. So what do you do if you can't swing the 20-plus grand for a Prius? You go on Ebay and bid on an old GEO Metro, that's what.
I was a proud Metro owner for seven years. Mine was purchased in 1995 while I was still living on Maui. I had started a sales job and needed a car with air conditioning so I wouldn't have a meltdown on my way to appointments and the GEO was the cheapest car with AC.

Here's my GEO, prepped for sale..all detailed and looking good. I paid $10,400 for it new. 44MPG city-49MPG highway. Wow, I could really use that now!
I brought it with me when I moved back to the mainland. My new commute was about 60 miles RT, so I was really happy with the mileage I was getting. I would fill up every 7-8 days or so.
Sure, some people made, "what do you feed the squirrels in there?" and stuff like that, but this was a GREAT little car! I never had a bit of trouble with it and contrary to what people think, it was pretty peppy. Well, maybe not like a Porsche or something, but I could do 65 on the freeway no problemo. AND parking was a breeze. Even after 130,000 miles, I was still on the original brakes.
I only got rid of it because Dale gave me his old SC2 when he got his new VUE, but it still had a lot more life left. I sold it in 2006 for $1700. Dang, I should have held onto it...they're going for 3 times Blue Book now!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade

Torrance has the honor of hosting the longest continually running military parade in the nation--this year marks 49 years! In addition to the parade, there are a few supporting festivities such as a concert and a chance to see the military equipment up close. Each year a different branch of the military is honored--this year it was the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi!
Saturday morning I had business to take care of in Downtown Torrance and afterward I checked out what was happening in El Prado Park. There was a competition between all the Southland Marine Recruiting Centers. The recruits had to perform various feats of physical endurance like pull-ups, tug of war, and something I think I heard refered to as "the wirly-swirlys".
The color guard practicing before the show.

I haven't been to the parade for the last few years, but when we lived closer to the parade route we would walk up the street and check it out. What we usually end up doing now is checking out the displays at Del Amo after the parade.
The shear hugeness of the equipment is impressive. The kids love checking out all the jeeps and trucks. We got to talking to a few of the soldiers and I was moved at the level of pride and commitment these young people have toward the task they are undertaking.
The Army invades Macy's looking for bargains.

Torrance Airlift (yeah, please rid us of these 88'rs!)

Actually, this Blackhawk flew over our house en route to Del Amo. It was REALLY low and REALLY scary. And LOUD!

An Army Fireman struck a pose. How come firemen are so foxy?

We were listening to the scanner at home during the parade--Dale's radio group does the radio support for the event--and I heard there was a little "brewhaha" during the parade. I'm going to get a little more info before I say more, but if it is what I think it was, wow...!

Dale is a much better photographer than I am, so check out his photos here

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cruise At The Beach is Back!

One of the fun and FREE things we like to do is go down to King Harbor on Friday nights for Cruise At The Beach. A bunch of car nuts gets together in the Ruby's parking lot to show off their "babies". There are approximately 30-40 cars down there. Hot rods, sports cars, vintage "Detroit Metal", and a few oddities like an Isseta and even a Gremlin are on display.
We're not car nuts but it's fun to check things out and take photos like these....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

First off...Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!
This is a photo of me and my mom, taken in 1969 at a cousin's wedding. She was probably taking a break from dancing up a storm as she usually did at these sort of gatherings. I always loved that dress that she is wearing. My mom was an awesome seamstress and actually made that dress. Many, many years ago she let me have the dress when I thought it would be a cool retro thing to wear. No matter the dress is something like a size 4 and I might have been a size 4 for two weeks in 6th grade. But anyway, I still have it, and who knows, I might be able to wear it someday!
My mom passed away in 2005, so this is the third year I have had the wonderful experience of attending the "Memories of Mother" tea that is hosted by the Torrance Memorial Home Health and Hospice. The purpose of this event is to allow us "motherless daughters" a chance to celebrate and honor our mothers. This year I did OK, but the first two years I was pretty much of a basket-case, and I was grateful for the support of the others.
Everyone brings a photo of their mom to place on a large table. It is great fun to see all the different photos of all the moms. Some photos are old, and some might have been taken literally a few months ago. The Beach Cities Harp Ring provides soothing music as we gather together and reminisce.
One year the event was a panel discussion of women that had lost their mothers and shared their stories. Last year two or three women told their stories. This year we here honored to have Hope Edelman who pretty much wrote the book, so to speak, with her now classic, "Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss" in 1994. I didn't know this before, but the day before Mother's Day is designated Motherless Daughters Day and there were similar events happening all over the US.
Hope shared her story of losing her mom when she was only 17 years old and how she searched and searched unsuccessfully for information and help to deal with her loss. Her search ended in the writing of the book and through it, she hopes that she can help other women who are going through the experiences she did.
No one is ever ready to lose their mom, but to lose your mom when you yourself are a child, teen or young adult is especially devastating. Some women feel lost without the nurturing and role-modeling a mother gives.
One thing that Hope mentioned and other women agreed with was that after her mother died, everybody in her "support sphere" (my quotes) just STOPPED talking about her mom. After the funeral she says, it was like her mom never existed. WOW.
That's crazy. I might be in a "special" family or something... (Well, yeah, I KNOW that is true) but we ALWAYS TALK ABOUT those that have passed before. Heh-Heh...and maybe not always in the most favorable of terms! My family has a HUGE lore of those that are no longer with us. Emails shoot across the country on "Ethel-isms", crazy stories of Angie, Kitty, Phee, and Barb. TONS of stories of Tommy and Bobby. Of COURSE we talk about could we not?!?!?!? I know that in my immediate family circle if someone says something a little too anal...they are greeted with a joyful "OK BARB" (That's my mom, and loving, compassionate, caring, cool person she was....she had also some "quirks" and we loved her all the more for them)
The presentation was powerful and uplifting. I'm fortunate I was able to have had my mom around for a relatively long time (not long enough!) and I can't begin to imagine not having had her love and support when I was growing up. I got to thinking that my mom was a motherless daughter herself, having lost her mom when she was only 8 years old.
Here's the write-up from The Daily Breeze

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jacaranda Time--update

This is an update of an earlier post. I got some photos of my own to use instead of using some stock image I found on Google.
One of my favorite times of the year is just beginning. This is the time when the jacaranda trees bloom. I've been watching the trees along the side of the 405 lately and I could tell the time was coming soon.
This jacaranda is located in Old Downtown Torrance. It is one of two trees that shade this little plaza of sorts. The Keller Memorial is honoring Thomas Keller, a TPD officer who lost his life in the line of duty. The bicycle probably belongs to a worker at the restaurant seen in the background.
Jacaranda trees are pretty freaky. The leaves are really tiny and there's not too many of them. The blossoms seem to appear from nowhere and almost overnight blossom out into an explosion of purpleness.
Some neighborhoods have many of the trees lining the streets. The branches form a purple canopy that is just awesome. I don't know of any streets like that in Torrance, but I have seen some in North Long Beach and also in the City of Orange.
The drawback of the jacaranda is that the falling blossoms make a HUGE mess and stain the sidewalk. They also have a misty sap that messes up your car. All this beauty comes at a price I guess.

This is the " John F. Kennedy Memorial Toilet Seat" located in the same plaza as in the above image. Looks like someone had a good idea and put this cover on to keep all those soon-to-be-falling blossoms out of the fountain. I know that when someone donates money or whatever to provide a civic memorial like this one it's hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth. But come on, at least look at the blueprints first people! It totally looks like a toilet and even has the Ty-D-Bowl blue inside.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Here's one of the "after" photos of my Farmers' Market score. Like I had said, this month's MSL had some great salad recipes.
This one features fava beans and roasted garlic. Besides the beans, it is loaded with many of my favorite salad-y items: feta, corn, red onions. I was a little skeptical of the, why bother when there are so many other ingredients? But I have to say, they added an unexpected level of flavor..and crunch too. Since I was assembling this at work, I kept all ingredients in separate baggies until I was ready to eat. Insead of mixng the nuts in with the dressing, as the recipe has you do, I added them when I tossed the rest of the items together.
This was my first time with fava beans. I always hear such rave reviews on them. Sure they ARE good, but man, what a pain in the butt. First you gotta shell them. They aren't like peas, which go pretty fast. THEN you have to blanch them and THEN you have to get the outer shell thing off the actual bean part. I really liked this salad and next time I will try it with edammame.
How do you like the sexy lighting? Since we work on computers all day, we don't have overhead lighting at work, just small desk lamps. I like the warm color it gives the photo. Maybe I'll pick one up for the house.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Meet Bernard!

Meet Bernard. He's a friendly scrub jay that hangs around our yard and the neighbor's yard. He loves tortilla chips. Sometimes he stops by with Mrs. Bernard and they both dine in style on the patio. Lately Bernard has been harassing Hell Cat with noisy squawking.
Bernard got his name from the famous French chef Bernard Loiseau. Chef Loiseau was pretty much one of the first "celebrity" chefs and was responsible for a new way to think of classic French cuisine. He unfortunately took his own life in 2003. His legacy lives on through his wife. The book "The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine" by Rudolph Chelminski is a great story about the stresses involved in running a world-class restaurant and culinary empire.

Here is the latest attempt to discourage the evil squirrels from eating the peaches. When I was a kid, my mom would string up pot pie tins or foil strips in the cherry tree as a way of discouraging birds from eating all the cherries. The theory is that the birds are frightened of the shiny, moving objects. This is the 21st century version of that idea and I am hoping it will work on squirrels too. Next step--BB gun!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Farmers' Market Bounty

This morning I went to the Torrance Farmers' Market. I've been hearing so much lately about sustainable agriculture, small farmers and knowing where your food comes from that I am going to try to make an effort to get most of my veggies there. One source of info that I have been using is LA FarmGirl. She's got a bunch of links and info on local family farms, farmers' markets, gardening and tons more stuff worth checking out.
Even my favorite show, The Simpsons had an episode last week on the meat industry..."Apocalypse Cow". It was one of the best....shows.....ever.
I would sign up for one of those CSA farmshare deals but I don't think I can commit myself to receiving produce like that on a consistent basis. Sometimes work, etc. gets in the way of cooking nice meals and I sure would hate to waste stuff. Maybe some day, who knows?
Today's bounty is not too extravagant, just some staples. I saw two great salads in this month's MSL that I want to check out. I never made fava beans before, so this is going to be a first. Should be like edammame I'm thinking. Strawberries for general munching.
Come back later for the "after" photos!
I was a VERY good girl and did not get any malasadas or TJ Dogs. I did get to meet two city council candidates and chitchat with them. Various candidates have been there the last few weeks, so if you want to get "up close and personal", this is the place.