November 30, 2006
I've never been much of a gambler, though I always loved Vegas from the standpoint that it was big theme park. A few years ago I stumbled across a slot machine called Texas Tea. I was hooked. My favorite thing about Texas Tea is the Armadillo character and this little dance he makes, holding up his "shirt" to show his belly while flailing his tongue from left to right. It makes no sense, but it makes me giggle. Usually when playing all lines, Texas Tea manages to give you some sort of "win" with every spin - you often arent "winning" as much as that spin may have cost, but it keeps you excited and in the game. And compared to other slots I've tried, the real wins are still much more numerous. It also has pretty frequent bonus wins that give you chance to drill for oil or just get a check from Texas Ted. And to top it off, the soundtrack is fun and boisterous. I managed to find a few Texas Tea machines when I was in Reno, but never found one that seemed to offer a lot of wins. Still, just a taste of Texas Tea was better than none.
November 28, 2006
Tonight was Casey's last Taco Tuesday. A few weeks ago we started going to OB's, a bar down the street from me, on Tuesday nights after going to the gym. Yeah, a little self-defeating maybe, but isn't that why we go to the gym anyway?! Tonight my friend Dave met us there. It was packed. Who knew the power of Taco Tuesday? OB's is a typical beach sports-ish bar, lotsa sets all over with games on, but they have pretty decent food too. Its fun, casual, comfortable, and not overrun with kids (the 21 year old variety). If you can eat 10 tacos, you get on the plaque that hangs on the wall. For the record, I can only handle two. Casey started a blog of his own a few weeks ago, hes marking his last week in LA with daily photo essays.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:00 PM
November 27, 2006
November 26, 2006
My friend Casey is in a lot of my posts lately cause he's movin away this week to Austin. It also means he's been around the house more than usual lately - and needing breaks from his time at home packing and painting and all that awful moving stuff. Today was another of our almost ritualistic bikes down the beach for brunch. I'm not sure whos gonna be gettin me out to brunch or to the gym after this week...
You cant tell in the pics, but its starting to get cool, winters comin. Callin for rain tomorrow, thats the big sign that its here.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:06 PM
November 25, 2006
NBC has quietly started doing something small, but brilliant, that must have taken tons of meetings and convincing, and frankly am surprised ever made it past whatever approvals it took. (Thats not a slight at NBC, its a slight at the approval mentality that traditionally exists in large companies for creative decisions - I only assume it would be this way at any major broadcast network.)
You may or may not have noticed that they moved their corner logo "bug" from the lower right corner to the lower left. What many probably didn't notice (which is a good thing - it should be subtle and unconscious) is that they added a ".com" to the peacock for some periods. (I could be wrong, but I believe they used to keep the ".com" up, they are now dropping it after a few seconds) They also now end all their promos with a similar peacock ".com" You see "peacock.com" but your mind says "nbc.com". One of NBC's objectives (smartly, as shows are watched less and less on tv) is to drive traffic to their website. I can only imagine what a struggle it was to get the powers that be to allow a peacock without the letters NBC written out. The bug is also now a transparent solid instead of the messy clear logo with 'embossed' light and dark edges. Simpler. Cleaner. Better.
Years ago I worked at an NBC affiliate, and their corporate logo standards are stringent. Luckily, I got away with breaking them since we were only an affiliate. They were wanting to be bought by NBC, so a lot of the suits were wary of bending the rules, so I'd have to fight to do so. One of the rules of the logo that would drive me crazy is that it must always have a white border around the feathers. (pfftt!) Another is that the peacock can never appear without the letters "NBC" together with it. (pfffftttt!) Thats right, according to the standards, the peacock alone wasn't enough to say 'nbc', you had to literally spell it out. I ignored that one. Clearly, theyve realized that they can too. The NBC peacock is a beautiful clean simple but powerful mark. Its clear. The old bug with the chunky NBC underneath just cluttered up what was already recognizable. Similarly, the juxtaposition NBC uses of the peacock with the olympic rings is a beautiful counterpoint because the shapes seem to mirror each other. Yet in the official logo "patches" (as they call them) there is an awkward "NBC" thrown in between. I have no idea, but I can only guess thats because someone in a boardroom made them.
I ran into a friend who works at NBC recently and she asked what I thought about their current package. I mentioned the peacock.com and her eyes got wide. I told her I could imagine that took some effort to get approved. She neither denied nor confirmed, but she did let on that it was a big deal, and said "we [focus/research] tested, and the peacock tested far higher than the letters 'nbc'." Go figure. Congrats to NBC for discovering the strength of their logo as a mark alone - and using it without extra clutter to diminish its power.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:26 PM
November 24, 2006
I went by the beach on Thanksgiving morning - it was a hoot. Maybe it was the holiday, maybe it was the surf, maybe both, but the place was packed. Surfers were everywhere you looked - some gettin ready to go out, some comin back in, others standin in groups, waxin boards, you name it. It was a great way to start the day and remind me why I love being here.
I started this blog a year ago with my first (real) post about Thanksgiving at the beach. The blog is actually part of my work website. A year later, that website is finally looking like it may be done soon. Work has thankfully been steady enough to allow me be my own boss for the last year. And the blog has matured to be an (almost) daily habit that has unexpectedly kept and brought me closer to people I wouldn't have expected.
It was another nice day at the beach this year. Cooler, but still nice. I talked to everyone in my family as the phone got passed around and Dad emailed me pics of what I missed (see his blog). My friend Casey came over for turkey and pecan pie (both a little undercooked... patience, my friend!), and I spent most of the evening working. Still, a nice day with no shortage of things to be thankful for.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:53 PM
November 22, 2006
November 21, 2006
Just in case the recent warm weather has confused anyone to what time of year it actually is... the signs have gone up around town. Good thing, cause only last night I got confused when my friend Casey and I saw a banner for a restaurant nearby that was "opening in July"... hmmmm. Mark your calendars (those of you who are local): Christmas Fireworks on December 10!
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:11 PM
November 20, 2006
I came home from running some errands the other day, it was around 5 or 6 since the sun was setting. At the end of the street were all these seals in the water. Nope, not seals, surfers. Its a common sight, especially early in the morning and in the evening. Something cool about always seeing em out there bobbing in the waves, waiting for their turn...
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:33 PM
November 19, 2006
November 18, 2006
My friend Lauraine lost her longtime four-legged pal Louis a few weeks ago. I was thrilled today to get news that she had brought a new dog into her life. Her new pup, like Louis, is a springer spaniel (I use pup liberally, she figures he's between 2 and 3 years old.) She asked for name suggestions, so I figured I'd throw it out on the blog to see if anyone came up with anything. (Now, I did this for my friend Susan and Tim when they were expecting their little girl and only got a couple suggestions, so we will see...!)
Here's what Lauraine has to say about her new guy: "I've been calling him LITTLE GUY, because he's HALF the size of sweet Lou (He's just under 40lbs). He's incrediby sweet and is very very excited to see EVERYONE and every animal, too. He's very wiggly and excitable."
so... any ideas? (and yes, the cone is only temporary!)
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:31 PM
November 17, 2006
On Tuesday, my friend Kris from San Diego was in town for some meetings. He called to see about getting together after his meetings, so we decided to grab some dinner. I remembered while he was on his way to my place that he is an airplane nut, so I suggested going to "Encounter" restaurant in the Theme Building at LAX. I've eaten there before, but didn't remember it being as good as it was on Tuesday. Its pretty pricey, but I have to say that it was pretty good as well. And you can always go to just grab a drink and watch the planes coming and going.
The Theme Building (I love that it never got a better name than that) is the centerpiece of LAX Airport and its renovation and expansion project of 1961 to make LAX an icon of "the Jet Age". The building has always housed a restaurant (until '96 called "the Theme Room") and until 9/11 had an observation deck on the roof. In '96, Walt Disney Imagineering was hired to give the place a makeover, and Encounter was born. A caption on Wikipedia says it best: "The architecture shown in 'the Jetsons' was based on the Theme Building's exterior, then the ... interior was redesigned to have a 'Jetsons' feel." They've done a great job that even includes smart use of light and sound.
If you decide to go, its easy to get in and out without dealing with the mess of LAX passenger traffic. Just after terminal 1 on the ground (arrivals) level, theres a sign on the left that takes you on a shortcut directly to the base of the Theme Building. Parking is valet only (hey, its LA) right at the door. To leave, the center lane of LAX will shoot you right out of the airport. Just like the Jet Age...
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:59 PM