February 28, 2007

mother ship

Winter in LA may not bring snow (well, I guess it did this year) or ice storms, but our winter weather does create some amazing scenes. After rain last night, this strange cloud ceiling was hovering over Manhattan Beach today. The oddest thing about it was that you could see the edge in every direction, with crystal clear bright skies underneath it on all sides. Hardly a cloud could be seen beyond the patch, and the patch itself had the appearance of being completely solid. A couple hours later it had split apart into more typical puffy clouds, but for a while, it was if the mother ship was hovering over us.

February 27, 2007


My friends are developing good habits. After our grilled cheese disappointment, my friend Pat suggested we hit Taco Tuesday. Then today my friend Dave messaged me too see if I was up for Taco tuesday. woohoo! I love being able to walk to a neighborhood joint to hang out with buddies. (That may not sound like a big deal to many of you, but when you live in LA, the concept is fairly foreign.) While we scarfed our cheap (but good) tacos and brews, I was distracted by a Dodgers special on one of the many tv screens. I can not wait for baseball season to get here. I mean, I really can not wait. There is some magic about baseball that entrances me and I can't exactly place where it comes from. I've mentioned before that I didn't become a baseball fan until after graduating college. Maybe its chasing childhood with the means of an adult. I don't know, and maybe it doesn't matter. But I can't wait for baseball. Until then, thank God for friends and tacos.

February 26, 2007

well dressed

Awards shows are often showcases for really terrible design. And often, the bigger the awards, the worse the design. Its hard to know why - perhaps too many people with too much influence that have no business making creative judgement calls, or maybe just the mentality of any large entity that goes with what theyve always done - veering from that is just too risky. (as I was once told in my early days in radio: 'we dont make the hits, we play the hits.' lesson learned.) So when the Emmys, the Oscars, et al come around, you can expect a lot of awful typography and overblown gold, sparkles, 3D, script etc. There are exceptions. I only saw the end of the Oscars last night, but what I saw was one of those exceptions.

The design wasn't knock-you-over groundbreaking, but it shouldn't be. The typography was exceptional in its simplicity. The motion was nicely understated, and the consistent use of the five-panel slabs in various ways was a nice touch. The package was done by Prologue, a motion design company in Malibu. Theyre the creators of tons of great stuff you probably don't realize that you've seen. Except for some poor bumps, everything I saw seemed to work nicely. Worthy of applause.

February 25, 2007

rotten cheese

I had hoped to have a great story and pics for you today... A week or two ago, I ran across info about the 4th 2nd Grilled Cheese Invitational Tournament. How awesome was that? What could be better? I marked my calendar and counted down the days. Their website gave lots of info for rules and tips, google searches showed pics from previous years, it looked like great fun. The site said all contestants had to be there by 7:30 and cheese would start flowing at 8, but the exact location in Downtown LA would not be posted til the day of the event. I couldn't wait to sample the entries in the three categories - Missionary Position: only standard bread, standard butter, and standard cheese; Kama Sutra: exotic breads, cheeses, additional ingredients allowed; and Honey Pot: sweet in general, served as a dessert. I couldn't wait!

A couple hours before the event, there was still no location posted. Surely they hadn't just forgotten! I fired off an email just in case someone would get it. Maybe the whole thing was a fake? My friend Pat was ready to join me for the trek downtown for cheese! Both of us were refreshing our webpages and searching for any other info we could find. Plenty of publicity listings that had been planted, but no specific location on any of them. By a little after 8, we had to give up. There would be no cheesy goodness for us tonight. Sigh.

Today I got an email saying "Due to overwhelming publicity, we were forced to not publish the address on our website because we believed we had already reached capacity for the event location before we even posted the address." Well, thanks for lettin us know. I don't want to say anything too bad for fear of not being invited to the next one! But...sheesh. If only we had been told that night. So many tears could have been spared.

So today I made my own protest grilled cheese. Nothing fancy, but I don't think there such a thing as a bad grilled cheese. mmmmm. And I'm thinking of having my own grilled cheese party maybe in a month or two. Anyone in?

  • grilledcheeseinvitational.com
  • February 24, 2007

    title safe

    Its somewhat sacrilegious in LA (especially in Oscar season), but I've never been a big movie fan. I often find myself disappointed by them and then feel like I've just wasted two hours that I can't get back. Aside from that causing me to miss out on some good films, I also miss out on some even better title sequences. Given that, I was thrilled to stumble across "forget the film, watch the titles," a website that showcases only the title sequence from films. The site is still not very deep, but it is gradually building a vault of great work. I find it most interesting that a lot of the best work seems to be European rather than American. Some of my definite favorites currently posted are the titles for "OSS117: Cairo, Nest of Spies", "Hard Candy", "Irreversible", and "Thank You For Smoking". Its also interesting to note how differently they play on a computer vs. in a theatre. Several are so long and slow that I clicked off after a while, yet I know in a theatre, I would be engrossed and allowing myself to be transported from real world into the film's world, one of the important functions of a good title sequence. Enjoy the movie...title.

  • Forget the Film, Watch the Titles
  • February 22, 2007

    a convenient truth

    Today when taking out the trash, I thought about a blurb I heard on the radio that California has reached the point where more than 50% of our waste is recycled. I didn't think about it much at first, but later realized that 50% is a lot! I don't know if its a state or local thing, but I have to admit that they make it convenient here. My folks in Virginia have to separate glass and plastic and paper (and trash), and I think recycling comes on a different day than garbage. That's a lotta work - I admire the effort they go to for recycling. Here - anything recyclable goes in the same bin, and the recycling (blue) bins go out the same day as the trash (grey). Ever since hearing that statistic, I've become more conscious of not throwing recyclable things into the garbage, and seem to have two bags of recycle for every one bag of garbage. I guess every little bit helps!

    February 20, 2007

    in case you missed it

    My Dad posted these pics on his blog as a response to my post this weekend about our winter weather here in LA... I will admit that while I don't consider myself a cold weather person, I do like it when it snows or rains or does something - its just the days of just plain cold that I don't miss!

  • Dad's blog
  • February 19, 2007


    Tonight on tv I happened to catch a quick clip of "the Battle of the Oranges" in Ivrea, Italy. How fast a year goes. Last year, I was there in the middle of a little Italian village with oranges hurtling past and exploding all around me. It was pure happenstance that I happened to find this festival. Carnevale is celebrated in Italy at different times throughout the month, and in different ways. The little village of Ivrea happens to celebrate it this way. I happened to find it on the web, it happened to be on the first day after my work at the Olympics ended, and it happened to be an easy hour train ride from Torino. It was one of the best experiences of all of my travel. I just plain couldn't believe I was in the middle of something like that. It was surreal. And it was a blast. It made for great photos, and I took tons of em. These are ones I didn't publish a year ago, but you can go to the link below to find last year's post on that day. The tv blurb made me realize I should check YouTube, and sure enough there were quite a few videos. I've also linked below to the best one of the bunch that I found - it gives a great sense of what the day is like. So forgive me for yet another rehash of posts from a year ago, but it was great experience that I'll never forget, and I love that I can share it with you.

  • jbd: February 28, 2006: orange crush

  • YouTube: Carnevale di Ivrea by Pitzbull
  • February 18, 2007

    writer's block

    They say when you cant think of anything else, just go with babies or puppies and you can't go wrong. I was looking through some old pics to come up with an idea for today's post and ran across these from Christmas. This is my sister's dog, Sandy. Sandy is one of the nicest good-natured dogs I know of. She can be a little timid at times, but she is incessantly sweet. She also has a huge attraction to water. Take her for a walk and if she finds a puddle or bog of some sort - boom - shes in it. It doesn't matter how cold or how muddy it is, she's in heaven. When I'm around, she is often in the shadow of the the big grey weimeraners in the family, but she seems to always get along with everyone. Sandy's a good dog.

    February 17, 2007

    winter wonderland

    I don't mean to gloat, but this is February 17th in LA. 86 degrees. Okay, maybe I do mean to gloat...a little. Those of us who live here live with constant comments and questions about how could we stand to live here, its so crowded, its so expensive, the traffic, the attitude, the this, the that...well, this is why. In all fairness, the first three months of the year are usually pretty dismal in LA - thats when it rains here. And usually pretty constantly. We've had a fair amount of rain, but not as constant as usual. I'm sure our turn for weather is just around the corner.

    February 15, 2007


    Forty four years ago this week, construction began on the Gateway Arch in St Louis. I was lucky to get to wander around the arch with my friend Louis when I was there for the World Series. (Only later did he tell me that he had a fear of heights.) The arch is a beautiful and brilliant piece of architecture by Eero Saarinen, who I wrote about a few weeks ago regarding Dulles Airport in Virginia. There are some fascinating drawings and original concepts/plans for the arch in the waiting area for the elevator. Though I haven't seen this comparison made elswhere, I remember wondering when I was at Dulles if Saarinen in his time could be compared to Frank Gehry in ours. Though their work is very different, both did things previously thought to be impossible with the building materials, creating shapes and spaces we didn't know could be made.

    One of my favorite buildings of Saarinen's is the TWA terminal at JFK in New York. Every inch of the building is about flight, an amazing play of curves and light. Unfortunately, it was a casualty of the loss of TWA is 2001. In 2005, JetBlue announced plans to build a new terminal surrounding the old TWA terminal. While they left the front of the old terminal, the "flight wings" have been demolished for JetBlue's new terminal, now under construction. "These flight wings were the functional, innovative part of the TWA terminal," said architect Hal Hayes. "They were the most new and different things that he did there." I'm suprised that JetBlue chose to demolish Saarinen's work, given their design consciousness. "It completely severs the historic building from its context. Basically, it doesn't have any planes near it anymore," said Hayes. I suppose we should be happy that the lobby area remains. Saarinen died in 1961 after brain surgery and never saw the finished terminal, which was completed in 1962.
    [JFK photos from lightningfield.com]

  • Eero Saarinen bio

  • lightningfield.com photos of TWA terminal