November 30, 2008
Back in LA (actually I've been back for a couple days) and back to being slammed with work again. I did take a break for dinner with a friend who was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. El Porto is lit up even more than usual this year. Appropriately, the only tacky decorations are on the equally cheesy "Upper Manhattan Lounge". ugh. Otherwise, the charm of El Porto is even brighter this holiday.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:11 PM
November 28, 2008
Mom and Dad still live in the house that I was born in (well, not actually born in, but you know what I mean). While lots has naturally changed about the house, there are still some things that remain the same as they always have been. There's something nice about that...
Posted by Jon Berry at 1:11 PM
November 27, 2008
For the first time in a long time, I made it back home to Virginia for Thanksgiving. I happened to find a cheap flight a couple weeks ago, so booked it, and told everyone except my Mom that I'd be coming back. Dad volunteered to pick me up, but the excuse he gave for leaving was to go get a ham, so his being gone so long didn't go over so well with Mom because she was worried something had happened. Still, she was surprised. It was nice to get to be back at the same time that my brother, both sisters and their families all converge at home. Here are some scenes from the day (Dad has a few posted on his blog as well).
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:46 PM
November 26, 2008
I love this one. LA-based photographer Sharon Montrose presents a project called 'The Dog Photo Booth'. The writeup I read of this said that she put dogs in an actual photo booth, though I think that may have been incorrect. Regardless, she captures the fun and spontaneity of a photo booth merged with dogs in this series.
Posted by Jon Berry at 10:23 PM
November 25, 2008
I just got an email from my friend Tina that her short film "In Twilights Shadow" will be making its tv premiere Wednesday night on Logo's 'The Click List'. This is the film I wrote about a few months ago after I saw it at a screening in LA. I used to work with Tina at abc, and this is not what I expected from my fun little fellow southerner. This is one super-slick highly produced vampire action thriller kinda flick. And apparently the way the film business works (I think?) is that you make a short film like this in hopes of getting a deal to make the full-length thing; and while I'm not sure, I think the way 'The Click List' works is that the higher votes a film gets, the longer it stays on the list and the more exposure it gets. It airs at 10pm et/pt and can then be seen on the website starting Thursday. So help Tina out - watch it Wednesday, but more importantly, watch and vote for it starting Thursday here:
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:19 PM
November 22, 2008
I got a last minute call from my friend Heith inviting me to join him and his friends Mondo and Dustin for a day at Knotts Berry Farm today. Knotts is having a pretty incredible deal - through Nov 27, any military member or veteran gets free admission for them and a guest, plus can buy tickets for six more people at $15 each. Considering that admission is normally $51, thats no small savings. And they've had that deal for almost all of November, not just a weekend. When we got there, Dustin realized he had forgotten his military ID, but it turns out that they are also having the same deal for Police and Fire from now til December 21, so I was able to get us in and get their tix for $15. Mondo and Dustin were great sports in jumping on one of the biggest coasters there as soon as we got there, even though they aren't fans of the wilder rides. Knotts is smaller than some of it competitors, but its a quality park, plus I find its history fascinating. Knott's, not surprisingly, actually started as a Berry Farm in the 20's. Their berry stand grew to a restaurant famous for its chicken dinners, and lines got so long that in the 40's, they built an old west ghost town to entertain visitors. Attractions were added over time and in 1968, they fenced it off to charge single admission as a theme park. Knott's, by the way, is also where Boysenberries were invented. They still serve chicken dinners and boysenberry pie today.
Posted by Jon Berry at 10:50 PM
November 21, 2008
Had a doc appointment in Santa Monica today... a few sights from the area, including the jewelry repair sign on a store window. Not sure what to make of that one, maybe its similar to all those signs in Germany calling me a schmuck?! Also loved the construction truck with the sign on the back that said 'putzmeister'. Isn't that kinda like schmuck?! I think someone's trying to tell me something.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:05 PM
November 20, 2008
Travel is my vice. But I don't think I would ever be able to travel the way I do if it weren't for ferreting out deals on the internet. Remembering a time 15 years ago when you just called an airline and booked a ticket without shopping around is baffling to me in todays terms. So I'm going to try to post some basics about how and what I do to make my travel possible. Today I'll ramble about finding airfares. And these are only my opinions based on my experience - I'm not saying my ways are the best ways.
For searching flights, I have found kayak.com to be the best search engine. For one, you don't book from kayak, and I like that - instead they search all the other sites like Orbitz and Expedia, etc as well as the airlines own sites - and send you to those if you click purchase. It also saves your searches, so you can go back many times and check the latest fares with just a couple clicks. Airfares can change several times a day. If you're searching round-trip, be sure to search flexible dates (if you have that flexibility) - fares can be cheap one day and expensive the next. Once the search results come up, use matrix mode. That way you can also note if an airline you prefer might be just a few dollars more - that could be worth it to you. The sliders on the left are pretty handy too - if all the flights showing up are at 6am and you want to see how much the difference is for flights after 10am, just slide those bars and your results update. If you really wanna get deep into it, click on 'charts' to see comparison of dates and prices, but that gets pretty detailed. There are lots of other options to play with on Kayak, spend a little time playing around with them and you'll get a feel for what is helpful to you and what to ignore. You can easily ignore all of them and still get great searches. Once you pick a fare, go check on that airlines own website. Very often I find that may save you five or ten dollars, but sometimes much more (as well as sometimes be much more expensive). Also note that Southwest doesnt show up on Kayak. There is a link on their site though if you want to check them. I rarely find Southwest to be cheaper than other airlines and their terminal in LA is a nightmare, so I rarely fly them. Its good to be aware of airlines extra charges nowadays. USAirways charges for everything - every bag, every this, every that - even water. I don't even bother with them anymore if I can help it. American, United and Delta arent much better, so its worth checking their baggage fees on their websites. If you plan on checking one bag, you might be adding $50 to your fare. Suddenly that may make them more expensive than an airline that doesn't charge extra. Finally, check your search a few times over a couple days. Its a bit like gambling - you might lose that cheap price you once saw, but prices go up and down often. Just because a flight goes up doesn't mean that it won't come back down. Most airline websites will allow you to place a 24 hour hold on a flight before purchasing (at the last step it will offer 'purchase' or 'hold') - this is a good safety measure, but isn't an option for all flights. I also often find more seats available and cheaper prices after Midnight or 1am. This may be coincidence. I once read it was because of seats put on hold that didn't get purchased getting released at Midnight. Whether thats true, I have no idea. So... that was a lot of rambling and it seems like I've barely covered anything, so I'll expand airfare to a couple more posts over the next couple weeks. I want to cover Frequent Flyer miles (the last several years, all my holiday travel and international travel has been covered by using miles); and I'll also hit last minute travel as well as my favorite airline.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:41 PM
November 18, 2008
Sorry for the lack of any real interesting posts lately. I've been a little swamped with work kind of unexpectedly - not that I'm complaining - to the point of doing a lot of allnighters. But cool clients, cool projects. And on top of it all I've been a little under the weather. So its time like these that I often am finding diversions like the puppicam I posted a few days ago for the sake of sanity (have you seen how big thay've gotten already?!) - so here's another sanity break. I dunno what the hell its about, but you can't help but stare and giggle. It gets really good about 15 seconds in. Presenting - the Weirdest Dog Ever. (seriously, what did we do before the internet?)
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:15 PM
November 16, 2008
Pretty busy with work, so just a gallery today... Still smoky from the fires - notice in the top pic that the sun is reflecting off water that looks like its where the sky is. The twisted fringe benefit from smoky skies is that it always brings some pretty amazing sunsets - weird how that happens, almost like a rainbow after a tornado. (and yes, I originally had this post up with smoky misspelled)
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:43 PM