Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HalloweenTime at Disneyland: Teenagers Unleashed Edition

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to check out the park in all it's Halloween Time glory. I've said this before, but Disneyland is one of those places that my teenage daughters, 13 and 15, still get as excited about as when they were 3 and 5. What is it about this place that makes them squeal like a couple of toddlers in an all-you-can-eat ice cream store? And here's the true test: A trip to Disneyland still works as an effective bribe, even on a couple of jaded teens. Just one mention of, "Clean up the living room or we're not going to Disneyland" and I practically had to hold them back from shining the hardwood floors with their tongues.

Read the whole thing here!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

'Sing Your Song': HBO Documentary on Harry Belafonte Will Make Your Day-O

Recently I was invited to a screening of 'Sing Your Song,' the HBO documentary about Harry Belafonte that is airing tonight. Like me, you're probably most familiar with him because of the song 'Day-O.' You can listen to it here. Trust me, you'll be singing, "Daylight come and me wanna go home," for the rest of the day. You're welcome.

Read more about it here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This post is not about cats

Recently I ran into someone who reads my blog, and she said, "Oh, I love your posts about cats." I thought she must be mistaken, because I don't post about cats on my blog. After all, our cat Milkshake rarely does anything that amazing. And on the rare occasion that he does – like try to flush the toilet after he uses the litter box – he stops before I can grab a camera. And I'm not one of those people who's just going to blabber on endlessly about my cat, like I do about my kids and how cute they are. That would be presumptuous and boring.

But she had the right blog, and I realized there were a few posts where I mentioned our cat. But that just bummed me out because I thought, "Really? The only posts you remember are about my cat? I didn't regale you with my tales about Spam and my feet?" It was then I resolved never to mention cats on my blog again.

But then I saw this:

Man, if my cat would do this I wouldn't shut up about him! I'd write about him for days on end. I might even rename my blog, "All About Cats." Obviously what my cat is missing is a cat-scratch turntable. I'd write about how DJ Katnip (cause that's his DJ name, yo) was spinning some fat tunes while yelling out "Git down on it!" and "Don't stop believin'!" Once in awhile he'd take a break to hang out with his hos and paw at a laser light.

You can actually buy this: "Cardboard, mixing deck-shaped cat scratching mat – with spinnable deck and poseable tone arm. Folds together easily – supplied with instructions."

But that's all I'm going to say about it, because I don't write about cats on this blog. 

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Get in mah belly

Here are my latest food posts over on the Restaurant blog on Uptake. Bar food, refreshing beverages, hunks of meat and a condiment query – you may need a nap afterwards.

Raising the Bar at Duke's in Malibu

This past weekend my husband and I found ourselves in possession of one of the rarest commodities for a parent: a three-hour window to ourselves. The teenagers were busy with homework and the chores had been done, so we got busy planning our escape. Did I mention THREE WHOLE HOURS? That’s like two decades in parent years. We realize that teenagers have feelings too, though, so we tried not to seem too eager to leave them – although I told my husband that fifteen-straight-minutes of high-fiving might have given us away. Read More...

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I Never Met a Steak I Didn't Like
Actually, that title is a little deceiving. I have met steaks I didn’t like – the ones that have been overcooked, over-seasoned, or those that have been humiliated by being topped by onion rings or some sort of mango-honey-starfruit-relish concoction. Once I get rid of those obstacles, though, I can usually get to what I came for – a simple, glorious, unadulterated piece of meat. Ah, steak. Read More...

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Uva Bar: The Happiest Place In Downtown Disney
If you’ve been to Disneyland, then chances are you’ve passed by Uva Bar, the outdoor bar located right in the middle of Downtown Disney. But if you’re like my husband and I, you’ve probably only gazed at it longingly as you rushed past on your way to the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, your kids urging you to walk a little faster with their cries of, “Must get FastPasses” and “Why do old people move so slow.” You resolve to come back later and relax with a tall cool one, but know deep inside that your diet for the next few hours will consist of chicken fingers, Cokes and giant turkey legs. Read More...

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What's On Your French Fry?
I don’t like ketchup on my french fries. There, I said it.
I realize this puts me in the minority. What kind of deviant doesn’t like their fries served up with a generous helping of the all-American condiment? Sure I get some weird stares and lots of pointing and name-calling (and that’s just from my family), but I prefer my fries completely naked so I can savor the crunchy, salty taste without the sweetness of the ketchup distracting me. Besides, tomato-y condiments are best saved for things like deviled eggs. Cue more pointing and name-calling. Read More...

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Real Deal! Real Steel Giveaway

Have you seen Dreamworks' Real Steel yet, the new movie starring the beautiful Hugh Jackman and an equally stunning robot? I have to admit, I'm a little partial because my husband worked on the ad campaign and had been raving about it for awhile. So I knew it was going to be good and apparently everyone else agrees – it just opened and is already number one, taking in $27.3 million this past weekend. Man, that's a lot of change in Hugh's wallet – I wonder how much the robot made?  

Click here to see a clip and enter the giveaway!

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Think Different

 "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

This is my Halloween pumpkin from two years ago. I only did this design because I couldn't figure out how to carve an iPhone.

It seemed like posting it now would be a timely, fitting tribute to Steve Jobs. I'm thinking this year I'll try carving Steve at the podium as he delivered that infamous Stanford commencement address. That might be a little tricky.

Like many, I was surprised at how sad I am over Steve Jobs' death. At first I felt silly – he's just the head of a company, after all. But then I started thinking about how the things that he created were so much a part of my life every single day and have been for the last twenty years or so, starting with my first Mac Classic that was hooked up to my black and white LaserWriter. Yes, I'm that old.

I've never used a computer other than a Mac since then, and it makes me sad to think that the man behind all of the genius that is Apple is no longer here. The company will go on, of course, but without the spark and creativity and passion that encouraged all of us to Think Different.

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

RIP Steve Jobs. You are already deeply missed.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

On her way

Last night Kira played a 45-minute gig out on the patio of a local Italian restaurant. I should add that she booked the gig herself, made all the arrangements with the manager and performed from a playlist of songs that she learned entirely on her own. Not a small feat for a 15-year-old. As you can tell the girl doesn't wait around for things to happen - the day she was born is a little fuzzy to me now, but I think I remember her sending out an ETA bulletin and a breast milk order ahead of her arrival.
 Her playlist.

She did allow Rigel to carry in a microphone and an amp and set them up, but beyond that she didn't really want us involved. I don't even think she was too keen on having us in the audience, but I begged and pleaded because I heard they serve a killer penne arrabiata there and besides - who leaves their fifteen-year-old in the company of a bunch of strangers at a show? I've heard Miley Cyrus' downward spiral started when her parents left her alone at one of her arena gigs armed with only a cell phone and a tour bus, so I wasn't taking any chances.

Anyone who knows Kira is aware that she has a singular vision in mind for her future, one that she's had as long as I can remember - to carve out a career as a musician. In fact, when Rigel once asked her if she had a Plan B in case the whole music thing didn't pan out she replied, "No, because having a 'Plan B' means you don't have any faith in your 'Plan A.'" And while we try and urge caution and practically - really, what can you say to drive and determination that is that fierce? Decide what we're going to wear to opening night at Madison Square Garden, that's what.

Here's a short video of awful quality of one of her songs last night. As I mentioned, she didn't exactly want us front and center waving a lighter like we usually do, so I had to sit off to the side and in the back, which just happened to be right under the air conditioning unit. Also, this was the only video I shot that didn't have the screams of a gaggle of out-of-control boys at the yogurt shop next door. Just appreciate it in the same way you would some early footage shot backstage at CBGB's. Minus the drugs and hookers.

But in spite of the noise, the dirty dishes being cleared, the hum of conversation and the traffic speeding by in the background, I have to say - she sounds perfect to me.

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