Happy Pawlidays!

From me and my pets to you and yours...


A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener...

Thoreau may have waxed poetic about the rain, but personally, I find it annoying and inconvenient. I have acclimated to the normally sunny Southern California weather and am having trouble dealing with our current deluge. I don't know how folks living in the Pacific Northwest do it. I'm not sure I'd survive.

It's true that the rain does make the grass greener. In fact, it produces grass in our back yard, which spends a good part of the year being brown and dusty.


This photo of our sweet Cosette was taken in November of 2006, before the rainy season. Notice the "yard" behind her (and Rusty and Little Guy!) Pretty desolate.

I took this photo yesterday during a brief break in the rain after convincing Little Guy to take a potty break. I imagine that once this rain is done, we'll have twice as much green back there as we do right now. Luckily, I cut it a few days ago as it was growing pretty well from some other recent rain. The dogs and I will be thrilled when the storms are gone though, just as Cosette always was. Damn, I miss her.


Ho Ho Honey

For many years we've taken Rusty with us to the Toluca Lake Holiday Open House, which happens the first weekend of December. All of the businesses along Riverside Drive stay open and many offer treats and warm beverages. There's a tree lighting, bagpipers, Santa Claus and more. Many of the restaurants give out delicious samples and you can always count on Trader Joe's to share some pfeffernüsse.

We typically dress Rusty up in his Santa outfit. This year, we decided to bring Honey along and found an old sweater and holiday scarf of Little Guy's for her to wear. She kind of had a Mrs. Claus vibe going. They were quite popular and were photographed quite a bit. I didn't bring my camera, so wanted to capture the cuteness when we got home before going in and removing the costumes.

Honey's First Holiday Festival

The results were less than stellar and the one above is about the best one I got. As is par for the course, I had a hard time capturing Honey in a moment of stillness. Below is how most of the photos turned out. Rusty, posing like a good little dog, and Honey, a blur of constant motion!

The Spaz in Action

Honey was superbly behaved during our outing. We weren't sure how she would do as the festival is always very crowded. She handled herself quite well and didn't bark even one time. (That's a feat, people). I thought for sure that she'd flip over the Great Dane we ran into or maybe even the bagpipes. She wasn't thrilled with very loud drums, but just hurried up her pace a little instead of freaking out.

This funny little dog might be a spaz, but she is also quite loveable. Honey definitely knows she is part of our family and genuinely seems to be happy. She was ecstatic when I recently returned home from vacation, which pleased me to no end.

Hopefully, we'll be able to trust her one of these days to not eat any random item she encounters, such as socks, hair elastics, flash drives...


A little bit like less-sickly butterscotch...

Okay, so spending so much time with so many family members that I haven't seen in ages (or even met, as with my nephews!) is still the highlight of my Thanksgiving vacation. However, my trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando today comes in a close second! A very close second...

Frozen Butterbeer

I'll probably have more to say about the experience, but in the meantime you can check out more photos here.


Lovely, Love My Family

There have been many highlights to my Thanksgiving trip, but seeing my nieces for the first time in ages & meeting my twin nephews for the first time may top the list.*

thanksgiving 073
Ariel, Dillon, Lucas and Coral

The highlight for my mother was not only have her four grandchildren all together, but having her four children together for the first time in ~14 years.

Brothers & Sisters
Kyle, Scott, Dianna and Jodi

*This may change after tomorrow.


Growing Old is Mandatory; Growing Up is Optional...

Last weekend, I turned old. I'm okay with it, for the most part, and honestly don't feel much different than I did in my youth a mere week ago. So, the gray hairs and wrinkles suddenly seem far more prominent, but I think I was just in denial about all of that before.

I had quite a fun, yet somewhat low-key, Birthday Weekend, which was just about perfect. After acting my age and taking a couple of naps on the actual date, I blew out my left ear at a rock 'n roll concert. Older, yes. Wiser? Obviously not. But did I have a blast? Oh yeah and I'd do it again! Few things thrill me as much as seeing favorite bands and musicians live.

Jody Porter
Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne)

The weekend continued with a day of seeing several good friends. I hung out with some at a friend's toddler's birthday party and others who joined me for a nice dinner. It was great to catch up and laugh---even at my own expense when my dinner turned into a roast for a bit.

Piglet at the L.A. County Fair
Everything wrapped up with a trip out to the closing day of the L.A. County Fair, an annual favorite. I had 3 objectives, which were 1) Eat chocolate covered bacon, 2) See baby farm animals, and 3) Enjoy OK Go in concert. All were achieved and I was happy. Old, but happy.

OK Go performing "What To Do?" on handbells. 
Photo shot off back of screen from my vantage point backstage.  

(Here's a video of this from a different show, in case you're curious. It's unique and worth checking out. This was where I first saw them perform this at USC in November 2009)


My Dogs Rule

Did you know that more than 4 million dogs wind up homeless each year? To help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs, Pedigree created The Pedigree® Adoption Drive.

For this post & every other one posted by 12am ET tonight, Pedigree® will donate a bag of food to nationwide shelters. It’s simple: Write a post, help a dog.

My own dogs were all once homeless. It will be 10 years next month since Little Guy joined our family. We found him at the East Valley Shelter in Los Angeles. He was sick and a mess, but cleaned up pretty well. We don't know his history--he was found wondering the mean streets, but didn't seem to have been treated very well. I think he's glad we took him in. 

14/52: Little Guy
Little Guy

We rescued both Rusty and Honey from groups who had gotten them out of shelters. Rusty was a day away from euthanasia and Honey was abandoned while pregnant, as the rescuers were surprised to find a new litter of pups when they pulled her from her cage. Rusty had another home before us and was a "terrible dog," per that owner. Anyone who has met Rusty, a registered Therapy Dog, will tell you that he is the opposite. He has been a welcome addition to our family for the past 9+ years. 

The Spaz & The Teddy Bear
Honey & Rusty in Cambria, CA

Honey is the newest member of our pack and has lived with us for almost 5 months. She is a complete spaz and completely lovable. Mischievous yes, but a quick learner too. 


Sun Setting On Summer

Sunset over the Pacific
Cambria, CA


Summer Days, Driftin' Away

The summer, no the year, has really flown by. I was a little shocked to see that it's been nearly two months since I've even posted here. July was a exceptionally busy month and I think I'm still recovering a bit. Lately, I feel a little like my dog Honey. We say that she has two speeds. Either she's super active, jumping here to there, basically being a complete spaz, or she plops over on her side and takes a nap. Yep, that's what I've been doing. Work, work, work, play, play, play, and then nap. And maybe take another nap. What?

The main event in July, as it has been for oh-so-many years now, was San Diego Comic-Con, of course. Enjoy some of my photos while I get back to being busy, busy, busy. Or napping.

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability--Sam Keen


A Smart Move

I'm really enjoying the L.A. Film Festival's move from Westwood to Downtown Los Angeles for 2010. It seems to be running smoothly and I've been able to use the free shuttles to travel between venues. And how awesome is it to see this view when you come out of a screening at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live? I think it was a wise move. I hope it stays there.


We Got No Reason I Can See To Hold Back Tonight

Check out this awesome new video. It was creatively filmed in Echo Park, which many Angelenos probably recognize. Look for a flock of birds in the background, across the lake, around 2:46. Those are the pigeons E and I helped wrangle with lots of bread. We then scared them to fly off on cue. They're easier to see in HD. Also, look for a goose that appears often alongside the band. He wanted to be the fifth member. Pretty fun stuff!

Feel free to leave a comment on my Facebook post for the video (there's a contest).


It's Getting Better All The Time

Our fourth year at Maker Faire (Bay Area) has come and gone and I have to say that it was the best one yet. There were even more makers on hand exhibiting their talents, as well as an impressive number of how-to activities available to attendees. It was a whirlwind few days full of friends, whimsy, discovery, absurdity, laughter, learning, and lot of fun.

ArcAttack's Tesla Coils and "The Imperial March"

E's 3-DIY exhibit has grown along with the show. He started out showing off some of his homebrew displays and rigs on his own and then expanded to sharing a small area in a large hall with a couple of friends on either side. This year, he was asked by the Maker Faire producers to curate an entire room of 3-D goodness, which came to be known as the 3-D Village. The dimly lit room contained Do-It-Yourself 3-D Cameras and Displays, 3D Phantogram Imagery, 3D Virtual Reality for the iPhone, Hologlyphics, [I am a Bird], as well as other live 3-D projection, demos, and imagery by at least three other artists. We were swamped the entire weekend. Fortunately, we finally managed to get some friends to come up, help out, and join in the fun.

Even with the extra hands on deck, we seemed to get away even less, perhaps because of the high traffic. I did steal away though to watch the ArcAttack group perform a few times (see video above) and managed to take a stroll with some droids. I also finally got over to the EepyBird Coke Zero and Mentos show, which was tons of fun! One of the guys visited our table and was super nice.

At the end of Sunday, a few of us got to shoot OK Go's supremely absurd (which I mean in a very good way) partially submerged performance in 3-D. Hopefully, some of that footage will be publically available soon. The video above shows "rehearsal" and some of the show.

If you didn't make it to this Maker Faire, hope to see you at one in the not-so-distant future!


In The Merry Month Of May

I know I should update my calendar on the right side there. May has been an amazingly fun and busy, sleepless month though, so I sort of hate to remove things. I'm working on a post that should go up this weekend and perhaps I will update by then. June looks so sad with only one event. I know there are other things I haven't added yet and some that will added along the way.

Ben Folds Marquee


Welcome Home, Honey!

I'd like to introduce the newest addition to our family. Meet Honey. She's as sweet as her name. More of her story, how we met her, and photos to come soon.

Hi! I'm Honey


Original Post Redacted

I told Ren in person most of what I was going to say here, so I don't really need to write it down. Basically, I also listen to podcasts in my car. But not really podcasts, more like NPR shows I download when I miss them over the weekend. Between that & my four songs, I', yeah.

The original post did contain one of the most ridiculous sentences I've ever written:
I had another nerdgasm this week when Peter Sagal tweeted back at me for the second time!


I Love Pop Music, Sprinkle Sugar Through It, Philosophy That You Can Dance To

Right now I'm obsessed with four particular songs that don't really have too much in common. One of them kind of makes sense, but the others don't. None of them are current, but they are indeed on an iPod playlist, which repeats multiple times a day (for now) whenever I'm in the car. It's one of those "On The Go" playlists, which I just figured out how to make. Now I don't remember how to do it though and have accidentally added multiple copies of another song I don't want on the list.
  • "Do What You Want" by OK Go (2006)-a great rock song to wake me up in the morning. Not surprisingly, there are several videos for this one tune.
  • "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service (2003)-thank you Ren for introducing me to these guys oh so many years ago. Most new bands I discover are through Ren. I'm still not sure how to find these things out when radio sucks and I don't have the chance to listen to music on the internet very often.
  • "Miss America" by David Byrne (1997)-upbeat song with cynical lyrics. You can dance to it.
I do have a few more playlists. One is Hippie Music, which has 70 songs from people like Mamas & The Papas, Procol Harum, and Electric Prunes. I made this from some compilation cds we have of songs from the 60's. It was the pre-show entertainment for a drive-in E was doing recently.

I made a couple of other playlists, on purpose. I'll share, just because I want to.

L.A. Songs: I made this for research when I was working on a few posts for an L.A. Metblogs series on songs about our city. The ones I ended up profiling have a link.
  • "Ventura Highway" by America (1972)-while this is a great driving song, I decided it wasn't necessarily about L.A.
  • "Electrolite" by R.E.M. (1997)
  • "Can't Take This Town" by Colin Hay (1992)
  • "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty (1989)-this is a pre-L.A. song for me. I still think it's fun when this comes on and I'm driving on Ventura Boulevard.
  • "Valley Girl" by Frank and Moon Unit Zappa (1982)
If you want to see what I've included on Upbeat Fun, read on after the jump.


Country Veterinary Clinic, This Is Pam...*

I was searching through some older posts to link in one I'm currently writing and a few titles of unpublished drafts caught my eye. I'm not even sure what most of these were going to be.
  • 7-I *think* this was possibly going to be a post about Duran Duran, back in '06.
  • re'iojoijlk;m-Um, I have no idea. Either I was briefly fluent in another language or I fell asleep while typing. The second is far more feasible.
  • I like my mangatar thankyouverymuch-The bizarre thing about this one is that I wrote a couple of paragraphs, but of completely unrelated things. Guess that's why it's still a draft.
  • Twilight Poll-WHAT. I'm not sure why or what. There is no poll there and really, I don't want to know anyone's anything about sparkly vampires.
...and my favorite:
  • Guinea Pigs, Hobbits, and Jason Ho-Again, I have no idea. I like guinea pigs, hobbits, and Jason Ho, but I'm not sure how they are connected!
*Yep, this was one too. Assuming some The Office reference, but again, not really sure.


I Bore Myself In Broad Daylight

I've started a few posts here that I just can't get through. Maybe because they are so boring. They all seem to be about music, but nothing interesting about music...I Like Live Music or These Are The Songs Currently in Heavy Rotation On My iPod. Ugh...BOR.ING. I have this itch to write something, but I don't know WHAT I want to say.

See, even this is boring. I don't blame you if you've nodded off or clicked away and not even made it this far. If you have, in lieu of coming up with my own topic, feel free to suggest something in the comments. You can ask a question or recommend a subject. Yes, I'm using you for inspiration.


Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

I love L.A., which is no big surprise if you know me. I've lived here far longer than any other place in my life and in spite of all family being really far away, it feels like home. I'm a little too sun tired to expound on my affection for the city right now. I guess I was thinking about it earlier today when spending a few hours in the glorious weather by the lake in Echo Park.

Echo Park Lake* looking toward Downtown Los Angeles

I never thought I could add "pigeon wrangler" to my resumé, but apparently I can. This morning, I was part of a team tasked with luring in as many pigeons and seagulls as we could. We had them surround us as much as possible and then when told to do so, we spooked them so they flew off in a glorious spectacle. The things you'll do to help out some friends shooting a music video!

It's just been one of those weekends that makes my feel lucky to live in such an amazing city.

*I almost fell in the lake when taking this photo with my cell phone. I have it on good authority that if you go into this body of water, you instantly get TB, so thank goodness I didn't.


These Little Piggies

I had no idea, but apparently March is Adopt-A-Rescued-Guinea-Pig Month! I never thought I'd have guinea pigs, but I love them. My two cavy cuties below were rescued.

Pepper & Pickle
Pepper and Pickle


Welcome To The Jungle

Sorry Mom, but this post is not about Guns N' Roses.

Upon further observation and research, it seems this is an Annual Sowthistle, not a mutant dandelion. Darn.

This time of the year that we actually have some growth in our back yard. The rainy season. It's pretty brown the rest of the time because not only am I lazy, but I don't feel like wasting the water it would need to flourish. What ends up growing is just a little bit of grass and lots of weeds like clover and dandelions. The guinea pigs don't complain as they love clover and dandelion leaves.

Rainy Season "Lawn"

So now that we've we've had some rain, a good portion of the back yard is fairly green. Yes, it is still mostly weeds, but it looks pretty. The dandelions have gone NUTS and are taking over!

Dandelions After The Rains

What really caught my attention and inspired me to grab the camera was what I will henceforth call The Biggest Dandelion Ever. I spotted what looked like a baby tree pushing up through the ground. I looked closer and recognized the yellow flower blooming on top and the distinctive leaves. The thickness of the stalk and height of the plant was impressive, so in order to get some perspective, I made Rusty sit by it. He has a good sit-stay, but was nonplussed and kind of annoyed.

Rusty & Biggest Dandelion Ever

Seriously, have you ever seen a dandelion that big?


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

"I'm hungry."

"Me too."

"What do you want to eat?"

"I don't know. What do you want?"

"I don't know."

I know a lot of my friends are good citizens and plan their evening meals for the week, have fully stocked kitchens, and actually cook most nights. I may even aspire to that someday. For the time being, even when we do prepare dinner at home, the above conversation frequently occurs.

"Well, is there a particular cuisine you want?"


"Okay, is their anything you DON'T want to eat?"

"Yeah, no [insert cuisine here] for me tonight."

"Oh! I have an idea. I could really go for [such-and-such]"

There might be a facial expression here, such as a wrinkled nose.

"No, I don't really feel like having that. I think I could go for [whatumacallit]"

Okay, great! We're narrowed it down to something specific that at least one of us Indecisives wants. So, the naming of possibilities starts. It can range from going to a favorite one-of-a-kind eateries to finding a chain restaurant to making a run to the market for ingredients.

This very thing happened last weekend. It was decided from the start that we were going to eat out. We went through the back-and-forth and, after some negotiating, settled on a particular direction. There were basically two choices, as in "I can go for this or that." The this and that were somewhat related, which helped. We started to rattle off places and agreed on seven different restaurants. Ugh. It was hard enough to come to that point, so how would we decide? Light bulb!

A spreadsheet. I sat down and starting making a spreadsheet. I listed the seven establishments and made several columns. I first marked whether the restaurant severed This, That, or Both. I followed that up with price range, estimated wait time, and proximity to home. To narrow it down further, we had to look at other important attributes. Those included cleanliness of the restrooms, attractiveness of the wait staff, the presence of a fairly close place to pick up an L.A. Weekly, the selection of salad dressings, and whether or not they have root beer, of course.*

The list is real, aside from one item which only one of us wanted. Honestly, we could have added many more factors, but were getting really hungry, and finally made a choice. For what it's worth, we both ended up being very happy with the chosen locale and had some delicious food.

So tell me. What you would put on your spreadsheet?

*I suppose it goes without saying that we aren't foodies and don't really do "fine dining."


To See Or Not To See

In all seriousness, whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not in a few hours doesn't have much meaning to us here in Southern California. It's not like he's predicting the next STORMWATCH (that's what we call it when it rains here, even a little). But, since I have an affinity for rodents, I couldn't let a "holiday" in which one is the central figure go by unmentioned.

Happy Groundhog Day!


Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

I'm not kidding. January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I love squirrels, in spite of the fact that they dug up most of the plants I tried growing last year. They are one of my favorite photography subjects and are quite entertaining. My dogs, especially Little Guy, do not think so highly of the critters. They have a pretty adversarial, and noisy, relationship.

Yummy Peanut

I stumbled upon something pretty cool called Project Squirrel. Basically, you can observe squirrels in your neighborhood, at work, in the park, wherever and then fill out some simple data in an online survey. I figure that since I tend to watch the critters in my yard quite frequently, I might as well participate. Who's with me? You too can become a Citizen Scientist!


A Heart Full Of Love

We met her on New Year's Day in 1993 and she chose us as her new family. She was a playful, mischievous and smart as a whip. She grew and learned a lot in those first two years and then traveled by car with us on a move from the East Coast to the West Coast. We stopped along the way and held her up to look out over the Grand Canyon, which didn't really seem to impress her.

Puppy Girl

We all adjusted to life in L.A. quite quickly. While there were no windows in our apartment low enough for her to look out of, there were no thunderstorms either, which was a very good thing. Soon enough, we were able to get a yard for her, complete with her own door already in place. There was also a window right by the love seat that had a perfect view.
In a few years time, the family grew, not once but twice. The first time was a huge adjustment for someone who had been queen of the castle for seven years. It went a little more smoothly the second time and in the end, it all worked out just fine. The group of us had lots of good times outdoors in the back yard, on the hiking trails, at the beach, and up in the mountains. Parties and celebrations were often inclusive and were lots of fun. She loved to scavenge for crumbs.

Tired Dogs
Little Guy, Rusty, & Cosette resting after a hike to
Rainbow Falls near Mammoth, CA
July 2002

For the most part, she had a very healthy life. Five years ago, we had a big scare when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a major surgery. She surprised us by recovering quite well. Other illnesses along the way could never keep her down for long. She was too feisty.

<span class=

We were thrilled when she made it to 17! What an accomplishment! We didn't take a single day for granted and hugged and loved her as much as we could. She loved Christmas and even though she wasn't feeling very well this last one, she joined us when we opened presents. Our last days with her were difficult and sad, but we got to spend a lot of time with her and really say goodbye. We were fortunate to have that very special time. It was quite beautiful in many ways.

Little Guy & Cosette
Little Guy and Cosette
Christmas 2009

There are so many stories and so many photos (lots to still be scanned) that we have from Cosette's long 17 years of life. I wish I could share all of them. We are so lucky that we were able to love her for so long. We have so many great memories to help fill the holes left in our hearts.

Cosette, our forever Puppy Girl


We're Talking Major Pizza Attack Here, Dudes!

This is one of my favorite people in the entire world. He loves dogs and Duran Duran, so how could we not get along? I'm not sure when exactly this photo was taken, but it was around 20 years ago.

It blows my mind that my brother Scott turned 27 years old today. What? How did that happen? I chatted with him on the phone earlier and we quoted the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (or "Turtles 1" as we call it) and laughed. He had a great birthday and I miss him like crazy.


Sometime soon I plan to write a proper tribute, but wanted to let those of you who might not know that our sweet Cosette is no longer with us. We were lucky to have her in our family for 17 years.


Blog Template by