Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 5 o' 2007

As 2007 comes to an end, let's take a look at five my most popular posts of the year as measured by the amount of comments left.

#5 - Che cosa รจ sulla televisione? 30 comments - This post was about my TiVo love affair and my upcoming trip to Italy. Blogging lesson learned: I need to watch more TV and get out of the country more often!

#4 - Tasting, tasting, 1...2...3 30 comments - This was our big, amazing meal at a swanky LA restaurant. Blogging lesson learned: I need to go to more fancy restaurants.

#3 - Boo ya! 38 comments - Homemade sweets + fun costumes = lots of comments. Blogging lesson learned: I need to get back in the kitchen, stat!

#2 - Come out, come out, whereever you are 49 comments - I asked my lurkers to come out of their blogging closets and wow, did the doors swing open or what?!? Woo hoo! Blogging lesson learned: Although I may not know everyone who reads my site, I'm happy to know you're there.

and the #1 post of 2007 with an astounding 51 comments...

Hair apparent -Who knew a haircut would cause such an overwhelming response? Blogging lesson learned: Get my hair done more often. Heh.

"Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads--they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." - Grace, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Theater geek

I've spent a lot of time at the movies the past few days.

Friday night we tried to see Charlie Wilson's War with Josh and Jami but we just missed the show because we were too mesmerized by our crab dinner. We decided on The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Although it had me in tears, which isn't hard to do, I would not recommend seeing it in the theater or renting it, for that matter. Maybe watch it when it's on cable and you need some noise in the background while you're sorting out your jewelry box or organizing your nail polishes. The premise is interesting, but you may get distracted by the poor green screen effects. Also, if you've seen the trailer, you've basically seen the movie. Seriously.

Last night Brent and I joined my brother-in-law Tyler to see There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. I can't remember another movie that Brent was so excited to see. He's a huge Daniel Day-Lewis fan, especially when it's Daniel Day-Lewis in a period piece as that's what he seems to do best.

It's the epic story of a California oil tycoon (Lewis) set in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long but did not feel that long. The score was amazing and haunting, which is no big surprise as it's from Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. And Daniel Day Lewis was bad ass. I didn't know much about the film before last night, but when Brent told me over dinner that it was from Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer/director of Punch-Drunk Love, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, etc., that was plenty of incentive for me.

There Will Be Blood is in very limited release right now and only playing at one theater in LA -- the Arclight. For those of you not from So. Cal, the Arclight is THE place to see films. They charge $14 a ticket, but there are no ads before the film and it's all assigned seating. A theater employee comes out before the film, welcomes you to the Arclight, reminds you to turn off your phone and not to text during the film (ugh - why the hell do people do text during a movie? WHY???)

Surprisingly last night was the first time Brent and I had been to the Arclight. It's on the other side of LA and we're within plenty of great theaters so we hadn't a need to go there previously. It's a very modern theater with a hipster gift shop and cafe, but I personally wouldn't rush there to see another film, especially since we have a similar theater much closer to us now. (Even if we did spot a celeb at Arclight - Ed McMahon.)

And I had a problem with the seats. Every time someone within three people on either side of me would adjust their position in the seat, my seat would shake. I thought it was the person behind me tapping their foot on my seat back, but when I mentioned it Brent he figured out what was going on.

Today I joined Tori and Angie for brunch and then a showing of P.S. I Love You. A few things to note - yes, I knew that it had a 20 out of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which means that cumulative reviews give it poor marks. There Will Be Blood has 89%, in comparison. But you know what? It stars Gerard Butler (yum!), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny, with an accent!!!) and Harry Connick Jr. (a hot crooner whom I've loved FOREVER? yes please!) -- that's the trifecta of hotness for me. The only way they could have been better is if they were covered in peanut butter and jelly. I can see the sequel now - P.S. I Love PB&J.

The movie was a tad cheesy as expected, but I thought it was overall endearing. I cried a lot, as did Angie. (Tori warned us that her heart is made of ice and I didn't see her reach for a tissue, so...)

And when I got home, I told Brent that if he ever dies of a brain tumor then he better send me a series of letters with life lessons. His response? "A letter with 'up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.'"

Nerd love forever!

"I love you so much I'm going to take you behind the middle school and get you pregnant." - Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spice it up

Last night Brent and I joined Josh and Jami for an exciting dinner at Ondal 2, a Korean restaurant. The place is known for its spicy crab soup. Yes, I ate spicy food. We ordered the mildly spicy version so as not to kill me yet allow the others to enjoy the spicy crabby soupy goodness. It was definitely at the threshold of my spice tolerance. Anything hotter would have been too much.

The meal started with a scallion pancake that we ordered along with a set of various delicious sides to accompany the crab:
All the tasty sides

We also ordered a larger-than-expected seafood pancake dish. Quite yummy.
Seafood pancake

Then they brought out the giant crab dish to sit atop a burner in the middle of our table:
Spicy crab soup
They went through a whole process to prepare the crab at our table for us, which involved scooping the crab meat out of the large shells, mixing it with white rice and some bean sprouts then serving it to each of us in one of the shells. They'd come back to our table throughout the course to pour more juice from the soup onto our individual shells.

After we had our fill of the crab soup, they came back and placed some pasta dough that they tore into pieces tableside into the remaining soup. When we were done eating that, they packed up the soup for us to take home, cleaned the pan and then prepared some fried rice in it. (Sorry- no pics of the pasta or rice.)

In addition to the yummy treats above, we ordered some blackberry wine. And it came with a free miniature bottle to take home! We also got to wear a stylish cloth bib/apron to protect our clothing from crab splatters.

All in all, we really enjoyed the experience and I'd recommend it to all seafood lovers. It's a cultural and culinary experience you won't soon forget.

"A guy goes to a five-dollar … lady of the night. And … he gets crabs. So the next day, he goes back to complain. And the woman says, 'Hey, it was only five dollars. What did you expect, lobster?'" - Michael, The Office

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lock me up and throw away the key

You ever have one of those days when you lock your keys in your car?

And you happen to have just grabbed your wallet so along with your keys your car is holding your cell phone hostage?

Then you run out of change for the pay phone as you're trying to remember your husband's Blackberry number because his standard cell phone is dead?

Then you call your husband's Blackberry only to get his voicemail?

Then you realize that you could call AAA if only you could find your damn AAA card?

Then you use one of your credit cards to call 411 to get the number for AAA?

And after you get the AAA number, which you're trying to not forget because you don't have a pen to write it down, you run into the nearby pharmacy to get more change for the payphone while hoping that some super quick car thief won't see the keys in your car's ignition, bust in and steal your car?

Then it turns out that the 800-number is free so you didn't need the change after all?

Then you call AAA, tell them you don't have your card so they look up your account and tell you that it's lapsed, even though you could have sworn that you renewed it like you always do?

But then they transfer you to "new accounts" so you can hurry up, sign up again and get some help sent out to you?

Then "new accounts" tells you that they can't sign you up again because you have an active account already?

Then while waiting for the AAA truck to arrive, you try not to look suspicious hanging out by your own car? And then realize that you happen to be especially sloppy today in baggy pants and hoodie and hope that you don't get mistaken for one of the many vagrants in the neighborhood?

And you have to dodge two cars that almost take you out when backing out of their parking spots?

And then you hope that it doesn't get much colder outside before the AAA guy arrives?

Then he arrives, opens your car for you, asks you why you don't have your AAA card and that AAA is going to bill you for a new account?

Then you get home and realize you have an awful headache from the madness?

No? Oh, okay. Maybe that's just me.

Tracy: I'm just going through the classic stages of grief: fear, denial, horniness, wisdom, sleepiness and now depression.
Kenneth: What about anger?
Tracy: No! I don't wanna do anger and you can't make me!
- 30 Rock

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweet Sweeney

I have to confess something. Before tonight my only knowledge of the musical Sweeney Todd was the scene from Jersey Girl where Ben Affleck's daughter performs part of it in her elementary school play. I know! And I call myself a fan of musicals! Pish posh!

Tonight Brent and I braved the frigid December wind -- seriously, really chilly by So. Cal standards -- to see Tim Burton's version of Sweeney Todd. I love the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations, although I was a bit hesitant about how well Johnny Depp would be able to sing. But he was quite good! His vocal pitch and singing style reminded me of the guy who played Jude in Across the Universe, which I enjoyed.

Sweeney Todd was engaging albeit really gory! Thankfully all the blood was more of a matte red than glossy, so it didn't gross me out too bad. The cast was great, but Brent and I both noticed that there was some serious groupthink going on when Sacha Baron Cohen's character appeared on screen because, after all, "it's BORAT! He's going to be hilarious! We should all start laughing even though he hasn't done or said anything funny in this film!"

Despite that audience blip, we both liked the film. I dug the soundtrack. The scenery was dark and brooding. The movie didn't end the way I expected, and that always makes a story more interesting.

"A film is -- or should be -- more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings." - Stanley Kubrick

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ho, ho, ho!

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a lovely, safe and memorable holiday!

Santa brought me the Rock Band video game I asked for, along with gift certificates for Ticketmaster. Brent was thoroughly impressed with my drumming skills. Surprisingly my percussion skills aren't overly rusty after not really playing for the past nine years or so. (I used to play vibraphones, xylophone, marimba and other percussion instruments. I even won some awards.)

Brent and I spent Christmas in Visalia (three hours north of Los Angeles) with my family. I hung out with my nephew, who is as adorable as ever at 2 1/2 years old. Unfortunately I started to feel achy with flu symptoms. I sucked it up and had lunch with Stacie, and her husband Scott, who were in town from Texas. I hadn't seen her in months and I wasn't going to let anything stop me from seeing her. We met for a late afternoon lunch, although I did feel bad for not being my 100% perky self. I'm sure she understood, though.

I came back to my mom's and napped off and on for three hours, then willed myself out of bed to go to my mom's boyfriend's family's house for a delicious Filipino dinner. Sadly I had no appetite so I only had a few bites. I was only half-surprised after dinner when his family fired up the karaoke machine. It was sweet and a little painful to hear/watch them bust out their off-key renditions of stuff like Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and a bunch of Filipino love songs I've never heard before.

After we drove back to my mom's through some scarily thick fog, I medicated myself and woke up feeling 90% better this morning. Phew.

We visited my grandpa before we left Visalia. I hadn't seen him in far too long, so it was quite nice to see him.

Tomorrow I'm back to work while Brent has the week off. Thankfully it's a short week. I'm taking next week off for a "staycation."

"I don't need much, just a kitchen, a bedroom, and a place for my karaoke machine. If I'm not singing, I'm not living." - Kevin, Just Shoot Me

Saturday, December 22, 2007

That's a wrap

I was so ahead of the game when I had about 90% of my holiday shopping done by the end of November. Unfortunately I slacked in the wrapping and shipping department, so I spent about 3 1/2 hours wrapping, sorting, labeling and packaging gifts this afternoon.

I'm surprised I even have the energy to post right now. Sadly, my recipients won't get their gifts until after Christmas. I'm lame dash o.

"It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms... and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me..." - Buddy, The Elf

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I get PAID to watch this kind of stuff

Too hilarious. Must share with you all.

"You know what you can't outsource, Fareed? You can't outsource balls. America is the world leader in balls." - Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happiest post on Earth

First, thank you, Emily, for delurking as my Chilean fan! I feel much, much better now that the mystery is solved! And while I'm at it, thanks to Tiffany for sending me some awesome holiday music after I commented that I hadn't heard about the Gavin Degraw holiday songs she mentioned recently.

Man, oh man, have I been busy these past few days. Check it out.

Went to a holiday party of an interactive agency I work with regularly. It was at a quirky little art gallery in Culver City. Met some fun people, including my co-worker's friend who was basically an alternate contestant for this season's Beauty & The Geek. He would have been one of those guys who would have easily been de-geeked with a mini-makeover.

Met Jolene and Kay for an early -- 8 a.m.! -- breakfast at Urth Cafe. Jolene is a huge fan of bread pudding and had heard that Urth regularly runs out of it on the weekend, hence our early arrival. By the time we left, there was a line out of the door. It goes without saying, but those two gals are great and I enjoyed spending time with them. And the bread pudding was sublime!

bread pudding

And I didn't mind getting up early because it was a nice way to jump start the rest of my plans that day. I met justJENN and her beautiful family at the 3rd Street Promenade to stroll through the Farmer's Market, give her boys their Christmas presents (I love those little guys!) and lunch at a brand new outdoor cafe right outside the Apple Store (can't remember the name of it, but the food was good despite the really slow service).

I also did a bit of holiday shopping for myself. I picked up my gift that will technically be from my mom. We're at a point now where my brother and I just tell my mom what we want and she'll just pay us back after we buy it. It's much easier for all involved that way. This year I asked for an iPod Shuffle because, lord help me, I am going to become a regular runner. I know the gym is going to be NUTS after Jan. 1 with all the peeps and their short-lived-but-long-enough-to-muck-up-my-gym-experience resolutions to get in shape, so I'd like to avoid it as much as possible. I bought a (Product) Red special edition Shuffle in red. It's so cute and light compared to my video iPod.

Saturday evening I prepared a super sweet and yummy punch and some Broken Glass Jello, both recipes courtesy of justJENN. Our oven is sadly still broken, so these no-baking recipes were perfect for the Sunday potluck.

Attended the SFAM potluck at Wan's gorgeous home! Lazy Nanette says to read WeeMo's extensive photo-filled recap here. I received a very lovely necklace/earrings set and Hello Kitty band-aids -- being clumsy never looked so cute! -- from Christy, my Secret Santa. I also walked away with a kick-ass white elephant gift from Winnie - a ninja key cap!
As the SFAM resident ninja, it was a given that I'd be swiping that as soon as it was my turn.

After the brunch, Brent and I headed down to Anaheim. We stayed the night at the Marriot just a few blocks from Disneyland after I got a great deal via Orbitz. The hotel was great and I'd definitely stay there again.

That evening we ventured to Downtown Disney and had a dinner that was much better than expected at Naples Restaurant. Brent had the gnocchi while I had the pumpkin ravioli. Yum!

We caught a late showing of I Am Legend. Overall, I enjoyed the movie although I did identify an obvious plot hole, while Brent pointed out something else strange about the ending. (If you've seen it, don't spoil it in the comments. You can send me an email if you want to know what I'm referring to.)


So, if hadn't guessed by my Sunday notes, Brent and I spent Monday at Disneyland! The last time we were there was December 2005. And in February 2006, my lovely bestie Shelby gave us two park-hopper gift certificates at my bridal shower. As we spent most of our 2006 vacation time on our honeymoon and a lot of our 2007 vacation time in Italy, we just now got around to finally putting the gift certificates to good use.

We started in California Adventures. We rode some rides and saw the 3D Bug's Life film. We got to wear these nifty bugified glasses.

us as bugs

I loved the bugified posters in the theater lobby, including two parodying two of my favorite films.
Beauty & The Bees Barefoot in the Bark

After the film we headed over to the Tower of Terror. I knew it was scary, especially since it caused Jodi to inflict bodily harm to her hubby, but I still had no idea it would be as terrifying as it was! But in a good way! We screamed, then screamed, then screamed some more!

Then we headed over to the main park and had a fabulous time spending the rest of the day and evening there. It wasn't too packed so the longest wait we had was for the park's newest ride, Finding Nemo (which sadly replaces the beloved submarine ride). The wait for that was about 45 minutes. The ride itself has been updated with some storylines related to the movie and some impressive underwater animation.

We rode the rest of our favorite rides -- Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Matter Horn, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan, A Small World, Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. And ate our favorite Disney foods -- beignets, fritters, chowder and gumbo in bread bowls, churros, etc.

We saw the 9 p.m. Fantasmic show, followed by stunning fireworks, then took our tired selves home. The day was so much fun and we really appreciated Shelby's generous gift. Thanks, Shelb!

Monica: [about the erogenous zones] Now, most guys will hit uh, 1-2-3 and then go to 7 and set up camp.
Chandler: That-that's bad?
Rachel: Well, if you go to Disneyland, you don't spend the whole day on the Matterhorn.
Chandler: Well, you might if it were anything like 7.
- Friends

Friday, December 14, 2007

I will crush you!

Jen pointed out that today is Reveal Your Blog Crush Day. The timing is perfect because I know that a certain someone has a blog crush on ME. How do I know that? Well, for the past week that certain someone from Santiago, Chile has been spending an hour or more a day reading through the archives of my blog from the very beginning. Last I checked they were on May 2007. (Thanks, Site Meter. You never fail me.)

My initial responses to seeing those stats were 1) I hope they're not splogging my stuff in an attempt to try to pass it off as their own, which I've seen happen to other bloggers and regularly with my company's site and 2) I hope they're not doing bad things to or with my photos. The last thing I need to see is my face plastered on some Chilean porn site.

Brent's guess is that maybe I'm a microcelebrity, although I doubt I have any microfans who have started a Yahoo group about me. But I'm willing to bet it's something closer to his theory than mine.

I'm humbled that someone finds me interesting enough to spend hours and hours over a short period of time to read about my lil' ol' life. They've read quite a chunk of my archived 3 1/2 years. (Wow! It's been that long, huh?) So, dear Chilean blog reader, please feel free to delurk and make yourself known. Kthxbye.

But back to the big celebration of blog crushes! My blog crushes (I'm celebrating two today) won't be that much of a surprise because they know I'm a regular reader/commenter and they regularly read/comment on my site, but I'll happily take the opportunity to gush over them.

The first is Mrs. Twink at My So-Called Wedded Life! I think she found me while planning her own marvelous wedding. We are similar in so many ways, not just because we happen to both be mixed children of Asian/White couples. She's got such spunk in her writing and I bet she'd be a riot to hang out with!

The second is A Mental Fracture, who happens to be a close friend of Mrs. Twink! I found him while egosurfing to see who was linking to this site. He is... well, he's virtually indescribable. He's smart and witty and hilarious. I always laugh out loud when I read his entries.

Alright, your turn! Who are you blog crushing on?

"The flowers were lovely, thank you. No, you hang up first. Okay, on the count of three. One, two, three. No, I didn't hang up either." - Jack (on the phone with love interest), 30 Rock

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate

You ever go to someone's house and come back to your own with the intense desire to redecorate and throw fabulous parties of your own? Well, go to a party at Kay's and I guarantee you will!

Tonight Brent and I had the honor of attending Kay's holiday shindig and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun! Her husband and friends were so sweet and welcoming. Their house was filled with a ton of cute holiday touches, not to mention their overall decor. So. Freakin. Cute.

And the food? Well, Kay is the ultimate foodie. She appreciates a good meal. So it's no surprise that she is great in her own kitchen. I mean, she made the most amazing pureed potatoes (which I accidentally dropped one of my dangly earrings in - OOPS!), short ribs (most tender I've EVER had), mac 'n cheese bites and more! Her hubby even got into the act and made delicious cookies! Aaaaaah! Can you stand it?!?

I also had the chance to hang out with Jolene, who is an absolute doll. She cracked my hottie hubby up with our discussions about blogging and how much she knew about him and how little he knew about her. On the way home Brent said that Kay and Jolene were exactly the kinds of girls I'm usually friends with. They're both sweethearts and and lots of fun.

The shindig also helped me decide what I'm asking Santa for Christmas. I've been going back and forth between wanting Rock Band, a video game that basically blends Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero (both of which I have and love) with a really fun drum feature thrown in. Kay and her husband have Rock Band, which their guests enjoyed playing. I had an opportunity to play it for the first time and I was sold after one song. It's something Brent and I will have a blast playing together. Thanks in advance, Santa! And thanks, Kay, for throwing a kickass par-tay!

P.S. I didn't take pictures because I forgot my camera, but Kay takes amazing pictures, which I'm sure she'll post soon.

"He was already dead, and we Schrutes use every part of the goose. The meat has a delicious smoky rich flavor. Plus, you can use the molten goose grease and save it in the refrigerator, thus saving you a trip to the store for a can of expensive goose grease." - Dwight, The Office

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blog it like it's hot

Last night I attended Brent's office holiday party. He works for a network, which is owned by a parent company that owns other networks so it was one grand combined party. And when I say "grand," I mean "GRAND."

There were more than 2,000 people there. They rented out part of a movie studio lot, which they tented. The decor was massive, including numerous lounge areas and giant lighting.
Decor More people

In addition, the party featured a casino area and carnival games, like Whack-a-Mole.

It was also great to get to know some of Brent's co-workers. Hi Kelly!
Me, Brent, Kelly

There were random "celebs" roaming the party, so I spent some of the night asking Brent, "Wait. Why does that guy look familiar? Where do I know him from?" Turns out they are on some of the crappy reality shows I watch.

The best celeb, though, was Snoop Dogg, who walked right past us to occupy a portion of the elevated lounge area. I didn't snap a close-up picture, but I did get this one on the way out. (He's the really tall figure on the left. Click the photo to enlarge.)

But I think Brent was more excited when we left and saw this display in the lobby of the studio building where we parked. It's a proton pack from Ghostbusters, one of his all-time favorite movies.
Proton pack

"Half of what rappers say doesn't make any sense. Like that Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre song. What does 'still hittin them corners and those ho hos, girl' mean?" - J.D., Scrubs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O brother

Recently my brother appeared in my hometown's newspaper as part of a "man on the street" feature where average citizens answer the question of the week. The question was, "If you could talk to someone in the afterlife, who would it be and what would you say?" His response? "My dad. And I'd ask him if he were proud of me and my family."

When my mom relayed the story to me, I was surprised by his thoughtful answer. I was expecting something more along the lines of, "Andre the Giant, DUDE!" And if you knew my brother, you'd be right there with me.

I've blogged about my issues with my brother. In addition to being overall polar opposites, I harbor a lot of resentment and anger about how he dealt with my father's illness and death. And as strange and hypocritical as it sounds, I've been upset by the amount of anger he has always seemed to carry. It's taken me a while to realize that the men in my family tend to feel like the world is out to get them and that they are always "wronged." The women in our family tend to have more of a laid-back attitude about life, looking on the positive side. At least that's how I'd like to think we are, not to say that we don't have our own set of issues.

Recently, however, I've decided to put aside as much of my negative feelings about my brother as I can. I think becoming a daddy has made him realize how important family really is. Even though we didn't see each other at Thanksgiving (holidays regularly go by without a call or card to each other), he called to see how my holiday was. When the big LA fires hit, he called to tell me that he was hoping to be asked to assist with the fires. (He's a fire fighter near our hometown.) He is always excited to let me spend time with my nephew. Overall, he's making a greater effort to reach out and connect.

So today, my brother's 28th birthday, let me tell you all that I'm touched by his recent efforts and I'm going to try to stop being so annoyed with him. I may not always agree with his parenting style or other choices in his life, but I'm going to try to be a positive influence on my nephew -- and my brother, when at all possible. Someday it'll just be my brother and I, and I don't want to try to rebuild a relationship when it's too late.

Us in 1980. I was 3 1/2. He was 1.
Little Nanette and Christopher

"A brother is a friend given by Nature." - Jean Baptiste Legouve

Sunday, December 09, 2007

There's things you need to hear so turn off your tears and listen

If I could choose only three concerts from the past to see over and over again for the rest of my life, it would be:

- Jamie Cullum at the Wiltern last year
- Maroon 5 with openers Gavin Degraw and Marc Broussard in 2003
- Last night's John Mayer show

I don't know where to begin to tell you how marvelous last night's show was. It was truly out of this world and I'm beyond excited to have experienced it. South African Ballerina Jen and I saw the show at the new Nokia LA Live theater, next to the Staples Center in Downtown LA. It's a relatively tiny venue (7,100 seats) and I was surprised that our loge seats were as close as they were, despite my John Mayer fan club ticket frustrations.

The show started with an acoustic performance by John. He joked that it was an honor to open for himself. He played Neon, Stop This Train and LA Song (In Your Atmosphere), then was joined by a guitarist named Robbie for Daughters and then David Ryan Harris for a cover of Tom Petty's Free Falling.

After a brief intermission, he came out to perform with his trio. There was a collective gasp in the audience when he turned around and we saw he was wearing a suit and tie!

John Mayer trio

With his blues trio he played Everyday I Have the Blues, Wait Til Tomorrow, Who Did You Think I Was, Come When I Call, Good Love is On the Way, Out of My Mind, Vultures (sooooo sexy) and Bold As Love. I've appreciated blues since I heard my dad play the bass in various blues bands when I was growing up, but last night was a reminder that I need to invest more in that genre.

After another brief intermission, he came out to the end the show with his entire band (two other guitarists, keyboardist, drummer, trumpet and sax). They played Waiting on the World to Change, No Such Thing, Bigger Than My Body, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Why Georgia, The Heart of Life, I Don't Need No Doctor and Gravity. His encore was I Don't Trust Myself, Belief and I'm Gonna Find Another You.

I sat/stood throughout the entire show in awe. It was three hours that I'm sure I'll tell my kids about someday. And lucky for me the show will be released on DVD so I can relive it over and over again.

The rest of my weekend was fairly low key. Brent and I kept running into the same set of three girls. They came into a sushi restaurant shortly after us. Then we saw them at a bookstore about a mile away after dinner. And the next morning they were at the table next to us at breakfast. God is running out of extras in our lives, apparently.

This morning we tried out a new place called JuJu Cereal Bar. It's a little restaurant nestled in Westwood, featuring an extensive menu with nearly 50 different kinds of cereals. You can mix cereals with various toppings (fresh and dried fruits, nuts, sweets, "dollops and drizzles"), as well as seven different choices of milks. For $5.75 you mix two cereals, choose three toppings and milk. You can also choose nonfat yogurt instead of milk, if you prefer.

I had the Eggo Waffles and Golden Grahams cereals, topped with bananas, raisins and a drizzle of condensed milk. I opted for the nonfat plain milk.

My cereal

Brent had granola and Eggo Waffles cereal, topped with strawberries, raspberries and pecans, also with nonfat plain milk.
Brent's cereal

The combinations turned out delicious. The employees were quite nice. And they brought out our bowls with little carafes of milk. Very cute.

I'm sure there are plenty of you who are thinking that a restaurant like that sounds silly, but for cereal lovers like me, it's a fun experience. When I heard about the first cereal speciality restaurant that opened back east somewhere a few years ago, I was so jealous nothing like that existed nearby. But now LA has one of our very own.

I'd definitely go to JuJu again, although I wouldn't travel out of my way to get there. Not necessarily a destination restaurant, but I'd recommend it if you are in the area.

After breakfast we saw Juno, an indie comedy about a snarky high school junior who gets pregnant. It features a great cast (including the always lovable Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner and a quick appearance by Rainn Wilson), funny and witty dialogue and a warming storyline. Brent and I both enjoyed it. Check out the trailer if you haven't already.

"Oh I'll never know what makes this man with all the love that his heart can stand." - Gravity, John Mayer

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Work trip highlights

I'm still tired from my trip, so my trip recap will take the form of bullets tonight.

- Yes, as some of you guessed, it was at the La Quinta Resort. Ah-freakin-mazing!
- We each had huge rooms with huge balconies, huge bathrooms and lovely fireplaces.
- I have a ginormous, comfy and plush bed at home, but the resort's bed was phenomenal.
- I worked out three of the four days in the resort's gym on high-tech machines with personal televisions.
- I ate fairly sensible meals, given my options, and managed to come back a pound lighter. That happened at the other big work event I attended when I first started with the company. I'd like to make that a tradition.
- I met everyone I wanted to meet, especially authors I've been working with virtually for nearly two years.
- At Monday night's dinner, they hired a big cover band for entertainment. One of the singers was Deanna, a finalist from Rock Star:INXS.
- Tuesday night they shuttled all the event attendees to a bowling alley they rented out. I bowled a pretty good game (115-ish). And then I played some arcade Dance Dance Revolution with a co-worker while wearing my high-heeled boots. I thankfully did not break my ankle and did ok, if I do say so myself.
- After returning to LA on Wednesday afternoon, my boss gave us the afternoon off. I spent mine getting a much-needed facial at Dermalogica on Montana. My facial included a mini-massage on my shoulders, neck and arms. I love that place. I need to go more often. (You can see the Yelp review I did the first time I went here.)

"This company has a very strict bros before hos policy." - Jack, 30 Rock

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holy moly

You know what happens when I don't look at my Google Reader for a few days? I'll tell you what happens. More than 600 blog posts to read! I love the blogosphere waaaaaaay too much. You people and your interesting lives. You're the addiction I don't want to recover from.

I'll be heading back to LA in just a bit. These past few days have been amazingly busy but it was a nice time filled with really great people. Not a whole lot of pics because I was working, after all, but I'll fill ya in with the details later.

"We have too many people who live without working, and we have altogether too many who work without living." - Charles R. Brown

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's business time

I'm about to hit the road for a business trip, returning Wednesday. One of the cool things about my company is that they always hold our conferences at very nice resorts. I'm heading to one just outside of Palm Springs.

This is where it's being held:
Believe me, it's mostly work and very little play, but working in surroundings like the above sure beats working in my cube. This trip is especially exciting because my entire team will be there (we usually send just a couple of the editors), plus I get to meet so many of my authors and contacts that I work with yet haven't met face to face.

Off I go!

"You know when I’m down to just my socks it's time for business, that’s why they call them business socks." - Business Time, Flight of the Conchords