Wednesday, December 31, 2008
But as I sit here sipping on sugary ice, I'm perusing the wall of names of those who've donated to some cause or another at the Coffee Bean counter...and I've noticed something even more frightening than mall walkers...the names of children these days--well, they're just dreadful. Whether it's made up names like Apple and Sonic, or total mispellings of classics like Jesika, our name bank's gone to shit.
Amongst the atrocities on Coffee Bean's wall this morning...
Loreal (seriously-did you really name her after your store-bought mascara?)
Yummy Yurry (I hope to God this one's a fake)
Come on folks-if we're that concerned about our children's individuality, why not return to old classics like Bertha and Maude? Let's not torture our children any more with names of fruit and fictitious spellings.
Here's to hoping that Bloomingdale's opens its G.D. doors before I get a Sharpie out to start amending these poor kids' stickers.
Monday, December 29, 2008
It seems the economy has reached a new low--one that is forcing people not only to be miserable, but to remain in relationships with individuals even more miserable than themselves in order to save bank.
It's times like these that remind me how lucky I am that I've never had the money to buy property, nor a suitor interested in marrying me. That's right, all you married folks in your million dollar homes that are now only in the upper hundred thousands--boy, oh boy, do I have the upper hand now.
For more information on the economy's impact on divorce, check out today's NY Times article on the housing fall.
For those thinking about getting married this year and buying a little love nest together--it's not, I repeat not--the time to do it. Just say no.
Photo Credit: InsideDivorce.com
Friday, December 26, 2008
In the last week, I have gone to a menorah lighting at Glendale's Americana at Brand, where we listened to Klezmer tunes, ignored the Rabbi's speech, and joined several 4 year olds in crafting Star of Davids [during which time we were asked multiple times by the staff if we 'needed any help,' leading me to believe that they thought we were 'retarded'].
The ceremony was all performed next to a gigantic Christmas tree, proving that though the Jews might run LA, until the Chabad learns to dress up the menorah with thousands of watts of power, Christmas still runs December.
Christmas Eve was enjoyed, in part, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, attempting to watch the annual Holiday Celebration from the 5th story of an immensely steep theatre. While just darling in concept, the 20th choir to go on stage got a little old as I strained to see the tops of their tiny heads from the length of a football field away.
Christmas day was spent driving around looking for things to do in between the showers. Such activities involved a walk up Rodeo Drive [where there was no shortage of European tourists puffing smoke into their children's finely accented faces], a tour of Beverly Hills' government buildings (see City Hall below), and taking the 'scenic route' down Mulholland Drive (an activity which grew treacherous as I attempted to return home along the windy streets of Coldwater Canyon) in pouring rain.
And then what tourist jaunt would be complete without a walk through the Huntington Botanical Gardens of Pasadena. I leave you with a few pictures of our journey across more cacti plants than you could (or should) ever wish to know.
Photo Credits: Jessie B. R.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Today, it's raining. And the dampness is both killing my merriness and frizzing my hair. But the family's in town and so buck up, I will. Just in time to celebrate the birth of Christ the way the Chosen People have for decades--with a few egg rolls, Kung Pao something-or-others and a movie.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a [dry] night.
Kisses, hugs and mistletoe,
Jessie B. R.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
In googling the product, I've not had much luck finding the free tape measure offer [sorry guys--you'll just have to trust that your member is growing], but I did find out a bit more about the creators of this miracle drug.
Apparently, '3 former medical students' discovered the amazing formula. The three fellas below are pictured...
I'd like to point out that nowhere does it say that these images depict the actual creators, does it mention their names, a way to reach them, or does it say that the inventive students ever actaully earned their degree.
Value: The website for Prolixus promises that with use 'you'll see...women are worshipping you and desiring sex from you more often!' If this thing works...priceless. If it doesn't work, but you can find the deal with the free tape measure...4 bucks.
The verdict: My guess--you'll have more luck enlarging your hoo-ha with a pump and some penis pilates. As for 'enhancement,' I'm sure you can find some ways to spice things up that don't involve a 60 day pill regimen.
Photo credit: Prolixus.net
Friday, December 19, 2008
Alternative Apparel, Georgia's comfy, cotton answer to LA's American Apparel, hosted its holiday party at its pop up shop in Hollywood. Lukaas Haas [whom I know I know but can't tell you why] hosted and performed (pictured left)...
OK Go's lovely Tim Nordwind (pictured left) DJ'ed [because no Hollywood party is complete without an actor/bandmember-turned DJ]...
Akasha, Downtown Culver City's organic restauant, catered, providing the key elements to any good party: cupcakes and bubbly.
The Uncompany Collective celebrated the holidays last Sunday by gathering the city's unemployed, laid-off and still employed [but likely not for long] creatives at the Good Magazine space. Nothing makes job unstability more comforting than mimosas, muffins and other folks as unsure of the future as you are.
And then there were the friends' parties. There were the ones that were amazing, the ones that were awkward, and the ones where shoes were not allowed. Thank goodness for holiday slippers (pictured left).
Well, Governor Blagojevich has been given less subtle hints that no one wants him in office anymore...like, say, the FBI's arrival at his home to arrest him, the national media's recent talk of his criminal activity, or, perhaps, his own government cohorts' attempt to impeach him.
Today, however, Blagojevich publicly announced that he had engaged in no criminal activity, would not resign and promised “I will fight, I will fight, I will fight.” Typically, I've found, political fighting is best done on behalf of a general public, someone who cares. Who, exactly, does Blagojevich think he's fighting for, or with?
Seriously, Rod...seriously!...get the hint. Get off the dodgeball field. Pick your lunch up and go sit at another table. Resign for goodness sake. It's time to say goodbye.
Photo credit: NY Times
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I didn't realize there were Jews in the South...or anywhere between LA and New York for that matter. But according to this video, not only are there Jews in Texas, but they sing country. While I'm no News 8 broadcaster, it looks as though this particular Jew, Mark Rubin, also enjoys his fair share of potato pancakes.
I'm sure we'll all want to note that this musical moment was brought to us by Don's Grass & Landscaping.
Happy early Hannukah,
Jessie B. Rubin and my fellow Jews of Austin
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Between Hannukah word searches and paper plate Santa crafting last night, I asked the kids what they'd like for Christmas if the sky was the limit, so to speak. One of the younger ones was adamant in his wish for a Gremlin movie (at least I think that is what I deduced that he meant by 'gwomen'). One wished for a scooter. And one--one of the older kids who happens to be exceptionally bright--said very matter-of-factly, that she wanted a house for Christmas.
It's incredibly easy to take advantage of our fortunes. I have my own apartment that is consistently stocked with food and a wardrobe (even if I do shop for groceries at Target now and I'm Ebaying off my designer duds one by one). So, huge thanks to a 10 year old for putting my bitching and moaning in perspective. My wish for Christmas is that those kids get houses too.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Normally, it's nice to see how the better half live. Call it aspirational, if you will. But right about now--as I am forced to return sport bras at Target to get a measly $9.99 back and pass over even the biggest bargain sales--ya know, just in case I get laid off--I'd prefer to see Lindsay and Sam and Cameron Diaz and Nicolas Cage taking it easy for once. Maybe sticking to the pools at their own 5 acre estates, instead of in Dubai. Perhaps asking those corporate sponsors to donate money to relief funds instead of giving them the 30th iPhone they'll receive this year. Or maybe, if all else really fails, just inviting me along so I can let the rest of America know that you really do care about the little people.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Today, the highlighted Vows story discusses Jane Kallir and Gary Cosimini's wedding. It'a a second marriage, which is not uncommon for the Times to feature these days--tales of second chances are the new American dream after all. But today's featured couple has just married each other for the second time. At reading this, I first thought 'but that's unfair. they've had their turn with each other. leave it alone for someone who's not yet had a go. who's still single godammit.' But their story's actually quite touching--it's one about loving each other too soon, and then finding each other again when the time is right. Well, Jane and Gary--you have my blessing. Which is, I'm sure, what you've been waiting for.
Photo credit: NY Times
Saturday, December 13, 2008
A little girl with braids in her hair and a lot of spunk sits next to me and asks me to read to her. She picks up one of the trashy paperbacks between us and I am forced to make up a story rather than read what I'm sure is hot and heavy stuff aloud--I tell her the book's about a little girl and a pumpkin that comes alive out of a book for a day in Los Angeles. The story is bad, but she's engaged. She loves me. She cries when her mother is done with the laundry and it's time to leave and she asks to play with the lady with the boots and the books.
Everyone is eating corn on the cob that's dripping with butter, sold by an old man outside who also sells puffed pork rinds by the bagful. Most of the kids are patient. They sit, they run, they play arcade games. And I watch Will Smith and Bill Pullman fighting aliens in a movie on Fox 11. I don't have cable at home--this is a treat.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Upside of living in Koreatown: Having to wake up at 6:55 am to move your car and seeing the sun break through the clouds. (Yes, waking up at 6:55 am can also be moved to the downside list.)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Loral Langemeier was being 'interviewed' on the air about her wealth-building philosophies--essentially that each of us can be rich--a millionaire, she'd say. And it's by capitalizing on things you're already doing. Let's say you're always watching the neighbors' kids...start a day care business. Perhaps you just love to knit...start ebaying those scarves in your closet (just because your family thinks they're awful doesn't mean someone in Alaska won't need one come winter). Or maybe you're already sleeping around town like a wild rabbit...well, get paid for those hours honey!
Since I already have hobbies--I like to write, I like taking walks, I like cleaning my sock drawer--I figured one of these interests might be sellable. Why not start a business of separating out my tall socks from the short ones?
I arrived home tonight with a reminder of this car ride--the call I hurriedly made and the conversation I had with a gentleman who asked what my financial goals were, tried to sell me a 'free' series of books and cds, and gladly took my VISA number. My book and CD (free, but for $9.99 shipping and tax) had arrived!
It was only now that I thought to do a little research on Loral. I've learned that her company, Live Out Loud, doesn't take too kindly to cancellations and isn't that keen on refunds. One woman calls her 'a crook.' Another warns that she'll 'sleep with your husband.' Well, luckily I'm not married. And I don't have much to steal. But needless to say, I might have looked into this before I provided my home address and banking info to her cronies on the phone.
In the event that I am evicted next week due to overdue payments I didn't realize I'd owe to the 'Loral Langemeier Knows I'm an Idiot and Will Buy Anything' Foundation, I'm going to get to reading my free 'Millionaire Maker' book tonight and listening to the free CD as soon as possible.
Here's to a richer tomorrow,
Your friend [the sucker] Jessie B. R.
I'm not saying I'm proud. I'm just saying I, a full grown adult, hid under the table tonight.
Image - Matthew Feyld (and FYI-Matthew Feyld is an amazing artist I discovered while working with the Carmichael Gallery. Check him out.)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm officially a Web 2.0 addict. In the last week I have joined Twitter, FriendFeed, and now I am blogging from my car. In traffic. On the freeway.
Yours (forever or until the next big thing is out),
p.s.-Can't get enough of me? Find me on myspace, facebook, twitter, friendfeed. And 'follow' me here at www.jessiebr.blogspot.com.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
My friend and I visited there last week, despite their reputation for a month long wait for reservations. Apparently the recession has hit Batali's business as well, as we waited only 20 minutes for a table. Each of us ordered the Pomodoro Gnocchi. Let me translate this for those of you who might visit as well: child's size portion. Now, I understand that nicer restaurants focus on the quality and presentation of their food over heaping portions. But in economic times like these, I prefer the increased portion sizes of chain outlets like Pizza Hut--currently touting their Panormous pie, the 'BIGGEST pan pizza ever' to servings that should come with a microscope. Lesson learned, I'll take processed cheese over fresh burrata until my 401 k comes back to life.
Speaking of eating on a budget, I recently read about Nobu West Hollywood's 'Recovery Menu.' Though I'm not a seafood eater, I thought I'd share what sounds like a decent deal with you.
Score Nobu staples inlcuding rock shrimp tempura and the miso cod at a [relatively] decent price (most items are under 10 bucks), along with [relatively] reduced-price cocktails.
As for me, I'll be sticking with rice and beans for the next month or so. May I recommend my favorite: Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice. It may not be 5 star, but it's less than 5 dollars.
Monday, December 08, 2008
The headless mannequins (pictured left).
The more 'mature' ladies in the shoe department shopping for inappropriately high heels. Parading around in mini skirts and asking their friends, 'do these look alright on me?' Well no, deary, they don't! Perhaps we'd all be better off if you'd visit the orthopedic shoe store on level one and ask your tailor to add 10 inches back to that skirt.
The couples who hold hands on the escalators making it impossible to pass by.
And the countless employees in the department stores asking if I'd like to 'try the best cologne in the world.' No, I've already stocked up on my Jessica Simpson scent for 2009, thank you.
But during the holidays, the place becomes--simply put--unbearable. I entered the Beverly Center yesterday to find this picture of holiday unholiness (pictured left) outside of Macy's. That's right. One of Santa's stilettoed sluts wearing next to nothing chatting up little children. Imagine--this little boy will grow up to think it's ok to sit in a nearly naked lady's lap and ask her for 'presents.' Would you let your child talk with this lady? (If the answer is yes, it's probably best not to tell me.)
Worst of all, a young lady had a baby chihuahua on the floor of the crowded mall. A. You are not supposed to have young puppies out and about. B. If something's smaller than a purse and not attached to a body, I may just step on it. C. She let it pee on the floor! Seriously!? Just because it's cute, doesn't mean I want to step in it's urine while I'm on my way to Bloomingdale's.
Looking for a more tolerable shopping experience this holiday season? I suggest taking the trip to the Brentwood Country Mart. It's quaint, it's outdoors and it smells like the Amish Country. And rich people. And most impressively, it's got Los Angeles' only City Bakery, serving the best hot chocolate there is.
Best of luck on your shopping experiences this December.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Downtown...Where the folks are broke.
Downtown...Where your life's a joke.
Downtown...When you buy your token,
you go...Home to skid row.
And here in Los Angeles, downtown still fits this description better than the downtown area of any other city I've visited.
Efforts to revitalize the area, made by neighborhood councils, development companies, and local businesses include frequent events meant to make downtown's new and desirable residents feel like there is indeed a community there--that they are not alone in their expensive lofts. That despite the remaining missions and shopping cart communities, the lack of schools or health facilities, the absence of all but one supermarket, they live in a vibrant, artistic, thriving neighborhood. On weekends like this past one, you almost believe they hype.
In honor of 'Repeal Day'--this year the 75th marker since the end of prohibition--Dewar's celebrated all around Downtown, a neighborhood where the brand has really made its mark. We attended the private party held by Dewar's at Seven Grand, Downtown nightlife empasario, Sed Moses' whisky bar. Complimentary hats, boas, whisky (courtesy of Dewar's), food (courtesy of Casey's Irish Pub), music (courtesy of DJ Daisy O and Foreign Born and others), and comedy was served.
Fun fact: Whisky can apparently be spelled 2 ways. I always assumed it was spelled with an 'e,' as in whiskey. On Friday, I noticed that all of Dewar's collateral spells it without the 'e,' as in whisky. In an effort to be open-minded, I've begun spelling it the latter way.
Not so fun fact: Apparently Irish food consists of very little vegetarian fare, as I discovered on Friday night when even the vegetables were wrapped in meat. Hence, my leaving early, before the fun was finished.
Last night, we travelled downtown again for the Old Bank District's holiday block party. Hosted by Gilmore Associates, the development company that essentially owns the entire district and Little Radio, the downtown music and party staple, the evening was a coming together of the restaurants, arts community and musical curators of the area. A light installation, pictured left added a festive feel to the streets.
Take a look closer and notice the parking restrictions that make having a car in Downtown such a pleasure. I guess this would be the optimum moment to plug the DASH. But seeing as I've never rode public transportation in LA, that would make me feel like a big, fat liar.
We popped into Bar 107, where I discovered for the first time, the incredibly kitschy and fun back room, complete with a van door-framed bar.
We stopped into one of the local gallery spaces where a cigarette-girl type accompanied one of the pieces. She was selling $10 chocolate bars, promising that one of the bars contained a 'golden ticket' that would win me the entire installation. The installation was comprised of a grafitied wall, cardboard boxes and, well, her. Ah, downtown arts.
Leaving the well-lit streets of the Old Bank District we headed further East into the less-developed Industrial District where architecture students and hobos still reign supreme. On a little block of 3rd Street, a few businesses have popped up, adding a glimmer of commercialism and tasty eats to an otherwise bleak area.
Upon leaving our darling friend Jackie's birthday party at Blue Dahlia Cafe, we encountered a homeless man pissing on the corner of a parked Prius. This is the downtown LA's known for years. This is the downtown LA that is being hidden behind street fests and sushi restaurants. Hey, if I were a bum that had been bussed here only to have a luxury loft condo built on my block a decade later...I might piss on your hybrid too.
Photo credits: Doo-wop girls - Little Shop of Horrors, Photos 2, 3, 4, 5 - Jessie B. R.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
So, we drive for what seems like a good eternity through snow, sleet, and rain...oh, shit...wrong story...so we travel for like 25 minutes, past the area I so fondly refer to as 'Little Mexico,' past Silverlake (another area some of you may fancy for it's overwhelming 3 breakfast spots) , and into Eagle Rock. The Rock (if I lived here this is surely what I would call this neighborhood) is still relatively undeveloped compared to its neighboring hipster meccas, save the All Star Lanes, where I believe that you might really be able to contract diptheria through a drink at the bar, and the new Fresh & Easy, which is clearly too fresh, easy and or clean for the residents of The Rock--many of whom look as though they'd rather shop at the modern day, rockabilly cum lumberjack's country mart--for the lot was near empty.
Anyway, we did finally arrive to the restaurant famous for their red velvet cupcakes and bakery case filled with oozing deliciousness.
The food: My breakfast special, the 'Almost-Tuscan Scramble,' was almost-bland as boiled potatoes, but was saved by the side of what I think may have been electrifyingly [and perhaps scarily] green pesto. Be warned, the bottle, so handily labeled 'ketchup' on our table had a kick (maybe chipotle?). Something they may have thought to mention if they were going to go so far as to label their condiments. Ketchup is ketchup damnit. And I would have liked some for my g d eggs.
Also of note, the coffee is 'self-serve'--a situation that could be fairly annoying if your table was far enough away and you are a big-enough coffee drinker.
The service: Once we were finally able to grab a server's attention, the food came out super-quickly. Our waitress was nice enough, though she seemed to hide a special brand of 'specialness' behind her platinum bob and dark, thick-rimmed glasses. The 'specialness' of the staff may account for the customers having to get their own coffee.
The verdict: All in all, I'd give this joint a big So-So and a definite I'd Go Back There Again.*
* Scale of ratings may, and will, change at the blogger's discretion and the relation of Earth to Mars.
Photo Credit: Auntie Em's (Note: the actual food did not look quite as pretty as this pic from their website)
But apparently Bill Cunningham, the 79 year-old New York Times Photographer, is still at it and still spotting style trends on the streets of New York.
Like this week's engaging (albeit slooooow) video segment on boots. Those 2 minutes and 57 seconds may seem like an hour as you listen to Bill talk about fringed and 'ivory,' or 'eggshell' colored Chanel boots as if he's got all the time in the world. But he certainly does know more than many of NY and LA's new 'fashion' editors. So props to Bill. Still out there. On the street.
Image: NY Times
Friday, December 05, 2008
I am sad for my buddies, am shocked that the companies who've let them go don't know their worth, but am even more frightened by an economy so drastically recessed that it's driving businesses to cut out the very assets that make them tick. It must be bad when you cut off your nose to spite your face...or is it the hand that feeds you...you see my point, I'm sure.
So, to cheer myself up, I turned to a little inspiration from Google. I entered rich things into the search bar to see what would pop up in Images--I thought that perhaps I'd find a picture to illustrate the more important 'rich things' in life--perhaps a mother hugging her child? A field of lush growth? You know, the things I can hope to attain if I too lose my job and have only grain rice left to eat.
Instead, amongst images of Hillary Duff in tight jeans and rappers in front of customized SUVs, the only thing to catch my eye was the above grill, bedazzled into the mouth of a male who appears not only to have bad taste but also terribly sparse facial hair.
And this fine specimen to the left. I suppose I can figure out how such a--well, large--item might be considered a 'rich thing.' But I was not nearly curious enough to unearth the picture's context in the article. I'll leave that to you, my reader, to whom I wish the richest things and finest weekends.
xo * Jessie
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Photo Credit - Seb Janiak, c/o The New York Times
And apparently, there are others out there who are in agreement. In time for Christmas, the American Humanist Organization spent $40,000 on an ad campaign stating 'Why believe in God? Just be good, for goodness sake.' Many of are 'good' because the bible threatens us with eternal damnation if we sleep with our sister's husband or eat the banana before we reach the supermarket check-out (not that I've done this. ever.). But being good just because it's the right thing to do, not because we fear a long and hot afterlife--now that is holy.
Trendcentral recently picked up on the theme of questioning God and religion. It's a recurring debate now amongst young (and old) theorists, laymen and spiritualists. And one worth us all engaging in.
Photo Credits: Bus Ad - American Humanist Organization
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
And now in adulthood, I'm realizing that my peers have duped me once again. All four years of protesting commercialism and 'the man' were quickly traded for high-paying jobs and suits in the real world. So, while I've been thinking that 'no, money doesn't matter!,' it's the 'integrity' of what I'm doing that really makes the difference, I've been fiscally surpassed by nearly everyone I graduated with, and probably those who came after me as well.
It seems the only thing to do is to ask the University for reimbursement of funds lost while I was holding on the the supposed ideals of the institution. That and for a refresher course in harsh reality.
Monday, December 01, 2008
On Saturday night, I was suckered in to what seemed like a promising proposition to venture out. Janelle Monae was performing a free show at the grand opening of Dakota Lounge (formerly Temple Bar) in Santa Monica. My lovely friend DJ Lady Sha was throwing the bash and she was fabulous as always. But did I mention that this joint was in Santa Monica? Much as I wanted to enjoy myself, a Santa Monica crowd is a Santa Monica crowd is not for me. (The one exception to this rule being the folks at Bar Chloe, run by one of my fave nightlife ladies Laurie Mulstay.)
We thought we might have better luck at Bardot, where my buddies throw Hi Fi every Saturday night. The music was great, the crowd just fine. But I'd really like to know when waitresses were given permission to start chewing gum in your face and getting your order wrong? Last time I checked shrimp does not constitute vegetarian fare. And short shorts and long legs do not forgive bad service. If I am ever to open a place, I vow to hire college graduates, even if they've got some cellulite and don't have their pout nailed down yet.
Hoping next weekend treats me better. Oh yeah--it will--cause I'll most likely be staying in and watching online TV!
Photo Credits: Janelle Monae - MySpace, Bardot - Metromix LA
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Source: NY Times