Friday, July 27, 2012

Office Shelf Reorganization

I'm really feeling my office shelves now, post-major over haul. I removed most of the small toys and other non-essential items that had accumulated over the past few years, and made room for the important things.

You know, things like a plastic lawn flamingo I impulse-bought at Target, New York pennant, cats sign from Borders (RIP), cymbal monkey, lite brite (it works!), nudie glasses, wooden manikin collection, cement puppy, vintage Zero fan, my man's senior picture, letterpress blocks, kitchen gadget robot (I made this!), flying monkey collection, Chuck E. Cheese bank, vintage Like Like bottle and column of liquor (empty, unfortunately) from Caesar's Palace.

Notable books include: an incomplete Golden Book Dictionary collection, American Wood Type, The Wizard of Oz, Practical Lettering, A Guide to Lettering, Salesman of the Century (a Ron Popeil biography), Know Your Poodle, Then Again Maybe I Don't by Judy Blume, and The Cat You Care For.

Want an office just like mine? Buy the American Gentleman print here, the cat print here, the coffee and whale prints here, the hand soap here, similar letterpress blocks here, plush flying monkey here and the Brooklyn and New York snowglobe prints here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

California Trip, Part 2: Delicious Things

Would you hate me if I said that my very favorite thing that I did/saw/ate in California was Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt? Because, that shit is fresh.

You know of my recent and ongoing Menchie's obsession, but I'm kind of glad that we don't have a Pinkberry nearby because then I'd really have a problem. I had my first Pinkberry (original tart with strawberries) in Hollywood, and ate it two more times during the trip (half peach, half original tart in Santa Barbara and back to tart w/strawberries in Santa Monica).

I've since tried at least three other attempts at tart (Menchie's, Sweet Frog and a froyo place at our local mall) that have paled in comparison.

But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the California-based chain had expanded to most other states, including New York City, where I'll be twice (!) in August. I can't wait to be reunited — but they say you never forget your first (or second, or third).

One thing I won't miss from California is In-N-Out Burger. I was as excited as any carnivore could be to try the famed burgers and fries, but they let me down in a big way. Not only was it not a life-changing culinary delight as I had hoped, but my burger was, for lack of better words, not good.

The bun was so hard it may have been a crouton, and everything else was average at best. The thing I remember most fondly about my lunch was the fountain coke, which was everything a fountain beverage should be — cold, refreshing and sweet. But hey, we have those in Ohio too.

In Ohio we also have Swenson's, which by my scientific calculations is about one million times better than the In-N-Out burger I had, and I have to travel approximately 2,999 less miles to get one.

I did appreciate the cozy way they wrapped the burger and I have been told I should regret not ordering it animal-style. I'm willing to give it another chance, but I won't be going out of my way to do so.

On the sausage front, I had a wonderful hot dog from Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom, at the original location on the Venice Beach boardwalk. The staff was friendly and the dog was delicious — even if the spicy mustard did a number on my sinuses. Even the seagulls couldn't wait to get a hold of my scraps, although unfortunately for them I didn't leave any.

None of my other California meals were very memorable, although I can't exactly say that I sought out noteworthy food (we actually ate at an Applebee's, and yes it was just as crappy as it would have been in Ohio).

I did, however, try my first (and second) Doritos taco from Taco Bell, and my life hasn't been the same since. You can take the girl out of Ohio, but you can't take the Ohio out of the girl.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

California Trip, Part 1: Hollywood Things

It's taken me nearly a month to digest my week-long, inaugural trip to California and I saw/ate/did so many things that I thought I'd break these posts into categories: Delicious Things, Pretty Things, Living Things, Signage Things, Things I Watched and today's post, Hollywood Things.

Since I was staying with my friend in Santa Monica, the first place we headed was Hollywood. After spending countless hours in my life reading trashy tabloids, it was sort of bizarre to actually be in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, as with most things you primarily see on TV, Hollywood was a bit disappointing in real life.

It was pretty much all downhill after our first stop at Meryl Streep's star on the Walk of Fame (the only one that matters), but highlights included her hand and footprints in the forecourt of Grauman's, a tour of the Chinese theater, an amazing cranberry breakfast bar at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (the first of many), a tour of the Dolby (formerly Kodak) theater,

and of course some major gawking and nerdy picture taking of the Hollywood sign.

We didn't get very close to the sign, but we drove along Mulholland Drive and stopped at the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, where I managed to take a photo wherein I point in the general direction of where the sign sort of is.

I recommend skipping the tour of the Chinese theater and seeing a movie there instead — I would imagine you get to see the same thing (you know, the theater) in addition to actually seeing a movie, for about the same price.

I do, however, recommend taking the Dolby Theater tour — you get to see a real-deal Oscar statuette and our guide had some great stories to tell about the big night (apparently being a huge celebrity doesn't guarantee that you won't forget your ID and be denied entrance to the event, ahem, Mr. Clooney).

You can't take photos inside the theater because if you do, they will be owned by ABC and then you'll be owned by ABC (or something like that), but they do give you a super cheesy, consolation postcard as you leave, so that's cool.

Lastly, we took the Dearly Departed tour, which I (like everyone else on the planet, or at least on their website) highly recommend. Our tour guide, Brian, really, really loves his job (i.e. telling sordid tales of Hollywood murder/last breath locations) and made the three-plus hour tour fly by. We were also lucky to catch glimpses of off-tour locations such as the Playboy and Spelling mansions, the former homes of Paul Newman, George Burns and the studio where they film Dexter.

I can't say that I was overly impressed by Hollywood (or Beverly Hills or even California in general), but I'm glad that I got to see most of the places I read about so often in my stories (i.e. trashy tabloids). I'm also disappointed that in two days we didn't see one single celebrity, so I may have to go back — maybe next time it'll be for the Oscars?