Saturday, November 29, 2008

There's Sugar in a Milky Way?

I found this article on my Wired Magazine blog feed. I'm fascinated with this kind of science. It gives us perspective on our own world and sheds lights on new processes, which helps our race.

A sugar molecule linked to the origin of life was discovered in a potentially habitable region of our galaxy.

The molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the less-chaotic outer regions of the Milky Way. This suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.

"This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may exist," Serena Viti of University College London said in a press release.

Previously, glycolaldehyde had only been observed toward the center of the galaxy, where conditions are thought to be too extreme to host habitable planets.

Glycolaldehyde is a key ingredient for life. It helps to build Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is thought to be the central molecule involved in the origin of life on Earth. Glycolaldehyde is a monosaccharide sugar, the basic unit of carbohydrates. It can react with the chemical propenal to form ribose, the building block of RNA.

"The discovery of an organic sugar molecule in a star forming region of space is very exciting and will provide incredibly useful information in our search for alien life,” said Keith Mason, chief executive of the England’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The finding, made with the IRAM radio telescope in France, was announced Tuesday and will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.
-John F. Kennedy

Gobble Gobble

Brooke and I wish you all a wonderful Turkey Day!
eat - drink - watch football - relax
Gobble Gobble!

Million Dollar Baby

While you're lounging around with the family this weekend go rent Million Dollar Baby...Academy Award winning picture + Clint Eastwood + Morgan Freeman (and his ever soothing voice) + Hilary Swank + boxing = perfect combination

Frankie Dunn: What you learn tonight?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Always protect myself.
Frankie Dunn: What's the rule?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Always protect myself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Warren Buffett’s secrets that can work for you

My mom sent me this article from the September 7, 2008 issue of Parade magazine highlighting some of Warren Buffett's financial "secrets." With the current economic status and the upcoming holiday season, I thought some tips from Forbes #1 ranking billionaire might be useful...

1) Reinvest your profits – Don’t spend profit, instead reinvest.
2) Be willing to be different – Don’t base your decisions upon what everyone is saying or doing. To be above average, you need to measure yourself by what he calls the Inner Scorecard- judging yourself by your own standards and not the world’s
3) Never suck your thumb – unnecessary sitting and thinking is called “thumb-sucking” Buffett prides himself on swiftly making up his mind and acting on it
4) Spell out the deal before you start – Your bargaining leverage is always greatest before you being a job – you have something to offer that the other party wants. – nail down the specifics of a deal in advance
5) Watch small expenses- vigilance over every expense can make your profits and your paycheck go much further
6) Limit what you borrow - living on credit cards and loans won’t make you rich- negotiate with creditors to pay what you can and then once debt-free work on saving money that you can invest
7) Be persistent- with tenacity and ingenuity you can win against a more established competitor
8) Know when to quit and walk away form a loss and don’t let anxiety fool you into trying again
9) Asses the risks – asking yourself “and then what?” can help you see all of the possible consequences when you’re struggling to make a decision
10) Know what success really means- “I know people who have a lot of money and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”

photo courtesy of

Gift Ideas - Books

So in the spirit of gearing up for the holidays... our usual Etsy item picks will be replaced with Etsy and non Etsy items that would make great gifts! This week's theme.... books.

Love Letters of Great Men by John C. Kirkland
I bought this item a few weeks ago for myself and love it. Easy to pick up and put down. Complete, actual love letters of great men like Lord Byron, John Keats, Voltaire, Georget down. Washington, Mozart, Beethoven, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Woodrow Wilson, and more. You'll recognize it from the movie version of Sex and the City. Inspiring words form brilliant men and the women they loved.
purchase here from

Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know
Instructions for Life From the Everyday to the Exotic by Lauren Smith
Molly pointed this book out to me a few weeks ago. I purchased it for a friend's birthday but it would make a good gift for a sibling or inquisitive friend. The graphics are great and easy to follow. We love books like this. purchase here from

Vanity Fair: The Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images
Molly and I went to LACMA a few weekends ago to see this exhibit. We both purchased this book.. for gifts of course. Actually I love mine so much I might keep it.. I know I know spirit of giving. But with 300 iconic portraits from Vanity Fair's 95-year history, who could resist? Photographs by Edward Steichen, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, and Annie Leibovitz capture some of the best-know figures from the worlds of art, film, music, sports, business, and politics.
purchase here from

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This decade is almost over…and no one seems to care

Fun post regarding the end of a decade from the blog This is Not Your Voice...

Why aren’t we discussing the end of this decade at all? We have what? 400 days left?

I remember the onset of 1999 was treated as a biblical event—as if Moses himself was coming back with an updated Ten Commandments for application in AOL chat rooms. Sure, it was the end of the century and the millenium, meaning this decade change is pretty boring in comparison. Regardless, where are all the “best of” lists? Where are the restrospectives? I realize this shit has probably is yet to be produced, but when was the last time you heard someone on TV say “[name] is the best artist of this decade?” Shouldn’t we be discussing this? I felt like we talked about the end of the 90s starting in 1997.

Obviously, no one seems to care enough about this decade. The 2000s are totally being dissed, and I’m taking that as a personal insult. I mean, this is the decade of my high school and college years. It’s important to me the way that 80s are overrated to 32-year-olds.

Yet, we don’t even have a name for our decade. Are we really going to be reminiscing about the “two-thousands” the rest of our lives? How lame is that compared to the “SEVENTIES” or “EIGHTIES”? Those nicknames have a ring to it. Ours just reek of an awkward lack of creativity. What’s worse is that the alternatives to “Two-Thousands” are endless. We could have called it the “Naughts” like they did with 1900-1909. (I liked the “Units,” but maybe this was too phallic.) Also, saying “Twenty-O-Two” sounds so futuristic—like something out of Judge Dredd. Way cooler than “Two-Thousand Two.”.............

Click here to read the rest....

Sons of Anarchy

Once Mad Men ended for the season I resorted to my good DVR/On Demand stand bys: True Blood, Californication, the occasional Entourage, and plenty of Jon Stewart and Colbert Report. But the other day I was flipping through the DVR list I noticed I was way behind on my Sons of Anarchy. This was a show my roommate and I were initially very excited about but one thing led to another a.k.a. life and we became sidetracked. So it was a pleasant surprise to find quite a few episodes to catch up on.

And now my obsession has been reignited. With last week’s episode “The Sleep of Babies” I have officially pledged myself a loyal viewer to Sons and anticipate this week’s season finale with much enthusiasm. Now granted I might be in the honeymoon phase of my devotion to the series but I really do believe this one has the potential for a long lasting relationship.

According to an article "Think Hamlet on Harleys" in the October 2008 LA times, Sons has been among the most consistent first-year dramas for the 14-year-old FX network. Thanks to its steady weekly audience of about 5 million viewers, the Wednesday night show was picked up for a second season after just four episodes.

It was the unexploited and darker elements of this renegade subculture that drove (Kurt) Sutter to create "Sons of Anarchy," a drama about a gun-running motorcycle club doling out eye-for-an-eye justice in a small California town. The show's ensemble cast features Hunnam** as a swaggering, if pretty-faced, bad boy; Perlman as his tough-as-nails stepfather; and Katey Sagal as the club's leather-and-lace matriarch -- a woman who won't let anything get in the way of her family, least of all her conscience.

Peel back the leather and silence the loud pipes, and you've got a bunch of guys and their "old ladies" who are just trying to get by and do the right thing.
Here's a clip from last week's episode... the intro and outro of the episode featured an awesome cover of "Forever Young"........

Watch full episodes of Sons for free on and be sure to tune in this Wednesday night to FX. Cheers.

(**a little bit of .......Charlie Hunnam +Woody Allen + Michael Cera + Tom Brokaw+ Stephen Colbert + Charlie Gibson + Clint Eastwood = weak in the knees)

A Stunning Auckland Home

Daring to be different this stunning waterfront masterpiece pushes the envelope of contemporary design.From the incredible entrance with its "wow factor" views to the luxurious fittings this is a home that achieves a perfect balance between stunning architecture, naturally spectacular views and a very livable family home.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Artist Wants Nuke Waste Dump to Make New Universes

By: Brandon Keim

The nuclear waste buried beneath Yucca Mountain will be there for millennia, untouchable and lethal. Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats would put that time and radioactivity to use by turning the dump into a generator of new universes.

His plan is based on the laws of quantum physics, which state that each atomic particle exists in multiple states at once until observation fixes it in time and space. Keats, who recently built a temple of science to explore the implications of science-based religion, takes this literally.

In "Universes Unlimited," an exhibition opening today at the Modernism gallery in San Francisco, Keats unveils a do-it-yourself universe creation kit, on sale for just $20 and made from components bought on eBay — and, as he explains in a half-tongue-in-cheek letter to the Department of Energy, it could easily be scaled up to the dimensions of Yucca Mountain, dotting its 230 square miles with crystal towers glowing in a redemptive fount of creation.

After all, if the pebbles of depleted uranium-enriched glass in his DIY kit produce an estimated 200 universes a minute, the mind boggles at what 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste could generate.

I talked to Keats this week about his latest work...

Continue reading interview here.

Happy Monday Morning

source: Euphoria Magazine

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hacking the Human Life Span

(Following up to yesterday's article)

Four years ago, Stuart Cracraft became a father at age 45. As his twin daughters grow up, he worries that his body and mind might not be able to keep up.
Having recently witnessed his mother's death following a devastating eight-year illness, Cracraft, an IT worker, decided he wanted to try and spare his own daughters such an experience with him.

So he changed his diet, cutting back on sugars and adding plenty of egg protein and fish. He started drinking tea and taking fish-oil supplements and multivitamins. It wasn't exactly a radical regimen, but he was willing to go further.

After three years researching a compound found in red wine called resveratrol, which has been shown to extend life and reduce disease in lab animals, he began taking 50 milligrams a day.
"It seems it's more powerful than all the antioxidants put together," Cracraft says. "You get all that in one pill, and it's too good to pass up."

Hope for a fountain of youth may spring eternal, but these days it is surprisingly active among the ranks of highly educated and even scientifically trained professionals -- despite what experts say is a lack of compelling clinical evidence for any particular treatment.

Inventor and artificial intelligence theorist Ray Kurzweil has promoted life extension for years, and revisited the theme in his latest books, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and The Singularity Is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel recently donated $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation, the longevity research organization created by Aubrey de Grey, a computer programmer who claims that humans could live for 1,000 years.

Another resveratrol devotee and computer programmer who asked to remain anonymous has gone even further and embraced calorie restriction -- another method unproven in humans that's associated with radical life extension.

"Engineers accept that anyone who understands a system also has the power to change it," he says. "A real engineer refuses to accept bugs in any code, whether his own, his tools, his operating system or his own body."

Resveratrol, which has protected lab animals from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, seized the public imagination in November when two prominent studies showed that mice taking the compound lived longer and ran farther than mice not taking it. Still, scientists say it's far from certain that it will extend human life.

Waiting for the compound to be tested in humans, however, is not an option at his age, Cracraft says. He expects it will extend human life by about 30 percent, so waiting 10 years could cost him three. Altogether, Cracraft says, "I could get 10 more years."

Dominique Vocat, a 32-year-old IT worker in Basel, Switzerland, is even more optimistic. He figures resveratrol will add a few extra years to his life -- and in the meantime, scientists will develop serious life extension technologies. Then he might live to 200.

"Computer geeks think technology can fix anything," says Steven Austad, a cellular biologist and longevity researcher at the University of Texas. "People in the research community tend to think of mice as small little furry humans with long tails, but they're not. We don't know what it will do."

Clinical studies on resveratrol's human effects are only now beginning. Scientists warn that people taking the compound are conducting an uncontrolled experiment on themselves -- one that could leave them empty-handed or, even worse, make them sick.

History is littered with people who gamble on unproven treatments with unexpected problems.
"Fen-phen and ephedra are classic examples of substances that people thought were useful, and were administered by physicians before proper clinical evaluation," says S. Jay Olshansky, a University of Illinois epidemiologist and longevity expert. "It's the exact same story with human growth hormone: The science came out, wasn't evaluated, and subsequently we discovered problems."

Fen-phen was a popular diet aid until studies showed it could cause sometimes-fatal heart problems and high blood pressure. Ephedra was a popular stimulant until strokes and sudden deaths caused public alarm. The FDA eventually banned it. Human growth hormone -- used off-label to reduce fat and increase energy -- has been linked to diabetes and nerve pain.
Like other highly educated resveratrol users, Cracraft scans science news and studies, e-mails questions to scientists, and uses forums and bulletin boards to find out what other users have learned. He determined the 50-milligram dose based on tables used by scientists to extrapolate animal doses to humans, and plans on eventually upping the dose to 400 milligrams.
Because the compound appears to have no negative side effects in mice, resveratrol devotees believe it is safe. They also take comfort in that fact that David Sinclair, author of the recent mouse studies, takes the compound himself.

Sinclair, who has also launched a company called Sirtris Pharmaceuticals based on his discoveries, declined to comment for this story. But he has recommended against taking resveratrol before clinical studies are completed.

Resveratrol users feel the risk is justifiable.

"Real technologies to slow aging will come in 30 years or so, but you'll need to be reasonably healthy to take advantage of them," says Vocat. "I'll be 62. If I can do something now to improve my health in 30 years, then I have to do that."

Just as important as longevity is a quality of life during one's autumn years.
Donald Hoffman, Cracraft's best friend and fellow resveratrol user, also wants to age gracefully, sparing his family his own suffering.

The 50-year-old cognitive science professor at the University of California, Irvine, added 50 milligrams of resveratrol daily to a careful diet and regular exercise. Higher doses, he says, leave him easily bruised, but he plans to continue, and doesn't want be deprived of the benefits he might gain waiting for clinical trials.

"I see my parents suffering from diabetes, they're overweight, I see the quality of life they have," he says. "It's not much fun. And they're only 21 years older than me."
But however noble the intentions of resveratrol use, "It's not a matter of being ahead of the curve. It's ahead of the science," says Olshansky. "It's premature to use these interventions. They're not even interventions yet -- they're just initial evidence. And this worries me."

source: Wired

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aging Prevention

New Longevity Drugs Poised to Tackle Diseases of Aging

Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease: All have stubbornly resisted billions of dollars of research conducted by the world's finest minds. But they all may finally be defied by a single new class of drugs, a virtual cure for the diseases of aging.

In labs across the country, researchers are developing several new drugs that target the cellular engines called mitochondria. The first, resveratrol, is already in clinical trials for diabetes. It could be on the market in four years and used off-label as an all-purpose longevity enhancer. Other drugs promise to be more potent and refined. They might even be cheap.

"It's going to revolutionize western medicine," said Doug Wallace, a pioneer of mitochondrial medicine at the University of California at Irvine. "All the things that are common for an aging society, and nobody worried about when they died of infectious disease," he said, could be treated.

If the idea of a cure-all sounds fantastic, that's because it is. History is littered with failed wonder drugs, elixirs of youth and miracle cures. But these new drugs have shown tremendous promise in mice. And though success in animals is far from a guarantee for humans, the research has gone from tantalizing curiosity to a possible foreshadowing of human health care in the 21st century.

As fewer people in the West die of infectious diseases, these new mitochondrial drugs could prevent a wide range of age-related illnesses, though they likely won't extend the lifespans of healthy individuals.

Continue reading here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bob Neuwirth/Dylan

I like Bob Neuwirth- he was Dylan's road manager in the 60s... I can't find a mp3 anywhere of two songs I recently fell in love with.. go download them on iTunes... "Biding Her Time" and "The First Time"

Speaking of Dylan... please go and rent Pennebaker's documentary "Dont Look Back" (sic) if you haven't seen it already. You won't regret it. Allows us to see a young Dylan, arrogant but completely brilliant. Bob Neuwirth, Albert Grossman, Joan Baez* and Donovan are also featured in the film chronicling Dylan's 1965 tour of the UK.
*Interesting dynamics between Dylan and Joan.. at the time of filming their relationship had been off-and-on for nearly two years and the decline of the romantic relationship can be inferred on film

Below are two clips regarding the documentary... the first is the theatrical trailer and the second is a scene I find most memorable.

The power of science ...Part 2

This article highlights some of the most developments in science regarding the aging population. My favorite part... "According to U.S. Census figures, the number of Americans age 65 or over will double by 2030, and two-thirds will need some form of long-term care."

Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue

TUESDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In the not-so-distant future, American seniors may turn to helpful, uncomplaining robots to fill the worrisome "care gap" that many face today.

One of these autonomous devices, called the uBOT-5, is already capable of carrying out simple tasks while it monitors the home environment. The robot can even spot trouble -- such as a person falling down -- and call 911 if necessary.

The freestanding device can also bring a faraway loved one into an aging person's home via video Internet hook-up.

"So, if I'm at work, and it's lunch hour and I want to poke in on Dad, I can get on the Internet and basically 'step inside' the robot," said uBOT-5 co-inventor Rod Grupen, who directs the Laboratory for Perpetual Robotics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. With their face appearing via video on the front of the robot's head, the virtual visitor can converse with their loved one while moving the robot around, doing some cleaning, for example, or retrieving a dropped TV remote.

Any "authorized user" can jump into and guide the robot, Grupen said. "So, if you can't get to your doctor, your doctor can now come to you," he said. In fact, the UMass team hopes that the uBOT-5 will someday be capable of running simple medical tests, such as measuring blood pressure or blood sugar.

And because it's fully mobile, with Segway-like wheels, virtual visits from others should include much of the house, and beyond. "Your granddaughter on the West Coast can get into the robot and visit with you outside in the garden, you can have a two-way conversation with audio/video, hold hands and go show them the flowers you just planted," Grupen said.

There's a huge and growing need for robotic home assistants that might help care for the elderly or disabled and allow them to stay in their homes, Grupen believes. According to U.S. Census figures, the number of Americans age 65 or over will double by 2030, and two-thirds will need some form of long-term care. At the same time, there's a dearth of nurses and home health-care aides to care for them; experts predict a shortage of 800,000 nurses by 2020..... click here to read the rest.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Words To Live By


Last week I posted an article on the iCar. This week I introduce you to the iBangle.

Designer: Gopinath Prasana
What she has to say: It really is! Hear me out. The iBangle is Gopinath Prasana’s vision of a future iPod where the devices have become darn close to becoming jewelry. If you factor in inflation and the cost of Apple products today - might as well call it jewelry because it’ll cost as much. I digress, the iBangle is a thin piece of aluminum (of course) with a multi-touch track pad. To achieve the perfect fit, a cushion inside the ring inflates to keep itself taught against your wrist. Unisex? Maybe.

(via yankodesign)

Latest Song Obsession

Ezra Furman and The Harpoons || "Take off Your Sunglasses"

I heard this song on Indie 103.1 a few weeks back ... it's brilliant.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The power of science ...Part 1

Saw this 60 minutes segment a couple weeks ago....truly amazing. "Brain Power"

Top 50 Albums of 2008

(According to Rough Trade)

1. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Fleet Foxes
3. Vampire Weekend
4. White Denim, Workout Holiday
5. Metronomy, Nights Out
6. El Guincho, Alegranza
7. Benga, Diary of an Afro Warrior
8. Zombie Zombie, A Land of Renegades
9. Vivian Girls
10. Ladyhawke

click here to discover the remaining 40

Man of the Year: Jon Hamm

Brooke and I are madly in love with Mad Men. Even more so, the alluring Don Draper. GQ has just named Jon Hamm Man of the Year. Talented and ever so handsome, Hamm swipes the Breakout title in their 2008 Men of the Year list.
"Hamm unsuited is kind of a frat guy, every inch the rabid sports fan and former high school football star. He says things like “Dude” and “Sweet” and “Dude, sweet!” On his head is a St. Louis Browns cap (facing frontward, thank the Lord). He looks like the kind of guy who is physically compelled to put on shorts the moment the temperature tops fifty-five degrees, a diagnosis he cheerfully confirms. Credit the totemic power of a suit, but he looks a full ten years younger than Don Draper, with about half the weight on his shoulders." Continue reading more here.

Little Joy

Little Joy | "Unattainable" from on Vimeo.

Little Joy is one of my most recent obsessions. I selected "Keep Me in Mind" awhile back as a music pick and since then I have come to love their entire Little Joy album.

On November 3rd, they were Spin magazine's Artist of the Day - Read the article

Little Joy is Binki Shapiro, Rodrigo Amarante and Fabrizio Moretti, three friends who dropped their routine at their respective hometowns to make a record in Los Angeles, California.

Through a chance encounter at a Portuguese festival in Lisbon, where both Amarante (Singer/Guitarist of Los Hermanos) and Moretti (drummer of The Strokes) had performed, the two chatted well through the night and into the morning by the side of the river, humoring the idea of working together on music that had no affiliation to their particular bands.

A year later, Amarante traveled to the United States to record with Devendra Banhart on his Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon album. On the off hours of an arduous recording process, Amarante would meet with Moretti to discuss anything but music.

Binki Shapiro, musician and native of Los Angeles, was introduced to the pair through mutual acquaintances and became a fast friend, encouraging the two to focus on the music they had spoken of long before. Through the process of late night “show-and-tell” the three developed and arranged songs Moretti had begun and soon after started writing original music for the group as a band.

A couple of months later they all moved into a house in Echo Park to demo songs and soon after, with the help of producer Noah Georgeson, who had recorded Banhart’s album, they finished their self-titled debut, Little Joy, named after the cocktail lounge just down the street from their home.
- Little Joy's Myspace page

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Starbucks Makes You Nuts

(via tallmatters)

In preparation for Thanksgiving next week....

Awhile back in September I published a post regarding the nonprofit StoryCorps project and the book Listening is an Act of Love.

Through a recently posted comment it was brought to our attention that the project is launching a new initiative....
StoryCorps is asking the whole country to set aside one hour on Friday, November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving, to record a conversation with a friend or loved one. We're declaring this day the National Day of Listening. We just launched a website ( with more information and tips for a Do-it-Yourself style interview as well as a video walking through an interview. Since so many Americans aren't able to make it to a StoryCorps recording booth, we're making it easier for everyone to share the feelings a personal interview with a loved one can foster.
Check out the web site...
Click on the Part 2 - Participate...... it outlines the 5 easy steps for a do-it-yourself interview.

Tuesday's Music Picks

M's Picks:

An End Has A Start - Editors

Songbird - Bernard Fanning

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tunes in TV

My dream job: to work as a music supervisor/consultant on any television show, movie, or commercial. It's a near impossible field to break into. Chop Shop Music Supervision is a music supervision company that dominates this field. They currently work on shows like Chuck, Mad Men, Greys, Private Practice and the upcoming movie, Twilight (just to name a few).

Integrating music into television shows/movies/commercials is an effective way to introduce mainstream America to any new and relatively unknown band. Music licensing can get quite pricey with the big names like Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Coldplay or Madonna. The job is both creative and logistical. Strategically placed music helps to emphasize storylines, emotion, time period and cultural location.

Brooklynvegan announced some some notable licensing music today:
Desperate Housewives || Tokyo Police Club
Gossip Girls || Kings of Leon
One Tree Hill || Margot and the Nuclear So-So's
90210 || Kanye West & Stereolab
CSI Miami || Bloc Party & Jenny Lewis
NUMB3RS || Cold War Kids
Privileged || CSS
Grey's || The Coral Sea

A new Nissan commercial with Alexi Murdoch's "Breathe" (which I featured on here a few weeks back). Ubisoft Montreal just released Shaun White Snowboarding in North America. The game's soundtrack is a good mix of classic (Bob Dylan, Heart, Blue Öyster Cult, Living Colour, Run DMC, Harry Nilsson) and modern (Modest Mouse, MGMT, The Ting Tings, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) bands.

I LOVE music.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mount Prospect, IL ... best place to raise kids

According to Businessweek's second annual rankings, the Chicago suburb of Mount Prospect is the most affordable place to raise your kids.

BusinessWeek teamed up with OnBoard Informatics, a Manhattan-based provider of real estate analysis, to come up with our list of each state's best affordable towns for raising children. Mount Prospect just squeezed out several other Cook County (Ill.) communities, many of which also ranked high. The most important factors in our analysis were school performance, affordability, and safety. But we also gave weight to cost of living, air quality, job growth, racial diversity, and local parks, ball fields, zoos, recreation centers, museums, and theaters.

We knocked out towns with populations of fewer than 50,000 and median household incomes of less than $40,000 or more than $100,000. And we ended up with a list that included some well-known places such as Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Mich. But we also found some hidden gems such as Euless, Tex., smack in between Dallas and Fort Worth, which according to Sports Illustrated has the nation's top-ranked high school football team, and Murfreesboro, Tenn., a college town outside Nashville. Click here for the full article.

Interesting.... I would like to point out on the map how close Mount Prospect is to my hometown of Palatine. Disregard the green arrow. (See it there on the left, near the edge of the image?) Sigh... oh how I love the northwest suburbs.

if you can't explain it ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I love this new blog....

Le Love

Started early this month, the blog is dedicated to romantic, sweet, lovey dovey, sexy and heart fluttering images. Check it out. I love the one of Johnny Depp and Kate Moss. Here are some samples...Images courtesy of Le Love

From Gym to Apartment

It sounds hard, but the Apartment, an interior design agency, pulled it off. They completely converted a 7,000 square-foot YMCA gym into a beautiful 5 bedroom apartment building. Every aspect of the apartment is stunning, from the vibrant colors to the detailed wallpaper and carpets. This impressive building even has an indoor garden and a 12 person theater.

In converting the oldest YMCA gym, all of the colors were completely revamped, and a lot of restoration occurred, but the building still contains some of the original features. The original girders are still in place, although restored and painted to match the contemporary style. Green rugs and pink furniture are mixed with the unpainted concrete floors. The rooms are a mix of vibrant chairs, covering a wooden floor painted with court lines. The whole building is a perfect collaboration of the original gym, mixed with a new contemporary feel.

The Apartment turned the lower level into apartment space, while they decided to keep the upper levels as a showcase of the agency’s work.



(from spoonfed design)

Ad Campaigns Part 2

Part 2 of a series of ad campaigns I hold near and dear to my heart.... the Clorox television ads.. 1st edition- "Mermaid" and 2nd edition "Pirates." Usually, I stop what I'm doing to turn to the television to watch either of these spots, regardless of how many times I've seen them. Maybe it's the fact that when I was 8 years old, I had these same kinds of fantasies.

Or perhaps it is the songs in each of them that initially ignited my devotion. (Francois-Paul Aiche & H. Scott Salinas - "Mermaid" and "Pirates" respectively - Yes, they are on iTunes and yes, I did go through a phase where I would listen to these two songs on repeat as I did housework)

I do want to note the (personal) connection to music that is evident in both of these first two campaigns (see Part 1- Liberty Mutual). Although music isn't always a component of a campaign I like, it usually does play a significant role in campaigns I find memorable in the long term. Furthermore, I've noticed that in my case this concept can be applied to movies and their corresponding soundtracks. Sigh, the power of music. Cheers.

Top 12 Wines

... concluded by Whole Foods

The best selection of reds, whites and everything in between. Perfect balance of quality and value.

  1. Parducci
    Sustainable White

    From America's first carbon-neutral winery, a perfect appetizer party wine, crisp as a cool day with melon citrus flavors, a dry finish and medium acidity. Loves roasted chicken, baked or breaded mild seafood or Grafton Classic Reserve Cheddar from Vermont.

  2. Cave de Lugny
    Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay

    Great value! An elegant, classic white Burgundy, balancing fruit and zesty acidity. Lemon meringue and a sprinkle of nutmeg complement the season's winter spices, apples, turkey and our cranberry cheddar, as well as other poultry and creamy pasta.

  3. Sanford
    Mount Rey Central Coast Chardonnay

    One of our wine specialists' tasting favorites. Tropical fruit, green apple and cool central coast growing conditions lend pleasant acidity that lifts the creaminess of risotto, seafood dishes and creamy cheeses such as Rond du Cher and our exclusive holiday French brie.

  4. Tarantas
    Brut Cava Made from Organically Grown Grapes

    Best deal in the store—buy it by the case! A fun, easy-drinking, food-friendly Sparkler for celebrating from weekend brunch to New Year's Eve. Apple, spice and a licorice tickle are nice with duck, and just the thing with fried or spicy foods, brie and Truffle Tremor goat cheese.

  5. Nicolas Feuillatte
    Brut Extrem' Champagne

    Very fine bubbles from a top-3 champagne house—and a real value! Crisply fresh with true purity of fruit, delicate toasty wood, spice, citrus and floral. Elevates your celebrations on its own or with seafood, creamy, buttery foods, French brie or Truffle Tremor.

  6. Block No. 45
    Pinot Noir

    A rich, comforting Pinot, full-bodied and balanced with California-grown fruit. Oaky vanilla, dried cherry and a touch of peppery spice work wonders with turkey, salmon and a variety of cheeses, including creamy Amadeus from Austria.

  7. Vinum Cellars
    Reserve Petite Sirah

    Supple, generous and juicy, yet complete with round tannins. We bought it all and a portion of the vintner's profits goes to a local animal shelter. Cuddles up friendly to herbed beef, lamb and earthy, garlicky foods, plus cheeses from well-aged to creamy brie.

  8. Pipon

    From the home of paella and Spanish chorizo, this full-flavored Red is herby, rich and lean. It is ideal with blue cheeses, such as Rogue Anniversary Blue or the classic Stilton; amazing with fig cake; and a wonderful dinner wine with red-sauced pasta, beef or BBQ.

  9. M. Chapoutier Belleruche
    Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge

    A real value from a great wine family also committed to eco-friendly farming. Good structure, dark fruit and a dash of pepper will warm you through the season with red pasta, lamb, beef, smoked fish, earthy vegetarian foods, Stilton and Rogue Anniversary Blue.

  10. Yalumba
    Bush Vine Grenache

    Our tasters adored this richly textured Grenache from 70-year-old vines. Soft with lovely fruit and spice, it is great on its own when you're in a Red mood. Stands up to lamb, duck, game or beef, yet is just as fabulous with creamy pasta or Truffle Tremor cheese.

  11. Simi
    Sonoma County Merlot

    Here's your holiday crowd pleaser from one of the oldest U.S. Merlot makers. Velvety cherry and blackberry with hints of cocoa and clove. A food pleaser, too, with meats, stews, dark or red sauces and flavorful cheeses, from cranberry cheddar and winter blues to brie.

  12. 337
    Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon

    Fortify your winter spirits with this easy-drinking, silky food wine named for its vine clone number. Dark fruit, cedar and cola with hints of its mineral-soil roots. Nice fireside sipper or with steak, roasts, red pasta, Stilton, Rogue Anniversary Blue or French brie.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The iCar ?

A friend of mine sent me this article this afternoon. Quite intriguing idea ...

The discussion of whether Steve Jobs could revitalize the auto industry by working with GM on an iCar (Steve Jobs For President. Of GM?) has been lively. But the bottom line question remains: What should that iCar be?


Let’s leave aside what the root causes of the American auto industry’s failure to move effectively into the present, much less the future, have been. Or whether the Apple culture is the right one to supplant the GM culture.

What is the blow-’em-away i-gotta-have-one design for a premium-priced but affordable iCar that would live up to the instantly game-changing standard of the iPod and the iPhone?

Bob Warfield at SmoothSpan tried to set out some essentials he would expect from a Jobs’ take on the automobile:

–Minimalist and modern.
–Innovative use of materials, from carbon fiber to aluminum and unique combinations of glass and plastics.
–Unique form of propulsion (at least unique to GM)
–Touch panel dashboard
–Heads up navigational display
–Map to nearest gas station that automatically pops up when the gas gauge hits low
–Drop-in slots for iPod or iPhone or other Apples
–RSS reader that speaks to you as you drive
–Audio system that plays back Internet radio stations

Etc. Take a look.

Interestingly, the possibility of a real-life iCar first came up more than a year ago, after Steve Jobs met with Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn. There is also the conceptualization of an iCar (inserted at the top of this post), which looks suspiciously like one of the colorful “see-through” early iMacs, from 1999, on display at The Apple Collection. It comes from a playful faux “Think Different” ad by Chris O’Riley.

So there’s been, one way another, years of thought behind what an Apple-designed iCar would look like and contain.

Now that GM’s on the brink of bankruptcy, though: What are your thoughts?

source: ZD Net

National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth

I subscribed to this podcast awhile back and highly recommend it.. (there's only something like 6 episodes t0tal). The award-winning PBS series, hosted and narrated by Edward Norton, first aired in the spring of 2005, reached 20 million viewers and won fourteen prestigious awards, including Best Series. It specifically focuses on global and freshwater issues. "Climate change… Ecosystem degradation… Clean energy… Poverty… Disease… Strange Days on Planet Earth connects some of the greatest issues of our day." - Strange Days on Planet Earth

Check out this (6 minute!) episode.. "Dirty Secrets"

Gateway to Hollywood

Our friends Carley and Katy were in town last Halloween weekend.... as it was their first time to Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to do all the touristy activities that even some LA residents (me) haven't always done on their own (or since they were 12 years old). So of course it was raining on Saturday, so we took advantage of the dreary weather and headed town to Hollywood and Highland to scope out a cliche movie-star-home-Hollywood-landmark-tour. Our tour guide was legitimately out of her mind and we spent the subsequent two hours laughing and enjoying touristy Los Angeles.. ie. Rodeo, Robertson, Hollywood sign, Mullholland etc. But my favorite landmark Helen pointed out was the "Gateway to Hollywood/Four Ladies" statue located on the corner of La Brea and Hollywood. I have driven by the statue a number of times and I never knew or researched the significance of it. Well.... dear, sweet Helen informed us that the landmark is a tribute to the women of Hollywood.... Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anne Mae Wong, Dolores Del Rio, and at the very top, in her famous skirt lifted post- Marilyn Monroe.

photo courtesy of

For the Men... Alexander West

Alexander West. Do the men know about these custom tailored shirts? Any wives/girlfriends looking for gift ideas?

The founder, a former banker, was perpetually chasing the perfect shirt and after several trips to Madison Avenue boutiques, he discovered that a great-fitting store bought shirt matching his body type just didn’t exist. He was then forced to go the customization route. Faced with the veritable cul-de-sac of exorbitantly priced options or the traveling Asia-based tailors with little interest in customer service, the idea for Alexander West shirts was born.

The level of customization, construction and price makes going the bespoke route with Alexander West a no brainer. The shirts range from about $95 to $150, which considering the price of some off-the-rack shirts out there, is pretty great. Custom cuff links range from $110 - $125.

If you are in NYC, you are in luck. You can get right into the store and have your measurements taken. Other options:
- send in your best fitting shirt, which they will then reproduce
- visit your local seamstress/tailor, have them take your measurements based off Alexander West's measurement instructions
- take your own measurements! scary for most men, they offer the first shirt as a "test shirt"... if you aren't happy with it, they will fix it till it fits perfectly or you can get a full

Afternoon Music

Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight - Amos Lee

A Human Being Should Be Able To

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -- robert anson heinlein

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adopt a pet...

We've decided to start volunteering our time at the LA Animal Services West LA center because we love animals so much and I find myself wanting to adopt a dog on a weekly basis. What a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.

Click here to find out how to volunteer in the Los Angeles area.

Click here for general adoption information. -

More general adopt a pet information/resources -

New Music

DOWNLOAD: Fredrik - Black Fur (MP3)

Live Graffiti Art Painting

Live graffiti art painting time lapse by Rogan from Tar Productions on Vimeo.

by Tar Productions
Live art painting is something special that many people don't always appreciate. It takes time to develop and master. Watching art go up in the moment can leave some people not understanding it completely. For others it gives insight and knowledge into art.

Here's a time lapse by Rogan, an underground artist who has been gaining lots of ground and recognition lately, at an event at one of San Diego's nicest hotels.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ad Campaigns Part 1

I love this ad campaign.. especially the first edition. I don't know if it's still running but it would make me happy every time it would come on. "Half Acre" by Hem is a must download.
Developed by Hill Holliday for Liberty Mutual
1st edition
Song: "Half Acre" by Hem

2nd Edition
Song: "The Part Where You Let Go" by Hem

Etsy Picks... special edition

Holiday Gift Ideas!

Molly stumbled upon these gorgeous hand knit items from the UK.. moocowhandknits

Hugs & Kisses Freezer Bag by inklore ... instead of a bag of peas for bumps, bruises and sprains

A clock made from a computer hard drive from pixelthis

Bailarina Bars

In Bailarina Bars, you can rent a girlfriend by the song.

For $2, you get a dance with Rosa.

For $40, Rosa will sit with you for an hour.

For $500, she's yours for the evening.

She brings in around $35k a year. When Rosa was a kid, her dream was to become a detective. When Rosa was five months pregnant, her fiancé was shot to death by his business partner during a fight about money.

Continue reading the New York Magazine article here.

Morning Artist Rec

The Tallest Man on Earth
If you like early Dylan, you'll like Scandinavian folksinger the Tallest Man on Earth (also known as Kristian Matsson)

I Wont Be Found - The Tallest Man On Earth

Pistol Dreams - The Tallest Man On Earth

The Gardner - The Tallest Man On Earth

Into The Stream - The Tallest Man On Earth

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Target Launches Digital Camera Gift Card

This 1.2 MP Digital Camera GiftCard takes pictures and comes with 40 free prints

MTV Music's new site

Remember when MTV used to actually play music videos? Well last week MTV launched it's new music site.. MTV Music that provides access to MTV's extensive archive of videos..for free. Adding videos everyday, the site's library currently includes more than 16,000 videos. The videos lack advertising except for the banner ads at the top of the page. Check it out... and just for fun... The Sign- Ace of Base

Energy Independence

This week in the NYT, Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore laid out a 5 part plan to repower America with a commitment to produce 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. It’s a goal, he notes, that’s been on the table since the Nixon administration; since the early 1970s, however, the country’s dependence on foreign oil has doubled from one-third of its use to two-thirds. The bold steps are as follows:

1. Build solar thermal energy plants in our deserts, longitudinal wind farms through the middle of the country, and geothermal “hot spots” wherever possible.
2. Design a smart-grid to take in and more effectively route electricity.
3. Incentivize the Big Three automakers (and start-ups) to develop plug-in hybrid cars.
4. Retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient.
5. Replace the Kyoto treaty with a more stringent document that calls for caps on worldwide carbon emissions.

Gore leaves the op-ed piece with this: This year similarly saw the rise of young Americans, whose enthusiasm electrified Barack Obama’s campaign. There is little doubt that this same group of energized youth will play an essential role in this project to secure our national future, once again turning seemingly impossible goals into inspiring success.

I recommend reading the entire NYT article: The Climate for Change

Music Picks of the week...

So lately Molly and I have discussed how much we love music honor of this appreciation....

No Direction Home- Bob Dylan Trailer..
(I also highly recommend Gimme Shelter and Shine a Light about the Rolling Stones)

M's Pick:
Joe Strummer - The Future is Unwritten

The Future is Unwritten (trailer) - Joe Strummer

And my favorite Joe Strummer song:

Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

New Pixar Movie: UP

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

— Albert Camus

Starbucks News

Starbucks' profits fell by 97% in the last quarter as the coffee chain faced a weakening demand for lattes, americanos and skinny macchiatos. The company has had to close under-performing outlets in reaction to the news that its net profits were $5.4m, down from $158.5m a year earlier, perhaps due to a new mood of frugality amid fears of just how bad the recession will get.

I know I have curbed my Starbucks visits almost entirely. Except for today. There was a significant chill in the air and all I wanted was my ever so coveted chai tea. In my visit, I discovered a few things.

1. Starbucks Gold
Starbucks Gold is for those who visit Starbucks every day. The ones who keep the coffee chain going. An annual membership costs $25 and you receive 10% of every purchase. So, I would have saved 36 cents this morning. Big Deal. You also get a free beverage on your birthday and free wi-fi up to two hours a day. Still, not too enticing.

2. The Good Sheet
Good is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. They make a magazine, produce videos, curate their website and host events around the country. I picked up the 9th edition of the Good Sheet, part of a series of graphical explorations of some of the major issues that faced us this election season and still face us today.

The first 100 days is the topic this week. FDR spent his first 100 days enacting a dizzying number of reforms designed to stabilize an economically depressed nations. Since then, a president's first 100 days have been an indicator of what he is able to accomplish. In January 2009, the clock starts again.

3. The Starbucks holiday cups are back!

4. Four new signature hot chocolates now available. Let me say, they are delicious.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Dose of Cindy

At 42, Cindy Crawford is HOT. That's really all I can say about her. Just take a look as she graces the October issue of French Vogue.(photo courtesy of stylenoir)

LOST premiere date leaked?

If you're as addicted to ABC's Lost as Molly and I are... According to this EW article.. LOST will return Wednesday, January 21, 2009. A Wednesday night 3- hour premiere. An hour-long recap special at 8 PM, followed by the first two episodes (back to back) from 9-11 PM. The recap specials are actually really good.

Monday Morning Memo...

Molly and I have decided to bring back the Monday Morning Memo so as it were....

Weekend Recap:
Molly and I had dinner at the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica.... this is one that has been on our greater Los Angeles to do list and we can finally cross it off.... huge selection of beer - 29 microbrews and imports on tap... great atmosphere. We sat in the bar area but the patio in the back offers completely different vibe. Grab a gourmet Angus burger and sweet potato fries.

Saturday morning.. a little game called "Running the Towers" in Santa Monica.... In order to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and get a little exercise in the process.. Molly and I headed out west and alternated running/walking the beach in between the lifeguard towers. Bottom Line: I'm still sore.

Sunday my dear friend Jon and I ventured out to the Fairfax/Melrose flea market. One of my favorite booths sells tons of old and used books ... picked up a copy of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway along with Conrad's Heart of Darkness and five critical essays. One of my top 5 favorite books of all-time.. helped get me through high school essay writing. Dark but brilliant. My other favorite area is where they have all of these random photos. It sounds slightly creepy but something about someone else's old photographs is kind of cool. Like passing on a good book? but instead photos?

And to round out the weekend a few of us went to see LACMA's Vanity Fair exhibit Sunday evening. Pay what you wish after 5:00pm and they're open utnil 8:00pm! With work by Cecil Beaton, Harry Benson, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, and Edward Steichen it was as monumental as we expected it to be. Highlights included a photo of Clint Eastwood that made all of us weak in the knees, a young and playful Katherine Hepburn, a caricature of dinner at the Coconut Grove, and many others. For example, Nickolas Muray's Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Joan Crawford, Santa Monica, 1929 on the left. If you're in LA, this is a must as it is the only U.S. stop on the international tour.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Cheers.