Monthly Archives: September 2007

Magic Johnson’s Starbucks

OK, maybe I’m just totally clueless, but I had no idea this place even existed in L.A. until last week.

I had a meeting with a producer/manager friend of mine the other day and when trying to find somewhere to meet for coffee that was kind of mid-way between his place and mine, I heard these immortal words: “Wanna just meet at the Magic Johnson Starbucks in Baldwin Hills?”

Cool inner-city artwork @ The Magic Johnson Starbucks!

“Hell yes I wanna meet at the Magic Johnson Starbucks!” I mean, whoa…who even knew that such a place existed?

Breathlessly grabbing my camera, I agreed to meet him there and immediately set off to Baldwin Hills — which, incidentally, is so NOT mid-way between my place and his — to see what “Magic” Mr. Johnson could work with the world’s largest gourmet coffee chain.

The answer, unfortunately, was not much. Everything was the same as a regular Starbucks (the signs out front, the drink menu, etc.) except for one really cool thing. In place of the Griffin & Sabine-lite artwork on the walls, this Starbucks was adorned with sunny portraits of inner-city kids, smiling single mothers and best of all, the man of the hour…Mr. Magic Johnson himself! Cool!

Magic’s “mug” on the wall @ his Starbucks!

I also learned that aside from the Starbucks and the groundbreaking Magic Johnson Movie Theatre nearby, the Baldwin Hills area is also home to the Magic Johnson 24-Hour Fitness AND the Magic Johnson TGIF! Wow, apparently Magic owns everything down here…he’s like the male Oprah!

Anyway, my latte was a work of art — with flawless foam, which is pretty hard to find at Starbucks these days — and the service was excellent. Now if I could only convince him to open the Magic Johnson Waffle House, all would be right with the world…

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I, Chenbot

Having just wrapped up its eighth, and arguably best, season on CBS this week, it is with a pair of heavy-hearts that Christine and I bid farewell to “Big Brother” and its slinky, gloriously robotic host Julie “The Chenbot” Chen!

Revenge of the Chenbot!

A staple of our summer Tivo viewing since the show first started in 2000, we have been fans of Julie Chen’s strange, otherworldly charms for years. I wish I could say I came up with her cool nickname, but someone far wittier than I coined the term Chenbot a few years back and it stuck.

Remarkably, Ms. Chen herself has come to embrace the term as her own in the past couple of years, which proves that even hot Asian robots have a sense of humor. So, good on you, Chenbot!

Anyway, Christine and I recently discovered a hilarious website dedicated to all things Chenbot with some awesome mash-up video clips of her iconic catch phrase: “But first…” and even a surprisingly wide array of logo merchandise — including the tote bag pictured below and Chenbot thong underwear! Whoa!

Chenbot tote bag!

You guys have to see this stuff to believe it…amazing! And even non-fans of the show — which is just about everybody, except for “BB” loyalists James, Tim and Wendy — will enjoy the video clips on the site. They’re pretty damn funny.

Check them out at: hhtp://www.tvgasm.com/chenbot/ and until next summer when “Big Brother” rules our Tivo once more…all hail the Chenbot!

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The Yarn Harlot does L.A.

A few weeks back, Christine had the super cool privilege of introducing one of knitting-doms premiere bloggers, the Yarn Harlot (aka best-selling author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) to an audience of fellow knitters at a pre-booksigning discussion at the L.A. Central Library.

Christine & The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!

Technically, Christine and her assistant manager Natalie, introduced L.A.’s own knitting blogstar, Ellen Bloom (pictured below with Natalie in the craft and knitting section of Christine’s bad-ass store) who then introduced Pearl-McPhee, but either way, it was an awesome event.

And since this was the Canadian author’s only L.A. appearance on her book tour, seats in the Library’s posh Mark Taper Auditorium were pretty hard to come by from almost the minute the event was announced.

Ellen Bloom & Natalie at the Library Store!

Christine volunteered me to work the event with her (thanks, honey) and let me tell ya, it was crazy! Imagine a “Star Wars” convention with yarn and needles instead of crazy sci-fi costumes and lightsabers and you get some idea of the excitement level here. This crowd of hip, needle-toting yarn junkies was awesome! And the lines, good Lord, you’d think they were giving away hand-dyed Noro or something (trust me, knitters will think that’s hilarious).

The lecture itself was fascinating, with Pearl-McPhee lashing out at the inherent misogyny present in the current “cutesification” of knitting and speaking at length about how such catchphrases as “not your grandma’s knitting” really undermined knitting as an art form by ghettoizing it as a “woman’s art form”. “Besides, what the hell do you know about my Grandma?” she joked.

Knitting fans waiting for the Yarn Harlot!

What I liked most was that so many of the things she said about encouraging knitting geeks to come out of the shadows and proudly embrace their craft, could just as easily be applied to any form of deep-rooted fandom. Seriously, her lecture made me wanna break out my action figures and cheer!

Later on, Christine and I kept the Yarn Harlot supplied with pens and fresh books while sitting behind her at the signing table for what was supposed to be an hour-long book signing. Ha! We were there for three-plus hours! Not only did the crazy-friendly Pearl-McPhee personalize every book she signed, but she also posed for pictures, accepted heaps of crafty gifts and best of all, gave sock knitting tips to the fans in line! So cool!

Christine was very pleased with the turnout — especially since she and a co-worker championed the event within the Library Foundation — and ended up selling tons of copies of the Yarn Harlot’ newest tome: “Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting”. Many of which went home with us…one for Christine’s mom, a couple of Pearl-McPhee’s other books for us and a few for our friend Tevana, who couldn’t make the event.

Knitters waiting to hear the Yarn Harlot!

Walking Pearl-McPhee back to her hotel afterwards, Christine and I got to chat with her about “yarn stash” (hidden, unused yarn that builds up over the years) and how vital is to hide the stash from husbands, boyfriends and significant others, lest they think you even more obsessive and insane than they already do. Pearl-McPhee admitted to having roomfuls of stash, which kinda put Christine’s mere closet-sized heap in perspective. Thank you, Yarn Harlot!

To read more of the Yarn Harlot’s spirited and often hilarious views on knitting and life, check out her blog at: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/

Ellen Bloom’s blog, “L.A. Is My Beat” is also imminently click-worthy, so check that out at: http://ellenbloom.blogspot.com/

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Elvis 2.0

OK, I know I’m totally writing this post out of sequence, but I had to take a moment to introduce you guys to the newest member of our family. Meet our silver 160GB iPod Classic, Elvis! Officially released last Tuesday (the 4th of September) we bought ours over the weekend and have been geeking out with him ever since.

No, that is not my hand, the pic is lifted from the Apple website. I realize I could take my own pictures of our beautiful baby boy (and you can bet I will) but none could show him in all his shiny silver glory as well as this, so, thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Elvis lives!

Elvis joins our silver iPod mini, Yoda, and our beloved third generation white iPod, Gandalf. I’m sure you’re thinking two things right now…wow, what totally nerdy names, and why on Earth do two people need three iPods? Well, the answer, my friends, lies in the memory.

Elvis can store a whopping 160GB of information! Yep, One-Six-Zero! Insane! And since we long ago filled both Gandalf and Yoda, that is a big deal. See, even if we put every CD we own on there (which we are in the process of doing as I speak) we will still have a good 100GB worth of space for other fun things like videos, movies and pictures! Yeah!

The coolest new feature (for us old-school iPod-ers) is the full-color screen, which is absolutely gorgeous. And when you scroll through the album covers via the iPhone-ish “coverflow” feature, pictured below, whoa! You kind wanna marry it. It’s beautiful!

We’ll post more action pics soon, but for now, enjoy the glory that is Elvis!

Coverflow on a black iPod Classic

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