Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween In The Lunch Room

Today's entertaining work e-mail.

To: employees - San Diego
Subject: Halloween Refigerator - scary

Some experiments have gone horribly wrong in the fridge. If there is *any* chance that you have forgotten an item in the past few months, why don’t you earn some good karma and look for something suspicious in there to toss.

p.s. Let’s make it a contest! Take a picture of the scariest thing you find.

I love a challenge - so I dove on in. Here is the winning entry ... MY hairy, scary refrigerator find!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lawn Sign

For public release
Presbyterians Against Proposition 8
October 28, 2008

Brothers and Sisters of many faiths,

Let us be absolutely clear that in our opposition to Proposition 8 we are asking nothing more than what already exists in the respectful balance between the beliefs and practices of our many faiths and California constitutional law.

Within the many communities of faith in our State we have conflicting doctrines and beliefs that already govern the practice of marriage.

Our Roman Catholic, Mormon and many of our evangelical churches do not and will not marry persons who are divorced. But that does not mean that those who are divorced are constitutionally prohibited from the right of legal marriage in our state.

Likewise, our Roman Catholic, Mormon, and some Jewish and Muslim faith traditions will not marry persons of different faith traditions. But that does not mean that interfaith couples, or those of no particular faith tradition, cannot be married in our state.

Our California constitution honors all religious traditions by respecting our differences about religious marriage while at the same time providing and protecting the right of all couples to marry the person of their choice.

Prop. 8 would ELIMINATE the constitutional right of same sex couples to marry. That is unfair and unjust. California constitutional law already honors and respects religious differences. No religious institution is forced to marry anyone. But that does not mean that any person in our state should lose their constitutional right for legal marriage.

I urge you to protect our constitutional rights as well as our right to religious diversity and pluralism by voting NO on Proposition 8.

Thank you.

Rev. Daniel E. Smith
Pastor, West Hollywood Presbyterain Church
7350 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peaceful Boots

More from my window shopping in LaJolla last Friday night.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twin Towers

Friends brought me this souvenier from Malaysia. Sheepishly, I admit, I had never heard of the Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur.

With the help of google and Wikepedia, here is what I have learned...

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were the world's tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004, before being surpassed by the Taipei 101. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings and office building in the world.

The Petronas Towers were the setting for several scenes in the 1999 film Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The towers were also feature din three levels of the game Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The PS2 game Burnout Dominator features the Twin Towers as Spiritual Towers. For the Bollywood fans - The Petronas Towers are featured in the film, Don - The Chase Begins Again!

Peace Dove Chases Nemo?!?

It has been a while since we have had an update on the push pin wall. After a dry spell, I posted an Artists Wanted in July. Then this fall I was presented with some very cool fish push pins. I had fun sprinkling them throughout the push pin display.

BUT, then the other day I took a look -- and some mischievous rascal has been re-arranging the fish. Now my Peace Dove is swooping down to eat poor Nemo?!?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Drumming The Afternoon Away...

This afternoon I swung by The Community Drum Circle at Trolly Barn Park. The drum circle is lead by a music therapist and is a wonderful community event. The experience is all about each person finding their own voice and then bringing the individual voices together in community and harmony. The circle is different each time - a reflection of the mix of people participating. It is fun to see who shows up and who just wanders by and joins in. The kids playing in the park are drawn to the experience. I enjoy watching them drag their parents along and convince them to participate.

Today we had an amazing jam with a xylopone, a native woodwind instrument and a guitar mixed in with the drums. We did this improvisational tune for about 20 minutes and when it ended we all sat and looked at each other and went - "Wow, that was powerful!"

Drumming In The Park

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Riding To The Coast

Lately, my bike rides have been *transportation* - a way to get to work and back.

I miss my weekend rides where I just hop on my bike and let it take me where it will.

Today - I did just that. I decided to ride over to the coast and enjoy some fresh ocean air!

Almost There...The Ocean Is In Sight

Friday, October 24, 2008

Window Shopping in LaJolla

I spent the evening strolling around LaJolla. Here are some pics from my favourite window display.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Unicef Box

It is 9 pm and it is still over 70 degrees F tonight. It certainly doesn't feel like fall. Growing up, the week before Halloween we would be trying to figure out how cold it was going to be Halloween night. Would we need to wear ski pants and winter jackets under our costumes!?! Another Halloween tradition was those little orange cardboard Unicef boxes..

Things are a bit different now that I am in the land of perpetual summer and in a neighbourhood with very few kids that actually go door to door. So I am adding a new twist to the usual tradition.

Click HERE to place some coins in my online Unicef Box!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Badoop Badoop Show

TiVo service has changed the way millions of people watch TV. And now... "The Badoop Badoop Show," a quirky show to keep you in the entertainment know with TiVo recommendations every week. The show is named after one of TiVo's unmistakable soundmarks: Badoop-Badoop!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Props

It sure can get confusing out there. So many propositions to vote on!

California Council of Churches is an advocate for peace, justice, human rights, equal rights and economic justice. They do not have recommended positions on ballot measures that fall outside their area of work. They also do not endorse any candidates or any political party. Their work is highly regarded by the legislature as fair and non-partisan.

Below is the recommendations published by the California Council of Churches. Of course, you should never let anyone else tell you how to vote. These recommendations are meant to spark your own personal study so you can learn about the issues and vote your conscience.

1A - High-Speed Rail Bond Act.
This is highly complex with unforeseeable issues. PRO: This would provide high-speed electric rail service between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is projected to divert 117 million passengers annually, will carry light freight, be self-supporting financially, and thus will save millions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. CON: This ultimately would cost at least $40 billion. It's unclear whether the projected greenhouse gas reductions are realistic or whether they would be replaced by pollutants from new electric-generating plants, including nuclear plants. Until the budget crisis is fixed, this is too large a debt to incur without impacts on people in need.
No recommendation.

2 - Humane Treatment of Farm Animals
Most livestock producers already follow these humane practices, but poultry producers continue to use inhumane confinement techniques. States with humane standards like this have seen a cost increase to consumers is about 1 cent per egg.

3 - Children's Hospital Construction Subsidies.
With children's eligibility to use these facilities being substantially eroded, taking away still more tax money to expand hospital buildings is irresponsible.

4 - Restrictions on Abortion
This act would require that any pregnant teenager arriving without a parent could trigger an immediate criminal investigation, further imperiling what may already be a dangerous home life. Teens who can talk with their parents already do so. Those who cannot should not be endangered by either criminal investigations or fear of parental notification that could lead them to seeking unsafe abortions.

5 - Rehabilitation of Nonviolent Drug Offenders.
This would divert nonviolent offenders into effective rehabilitation and drug rehab programs.

6 - Increases Criminal Penalties.
This would increase imprisonment for nonviolent drug possession, youth crimes, and anything deemed "gang related." It would dehumanize the poor and lead to more homelessness by requiring background checks for those in public housing. NO

7 - Increases Energy Costs to Consumers.
This is so poorly drafted that it could disrupt the renewable energy progress already being made, especially for smaller producers. It could cause a spurt in energy prices - which would be a boon for large interests controlling resources such as natural gas, who are sponsoring this proposition.

8 - Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.
Even as many of our churches are struggling with liturgical issues around same-sex marriage, we can be united in supporting civil marriage as a secular right. No church would be forced to conduct a wedding that is contrary to its beliefs, but no church or individuals should be barred from the right to marry if they choose to do so.

9 - Increases Criminal Penalties.
This seeks "remedies" for crime victims that would undermine the rights of prisoners and parolees and reduce or eliminate the possibility of restorative justice.

10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicle Subsidies.
This would give wealthy buyers of alternative fuel vehicles taxpayer-funded rebates up to $55,000 per vehicle.

11 - Fair Legislative Redistricting.
This would allow a panel of citizens without political ties to select their representatives instead of allowing politicians to select their voters. This is crucially important to making legislators accountable.

12 - Veterans Home Loans.
This would continue the Cal-Vet home loan program, helping returning service people to rebuild their lives. In 87 years, this program has never cost the taxpayers a cent.

For much more information, go to

Plant Bot

Yup, a planter that has legs and moves your plant through out the day to keep it in the sun.

Who'd of thunk it!

click here and here for more pics and actions shots.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Something the Lord Made

This film tells the story of pioneering work in cardiac surgery. It follows the two men, a white doctor and a black lab technician, who work together, despite racial and cultural issues, and find a cure for blue baby syndrome. Thomas' situation as a black man in a white man's world is overwhelming sad - but, you can't help but admire his determination to do something special and excel despite the barriers. This movie has everything: jubilation and celebration, inequity, despair, friendship, and the rewards for perseverence. Best of all it is a true story!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Potato Chip Bliss

I stumbled across these at Trader Joe's the other day. Ingredients are red potatoes, olive oil and salt.

That is it!

Like the name says - these chips are bliss.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Balloons In The Sky

View from the parking lot as I left work on Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Manure - Pee Eew!

Most evening I enjoy a jog, stroll or run through the neighbourhood. A great way to blow the cob webs out after sitting at the computer all day. My route is around the local park which provides for a pretty walk -- usually.

Monday they dumped manure all over the park lawn. Why? !? No idea. But, Pee Eeew it stinks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and Fire Season Begins

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.

Oh, to be home in Ontario enjoying cool fall weather, colourful leaves and Thanksgiving Dinner.

I haven't been able to convince my employer to recognize Canadian holidays - so it was a work day for me! All was not lost though - I managed to have my own little Thanksgiving celebration this evening. I feasted on a plate of my latest food obsession - Sweet Potatoe Fries. While wandering the freezer section of Whole Foods, I discovered the fabulous Alexia Brand Sweet Potatoe Fries. I am hooked. Truly, this was "love at first bite" !

Tonight's Thanksgiving Treat!

The Santa Anna's are blowing and the warm weather is back. It is unsettling when the warm winds start - they signal the beginning of fire season. Even before you can smell the fires you know they are out there - the whole world gets strangely quiet - there is an eerie feeling that just hangs in the air. Evacuations have begun in two areas of the county. They haven't been able to contain the fires that started earlier in the day. This Thanksgiving Day I am thankful that I am safe and sound and sleeping in my own bed tonight. I end the day with a prayer and hope for a kinder gentler fire season.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hockey Night in Canada Gets A New Theme Song

Recently, there was quite a hullaboo in my homeland about the the demise of the beloved Hockey Night in Canada Theme song. The CBC decided to run a contest and let 'the people' choose the new theme.

Well the votes are in and the winner is ....Canadian Gold (Anthem #1) by Colin Oberst

New Intro To Hockey Night in Canada

Click here to see the 'making of' video.

Surprise - cooler weather today!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall In California

Today we had cooler temperatures. After a few weeks of freakishly warm weather - this evening we dipped below 70 deg F.

A first glimpse of fall...

Signs of Fall: Flower Petals blown across the lawn

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Investment Advice

As the stock market takes a free fall - lots of people are looking for financial advice.

My friend, Doug Ferrin, sent me this little story. I met Doug on a trip to the Gulf Coast to help re-build homes after Katrina. I also had the privilege of working on one of his clean up teams after the San Diego firestorms last year. Two investments I have never regretted making.

Here is a story along with some investment advice that will rival what the talking heads on T.V. are giving...

So Who’s To Blame

Well, it’s me of course.

You see it was me at the turn of the 20th century who decided that instead of the people taking care of our neighbors, we would turn the responsibility over to the government. It was easier. Now I can concentrate on my own problems and not have to worry about what’s going on around me. And it’s not like we have that big of catastrophes anyway. Who could have known Katrina and all her friends, tornado after tornado, fires would ravage the west, and earthquakes would become more common?

You see it was me who found out I could cash in on Wall Street without even breaking a sweat. From the comfort of my swivel chair I was able to invest in companies that were spinning out of control and I knew it but the gain was just too easy. I turned my head and took my profit as I saw CEO’s and the like mismanaging their companies, covering up tainted books. I even saw some taken away in handcuffs but I thanked them for the profit they made me. And why couldn’t I stop when the prison doors slammed? All I did was find another company that I could make a quick buck on. And for some reason, I am appalled at the CEO’s taking a huge buyout from their beleaguered companies.

You see it was me who wanted the bigger house I couldn’t afford. In fact there was nothing wrong with the house I sold. But instead of staying within my limits I sought out banks who could get me into that better house. More prestigious you know. People look at me different since I have this superior house. You should have seen all the houses being built up the hillside. Obviously one of those were for me. I didn’t realize the consequences if the housing industry went south but come on, everyone is getting this loan. And name one person who actually read the whole loan document or better yet, understood it. Just sign here. And by the way, there was no way our old car would do in this neighborhood.

You know? As I look backwards…

That bigger house never did make me happier. In fact it gave me more to take care of. And I moved away from neighbors I really enjoyed.

The money I invested has dwindled to about the same as I started with. In the blink of an eye and with the stress of the economy I am back to where I was. But I’m the lucky one. Some have invested with money they never had.

And what is probably the oddest, is that I am most satisfied when I am out in the community with my family and friends helping those who have suffered through one of our all too common tragedies. As we go down and feed the homeless I just want to sit and listen to them and go backwards in their life to find that one pivotal point where the choice they made drastically changed their life. But the more I think about it, I probably made that same choice but somehow got away with it.

So who am I?
Well, I’m definitely me and I’m probably you.

So what do I do?
Well, I’ve gotten to the age where I know my limitations. I can’t change the world. No one will listen to me. I’m surprised you have made it this far in the story. Whining only makes things worse. I’m done blaming government. I’m done blaming Wall Street. In fact I’m even done blaming my Mom and Dad since now I see they were 99.9% right. But as I take a deep hard look at my past the only investments that haven’t lost any value are the ones I put into my family. The ones my family has put into our community. I have seen our community come together and put a great investment on our neighbors after last October’s fires. I watched five teenagers pick up food donated by Costco and serve the Sheriffs at the Command Center in Ramona the night of the fire until the fire jumped a ridge and had to be evacuated. I watched hundreds if not thousands of volunteers clear burnt out properties trying to find valuables for the owners.

Fires are an obvious sign we need to get out but there are people battling circumstances everyday. If you find yourself in the midst of needing a “guaranteed investment” then send me an email. All is not nor ever was lost. Maybe we were just concentrating on investing in the wrong things.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tonight Show Debut

Friday night I had my debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Friday afternoon I was heading out to Arcadia to view the work of the environmental artist Patrick Dougherty at The Arboretum. I stopped at the Shell Station on Olive St in Burbank to fill up before jumping on the freeway. I noticed that there were several NBC security guards roaming around. It seemed odd, but the gas station is across the street from the studio, so ... I didn't give it much thought. As I was pumping gas I looked around and a Mariachi band came running out of The Acupulco and across four lanes of traffic towards the studio. That is when I noticed the cameras...

'Dinner on Jay' Segment Friday Oct 3rd
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Click here to view the entire Dinner on Jay segment and see my blurry appearance. (Click on Chapter #2 - Dinner on Jay)

laugh dance vote

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't Vote

Time is ticking - just days left to register to vote.

New PSA.

Will you vote?