Saturday, July 25, 2009

Identity Exhibit at California Science Center

Identity: An Exhibit of You at the California Science Center was quite the learning experience. As a psychology minor, I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know. Not so! Identity is actually the brain intertwining physical, social and psychological factors, and this exhibit has many interactive areas to further explore each concept and how it all comes together.

Wander through the 20 or so stations to learn about brain chemistry, structure and activity, and how it differs for each person to make up his/her personality and identity. And, how personalities are currently thought to be made up of five characteristics and where you fall in the ranges determines who you are: extrovert/introvert, organized/impulsive, innovator/traditionalist, wired/relaxed, challenge/get along. And, it isn't just you, we all act differently with different social groups in different situations, like when you run into gym friends at Trader Joe's and it takes a few minutes to figure out how you know them. I call it the ol' mental rolodex game. One of the more intriguing stations offered on-screen simulations of what you may look like as another race. Fun!!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fosselman's Ice Cream

Due to overwhelming demand, here's a full post for Fosselman's Ice Cream. Yes, I took one for the team and visited Fosselman's for the sake of my devoted readers.

Celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, Fosselman's serves up delicious ice cream flavors at their shop in Alhambra. The factory is next door, so you know their ice cream is going to be fresh. Window signs tempt passersby with the seasonal flavors. On this visit, it was fresh peach. I topped that off with lemon custard, my current year-round favorite. YUM! It took the place of the peppermint candy, which still holds a soft spot in my heart, and probably a clog in my arteries.

My favorite combo flavors come out in fall: black licorice and pumpkin. Stir those two together for an awesome treat. I have to wait about three months, but I'm already shivering with antici - say it - pation!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Glendale Cruise Night

There's nothing like the intertwined scents of CO2 and testosterone on a hot summer night! Throw in lots of folks looking at hundreds of cruisers, Dean Torrence from Jan and Dean, Pat Boone and Sha Na Na, and you have the Glendale Cruise Night.

I arrived just in time to hear "Deadman's Curve" before getting bobbled into the mass of serious cruisers, hotrodders and lookie-loos checking out the cool cars. This ride ranked way up there in my favorites, since it was barely clearing the ground and the paint job was phenomenal. I ran into some car-fanatic friends, and I never made it back to the stage. Pat Boone was there to present awards, and Sha Na Na was the headliner. They were celebrating their 40th year since playing at Woodstock. Wow! That would be a whole other scent lingering in the air, but I digress.

The coolest part was the breakdown of the show, which meant the drivers fired up their engines, showed off a bit, and drove in mass down Brand Boulevard. Fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skeletons in the Closet at the Coroner's Office

Last weekend was the Japanese Buddhist Day of the Dead celebration, which got me thinking that every day is the day of the dead at the Coroner's office. I've been to the Coroner's whimsical Skeletons in the Closet gift shop before and decided it was time for another visit. If you haven't been, they sell wacky things like a suit bag marked "body bag," a crime scene kit with the yellow tape and body-outlining chalk, a variety of plastic skeletons and skulls, plus t-shirts, mugs and beach towels printed with their logo of a chalk-outlined body.

Skeletons in the Closet, which uses the delightful tag line "We're dying for your business" and posts signs that say "Shoplifters' next-of-kin will be notified" and "Checks accepted with two forms of ID or dental records," takes their business very seriously. Proceeds go to the Coroner's Youthful Drunk Driver Visitation Program, an anti-drinking and driving program that includes a visit to the morgue for the participants.

Good to know that purchasing my favorite pen with the famous chalk-outlined body (shown here in white, blue, yellow, red, green and black versions) goes to preventing drinking and driving deaths, because there is no celebrating at the Coroner's office.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obon Festival in Little Tokyo

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to an Obon festival, "a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed spirit of one's ancestors" per Wikipedia. Sort of like El Dia de los Muertos in Mexican tradition. I've done that version of Day of the Dead many times at Self Help Graphics, so I had a sense of what to expect.

What a treat! This festival had more of a carnival feeling, with a ring toss game and kids walking around with gold fish swimming in plastic bags from winning the fishing game. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were serving up teriyaki and udon, and a White Elephant booth had random things for sale.

It was fun seeing teens and tweens wearing kimonos or happi coats with their Converse or Crocs. There was a very graceful dance celebration, with participants honoring their ancestors as they glided around an oval path with the musicians in the center.

And, instead of pan de muerto, there was dango, Okinawa-style donuts. Yum!!

I didn't grow up with any kind of tradition to honor the dead, other than occasional visits to the cemetery. I like these opportunities to see how cultures celebrate this inevitable part of all our lives.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mo's Restaurant

If I haven't yet clarified this, I'm a big fan of a breakfast burrito. So when my running buddies suggested going to Mo's Restaurant in Burbank after training in Griffith Park, and I was assured breakfast was still being served, I happily loaded up the car and headed over.

The burrito was yummy with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage and Mo's potatoes (garlicy mashed potatoes) inside and the home fries outside. I'm assuming that it had a proper post-run protein/carb refueling balance since my coach had one, too.

But, what I was pleasantly surprised to learn is that Mo's is associated with the old Hampton's Restaurant, home of the Foggybottom Burger (peanut butter and jelly atop a burger!), something I've been salivating for since my last one back in the '90s! And, it's on the menu at Mo's!! So, after my next marathon, I'm heading to Mo's for a Foggybottom. Forget the medals, it's all about the Foggybottom for "refueling" now!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Family Stories at Pasadena Museum of History

Family Stories: Sharing a Community's Legacy
is a fascinating exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History, located on the corner of Walnut and Orange Grove. Focusing on six families of different cultures and all long-time residents, Family Stories opened my eyes to the fact that Pasadena wasn't built solely by midwesterners wintering in the area and deciding to stay put.

Experience the struggles and successes of families of African-American, Armenian-American, Chinese-American, Euro-American, Japanese-American and Mexican-American descent. Each story is told using photos, letters, clothing, furniture and other personal items from that family. The connecting theme is education, with each family making sure the next generation had a better life than the previous one. What a great story for any family, anywhere.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zankou Chicken

I wish this was scratch and sniff, because Zankou Chicken's scent is heavenly. I was driving down Colorado after a busy day of thrift store shopping, and I was ravenous. Like Pavlov and his dog, a mental bell pelled - and smelled - out Zankou, and I started salivating.

The first Zankou opened in Hollywood in 1984. Now with eight locations, the loyal pack of followers hunt down Zankou for the delicious and nutritious food. This is the Tarna plate, the tastiest roasted chicken ever with hummus, tahini (food of the Gods, part 2) and salad. The purple things are pickled turnips, I believe. This comes with pita bread and the yummiest garlic paste. Make your own wraps or just eat it all willy-nilly. Remember to grab some "old lady mints" (what my brother calls peppermints since old ladies always have some in their purses) because you will need refreshing after lapping up all the garlic.

Ring the bell; Zankou is the best in show!

Click here to go to their Web site.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"B-Movies and Bad Science" at the Natural History Museum

Being a fan of campy mutant creature flicks, "B-Movies and Bad Science" offers me a chance to watch a "bad" movie at the Natural History Museum, then hear from an expert on the science behind the rampant creative licensing, plus see some real-deal specimens.

For the giant grasshopper thriller Beginning of the End, Dr. Brian Brown, Curator of the Museum's Entomology Department, displayed some really big grasshoppers and katydids and chatted it up with movie-goers before the show. He later refuted many of the claims made in the movie, responded to audience inquiries about bug behaviors, and made it a fun learning experience for everyone.

Four more cheesy movies are on the calendar through the end of summer. Look for me, I'll be the one cracking up and cheering on the mutant creatures, then listening-up for the explanation.

Click here to go to their Web site.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

South Pasadena 4th of July Parade

I'm particular when it comes to Independence Day parades. See, I grew up in southern Indiana, and every year we went to the parade in Pekin, home of the longest running consecutive 4th of July parade in the U.S. (I'm aware that Bristol, Rhode Island has a similar claim, but I'm sticking with my hometown favorite!)

The South Pasadena 4th of July Parade is a hoot! Virtually every resident -- from school board members, council members, and city officials, to summer reading clubs, boy scouts, girl scouts, AYSO groups, school bands and cheerleaders, and the square dancers shown here -- is in the parade! The few remaining folks cling to the shady spots, cheer for "a-ooo-gas" from the classic cars, wave to the politicians, and clap for the participants. Good times for everyone!

And to kick-off the festivities, the Kiwanis Club hosts a pancake breakfast at the firehouse. My favorite feature is watching them mixing the batter with a paint mixer. Yep, I'll see you there next year for another viewing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Neptune's Net

Neptune's Net
in Malibu is a place where "we can all just get along." Located on PCH since 1958, you get the ocean view with the accompanying surfer and beach crowd. Plus, on the the weekends, you get the Harley crowd and the rocket bike crowd. Everyone mixes and mingles at the large family-style tables and in the spill-over area in front.

As a bonus to this people watching, the food is quite good! I usually get the fish and chips, which haven't disappointed. One time I had the clam chowder and onion rings, and actually looked forward to the impending heart burn.

Click here to go to their Web site.