Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From tar pits to pizza

We started Monday morning at the La Brea tar pits, which looks like a regular old pond but definitely smells like tar. The replicas of woolly mammoths are a little sad (and also kind of weird for some reason). I guess it helps one to imagine the types of creatures that used to hang around there.

There's also a huge fence going around the pit (I squeezed my camera lens between the grates, but trust me, it's there) which reminds you that you could actually still succumb to the same fate as the poor guy in the first photo if they let you get too close.

I didn't go inside the Page Museum but they have a cool roof.

Following the tar pits, we ventured over to the Original Farmer's Market for lunch. Which was amazing. If you haven't been there, it's not so much a farmer's market as a huge open-air cafeteria with various awesome food vendors, surrounded by a mall. I ate a mashed potato and poblano burrito. Enough said.

How many farmer's markets have a barber shop?

We spent the rest of the day shopping in West Hollywood, though I didn't buy much. I did love these colorful chairs in front of the OK Store but they probably cost more than I'd be willing to pay. Plus, I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't have fit under the seat on the plane.

Outside the Family bookstore. The sign above the door was painted by comic artist Ron Rege Jr. At least it sure looks like it was.

We ended the day at Pizzeria Mozza. Pretty good but it's still no Di Fara. They did have really fun placemats though.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yes L.A.: Long Beach and San Pedro

I just got back from a week-long trip to L.A. and I have so much great stuff to post about on here. I hadn't been there in about 15 years (and my last and only trip was spent doing touristy things like visiting TV studios and Grauman's Chinese Theater) and I found myself never wanting to leave. (Unfortunately, I did in fact leave and am sitting back home, though I did find myself looking into how much rent is out there--about the same as it is here.)

Our first stop Sunday morning was the Long Beach flea market. We missed the famed Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena by a week but decided to check this one out.

It had rained pretty heavily earlier in the morning (note the huge puddles) so even though the weather had cleared up, the flea was pretty empty of both shoppers and dealers. As a result we didn't really find anything though it seems like on an on-day this place would be pretty hopping.

Afterwards we headed down to San Pedro, home of the Minutemen, to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

There we met some fish like this guy here. It was kind of a small aquarium but they had some really interesting exhibits. I feel like I actually learned a lot there!

One of the aquarium's project labs.

The aquarium is right on the beach in San Pedro so we took a little walk afterward.

Some birds hanging around. (A flock of seagulls, you might say.)

After that we ventured into the OC to Huntington Beach, which is kind of like the New Jersey of Southern California. I seem to remember reading about how the HB jocks discovered Black Flag and ruined the punk scene, and it makes a lot of sense.

After that we raced back up to L.A. and made it there just in time to get ice cream sandwiches from the CoolHaus truck (we were literally the last people he served; even crying children were turned away) and then watched a bunch of awesome movies at the Silent Movie Theater: La Brune et Moi, Shellshock Rock, The Slog Movie, and Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (all part of the Destroy All Movies fest). Director Dave Markey was there in person for the latter two screenings, along with Jennifer and Jonathan Schwartz, who appear in both movies.

And that's just day one!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Customized hairpin leg ottoman

Dave had been talking about how he wanted a nice footstool so he can prop his feet up when he sits in his reading chair in the corner. I had first been thinking that I could make something from scratch fairly simply--get a square piece of wood and some padding, staple some fabric over it, then buy four hairpin legs and screw them in. Instant ottoman. Except the hairpin legs are kind of expensive, it seems.

So I set up an eBay saved search and within a few weeks found and purchased this one for the price of one hairpin leg. I wasn't too crazy about the fabric but that was an easy fix. I even had some left over from when I recovered the chair next to it so I was able to do it the next day instead of putting it off for weeks and weeks until I found what I wanted.

I turned the stool over and removed all the staples. (You can do this with a regular staple remover.) There was another piece of fabric on the bottom but I didn't take any photos of it.

Once all the staples were removed I simply peeled off the old fabric. The padding underneath was in good condition, thankfully, so I didn't feel any need to replace it.

I placed it on top of the new fabric like so, and began stapling each side, folding the raw edges under.

A close up of the staples. Pretty straightforward. I went around the legs though I suppose I could have cut out a notch.

Then I folded over the corners and stapled those, attached the bottom piece, and I was done within the hour.

It's just a tad too tall to fit underneath the chair when not in use, but looks just fine right next to it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Flapper style

For my flapper Halloween costume I made a sequined headband with a big felt flower. I'm not all that into sequins or big felt flowers normally, but I really liked how I looked with a headband. So I decided to try making something a little more subdued.

This is the only one that was successful so far, though it feels a little more hippie than flapper (I guess because of the floral fabric). I made a couple others but they were too stretchy and didn't want to stay on my head. I think I made them too tight. I need to do some more experimenting!

Monday, November 8, 2010

NY Art Book Fair

I went to the NY Art Book Fair at P.S. 1 for the first time this past weekend. It was insanely crowded and it seemed like everything I wanted was priced at several hundred dollars. But there were a lot of cool books and posters. If I were a little bit (okay, a lot) richer I might have come home with lots of awesome stuff.

Dave took some great photos documenting the day.

In the P.S. 1 courtyard. I love how this person kind of fades into the mist.

I don't even know what we're looking at here.

Some book art on the walls.

I'm not sure what these were for but one seller had them stacked up.

On the wall in the subway station on the way home.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween party 2010

I've written before about Penguin's epic Halloween parties. Every year on the Friday of Halloween week, the various departments transform themselves from typical office decor into ancient Egypt, the Island of Misfit Toys, TGI Friday's--err, Penguin's, the Addams Family, and so on (those are a few of the actual themes from this year). And a lot of booze is consumed.

Actually, this year they banned hard alcohol, so with a little nod to the show Boardwalk Empire, my department went with a prohibition-era theme. I'm all the way to the right, with the black and red dress. I made a sequined and felt headband for the costume and realized that I look pretty good in headbands (I might have to make a non-sequined version for everyday use.) I wish I had some better photos of the decorations, as some of them came out pretty great. You can kind of see the brown paper boardwalk, giant movie marquee, and antique wooden crates (contraband liquor).

Here's a shot of the speakeasy, in sepia tone for effect. The fake barrel has a bucket of alcohol inside it (beer and wine was deemed okay). I made the Women's Temperance League sign in the background (it took way too long to cut out those letters.) Somehow the G-man and the Temperance Leaguer ended up behind the bar...seems a bit suspect.

A closer shot of the bar and bartender (sans mustache). The mirror and the empty bottles were a nice touch. (Lots of emails were exchanged about the collection of bottles, with replies like "I'll have a few more empties by lunchtime!" Good one.)

Here we are at the casino. I learned to play blackjack for the first time, and I won a lot of chips (no money though).

The worst part of Halloween is the Monday after, when you have to tear down all the fun stuff you put up and go back to boring office decor. The boardwalk was pretty haggard-looking (it was no match for spiky heels and general drunkenness) but I kind of wished we could have left up the movie marquee for a little while longer.