Infinitus est numerus stultorum

Reviews, Rants and All That Other Good Stuff

YIKES! New California Driving Laws June 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 11:23 am

 From an email I received at work…

1. Carpool lane – 1st time $1068.50 starting 7/1/07 (The $271 posted
on the highway is old). Don’t do it again because 2nd time is going to be
double. 3rd time triple, and 4th time license suspended.

2. Incorrect lane change – $380. Don’t cross the lane on solid lines or intersections.

3. Block intersection – $485

4. Driving on the shoulder – $450

5. Cell phone use in the construction zone. – Double fine as of 07/01/07.
Cell phone use must be “hands free” while driving.

6. Passengers over 18 not in their seatbelts – both passengers and drivers get tickets.

7. Speeders can only drive 3 miles above the limit.

8. DUI = JAIL (Stays on your driving record for 10 years!)

9.  As of 07/01/07 cell phone use must be “hands free” while driving.
Ticket is $285. They will be looking for this like crazy – easy money for police department.

 

“Ten Commandments” for the Road — Seriously?

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 10:56 am

Apparently the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers went Vatican and issued “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” a “Ten Commandments” for driving.  It was also suggested that the driver does the sign of the cross and says a rosary before turning on the ignition (you can tell they’ve driven in Los Angeles).  I guess these can serve as calming mantras next time I’m on the 405.

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

(List courtesy of the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press.)

 

AFI 100 Years, 100 Movies

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 10:28 am

I absolutely LIVE for these specials from AFI.  For the 10th anniversary of the list, the American Film  Institute sent out ballots to its members to do a new vote.  Some new films were added to the list, some were taken off, some films moved up or down, and some stayed in the same spot.

 So, if you missed it, here is the 2007 Top 100 Movies List from AFI:

1) Citizen Kane (same spot)

2) The Godfather (+1)

3) Casablanca (-1)

4) Raging Bull (+20)

5) Singin’ In the Rain (+5)

6) Gone With the Wind (-2)

7) Lawrence of Arabia (-2)

8 ) Schindler’s List (+1)

9) Vertigo (+52!!!)

10) The Wizard of Oz (-4)

11) City Lights (+65!!!)

12) The Searchers (+84!!!!!!!!)

13) Star Wars (+2)

14) Psycho (+4)

15) 2001: A Space Odyssey (+7)

16) Sunset Blvd. (-4)

17) The Graduate (-10)

18 ) The General (new to list)

19) On the Waterfront (-11)

20) It’s a Wonderful Life (-9)

21) Chinatown (-2)

22) Some Like It Hot (-8 )

23) The Grapes of Wrath (-2)

24) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (+1)

25) To Kill a Mockingbird (+9)

26) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (+3)

27) High Noon (+6)

28 ) All About Eve (-12)

29) Double Indemnity (+9)

30) Apocalypse Now (-2)

31) The Maltese Falcon (-8 )

32) The Godfather Part II (same spot)

33) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (-13)

34) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (+15)

35) Annie Hall (-4)

36) The Bridge On the River Kwai (-23!!!!!!)

37) The Best Years of Our Lives (same spot)

38 ) The Treasure of Sierra Madre (-8 )

39) Dr. Strangelove (-13)

40) The Sound of Music (+15)

41) King Kong (+2)

42) Bonnie and Clyde (-15)

43) Midnight Cowboy (-7)

44) The Philadelphia Story (+7)

45) Shane (+24)

46) It Happened One Night (-11)

47) A Streetcar Named Desire (-2)

48 ) Rear Window (-6)

49) Intolerance (new to list)

50) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (new to list)

51) West Side Story (-10)

52) Taxi Driver (-5)

53) The Deer Hunter (+26)

54) M*A*S*H (+2)

55) North By Northwest (-15)

56) Jaws (-8 )

57) Rocky (+21)

58 ) The Gold Rush (+16)

59) Nashville (new to list)

60) Duck Soup (+25)

61) Sullivan’s Travels (new to list)

62) American Graffiti (+15)

63) Cabaret (new to list)

64) Network (+2)

65) The African Queen (-48  )

66) Raiders of the Lost Ark (-6)

67) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (new to list)

68 ) Unforgiven (+30)

69) Tootsie (-7)

70) A Clockwork Orange (-24)

71) Saving Private Ryan (new to list)

72) The Shawshank Redemption (new to list)

73) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (-23)

74) The Silence of the Lambs (-9)

75) In the Heat of the Night (new to list)

76) Forrest Gump (-5)

77) All the President’s Men (new to list)

78 ) Modern Times (+3)

79) The Wild Bunch (+1)

80) The Apartment (+13)

81) Spartacus (new to list)

82) Sunrise (new to list)

83) Titanic (new to list)

84) Easy Rider (+4)

85) A Night at the Opera (new to list)

86) Platoon (-3)

87) 12 Angry Men (new to list)

88 ) Bringing Up Baby (+9)

89) The Sixth Sense (new to list)

90)  Swing Time (new to list)

91) Sophie’s Choice (new to list)

92) Goodfellas (+2)

93) The French Connection (-23)

94) Pulp Fiction (+1)

95) The Last Picture Show (new to list)

96) Do the Right Thing (new to list)

97) Blade Runner (new to list)

98 ) Yankee Doodle Dandy (+2)

99) Toy Story (new to list)

100) Ben-Hur (-28 )

I have personally seen 88 of the 100.

Other fascinating facts:

-Steven Spielberg is the most represented director with five films.

-Robert DeNiro and James Stewart tie as the most represented actors (five films each).

-Faye Dunaway and Diane Keaton are the most represented actresses (three films each).

-The 1970s are the most represented decade with 1/5 of the entries (20 films).

-1982, 1976 and 1969 are the most popular years represented on the list (four films each).

-There are four silents, two animated and six musicals.

-There are 23 films that were dropped from the list (sniff): Dr. Zhivago, The Birth of a Nation, From Here to Eternity, Amadeus, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Third Man, Fantasia, Rebel Without a Cause, Stagecoach, Close Encounters of the Third King, The Manchurian Candidate, An American in Paris, Wuthering Heights, Dances with Wolves, Giant, Fargo, Mutiny on the Bounty, Frankenstein, Patton, The Jazz Singer, My Fair Lady, A Place in the Sun and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

 All of this information is courtesy of the AFI (www.afi.com).

 

A “Perfect Day” of Los Angeles Hiking

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 9:42 am

    As posted on 52perfectdays.com…

   One of the best things about Los Angeles is that among the

  skyscrapers and shopping malls and apartment buildings, there are

  beautiful areas of nature, just ready for exploring.  And what better way

  to do this than a hike?  There are a plethora of options, but I’ve made a

  day out of two of my favorites, as discussed below.

    Start your day off the right way with Runyon Canyon.  I suggest you

  enter at the gate on Vista – you’ll have a steep incline, but the hike

  down will be a lot easier.  Hike up .7 miles or so and check out a killer

  view of the Los Angeles skyline.  On a clear day you can see from

  downtown to Santa Monica, including a killer view of the Hollywood sign.

    You can either go a bit farther, doing the entire loop, or head down the

  other side.  You’ll go down a flight of makeshift stairs, but be careful

  doing so.  It’s easy to slip, even with the railing nearby.  You will be at

  Inspiration Point, which provides another great view of the city.  Follow

  the trail back down (about 2.5 miles total) and you’ll end up right where

  you started from.

    Just a note: Runyon Canyon is a dog park, so if dogs make you

  nervous, perhaps this isn’t the best option for you.  There are areas

  where the pets have to be on leashes, but there are areas where they

  can be off, too.  Most dogs are extremely friendly (and their owners,

  too), so there is really nothing to worry about, but just a heads up.

    After you’re done with Runyon Canyon, stop by a grocery store and pick

  up some food for a picnic.  A great nearby option is Bristol Farms, which

  has delicious ready-made foods like sandwiches and pasta salad.  There

  is also a Ralph’s in the vicinity as well.

    You can take Sunset Boulevard west to Will Rogers State Park.  This is

  the former family ranch and estate of the late cowboy humorist.  Have

  your picnic in the area by the polo fields.  If you’re at the park on a

  Saturday, it’s more than likely you can watch a match on the fields once

  gallivanted upon by Walt Disney, Gary Cooper and Rogers himself.

    After your lunch take the Inspiration Point trail (Los Angeles is quite

  inspiring), the most popular hike in the park, a three mile loop.  This

  also has a fabulous payoff view of the Pacific Coast and Westside of Los

  Angeles.

    After the two hikes, you will more than likely be exhausted and will be

  relieved to return to your hotel room/studio apartment/Malibu mansion. 

  But if you’re feeling inspired, head over to a Barnes & Noble and pick up

  either Day Hikes Around Los Angeles (by Robert Stone) or Hollywood

  Escapes (by Harry Medved and Bruce Akiyama).  Both are excellent

  resources for outdoor excursion ideas and can help you plan more

  perfect hiking days of your own.

 

Shopping It Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 9:38 am

    Beverly Hills is a town that caters to the rich, but you don’t have to be

  a millionaire to spend a day like one.  Put on a comfortable (and yet

  chic) pair of shoes and enjoy all of the over-the-top opulence and Old 

  Hollywood charm that 90210 has to offer.  A quick note about parking –

  while you can occasionally find street parking, a garage is usually your

  best bet.  Parking rates aren’t too painful – usually around $7.00 for the

  day – and lots are everywhere.

    Start the day off with breakfast at Nate n’ Al’s.  The delicatessen is a

  bit pricier than an average establishment of its kind, but stick with the

  basics (a shortstack of buttermilk pancakes for $6.95 or a design-your-

  own omelette from $7.95 up) and you should be able to leave without

  hurting too badly.  There are very few places in Los Angeles that can

  pull off a true blue New York vibe and Nate n’ Al’s is one of them.  The

  waitresses can come off as a bit brash, but the service is quick and

  efficient and the food is tasty.  If you don’t mind soup for breakfast,

  definitely try their matzo ball ($4.75 for a cup).

    Spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon window shopping on

  Rodeo Drive.  Popular spots include Gucci, Prada, Bulgari and Neiman

  Marcus.  Channel your inner Julia Roberts and gawk at jewels in Tiffany’s

  or the high fashion at Chanel.  Perhaps even treat yourself to a small

  something.  I treated myself to a $75 bottle of perfume at Yves Saint-

  Laurent a year ago – the bottle is still half full and I feel glamorous

  every time I put some on.

    Before leaving this neck of the woods, swing by Sprinkles and pick up a

  cupcake or two.  The tasty treats are $3.25 each and come in a variety

  of flavors.  I recommend the black-and-white and red velvet.  Flavors

  vary daily, and lines are often out the door.  The cupcakes are huge and

  the best in town.

    All of the luxury daydreaming will have you worn out and hungry, so

  head to the also chic Robertson Boulevard area.  Have lunch at the Ivy

  (make reservations in advance) and request the patio, though it can be

  difficult to snag during certain times of the day.  The famous power

  lunch spot hasn’t changed much since it’s opening in the 1980s, but the

  floral prints and tuxedo-clad waiters make you wish you were having

  lunch with a studio head.  The menu can be pricey, and the service

  encounters are a mixed bag, but the experience is worth it.

    After lunch, your shopping energy will have returned and you can

  explore the shops on Robertson.  While not technically in Beverly Hills,

  it is right nearby and definitely worth a stop.  Check out stores like

  Kitson (very popular with the “it” crowd), and Lisa Kline.  Petit Tresor is

  such a cute and hip baby shop it may make you want to have one.  Take

  a break and people watch as you enjoy your Sprinkles purchase. 

  Celebrity sightings are frequent in this area, so keep your eyes peeled.

    The Beverly Center is another stop you should make on your day of

  shopping.  The mall has a massive selection of stores, including H&M,

  Macy’s and Sephora.  There are also several restaurant options (P.F.

  Chang’s China Bistro, Grand Lux Cafe, etc.).

    If you don’t feel like dinner at the mall or a chain restaurant, stop by

  Crustacean for Euro-Asian or Grill on the Alley for a steak

    Round out your evening with a drink at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo

  Lounge.  The “Pink Palace” has stayed true to its roots.  You will never

  meet friendlier valets, and once you walk into the hotel you will feel

  transported back to the days of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.  Your drink

  in the famed Lounge will be more than you expect (around $16 for a

  cocktail), but it will also be strong enough so that you’ll get some bang

  for your bucks.  Lean back and enjoy the ambience.  The hotel also has

  a small row of shops on their bottom floor (take the stairs near the

  Lounge).  There is the Fountain Coffee Room diner there as well, but it

  closes at 7:00pm.

    You will definitely have to come back to Beverly Hills for another day

  (other sights include the Museum of Television & Radio, now the Paley

  Center for Media), but feel satisfied in your day of excess.

 

Summer Movie Preview

Filed under: Film Reviews,Uncategorized — meganclose @ 9:32 am

The season of theater-filling blockbusters is upon us. “Spider-Man 3” is already shoveling in the money, and many other sequels will follow suit this season. Below are some of the more notable members of the summer movie line-up:

May 25:
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”: In the third installment of the “Pirates” franchise, Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) team up with the thought-to-be-dead Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to save Jack (Johnny Depp). The trio sail to the Far East in an attempt to save their friend and sometimes enemy from Davy Jones’ Locker. Regardless of the actual quality of the film, this will be a fun one to see. This series of films wasn’t supposed to do spectacularly well, but “Dead Man’s Chest” is expected to be one of the top five highest grossing movies ever.

June 1:
“Mr. Brooks”: Kevin Costner stars as a “potential” serial killer being tracked by a detective (Demi Moore). It co-stars William Hurt and Dane Cooke, the latter of which will be the obligatory comic relief. I personally haven’t actually liked Costner’s performances in any of his recent “comeback” films, and I doubt that what could very well be a generic film will bring out the best in him. Theoretically this could be a great comeback film for both Costner and Moore, but I doubt it.
“Knocked Up”: Another film from the genius of director Judd Apatow. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl (of “Grey’s Anatomy”) star as a couple who has a one night stand with the dreaded result – she’s knocked up. Judging by the previews, they decide to keep the baby, and hilarity ensues. This could be a big flop, but I think it will be worth checking out. Sometimes all you really need is a good laugh.

June 8:
“Ocean’s 13”: I cannot wait for this one. I know that “Ocean’s 12” was a bit blah, but in this one the entire team returns, with the addition of Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin. Apparently Reuben (Elliott Gould) has been ripped off by Pacino, and the twelve join with former foe Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) to get revenge. The “Ocean’s” series are always so much fun to watch. Other than the obvious man candy buffet, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves immensely.

June 15:
“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”: I did not see the original “Fantastic Four,” but the title alone on this one makes me want to opt out. This team rejoins as well, and must fend off the Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd. I’d rather have another “X-Men.”
“Nancy Drew”: This confirms my thought that the film industry is trying to convince kids that actually reading stories is a bad idea. Why did they need to make a movie out of this? It stars precious Emma Roberts as Nancy, who solves a movie star’s death while on vacation with her father in Los Angeles. I guarantee that actually sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and reading “The Mystery at Magnolia Mansion” will be infinitely better.

June 22:
“Evan Almighty”: Former newsanchor Evan Baxter (from “Bruce Almighty”) is now a congressman. He is told by God (Morgan Freeman back again) that their will be a great flood and that he must build an ark. Steve Carrell is always fun, if a bit over the top and hammy a lot of the time. Hopefully this will be as humorous and successful as its predecessor, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
“A Mighty Heart”: Based on the book by Mariane Pearl, Mariane (Angelina Jolie) leads a frantic search for her kidnapped journalist husband, Daniel (Dan Futterman). This will be a hugely affecting movie regardless of how good it actually is, since we all know that the tragic outcome really was. Rumor has it that Pearl loves the way the film came out, so hopefully it will do her story and her late husband’s story justice.

June 29:
“Live Free or Die Hard”: I am a huge fan of the “Die Hard” trilogy, but I didn’t really feel like a fourth one had to be made. This time John McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization. Apparently the organization is systematically shutting down the United States. Not for long! I hope that this film is a good one. Bruce Willis needs a successful one, and I hope they do the series justice.

July 6:
“Transformers”: Everybody I know has been talking about this one ever since it was in its early stages of development, so it will be interesting to watch just to see what all of the buzz has been about. Dueling alien robot races (I’m trying to suspend by disbelief) crash on Earth and battle for control over the power source that has kept their feud going for so long. “Transformers” is a Michael Bay film, so there will be explosions and special effects galore. Make sure you sit a few rows back from the screen.

July 20:
“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”: Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as heterosexual firefighters who pretend to be gay in order to receive domestic partner benefits. This will either be hilarious or awful. It’s not usually the premise, but what you do with it. Hopefully we can see some of Sandler’s comedic talents without it lapsing into fart jokes.

July 27:
“The Simpsons Movie”: There is no way that this will be bad. Even though no one knows what the plot is, I’m sure all of the beloved Simpsons characters will make appearances. If this doesn’t explode at the box office, I don’t know what will.

August 3:
“The Bourne Ultimatum”: Matt Damon returns as spy Jason Bourne. This time he puts together the final pieces of his identity, as well as the mysterious Treadstone project. Joan Allen costars. The previous two films were fun and well-received, and hopefully the closure provided by the tying up of loose ends of the plot will satisfy.

August 10:
“Rush Hour 3”: Despite infinite delays, detective buddies Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan re-team to face off Chinese gangsters in Paris. The concept isn’t exactly original, but the two actors are always fun to watch and original director Brett Ratner returns.

August 24:
“Mr. Bean’s Holiday”: While I do love a good bit of British humor, Mr. Bean doesn’t really float my proverbial boat. However, the original the “Mr. Bean” is one of the highest grossing UK films ever, so fans will flock to this one. Bumbling, socially awkward Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) travels to the south of France on Holiday, and his video diary somehow ends up as a world premiere at Cannes.

Who needs to pay $10 to park at the beach when you can spend the same amount for some quality entertainment in airconditioning? Enjoy!

 

One of my favorite songs ever…

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganclose @ 9:19 am

  This is totally my “moving to LA” song…

 

  Wild World by Cat Stevens

  Now that I’ve lost everything to you

  You say you want to start something new

  And it’s breaking my heart you’re leaving.

  Baby I’m grieving

  But if you want to leave take good care

  Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear

  But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

  Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world

  It’s hard to get by on just a smile

  Oh baby, baby it’s a wild world

  I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

  You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do

  And it’s breaking my heart in two

  ‘Cause I never want to see you sad, girl

  Don’t be a bad girl

  But if you want to leave take good care

  Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there

  But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware

  Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world

  It’s hard to get by on just a smile

  Oh baby, baby it’s a wild world

  I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

  Baby, I love you

  But if you want to leave take good care

  Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there

  But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware

  Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world

  It’s hard to get by on just a smile

  Oh baby, baby it’s a wild world

  I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

  Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world

  It’s hard to get by on just a smile

  Oh baby, baby it’s a wild world

  I’ll always remember you like a child, girl