Here's a few things I've encountered/discovered during my blogging silence:
Urban Red Bull We went on a mini-vacation this past weekend. We were supposed to go to San Francisco but the rain and cold scared us off. (Good thing - there was snow on Mt. Tam Friday). So instead, we visited SoCal like tourists and got a cheap room via Hotwire.com in Long Beach. On Sunday morning, we had breakfast at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, and the menu featured a new energy drink: Pit Bull. We ordered one and shared it. I can't vouch for the jolt (I'd already had about six cups of coffee), but it tasted pretty good, lacking that chemical taste of Red Bull or Monster. You can get it at Von's and Albertson's here in SoCal, and show people that your down.
Guinea Pigs! On Saturday, we went to the Getty Museum. We were a little disappointed that more of the garden was not in bloom. I was also a little bummed that their Classical and Ancient Near Eastern collections are now at the new/old site in Malibu. But that aside, the views from the site on a stormy day were absolutely stunning, and the art was amazing as always. We did have one wonderful discovery. Our daughter Katie has a pet guinea pig, and I was commenting to her that it is a shame that guinea pigs have not featured more prominently in the Western artistic tradition. About five minutes later, she excitedly came up to me and said, "Dad! We've found the guinea pigs!" She led me to a large seventeenth century painting by Rubens and Brueghel, "The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus", and sure enough, there were two guinea pigs sharing a lettuce leaf in the foreground of the painting. Go take a look for yourself.
Random Sightings Also at the Getty, Katie thought we saw K-Fed, Britney Spears (estranged?) husband. I guess if she cut off the credit cards he can't afford to run with strippers in Vegas any more, or perhaps all the haterzz of his hip-hop joints have prompted him to look beyond Brazilian thong wearer's for inspiration for his work... On Sunday afternoon, we walked around the uber-mall of LA - the Beverly Center. We saw the usual suspects: packs of wealthy Beverly Hills Persian girls, cruising gay men, suburban gawkers (whenever we walked by a reflective surface) and a number of purse dogs. But then completely unexpectedly, we saw a hyperstylish couple conveying their purse dog around in a baby stroller!... On Sunday night, we had dinner at The Stand (which I reviewed here). Great dogs, and we sat next to a father/son duo of character actors - you know, the kind you vaguely recognize but can't pin down. I had a knish for the first time, and I'll just say that a knish ain't no empanada.