Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh Palin...

There are times when I think about how Americans who voted for W are kicking themselves in the ass right now. There are times when it makes me shudder to think that these same Americans want to vote for Palin. Well, Palin certainly has the incoherent ramblings of W down pat. And to think that she's a pageant girl. I would think that she'd be better at handling questions from the media.

Some examples of her most recent ramblings during her interview with Katie Couric:

On the bailout:
" . . . where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh -- it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing, but 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."

On promoting a surge troop to Afghanistan:
"[A surge] will lead us to victory there, as it has proven to have done in Iraq." - Yeah, because we were so successful in Iraq. Uh huh.

On Alaska's proximity to Russia:
"We have trade missions back and forth. We, we do, it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to, to our state."

As of now, I can just shake my head and wait for election day. Hopefully people will think before they vote this time around.


The Demise of Washington Mutual

About a month ago, news of WaMu's demise brewed. I was slightly alarmed since I bank with them. Then news about Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy blew up over a week ago. Wachovia was taken over by Regions Bank. Morgan Stanley & Goldman Sachs are in trouble. In fact, the U.S. banking system looks like it's about to collapse bringing to mind the memory that was the Great Depression.

Today, I learned that WaMu was taken over by J.P. Morgan. WaMu was already struggling for a while due to the mortgage crisis. News about Lehman's prompted WaMu's customers to pull out about $16 billion of deposits. Although this only represents about 9% of the bank's assets, it was enough to worsen their already struggling state. J.P. Morgan's bailout will make the transition pretty seamless to WaMu's customers but it only fuels the fear that we the worst is yet to come.

WaMu's demise is currently the largest bank bust in the history of the U.S. That in itself is a lot to ponder. Are we in such a state of corporate greed that banks are failing left and right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nic's Martini Lounge

Location: Beverly Hills
Food: 1/5 - we only had the fries but they were too fat and the sauce had no flavor
Drinks: 5/5
Service: 4.5/5 - they need another waitress for the lounge area
Ambiance: 4/5
Price: $$$
Overall: 4.5/5

Best decision made during the night was to head to Nic's Martini Lounge from The Tower Bar. Located in Beverly Hills, I braced myself for snootiness. Again, pleasantly surprised.

The bar area was packed when we arrived (around 10:30) and music filled the whole place. There was a jazz ensemble playing which explains the $5 cover charge. There were a few seats available but they all had reserved signs so JJ and I asked the host for a table in the lounge area because we can hardly squeeze in to get our drinks.

We were seated in about 15 minutes and handed their extensive drink menu. They probably have a martini list that equals Lola's which is quite impressive. Even more impressive are the drinks themselves. Way better than Lola's. Granted the drinks are not that strong, but the flavor combinations were just spot on. My recommendations for drinks are From Russia with Love and Maui Wowie.

I guess the best thing about Nic's is their extensive drink menu and plentiful eye candy. JJ and I both agree that of all the places we've been, Nic's has the best looking clientele.

Tower Bar

Location: Sunset Tower Hotel, West Hollywood
Food: N/A
Drinks: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 5/5
Price: $$$
Overall: 4.5/5

This is the place to go for a great date. Unfortunately for JJ and I, neither of us had one. We came here for a great time and great drinks and we did, but it wasn't what we were expecting.

This place is probably the most adult-oriented place on the Sunset Strip. Everything was impeccable, from the service to the music. I'd definitely come back with a date.

**Note: JJ and I left early because we felt so out of place. There were couples everywhere. We should've realized it was a date spot and not a party spot. Who would've thought that there was a place on the Sunset Strip that wasn't somewhere you'd necessarily party?

Cameo Bar

Location: Viceroy Hotel, Santa Monica
Food: N/A - unless you count a bite and a half of the crab balls, then 2/5
Drinks: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Price: $$$
Overall: 4/5

JJ and I compiled a list of places to go about a week ago. After reading the reveiws on Yelp, we decided to start with Cameo Bar at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. As I usually don't hang out in the Santa Monica area, I had my reservations. I also knew some people that frequent the Viceroy and that really didn't help either.

Lucky for me, I was pleasantly surprised. JJ and I arrived a little early so we avoided any lines. We also found seats in the bar area, another pleasant surprise. The place had a pretty good vibe. It wasn't too crowded and it wasn't empty either. The pool area had lots of seating available, especially for a small hotel. They have 3 cabanas available but there was a private event that night. The people were not bad, either. Some were a little questionable but I'd say more than half looked better than average. It's a pretty cool place to hang out and people-watch. JJ and I will probably come back.

**Note: There was a review on Yelp about eye contact and Cameo Bar. Apparently, one doesn't even have to make eye contact to be engaged in a conversation here. JJ and I were happily talking trash about what some people were wearing (I really wish I had my camera), when these two guys sort of just snaked their way in to our conversation. Not that I'm complaining, they were extremely entertaining. I just wish they had a smoother way of doing it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cooper Johnson

Who would have ever guessed that I'm related to this little guy? Isn't he just the most precious thing? I met him for the first time when I visited bucolic San Luis Obispo this past weekend. His dad (my cousin) just came back after a 6-month stint in Afghanistan.

Here's my mom playing with him. My dog, Deuce, is in the background. He had the time of his life running around the open fields. I think he must've thought he died and went to doggie heaven. Lol.

Here I am enjoying one on one time with Cooper. What a cutie (me and him both, hahaha).

Thanks again to the Johnson family for accommodating us. We had a great time!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who's Your Daddy? HA!


Congrats to my boys for winning a blowout game this weekend. No. 1 USC routed No. 5 Ohio State 35-3. USC is now the leading contender for a BCS title bid.

The new quarterback, Mark Sanchez, seems to show promise. This is his biggest game so far and he seems to play well under pressure. He definitely has the arm and the athleticism. Time will tell if he's a smart player too.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Mysterious Benedict Society

I've always liked a good mystery and I've always enjoyed puzzles. When I picked up New Moon last week, the cover of The Mysterious Benedict Society caught my eye. It was recommended by the staff at the West LA Barnes & Noble and what's more it incorporates puzzles into its story line. Although the book is originally intended for children, I ended up purchasing it.

The premise of the book is quite simple (after all, it is intended for children), four children are recruited on a mission to stop a man from destroying the world by means of the television. These four children each have their own special abilities and each have something to contribute to the team. Although each of them have their own shortcomings, the success of the mission lies in their ability to come together as a team. Like I said, pretty straightforward premise.

The way the story is woven, however, is a different story. The reader is taken through puzzles, riddles and other twists and turns. Puzzles and riddles tests these kids abilities as well as the readers. The storytelling is also quite compelling. The emotions of the kids are quite raw, drawing the reader's sympathy. Overall, a great read...quite a departure from the recent books I've just read.