Saturday, May 30, 2009

LA Derby Dolls: Sirens vs. Tough Cookies - May 30, 2009


The L.A. Derby Dolls are Los Angeles' original women's quad-skate, banked track roller derby league.

Banked track roller derby is a full-contact sport played at breathtaking speeds. The slope and elevation of the track allows spectators to take in every second of the fast-paced, rough-and-tumble action!




Next Bout is tonight!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tough Cookies vs. The Sirens
At the Doll Factory, 1910 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles

Doors open at 6. Please arrive early to get your spot!










Wanna play? They are recruiting skaters! Contact freshmeat@derbydolls.com.

They are also recruiting referees and stat team members. Contact Refs@Derbydolls.com.


derbydolls.com

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Friday


Do something exciting this weekend. Do it.


Image above from the 1994 movie Natural Born Killers.

Shrimp Ceviche



This is delicious, healthy, and easy to make! It is the perfect dish to make during warm weather, as it does not involve slaving over a hot stove.

Shrimp Ceviche

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

•3 lbs small or medium raw shrimp, cleaned
•4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
•6 limes, juiced
•4 lemons, juiced
•1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
•1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
•1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and diced (optional)
•1 red onion, diced
•salt and pepper to taste
•3 tablespoons tomato sauce (or ketchup)

Preparation:

Lay out shrimp in the bottom of glass baking dish. Pour lemon and lime juice over them and refrigerate for 3 hours. The juice will "cook" the shrimp. Toss with remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one more hour or longer. Enjoy with tortilla chips, plain crackers, or as a topper for grilled fish. I recommend serving with ice cold beer or margaritas!

Shrimp Ceviche Recipe Link

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ready Betty Color For The Hair Down There

Whoa. Ready Betty Color for the Hair Down There.



betty product info:
  • betty products are specially formulated to prevent any irritations and have natural ingredients like Elder Flower, Cherry Bark, Chamomile, Comfrey, Rosemary and Aloe.
  • betty products are not tested on animals.
  • betty products do not contain Ammonia or Parabens.
  • betty products have 1-2+ applications in each kit (depending on how much betty you have).
  • betty products can lighten even the darkest hair with special no-drip formula.
  • betty customers love to use these products to touch-up roots, and men use it for facial and chest hair too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amphicar - The Car That Travels by Land and Sea

Bring back the Amphicar!
















The Amphicar was built in Germany from 1961 to 1968. Total production was 3,878 vehicles. The Amphicar is the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced. 3,046 Amphicars were imported into the United States between 1961 and 1967. The Amphicar is rear engined and uses a 4 cylinder British-built Triumph Herald motor producing 43hp. All Amphicars are convertibles, and the civilian models were originally offered in only 4 colors, Beach White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green (Aqua).

The backbone of the Amphicar's electrics is basically a Lucas 12 volt positive ground system with certain items such as the horn, lighting and switches made by other manufacturers such as Hella and Bosch.

The Amphicar has a top speed of 7mph on water and 70mph on land. Hence, it was dubbed the "Model 770". The Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The "land transmission" is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles. The "water transmission" is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphicar featuring single forward and reverse gears. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

When new the Amphicar sold for between $2,800 and $3,300, depending on the year. Later model years actually sold for less than those of early years. No 1968 model year Amphicars were directly imported into the USA. This was because of the U.S. Government's EPA and DOT regulations that went into effect beginning with 1968 model year vehicles. This caused a major financial disaster for the Amphicar Corporation since the USA represented about 90% of all Amphicar sales. The Amphicar factory in Berlin, Germany closed for good in 1968, and the remaining inventory of unused parts was eventually purchased by Hugh Gordon of Sante Fe Springs, California. Hugh's Gordon Imports remains the Amphicar owner's primary source for spare parts.

There are several other excellent sites on the internet about the History and Design of the Amphicar, including David Chapman's amphicars.com and Mike Israel's Amphicar Harbor (and anybody interested in possibly purchasing an Amphicar should definitely memorize Mike's Amphicar Buyer's FAQ). Dozens of links to other Amphicar-related sites can also be found on the Great Links page of the Club's "sister-site" amphicar.net .


Text above from amphicar.com.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Minicows!








In an effort to reduce space and feed needed to raise cows, some ranchers and farmers are now raising minicows. Minicows have smaller builds and much smaller appetites than their full-sized brethren.

Minicows generally weigh between 500-700 pounds, compared with 1,300 pounds or more for their full-sized counterparts. Miniature cows eat nearly half of what a normal-sized cows eat, yet they reportedly produce 50% to 75% of the meat of their larger-sized cousins. Minicows can be grass fed, which is much more economical than the feed that must be purchased for regular-sized cows. Minicows also reach their mature weight faster, so they could be sold for meat sooner.

Some consider minicows to be the "green" red meat, as they cause less wear and tear on the land.

Minicows are not genetically engineered to be tiny, and they're not dwarfs. They are drawn from original breeds brought to the U.S. from Europe in the 1800's that were smaller than today's bovine giants.

The big cows we are accustomed to seeing emerged in the 1950's-60's, when farmers were focused on getting more meat and didn't worry about efficient land and feed usage. As land and feed prices continue to rise and modern farmers strive for more efficiency, some are considering switching to minicows.

There are about 20,000 minicows in existence today, but the animals represent a minor portion of the 94.5 million head of cattle in the U.S. this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The minicow trend seems to be on the upswing, particularly for people running smaller farms and for those trying to run more efficient and green ways of raising cattle.

For more on this topic, click here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Barkley L. Hendricks: The Birth of Cool, Paintings 1964-2007

Barkley L. Hendricks, Misc. Tyrone (Tyrone Smith), 1976, Oil and magna on linen canvas, 72" x 50 ¼"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Vendetta, 1977, Oil, acrylic and magna on linen canvas, 36" x 48"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Bahsir (Robert Gowens), 1975, Oil on canvas, 83.5" x 66"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Icon for Fifi, 1982, Oil and combination leaf on linen canvas, 60 ¼" x 50 ¼"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Tuff Tony (detail), 1978, Oil and acrylic on linen canvas, 72" x 48"

Barkley L. Hendricks, Tequila (detail), 1978, Oil and acrylic on linen canvas, 60 ¾" x 50 ¼"

Barkley L. Hendricks, North Philly Niggah (William Corbett), 1975, Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas, 72 ½" x 48 ½"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Fela: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, 2002, Oil and variegated leaf on canvas, wooden frame, armature, 66 3/4" x 46 3/4"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Blood (Donald Formey) (detail), 1975, Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas, 72" x 50 ½"


Barkley L. Hendricks, Dr. Kool, 1973, Oil and acrylic on linen canvas, 72 ¾" x 52 ¾"


Santa Monica Museum of Art is exhibiting paintings by Barkley Hendricks in an exhibition entitled Barkley L. Hendricks: The Birth of Cool, Paintings 1964-2007. The exhibition runs through August 22, 2009.

The renowned artist’s first career retrospective highlights his paintings from 1964 to 2007. While Hendricks has worked in a variety of media throughout his career, and has explored diverse subject matter, he is best known for his striking and provocative life-sized portraits of everyday African-American people from the urban northeast. Bringing to mind American realism, pop culture, and post-modernism in a way uniquely his own, Hendricks’ pioneering contributions to African-American portraiture and conceptualism claims a compelling space somewhere between portraitists Chuck Close and Alex Katz, and African-American conceptualists David Hammons and Adrian Piper. At times cool, at times confrontational, sometimes sexually charged, and always empowering, the work reveals the artist’s keen eye for his subject’s attire, attitude, style, and point of view. Hendricks' groundbreaking body of work has both influenced and paved the way for many of today's generation of artists.

Hendricks calls his camera his “mechanical sketchbook,” as many of his paintings are realized from photographs of people he encountered in daily life.

Birth of the Cool is organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina.

The exhibition catalog includes essays by Schoonmaker; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Franklin Sirmans, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection.

Following its presentation at SFMOMA in San Francisco, the exhibition will travel to the The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. It was also shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Born in Philadelphia, the artist studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before receiving his B.F.A and M.F.A. at Yale University, where he studied with legendary photographer Walker Evans. He is currently a Professor of Art Studio at Connecticut College, in New London, Connecticut.

Birth of the Cool has been named one of Vogue Magazine's top 25 cultural events of the year.


Text above from smmoa.org; images from nasher.duke.edu.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Anti-Aging Creams with Synthetic Snake Venom



Anti-Aging Creams with Synthetic Snake Venom - Article written by Alexandra Drosu for the Los Angeles Times.


Skin-care companies such as Sonya Dakar, Syence, Borba and Planet Skincare are making lotions that contain a synthetic venom called Syn-ake. They say the products smooth wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles.

Maybe we can blame snakes for our wrinkles. After all, as the story goes, it was a snake that tempted Eve, getting her expelled from Eden and doomed to a mortal life filled with fine lines and wrinkles. So isn't it about time that the slithering serpent made amends? More than a half-dozen skin-care companies think so, incorporating a synthetic venom into their formulations to help diminish signs of aging.

The products sprang from an "aha!" connection: When poisonous snakes strike, they paralyze their prey by injecting them with a toxin through hollow fangs. And if snake venom can paralyze muscles, couldn't a targeted version work like a topical Botox?

Enter Syn-ake, a compound developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Pentapharm, to mimic a protein found in the venom of the temple viper.

"I wanted to develop a Botox alternative for my clients who complained of side effects or wanted to avoid the injections all together," says Sonya Dakar, co-founder of Sonya Dakar Skincare, who incorporated Syn-ake into her UltraLuxe-9 Cream. According to Pentapharm, the ingredient works as a neuromuscular block, preventing sodium ion uptake in the muscle and keeping it in a relaxed state. Relaxing the facial muscles can help prevent deeper expression lines, while smoothing skin in the process, says Sean Campbell, director of Syence Skin Caree, which produces Skin Venom.

Pentapharm measured the smoothing effect of a Syn-ake-infused cream compared with a placebo in a 28-day trial. According to the company, 67% of the participants using the cream reported a decrease in muscle contraction, and wrinkle size was reduced by 52%. Borba, which incorporates Syn-ake into its Advanced Aging Reverse and Tone Serum, did its own blind consumer testing study. "Seventy-nine percent of women reported they could feel the product working, tightening and firming the skin," says the company's founder, Scott-Vincent Borba.

But experts wonder whether the topical formulations penetrate deeply enough to effectively inhibit muscle contraction. After all, Botox is injected for a reason -- to deliver the compound directly into muscle tissue.

"Is the active ingredient really absorbed into the skin like Botox?" asks dermatologist Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell. "The action may just be as a good moisturizer, which does soften wrinkles."

"Skin is programmed to keep proteins out," adds Dr. Leslie Baumann, author of The Skin Type Solution. And the chemical must travel through several layers of skin and subcutaneous fat to reach and penetrate the muscle.

"The smaller the molecule and the more fat-soluble, the deeper that chemical can get into the skin," says Dr. Corey Maas, fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. After evaluating Syn-ake, Maas says the molecule appears to be small enough theoretically to penetrate; however, without more studies, he says, it's difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the ingredient.

He also points out another dilemma for skin-care companies incorporating the synthetic venom formulation. Once a compound "goes through the skin and becomes pharmacologically active working as a drug to relax muscle, it could in theory be absorbed through the body and affect other" areas, Maas says. "It's a Catch-22. It goes from the cosmaceutical-you-don't-need-FDA-approval range to a range where it needs to be studied for its safety and its efficacy."

Skin Venom's Campbell, for his part, compares Syn-ake to Retinol, the less active version of Retin-A found in many beauty products, and not regulated by the FDA - The US Food and Drug Administration.

With so many skin-care companies using Syn-ake, what sets one cream apart from another? "You can make two cakes and have the same ingredients, but it's the way in which these ingredients are put together that makes the difference," says Caroline Clapperton, founder of Planet Skincare. Planet Skincare's daily moisturizer incorporates argireline and GABA to help relax muscles, antioxidants such as vitamin A and C, and retinoic acid, which speeds up cell renewal. The creamy formulation spreads easily, comes packaged with a plastic scoop and smells like roses.



Anti-Aging Creams with Synthetic Snake Venom - Article written by Alexandra Drosu for the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cinespia Film Screenings at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery


The Cinespia film screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery have started up again. Woo hoo!

Screenings are on Saturdays and Sundays. Attendees bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, pillows, food and drink and enjoy movies within the comfort of a beautiful cemetery. Classic mid-century films and cult favorites are projected on the white marble wall of Rudolph Valentino's tomb.

Last year's line-up included many fabulous films, such as PeeWee's Big Adventure and A Clockwork Orange.

The Cinespia website only lists the film screenings for the month of May so far, which include:

May 16 - Cool Hand Luke (dammit, I missed this one)
May 23 - To Catch a Thief
May 24 - Dazed and Confused
May 30 - Sleeper

To join the mailing list, click here.

And if you plan to attend, arrive early to get a good spot.

Burning in Hell: Landlord and Property Manager Chronicles

I think there must be a special place reserved in hell for landlords and property managers. Maybe there are some good ones out there -- I just haven't had the pleasure of renting from them.

I have lived in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. In that time span I have rented five different places. Usually things are fine. You pay your rent. You pay your rent. You pay your rent. Things seem to go relatively well until you need something repaired, and then all hell breaks loose. Here is one of my horror stories.

My sister and I lived in an apartment complex called Merridy Manor in Northridge (side note: Northridge is pretty much the armpit of the Valley in Los Angeles, but whatever -- these were the college years).

One day the toilet was backed up. You know -- it wouldn't flush, and water just quietly rose and swirled to the top of the bowl where it threatened to spill over. We tried the plunger trick, but it didn't work. We called the management office and told them the toilet was backed up and that we needed it fixed right away.

A couple of hours passed by, and nobody came to fix it. I put on my bitch hat and my Scary Mary voice and called building management again and told them TO GET SOMEONE UP HERE TO FIX THIS RIGHT NOW.

A few minutes later the old and grouchy property manager showed up and headed straight for the bathroom.

My sister and I sat in the living room watching tv and waiting.

A few minutes later old man property manager yelled at full tilt from the bathroom: I FOUND THE PROBLEM!!!!

Sis and I looked at each other aghast. We did not want to know what the "problem" was, we just wanted the toilet fixed.

Seconds later old man property manager came in to our living room SWINGING A BLOODY TAMPON. He shook it at us and yelled at us: YOU CANNOT PUT THESE THINGS IN THE TOILET!!! EVER!!!

We were speechless. Dumbfounded. Appalled and defenseless.

He got the last word. We did not say a thing.


If you have any doozy landlord stories, feel free to relay in the comments section. Or just post them on your own blog and link back to me, por favor.

Or, if you are a landlord or property manager and this post angers you, feel free to do a version about awful tenants. I am sure you have many a story to tell.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sex Toy Recycling




Who doesn't have some old narsty sex toys they want to get rid of?! Don't just throw them away! Sextoyrecycling will recycle them for you!

All you have to do is seal your used sex toy in one of their Tyvek pouches, which you can obtain by emailing them, or pick one up at your local sex toy retailer. They sterilize all toys upon receipt (um, they would appreciate it if you would clean your sex toys before submitting them for collection).

You drop the pouch into one of their secure receptacles, where it will be collected and then transported to their processing center.

After undergoing thorough sterilization, toys are inspected and sorted according to their material composition. Vibrators and other mechanical toys are sent to the skilled technicians in their repair department for salvage and refurbishing. Any batteries left in the toys are removed and recycled appropriately. Silicone and rubber toys are sorted and the materials processed for reuse. Any metals, plastics, or other materials left over after the reclamation process are recycled for non-sex-toy purposes.

They then use a patent-pending process similar to that used to recycle athletic shoes into rubber surfaces for basketball courts. The rubber and silicone is ground up, mixed with a binding agent, and remolded into new toys. For sanitary and safety reasons, each toy is then coated with a layer of new silicone. The result is a sex toy made of at least 95% post-consumer materials.

For each sex toy you submit for recycling, you will receive a voucher good for $5 toward the purchase of any product in their recycled sex toy line. You can redeem the vouchers at your local sex toy retailer, or at their online store (coming soon!) using the special code you recieve.

For more info, click on this link: sextoyrecycling.com.