"So what's it gonna take? Silver shadow believer..." -Shiny Toy Guns

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pick a Pepper! Design one to help fight Childhood Cancer.

With all that's happening in the family and my out of town adventures, I never got a chance to write about this... Last week, I went out to dinner at Chili's restaurant, with my parents. My parents are divorced, but are still friends; I know- I am the luckiest kid from a broken home, ever! We find Chili's delicious; it's probably our favorite chain restaurant and has TV's for my sports fanatic Papa.
While sitting there I noticed many a colorful pepper plastered all over the walls. Coloring contest? I am totally in. (Probably am too old to compete, but still want to color one.) Turns out, it's the “Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer” campaign (http://www.creatapepper.com/) and all ages are welcome to participate. The whole month of September (which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month), people dining at Chili's can color a pepper to be displayed in the restaurant, and make a donation to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
On September 24th, this Monday, 100% of all proceeds from sales made at Chili's restaurant go towards finding a cure for childhood cancer. Why not eat there on a day where your money is working towards supporting kids? I created mine and donated while dining at the restaurant. It was very simple; they just added it to our bill. But, anyone can create one online at the above website- no purchase necessary. They pick three online winners per week who will receive a $25 gift certificate and the 28th is their last drawing. I just made one online (Pepper code: 131433) and it's awesome but, far less artistic then the real deal, pictured above. The website also includes pictures of peppers colored by celebrities. If you miss the boat however, donate to St. Jude anyway, it is a wonderful organization.
To learn more about St. Jude and the discoveries made that have, "changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases." Please visit: http://www.stjude.org/

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I ♥ Travis ♪

As most of my friends know, I love Travis Barker. I am well aware that he is married and has kids with a beautiful woman, yet I still love Travis Barker. I think he is one of the greatest drummers of all time, he's got a totally rad clothing line, and something about the mohawk and all the tattoos- I just love him. The show, Meet the Barkers was my all time favorite reality TV series but, my admiration for him has endured since Blink 182, through The Transplants, and now to +44. Have you checked out his new Soulja Boy (crank that) Remix? It’s amazing.
Every time, I go to LA I think to myself, “I hope I see Travis Barker.” Well, this time I finally did.
We went for breakfast to a little restaurant called Quality, on 3rd. Some of the best biscuits and jam I have ever had, and being a Southerner’s daughter that is a huge statement. On our way back to the car, we passed a bench with Famous Stars and Straps “F” stickers all over it. As I blurted out, “I love LA, his stickers are everywhere,” I realized we were standing in front of the Famous store. In a hurry to catch our plane we continued back to the car. My brain said, “Ok you don’t have any money to spend; you don’t really need to go in there.” But my intuition said, “I really want to go in there, buy some stuff, and hopefully he will be in there.”
As we pulled away, I turned to my friend who was a longtime former LA resident and asked, “Do these celebrities ever actually visit their stores?”
“Yes, all the time,” she said.
At that moment the regret of having passed up a great opportunity sat in the pit of my stomach. “Well, if we have time after we pack our stuff, do you think we can go back?” I asked.
Not a second later, my friend says, “Wait! Was that him right there?” Sure enough we pull back in the front of the store and there he is in a supped up classic convertible. He gets out of the car. I am dieing, shaking, can barely talk; I am this excited. Crazy- silly- totally lame; I don’t care- absolutely love him.
We find a place to park and go in. By the time we did he was no where on the floor. But, the store is totally awesome with wall to wall exclusives. It’s called, The Fast Life, and it’s on 3rd Street, in Los Angeles. Check it out. Seeming how it’s one my favorite brands, I couldn’t help but shop around. As I tried on a hoody in the dressing room, I just knew Trav was probably in the back some place. Oh be still my beating heart. I bought the sweatshirt and we left in time to make our flight. A usual response upon hearing this story is, “But, you didn’t meet him?” No, unfortunately I haven’t yet, haters. Just let me have this.
It was the most thrilling part of the trip. The only thing that comes even remotely close to feeling that good, was crashing a private birthday party at a Thai restaurant while doing the salsa with one of the most interesting individuals I have ever met. But, that my friends, is a whole other story; it’s actually a story, within a story, within one, meant for another time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

JT, One of Pop Music's Greatest Gifts

Two days ago, I went to see Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex/Love Sounds Concert. I know, I know, it poses the question: "Justin Timberlake?"
Truth be known, I am a rocker at heart and besides the queen herself (Madonna), pop music is never my first choice. I am not his biggest fan but, I do love his latest CD. My best friend however is the biggest JT fan in the world so, when she asked me to go, my initial reaction was, "do I really want to spend the money to see JT in concert?" After throwing around the idea, I finally just gave in. My exact words to her were, "Okay, I will go. Your reaction alone will be worth the money."
Oh, and it was. She was super excited, probably one of the most pumped I have ever seen her; next to going to Vegas or winning a lawsuit. But, the show ultimately sold its self, and was well worth the money. The concert was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I really liked the setup; the stage was in the center of the stadium and had four wings to it, which made the show visible from every angle. It helped that we had awesome seats; we were very close. Instead of JT appearing to be about 2 inches tall, he was more like 12 inches; a very nice change compared to other shows I have been to.
He was amazing; without a doubt the best dancer I have ever seen. Those white sneakers were flying all over the place. I refer to him as the new “Michael Jackson.” What MJ was to the 80's, JT is to NOW. Not only was he wrecking shop on stage but his dancers and back up singers were as well. Did I mention Timbaland was there? A collaboration of his phenomenal freestyle jams that included a shot out to the late and great Aaliyah, was our gift during the intermission. Later he performed, Sexy Back with JT.
Good Charlotte opened for Justin; I found them to be an interesting choice. I appreciate JT's ability to combine pop, with rock, with hip-hop. Most of the music produced these days is a mix of more than one genre, anyway. Justin closed with his version of California Love; a nice little tribute to Tupac. It got the crowd pretty rowdy, as it is the CA hip-hop anthem. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, a song very near and dear to my heart was played while JT and all the performers came out to take their final bow. All in all, I was quite impressed with the show. I suggest everyone go see him, even if you aren’t a fan.
Am I a JT fan, now? You can bet your ass I am. I even considered buying an extremely over-priced “Timberlake” T-shirt.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nursing Homes- Nothing That "Homey" About Them, Homie.

WARNING: This piece is highly opinionated.
Let me tell you a little story...
Over the weekend an 82 year old little old lady was admitted to the hospital. She had trouble breathing and needed oxygen. She was supposed to be released a few days following but was considered "at-risk" and needed round the clock attention. Her insurance covered her to go to a nursing home; where she could be monitored 24 hours a day. By the way, the word "nursing home" to an elderly person who is still mentally capable, is code for "institution" or "dooms day." After spending some time in one, I now can see why.
The food looked like slop on a plate, you have to share a room with others- sometimes in far worse condition than yourself, there are moans and groans from all corners, you aren't free to come and go as you please- or do anything as you please, for that matter. It's dingy, smelly, and just plain depressing as all hell. Don't get me wrong, the nurses did care, but the administration people were complete sharks. They were very condescending and watched our interactions closely, paying attention for any little slip up. Their questions seemed to be doubled-edged swords. For instance, the phrase, "she needs help with that" could be easily misconstrued by them to mean, "She can't take care of herself." This is where the riddles begin, "What do you mean she needs help, are you saying that your grandmother is incompetent?" No, I am saying she's fucking old and really scared and could use some assistance, asshole!
I have a new found belief that once considered mentally or physically incapable you have about as good a chance of getting out of that system as you do the prison system. I felt like her lawyer a lot of the time defending her, trying to be on top of what she was signing, expressing time and time again to "the sharks" that this was not the place for her and that she was not ready for such nursing, reassuring her that I would "get her out"- by far the longest 48 hours I've spent in a long time.
Why is it, we forget about our elderly? Did they not pave the way for generations to follow? Did they not pay their dues? It makes me positively sick that there isn't more that can be done. Oh but there is, right? A 24 hour nurse is a possibility and yet costs a fortune; not everyone can afford such special treatment.
It broke my heart to see those people in there. I cried myself to sleep at the thought of her spending one single night there, let alone the rest of her life. I want to be clear here; by no means am I saying my grandma is too good for such a place- but in a way isn't everyone’s grandparents? Why can't these facilities be nicer? Less desolate and hopeless?
I got "old skinny" out this time, we won our case, but will we be able to prove her competence again later down the road. Tough to say. For now we've made other arrangements and hopefully we can get her care straightened out, so that she never has to go back to a place like that. I'm sure there are a few good ones out there. I think most nurses do their jobs and some even go the extra mile; I believe nursing to be one of the most commendable jobs on the planet. My rant is not only in defense of the patients in these homes but, in the staff's as well- having to work in such conditions. I know one thing for certain, I would never want to live, work, or even visit a place like the one I just did, ever again.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Union Massacre, Art & Benefit Show

Tonight, Friday the 7th at 8pm, The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma will be hosting the Union Massacre, a benefit show and art auction. The Board of Directors at the Phoenix has approved the constructing of a large Art Wall. It will be a place where street artists can express themselves freely. The show is honor of this, and proceeds go towards raising money to pay for the materials it takes to build it. One giant step for Petaluma art, and a step for Graffiti art everywhere, I'd say.
For a donation of $8 at the door you will enjoy musical performances by: TOP.R with DJ Max Kane of 4OnePhonics, Steel Trap, One In The Chamber, Zap Syndicate, Real Talk, The Urban Apache Breakerz, DJ Defie, and DJ Beset. Artists creating live paintings include: Alex Pardee, Wesker, Sorrow, and Jeb One. A few of the artists' pieces will be available for sale and a little birdie told me at reasonable prices. It's always a great idea to purchase art that you love; especially, before the artist hits it big and you can't afford it anymore. Having seen the works of a few of them, it's safe to say fame is only a matter of time.
So whatever you were going to do tonight- scratch that. Instead come listen to some music, buy some art, watch a few break dancers bust a move and some extremely talented artists paint. Come down and support the local arts and the building of a very large open canvas for street artists to beautify. Pink Floyd sang it best when they sang, "All in all, it's just another brick in the wall," and we will build it together by contributing to this show.