Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indio, CA

So, I have a confession. In my younger days (no, they didn't call me Delta Dawn) I got sucked into buying a timeshare. After a while, I wasn't sure it was such a great idea. I liked the properties at which I stayed, and initially I didn't have much of a problem finding availability. Maybe I'm a bit too snobbish, but most of my problem was the other owners - they were a bit trashy.

A while ago I decided I would stay in Palm Springs over Christmas to be near my family. There are two main resorts in my program in the Palm Springs area - one downtown and one way out in Indio. Now, what I know about Indio is that kids that are kicked out of Palm Springs High went to Indio High. Still, from the pictures on the website, the Indio resort looked a lot nicer than the Palm Springs resort, so I reserved there.




I drove into the resort, which seems like it is way off in the boonies (really less than 5 minutes from major shopping centers), and saw the parking lot filled with Lexuses (Lexi?), Mercedeses (Mercedi?) and even a Bently! I checked in with the nicest lady and then headed for my condo, passing a pond/river that surrounds the whole property. I entered my unit and, from the front door, I could see the large private balcony off the living room. I stepped outside and was greeted by a spectacular view of the river, which widened just outside my building to allow room for an island on which there were barbecues and picnic tables. To my left and right were Jacuzzis. Back out the front door, a great view of the 18th fairway of Terra Lago.

Wandering around the property I found beauty all around. I found heated pools and a "lazy river," fountains shooting water three stories into the air for kids to run through, a gym for those over 18 years of age, a game room with foosball, billiards, table tennis and video games. Yes, Downtown Palm Springs is quite a trip from Indio, but to be honest, I never felt a real need to drive all the way there. Everything I needed was either on the property or within a 5 minute drive of the resort.

Interestingly, prior to making the reservation I was concerned about the noise at the resort. I read several reviews where prior guests complained that the walls were thin enough to allow neighbors' conversations to drift in and disturb them. Next door to my unit was a family with 3 children between the ages of 7 and 12. When I could see them, they were very active and rambunctious. However, whenever I was inside my condo, I only heard the noise I made.

Indio has been reborn in my mind. No longer is it the home of "continuation school," but a beautiful and peaceful place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Don't forget to check out the e-book at
Hopefully I'll have a novella available by January! Tell a friend!
And don't forget to write a review on Smashwords and/or

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So I went to Crate and Barrel to look for some champagne flutes, but I didn't find the kind I was looking for. However, on my way back out there was this cute little woman all dressed up like a barista. As I was walking by, she asked if I wanted an espresso or cappuccino. My instinct was to so, "No, thank you," but for some reason I said, "Sure!"

She grabbed this tiny little plastic cup thingy and dropped it in the top of this machine. I immediately thought of the Keurig machine I have at home, so I said, "Oh, so it's like one of those K-cups." Yeah, open mouth, insert foot (how dare I compare her machine with a Keurig!) Now, here's the thing. On the side of the machine there was this thing that looked like a thermos, into which she poured a little milk. She pushed a button on the thermos and a button on the main device. Coffee began pouring into the cup. It wasn't much coffee, but it was coffee. Then she pulled the thermos thingy off the side and poured hot, whipped milk into the coffee and handed the cup to me.

I took a sip.

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of coffee. Everyone kept telling me, "Oh, try this coffee, or that one, or the other one. You'll like this one." My response: "I DON'T LIKE COFFEE!" For some bizarre reason everyone always said, "Oh, but you'll like this one. You can hardly taste the coffee!" Now, if I can hardly taste the coffee, then why am I going to drink the coffee?

Eventually my mom wore me down and found a coffee that I like - the Keurig. Specifically one that tastes pretty much like hot chocolate. So I would drink a cup when I visit Mom. She later got me a Keurig machine for Christmas, and I use it at home occasionally, still thinking, "Why do I drink coffee if what I really like about it is the fact that it tastes like hot chocolate?" But it became a habit, and I would make coffee in my Keurig, making sure to add like a quart of milk and a cup of sugar to each mug of coffee the thing would dispense for me.

But here I was in Crate and Barrel, in front of this cute little lady named Jennifer, a vendor from Nespresso, trying to sell me a $350 coffee machine. I took a sip of the sugarless coffee.

It was actually good. She told me about their special, and the cost of each cup of coffee, and little perks she could throw in if I bought during the holiday season. She told me all about how the machine works, and how to care for it. I thanked her and walked out of the store, thinking about that cup of coffee.

Twenty minutes later I was loading my new Nespresso in the trunk of my car. At home I cleaned off the counter, washed the new machine (I never use anything new, not even clothes, without first washing it) and set out to make a cup of cappuccino. But out of curiosity, I decided to toss a tiny bit of cocoa into the milk.

Okay, so the extra bitterness of the cocoa forced me to put a tiny bit of sugar into the mix, but nothing compared to what I normally put in. Then a little later I had another idea. I put a half cup of milk into the thermos, a small bit of cocoa and a small bit of sugar. I pushed the button and waited a minute. When the machine was done, I poured myself an excellent cup of homemade hot cocoa. No fuss, no mess.

Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leftover Cuties

Okay, so I was at the Santa Monica Place today wandering around in the rain and just generally getting into the Christmas spirit, which had been lacking until very recently, probably due to the non-existent Global Warming from which we are (not) suffering, when I stumbled across some Leftover Cuties playing in the center of the mall.

I had never heard of them, but I liked their sound, so I bought a CD from them and put my name on their mailing list. After getting home I looked them up on FaceBook and iTunes. Turns out they did the song that is the theme for "The Big C."

As you can probably tell from the picture, they are a bit jazzy with an old-school (40s?) quality. I think it's great for the Christmas songs I heard. I highly recommend at least checking them out

Leftover Cuties can be found on Facebook at You can also follow them on Twitter at Their homepage is

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guns on Amtrak

Ok, what the hell? All the news programs I've seen in the last two days have been talking about this, and in my opinion, this is the biggest non-news item ever.


Is allowing passengers.

To take guns onto their trains.


Oh ... it has to be an unloaded gun, checked into the baggage compartment, and you have to call the train station in advance to let them know you'll be checking the gun!

That's basically like shipping the gun. You're not allowing the passengers to take guns on the train ... you're allowing them to transport their property!

I don't care what the hell you check into the baggage compartment, to be honest. I like to ride the train between cities in Southern California (great way to travel without the headache of having to drive or go through airport security). I can get on an Amtrak train by walking up to an Amtrak pseudo-ATM, stick in my credit card, and tell it where I want to go. If I'm not checking bags, the first Amtrak person I see is the conductor who takes my ticket once I'm on the train!

So does it matter what bags are checked? No. I am not afraid that an honest, law abiding citizen who lets Amtrak know, "Hey, I'm going to bring an unloaded gun to check into the baggage compartment," is going to go get the gun mid-trip and rob the train Jesse James style. And it's not like they're going to get it, hijack the train, and ram it into a building.

The person who is going to try something stupid and illegal is the one to takes a loaded gun in his carry-on. And if they're planning on doing something, they're not going to call in advance. AND since there's no security check at train stations, by the time the weapon is detected, it will be too late.

So why the heck are do many news agencies have their undies in a knot over the 'new' Amtrak rules?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Lights

Christmas is a scant 12 days away. Wow ... I hadn't even thought of that until this very moment ... 12 days before Christmas! No, it's not the 12 days of Christmas ... that's actually the 12 days between the 25th of this month and the 5th of January (with Epiphany being celebrated on the 6th).

Ok, no ... that's not what I was going to blog about. It is almost Christmas, but I haven't really felt the spirit yet. I'm not sure why ... quite possibly because it's like 80 degrees in SoCal. Eeek. Yeah, global warming is not real. Hahaha. So I've wanted to do something to get into the Christmas spirit:

1. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills has their Christmas lights up. There's actually a complete Santa sleigh flying over the intersection of Wilshire and Beverly. But the cutest thing is the fountain at the foot of the stairs coming down from the court on Rodeo down to Wilshire Blvd. There are some polar bears and I think some penguins, wearing scarves! They're pretty cute. And at the top of the stairs there is a beautiful Christmas tree.

2. The Venice canals in Venice Beach is a cute neighborhood with a relatively decent proportion of decorated houses.

3. Long Beach has a parade of decorated boats (the Harbor Lights Christmas Cruise) through the 28th. Call 562.799.7000 for reservations.

Just a few ideas!

Don't forget to check out the e-book at
Hopefully I'll have a novella available by January! Tell a friend!
And don't forget to write a review on Smashwords and/or Amazon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Movies and Life

Too many things to do, and not enough time. But I've always wanted to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it happens to be on USA right now, so I'm watching it. Good for getting in the Christmas spirit, you know ... such a 'peace on earth' storyline. anyway, I noticed that, well, it isn't such a great movie. Has Spielberg lost his touch? Then again, I was watching the FIRST one, and that, TOO, wasn't such a great movie. Makes me wonder if I'm losing my ability to like movies...? Perhaps as a child I didn't see the plot holes glaring in my face.

So I kept watching, and noticed that, yeah, if I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a mo', the movie got better. I've been a bit bitter lately, making me hypercritical, but I just noticed that, when I am happy, and I let myself loose a bit, then I can just enjoy the ride.

Think I need to do that with life, too. Let go, allow myself the freedom to just enjoy the ride, even if it's taking turns I didn't expect ... or want. Just like at Disneyland, the unexpected turns can be more fun than the expected ones.

Don't forget to check out the e-book at
Hopefully I'll have a novella available by January! Tell a friend!
And don't forget to write a review on Smashwords and/or

Friday, December 10, 2010

e-Book release

Ok, so I gotta say it...I finally converted one of my screenplays into a format SmashWords can meat-grind into an e-Book. I'm kinda excited, but ... well, download it, read it, and let me know what you think!

Abu Muzahim is a British telecommunications executive working in Syria. While heading home for his son's graduation, he is mistakenly identified by American troops as a wanted terrorist. Extraordinary rendition ensues, leaving his loved ones with no clue to his predicament, and au...thorities with a political and bureaucratic mess to clean up once the mistake is discovered.

Download for free with Coupon Code AU55F through January 10, 2011!

Been Away ...

Okay, so I have to get back to posting. It's been like 2 1/2 months, and that's just a big no-no.

At first it was because I went on a trip, and of course on vacation I wasn't about to be going online to blog. Then I got some bad news and was a bit sour for a few weeks. Then it just compounded into "Well, now I have to write about not writing!"

That still only occupied the first 3 to 4 weeks of not writing. After that I sorta gave up. Now I want to slap myself for letting it go.

Okay, enough cryptic self deprication. I'll start posting again as of today.

RIP Greg Giraldo

I don't know why I didn't post this. It was dated 9/30. :\

Greg Giraldo passed away yesterday. Very sad for two reasons:

1) he was a great comedian.

2) he died of an overdose...