Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hello Stranger @ the echo this friday

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
As seen in Daily Candy....
Hello Stranger
What: Club Underground features electro-pop stadium rock from this band-on-the-verge.
Why: Wassup, new wavers.
When: Fri., 10 p.m.
Where: The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., b/t Glendale Blvd. & Lemoyne St., Echo Park (213-413-8200).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

See you in Miami!

Heather and I leave for the Aqua Art Fair on Sunday. Our crate, filled with 300 pounds of artwork, was picked up on Monday. My best friend Chuck, of Hart Built Construction, built this nifty item out of 1x1s and sheet metal. It fit all the work perfectly. We'll know next week if it gets the job done, or is just a pretty face! Thanks Chuck!!! If you're coming to the art fairs, visit us at room 221 of the Aqua Hotel.

Buy this Album!

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
My friend Hi Fidel, aka Frohawk Two Feathers, just put out a new album, the first in a long time. It's amazing. Check it out on iTunes Music Store or buy it at F5 Records.

12/1/07 Update: "Manther", track 6 is right up there is Dr. Octagon's "Halfsharkalligatorhalfman" . I'm loving this album more and more!

The World's Smallest Car

I want one!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A song for a river

A funny thing happened one day at the Los Angeles River.

Los Angeles punk band No Age did the unthinkable, play an impromptu concert on the banks of the Los Angeles River on a saturday afternoon. No permits, no security, no shit! Though it lasted only 4 songs before the Rangers showed up, this event was described by those who were there as history making. If you weren't one of the 70 or so people to witness this event, the power of Youtube is the next best thing:

Part one: gathering and music…

Part two: more music…

Part three: busted…'s review of the show by Joshua Pressman
Review by Cali at Teenage Tear Drops
Arthur Mag's Review

Are you the eco-grinch?

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
It's true, I am the eco-geek in my family, plotting to use Christmas gifts as a way of evagelizing my environmental, ecological and sustainable beliefs. And I'm not alone! Today's NY Times has an article describing those of us who care passionately about the environment and the conflict that can arise with members of the family.

"The question that an increasing number of families face is whether the proselytizing green member of the clan adds spice to the proceeding, like, say, a cup of whiskey in a bowl of eggnog, or an explosive element, like that same cup of whiskey tossed into the fire on Christmas morning."

If you find a CFL bulb in your stocking or mistake a carbon credit in an envelope for a gift card, you'll have the green grinch to thank. Here's some suggestions for shopping green this holiday season....

Strategic Consumption: How to Change the World with What You Buy, by Alex Steffen on Gift Certificates: Give a microloan on behalf of someone to "help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence." The loan gets paid back, and the recipient can reloan it or cash it out. It's like a sustainable savings bond! seeks to promote Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) by selling everything from organic wool mittens to solar panels.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Next Year, Cook a Heritage Turkey

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
Local Harvest, a website connecting local farmers with the public also offers consumers a source for heritage turkeys. It wasn't long ago that turkeys came in many varieties, from Narragansetts to Royal Palms, White Midgets and Beltsville Small Whites. After reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I am sold on the idea of supporting small local farmers while consuming healthy food. Next year, we'll be serving a heritage turkey at our Thanksgiving Table.

Are you a team buyer?

I was listening to Marketplace today and just heard about eSwarm, a website that allows individuals to gather their purchasing power to purchase goods at deep discount directly from producers. I just signed up, though I'm not sure what I want to use it for yet. Toilet paper? Printer Ink? Ski Lift Tickets? I think it's an amazing idea. I wanted to organize friends to buy bulk items, and this site takes that idea to the extreme.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What's Merck hiding?

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
Today's New York Times has a story about Zetia and Vytorin, 2 drugs produced by Merck. Merck performed a clinical trial of the drugs TWO YEARS AGO, and has yet to release the results of the trial. Hmm, what's Merck hiding? And why are they changing the “primary endpoint” of the trial? Clinical trials run by drug manufacturers must stand up to peer review, and must be released in a timely manner, regardless of the outcome. By not releasing the full results of the trial, Merck is providing a service to shareholders, not patients. My parents are on heart medication of some sort, and I know many others who are as well. With over $4 billion in sales of these drugs, Merck has a large cash cow to protect. My parents' health is my priority. I hope their cardiologists know what they are doing.

Time to buy bank stocks?

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
This morning, The Sun's Financial Diary arrived in my inbox with an article discussing the beaten down banking sector. Turns out the dividends of those stocks have risen as their share price has dropped. Citigroup, which is down almost 40% YTD has increased their dividend 6.8%. I'm thinking that the contrarian thing to do is buy some bank stocks right now. At the very least, could Citigroup be a takeover candidate in it's weakened state? Its P/E of 7.5 looks great as well! I'm no expert, but isn't this what investors are supposed to do, buy when everyone is selling?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How bacteria can replace carbon

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
I was listening to NPR Science Friday and overheard an amazing discovery. Scientists at Penn State were able to use bacteria to convert biomass (sewage, old food, anything organic) into hydrogen, at 90% efficiency. If this process can be scaled up, you could use 5% of our national electricity consumption to create enough hydrogen to fuel our entire transportation sector. Every car, truck train and plane! All with a little bacteria and leftovers! Someone in industry please invest in this technology!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are we outraged yet?

From The Guardian Unlimited: A judge in Saudi Arabia has ordered a victim of gang rape to receive 200 lashes - more than double her original sentence for being alone with a man who was not a relative - after she appealed against the lenient sentences given to the men who attacked her. He also jailed her for six months.

This is a country we consider an ally to the U.S. With friends like these....

Saving money and energy

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
Here's a simple, easy and inexpensive way to save energy. I just replaced the burnt out floodlights around my house with GE CFL Floodlights that use 1/3 the energy of standard floodlights, and last 7 years! You can get a 3 pack of them at for $14.00. By the time I have to replace these, the cost of LED lights should be reasonable enough to switch to. Right now, one LED floodlight costs over $50.00.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mini Appetizers for Mini Clubman

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
On tuesday, I attended a party in celebration of the new Mini Clubman. The car looks sweet, a bit longer than the old mini, with cargo doors that swing open. The leather seats were plush, with comfortable back seats to boot! The appetizers were also Mini: mini cheeseburgers, sushi and pizzas tasted amazing. Also really enjoyed a performance by Jamie Lidell, an amazing one person band who samples his voice, layering beat boxing and singing until he has an amazing dance track, so sick. iDJ best describes the sound. "If '60s music soul had been put in a time capsule, spun half-way round the universe and beemed back direct from the year 3000, it still wouldn't sound as alien and future-fresh as this."

Ron Paul's Funny Money

Originally uploaded by lakersalex
I admit it, I am a fan of Ron Paul, though I acknowledge he'll never win. My brother is now a registered republican so he can vote for him. I think it's great that his ideas are getting out there. Ron Paul supporters are incredibly creative at getting attention for their candidate, even willing to break US Laws and make their own currency, and just in time for the holidays! It's perfect for spreading holiday cheer while supporting a metal backed currency!

What's a Permanent Absentee Voter?

I got a mailer recently urging me to register to become a permanent absentee voter, as a way to reduce carbon emissions. The piece had pictures of nature and the earth and a big image of Fran Pavley. Turns out the LA Times wrote a story about the mailer "questioning whether it is improperly trying to influence a state Senate election in the West L.A. area by prominently featuring one of the candidates, former Assemblywoman Fran Pavley."

I call this killing two birds with one stone, saving paper by sending multiple messages in one piece and giving residents the permanent absentee application. I wonder if creationists will send PAV apps to people with photoshopped images of Jesus walking with dinosaurs and Rudy Giuliani.

If Fran didn't send you one, Los Angeles residents can still register for permanent absentee voting by clicking here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Post: Password Security

What a boring topic, but oh so important. Now more than ever, hackers are getting into everything. Bank accounts, ebay accounts, myspace accounts. This article from the University of Wyoming makes the case that we are to blame. The article advocates the use of "strong passwords" that contain uppercase letters, numbers and are at least 8 characters in length.

Click here to read the article