Tag Archives: los angeles

Growing and Cleaning: Must Be Spring

Over the last few months it appears that I took my A Mad Notepad tagline: A little less talk. A lot more doing, literally. It worked well for my productivity but I noticed that the blog hasn’t been the most active reading destination. so I want to take a moment to come up for air. That fresh Spring air with all the new plants, pretty flowers, pollen — *cough* *hack*– Pollen aside, I do like what the new season has brought so far.

Writing projects

I’ve made good progress on my professional writing venture started almost a year ago. I now have several pieces in the works. My most recent writing piece is now up on wodff.org as part of a plan to showcase a variety of LAFD supporters. I’d also like to submit a piece to a forthcoming NaNoWriMo anthology and perhaps explore cool web series opportunities like this.

LA G33k D1nners, now in the South Bay

LA's first Geek Dinner in the South Bay.

LA’s first G33k D1nner in the South Bay. January 14th at Stacked, in Torrance. Click for larger.

As a regular attendee I got promoted to dinner co-host late last year. My first action was to incorporate the South Bay into the location rotation of monthly L.A. Geek Dinners starting this year.

In January I hosted my first meal, at Stacked, in Torrance. It was a little nerve-racking at first, especially when learning how to order meals on the iPads placed at every table. Overall we had a good time and our tables saw a variety of delicious, highly-customized meals.

Next month we’re returning for more food and fun. Join us on April 8th, at 7pm, especially if you’re a geek (any type of geek!) in Carson, Lakewood, Redondo Beach, Harbor City, Torrance, Long Beach, Gardena. We’ll be all up in your backyard in 2015! Don’t be shy and come say hi.

If you’re planning to attend please RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/LA-g33k-d1nner/events/221379508/

Social network Spring cleaning

I reduced my social media noise to better focus on what really matters to me online. With recent news of Google+ having numbered days– a network I’ve actively used since their beta– I’ve officially dumped a handful of sites (BYE Empire Avenue, Xanga, and FriendFeed) and started using others regularly like Ello, Vine, and Instagram. I have a lot of new things to share on the latter that is sure to excite the armchair foodie in you. Watch that space!

Have you deleted any of your disused social networks lately?

Coming soon, TRIPLE TIMe the short film

TRIPLE TIMe Production

On set for TRIPLE TIMe Production.

I’m producing a sci-fi, short film about time travel called TRIPLE TIMe written and directed by Trevor Mayes. After a successful crowd-funding campaign earlier this month we’re currently in production (March 28 – April 12).  Though the shoot days are long it’s encouraging to see how dedicated everyone is to the project’s success. It’s has been a positive experience for me overall. I’ve learned a lot from launching a crowd-funding campaign (that could be another blog post if anyone’s interested) to being on set. I’ve gotten to work with some uber-talented craftspeople and actors. And that I was able to successfully navigate to the set in south OC and back without winding up on a toll road was a bonus. Is that a sign that feature film producing is my next career move? We’ll see. For more info please visit (and like) TRIPLE TIMe on Facebook!

How have you grown in the first 3 months of 2015?

Women Pioneers in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

On Tuesday, June 10, I attended a fantastic event called See Jane Salon, on Women Pioneers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) put on by the Geena Davis Institute for Gender Studies in Media.

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google on June 10, 2014.

Check out their event summary:

How can media encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science? One way is to feature exciting and dynamic portrayals of female scientists in movie and TV shows. Sounds easy enough, but the Geena Davis Institute’s 2012 research on the career occupations of female characters in family films, prime time and children’s television showed that there was a 15:1 ratio of male to female characters in science. Why is this so important? Because by 2018, there will be 1.2 million US job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, with a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them. This See Jane Salon will showcase real women pioneers in STEM along with entertainment industry leaders who are creating great female characters in science.

The panel included Andrea Fernandez, Creative Director GoldieBlox, Dr. Kathy Magliato, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Taryn O’Neill, Actor, Jaime Paglia, TV and Film Writer/Producer The Flash (and co-creator of Eureka!), Christina Reynolds, Development Executive Amazon Studios, Amanda Segal, Co-Executive Producer, Person of Interest, Laura Tenenbaum, Communication Specialist NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and moderator, Megan Smith, Entrepreneur, VP Google.

 If she can see it she can be it

What I liked about the panel was that they didn’t focus solely on the unique challenges of being a women in their chosen fields. If you’re a woman, particularly a WOC, you already know the challenges of being underrepresented in whatever field you’re in, STEM or not. That, unfortunately, is what a lot of women-centric panels of this sort turn into, running out of time before any solutions are discussed.  To about 200 attendees, 95% of whom were women, they provided real data in addition to the anecdotes of experiences, which I found refreshing.

I’d joined a Google+ hangout on Disrupting Entrepreneurship and Innovation  with Megan Smith about month ago and she reiterated on stage some interesting points about hiring practices and systemic bias toward women in stem fields. The fewer women that are present in a group, the higher the tendency to expect that women to represent the ‘female’ point of view, rather than a single person’s point of view. Also, for any given job criteria, a woman will tend apply only if she meets 7/10 of those characteristics, where a man will tend to apply if he meets just 3/10. I live-tweeted a few other things which you can find on Twitter using a hashtag search for #stem on June 10th.

I hope to attend more events like this and become a part of the solution for this issue. Do you have a favorite tv show or movie that features women characters in stem? Mine is the show ‘Eureka’ on Syfy. Let me know yours in a comment.

Tuned in at Digital Hollywood – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries team

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries team screens and talks about the show. Left to right: The moderator and panelists: Jay Bushman, Margaret Dunlap, and Ashley Clements.

On May 1 the Lizzie Bennet Diaries team of Jay BushmanMargaret Dunlap, and Ashley Clements spoke on the panel Screening Series: TV and Web Series – Musicals and Millennials at LA’s Digital Hollywood Content Summit.

After a screening of episode 78 – The Pemberley Digital Arc, they explained the transmedia production process used to highlight character subtext with sites such as Instagram and Twitter. Next they described the impact of the huge positive response to the series, even showing off a few pieces of fan art.

Ashley Clements, who played the title character, noted the amazing success of the LBD DVD project on Kickstarter which launched at the end of March shortly after the show ended. With more than a 700% reach beyond the original goal amount of $60K, she described the sentiment behind that effort as a strong show of support and also some fans’ way of ensuring that her cat would continue to be well fed.

The trio also addressed a few behind the scenes questions about the show and a pressing question about pressure from fans eager to see William Darcy.

Q: Why such a long wait for Darcy to make a physical appearance in the show?

A: The quality of storytelling comes first. “We listen to the audience but ultimately we control the outcome of the show,” said transmedia producer and writer Jay Bushman. Co-executive producer and writer Margaret Dunlap said, “Darcy didn’t appear until episode 60.” “We saw his torso in episode 59,” said Ashley Clements. Margaret Dunlap agreed and added “We knew [the audience] would forgive us for not giving them Darcy sooner but not for not telling a good story to get there.”

While Ashley is prepping for her next closeup, next up for the producers: Welcome to Sandition… make that Welcome to Sanditon, coming very soon!

Gotta love Carmageddon II weekend

Carmageddon II

Now, I’m not the most spontaneous road trip-py person in the world but if I were, then after looking at this traffic map I’d be itching to go somewhere right about now… As for planned road trips I am excited about my first venture up to Mt. Wilson tomorrow. I’m doing a real road trip… on my bike.

If you’re on the Westside and looking to travel a short distance here are some local bike ride tours you can take today.

Also today is Field Trip Day. See? No reason to stay indoors just because a part of one freeway is closed. Get out there and enjoy your weekend.

10/01/12 Carmageddon II update: The effort was a success!

Writing Humor + Christmas Lights and Art

Writing Humor

Last time I shared a few writing apps. I’m back, now, with some funny grammar. I got these from NaNoWriMo users “hockeygoon” and “amaranth” on that site forum.

1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.

3. A question mark walks into a bar?

4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.

5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.

6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.

7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.

8. A split infinitive began to confidently walk into the bar.

9. A run on sentence walked into a bar, and, spotting a likely looking verb or two, ordered a round of drinks for the house, paid the bartender, chose a song on the jukebox, danced for a measure or two before sitting down and drinking, hoping all the while that his cool had been firmly cemented in the minds of all around him.

10. As the sentence fragment walked into the bar.

Christmas Lights and Art

For LA locals, if you’re not too busy shopping, cooking, eating or volunteering, here are a couple of other fun things to do in town.

Christmas Tree Lane – A bit of a drive for me, but maybe you live closer to Altadena?

Pacific Standard Time – Getty initiative of LA art exhibits from 1945 – 1980 showcased around town.

LA mag’s list of PST showcases – This is a little more informative for specific exhibits than the link above.

Green deals for Earth Day (hooray) + Webby Awards & BarCampLA!

The month of April has been filled with Spring cleaning, organizing, recycling, and driving around in my SUV. Yes, you read that right. To help offset the last thing, I’ve taken a more active role in taking care of the planet by volunteering, helping people connect with others, and sharing some deals for Earth Day/Week/Month.

Earth Month Festivities

I took the opportunity to volunteer at the SEA lab‘s Earth Month event and Redondo Beach pier cleanup. We drew arrows and wrote encouraging directional verbiage on the sidewalks leading to the pier. This is where the 2011 Earth Month Chalk Art Challenge was held. I didn’t create this one, but thought it was too cute to not share.
Just Keep Swimming

Anyone was welcome have some chalk and draw on one of over 100 cement squares, to be voted on later in the day.

Chalk art A clear frontrunner by mid-morning: Beautiful chalk art by Penny

I didn’t stay in that area long enough to find out the winner, but lots of fun was had by all who participated. View 5 more photos on my Flickr.

Here are some Earth Day deals from Yahoo! including free admission to any national park through Sunday and free coffee or tea at Starbucks when you bring in a reusable mug. I’ve already entered the Target Refresh Your Nest sweepstakes listed on that page. If you enter too, let me know if you win something cool.

2011 Webby Awards voting is now open. This is a great way to find out about some top sites and apps you may not have been aware existed. I’ll list my top picks next week when I’ve finished voting.

LA Local Goodies
Have you registered for BarCampLA 8 yet? Here’s the BCLA event page on Facebook. This is the first one in a couple years, so if you have never been now is the time to go. I can only attend for one of the days, but I am looking forward to seeing my fellow tech geeks. If you don’t know what a BarCamp is you should check out the BarCampLA blog.

A week of A+ live music

First, I want to state that I have this lofty goal to eliminate my credit card dependency. However, my compulsion to support certain 'why-are-these-people-still-under-the-radar?' musicians @ established music venues makes it quite difficult.

Tuesday night when I saw Ari Hest play at the Hotel Cafe I knew the online ticket purchase was worth it– as are all my purchases, of course. The opener from Ireland, Declan O'Rourke, told the audience that this was his first time playing (or first tour playing?) in America. He had a great sound and one novelty song stands out. It's about an old black crow and it was highly entertaining because there was a fun song introduction and then part of the chorus was him cawing. Not counting that particular song, to me, live, his style was like an Irish version of Ari's so it shouldn't be too surprising if he gains a large following here fairly quickly.

"I can make you move against your will. Don’t it make you sad to lose control?" Broken Voices by Ari Hest

Ari was fantastic with his band, and played a bunch of songs from his early material and CD The Break In, plus newer songs from his project, 52, which included my favorite song, Broken Voices. At some point Amy Kuney came up to sing Cranberry Lake which she co-wrote and sang in a duet with Ari. That was great because I've been wanting to see her live for a while now too.

Ari's vocal ability is amazing. His tone ranges in his songs from baritone to falsetto with impressively flawless lung control. It bowls me over me every time I see him live.

I ran into @KristinJuel during the evening which is always refreshing. Sitting with her I discovered my new favorite bass player, Rob Calder, who has an interesting way of dancing to the beat while he plays.  Very entertaining to watch!

The only downer of the night is that there's a rule that non-flash photography is allowed in Hotel Cafe, but video recording is not. Kristin got busted for taking video with her digi cam at some point. That was too bad but at least they didn't confiscate her camera. She had also taken a bunch of still photos. Overall, it was a good night for live music.

"You're the song that I sing that I don't need to practice." from In the Creases by Amber Rubarth.
Tomorrow is Amber Rubarth's show @ The Mint– http://themintla.com is their site. I refuse to hyperlink to it because it has music that auto-plays and defaults to the loudest volume setting. Way to facilitate an obnoxious user experience.

I love Amber's lyrical ambition and like Ari, she is now based in NY so I try to see her whenever she's playing here. Can't wait to hear her new songs and old ones again that I like. A lot.

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LA Chocolate Salon: A Sublime Time

bacon bar

mmm… Chocolate. Last Sunday was the 3rd Annual LA Chocolate Salon in Pasadena. I’ve finally come out of the sugar shock enough to share my experience but my hands are still too shaky to type it all out, figuratively speaking. So I’m going to do the next best thing.

Here’s A Salon of Indulgence, Luxury and Chocolate, an article from the Occidental paper, Oxyweekly, which details the event in a way that was fairly close to my experience.

If you missed this event, the next Chocolate Salon is in San Francisco. Chocolate lovers planning to be in the Bay Area in March, don’t miss that one. There will be as many as 50 chocolatiers in attendance to LA’s 35– which had one more sample table than this chocolate fan could handle.

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Taking that first step

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
   –Peter Drucker

I'd been looking forward to an event all day yesterday, but last night, I found myself caught in a bit of a mental pickle. I stood outside of a closed door and waffled on whether I should walk into a room full of people I didn't know.  What caused this little mental crisis? I'd walked past an event flier posted just outside the door and it dawned on me right then that I'd never RSVP'd!

It may sound silly now, but seeing that line for the event that was mere minutes from starting, stopped me in my tracks. I had no time to RSVP to the e-mail address by that point. What to do? Should I walk in and be an unannounced intruder, or just slip away quietly, promising to find out all requirements for the next event before attending. I turned to look down the hall. There weren't many people around. I looked through the little window in the door and I could see several people in the room, immersed in private conversations; none aware of me frozen in indecision less than five feet from the door. Don't break the rules. Nah, rules were made to be broken.  Am I going to just let this opportunity pass me by?

I waited a couple moments more, and I saw a guy walking toward me who looked like he was heading into the room. I smiled at the brilliant solution that instantly popped into my head and readied for action.  In unfamiliar situations, I'm am not the most assertive person, but I am working on that. In the meantime I am not too bad at coming up with ways to compensate for this. Case in point: My solution. I waited until this guy passed me and reached to open the door, then drawing momentum from his motion, I forced my feet to step up behind him to follow him in.

Yes, I managed to get myself into the room and had the door held open for me to boot. How was that for an unexpected welcome?  I was subsequently assured that showing up without having RSVP'd was fine. Plus, I got a chance to chat with a couple of people before the speaker of the evening arrived.

Equipped with a pen and my little blue notebook I took a few pages of notes and, of course, jotted down the quote above. But here is what I learned from attending the entertainment media talk given by Ashwin Navin, the founder of a little web tool known as Bit Torrent:

It's always going to be the hardest part; taking that first step. But if I can be the person who can find a way to step forward anyhow… Ooh child, things are going to get easier. Ooh child, things'll get brighter…

Peter Drucker's quote really resonated with me, so I Googled him (more of his quotes are here).  I really wish I'd heard of him while he was alive as I heartily agree with the basic ideas of his writing career spanning thirty-something books, as described in this wikipedia entry.

I'm really glad that I attended the event. Today, I happened to be on a deadline to submit a attributable quote of my choosing. You can probably guess which quote I chose.

Interview with Peter Drucker, leading management consultant
I can say with some certainty that either you'd either really like or really dislike his way of thought.  Personally, I really like his way of thinking and consider myself to be what he describes as a knowledge worker but you can see what I mean in this interview: Career Moves for 20-70

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Fit and Awesome

Running, Outdoors, Gluten Free, and Healthy Living Tips.

WordCamp Los Angeles 2017

September 29, 2017 – October 1, 2017

A Panda and a Book

Just me and my literary ramblings.


A little less talk. A lot more doing.

This Expat's Life

I love this place

WordCamp Los Angeles

September 5-7, 2014

Annette Berger

A little less talk. A lot more doing.

MIT Media Lab

Enabling technologies for expression, participation, and understanding.

Don't Call Me Cute

The Continuing Misadvantures of Jenny

nita's books

children's, middle grade, and young adult book reviews and other writing

a potter's pen

A little less talk. A lot more doing.

Transmedia Camp 101

Content Creation, Curation and Distribution in a Web 2.0 World

All the Things

A Journal of Incremental Self-Improvement

Anne Toole, writer

Learnings about writing for multiple media

Digital Pubbing

Exploring the ins and outs of the publishing industry

Not Rich Yet

It's going to happen. Gotta find something to do until then.