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16th Century, Anyone?

17 May
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Welcome to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

Ahhhhhh, the Renaissance Faire.  Actually, I should call it by its real name, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which is much more descriptively accurate.  I feel the majority of people out there have preconceived notions about these wonderful festivals.  Maybe they think this alt-world cosplay gathering is on par with the dungeons and dragons stock in the dork/nerd/dweeb class of life.  But, you’ve got the wrong idea guys, the wrong idea.  It’s fun.  Just fun.

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Washer Women.

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Danse Macabre March.

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Everyday life.

After parking you ascend upon a new world and a different land.  The people talk funny and wear funny clothes.  They are walking around with feathers in their hats and flowers in their hair.  It’s something similar to Coachella, but classier and with better fabric.  You are transported to another realm and another time.  There are even rumors that there are special appearances by Star Trek characters and Dr. Who, just to put another genius spin on the whole space-time continuum of things.  I say let’s dress up as Bill and Ted and really show ‘em…

There are many shows and activities you can partake in whilst  attending the fair.  They have a pub crawl, a joust, a wench show (which is awesome) and tea with the queen, as well as a falcon show, knife throwing, archery and plenty of people singing and performing.  There are goods for sale, so if you’re in the market for leather, tea, garlands or blown glass you’ll be coming to the right place.

Joust arena

Joust arena.

Dance

Dance.

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Hey, Owl. During the Falcon Show.

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A Lady.

Not sure what she is

Not sure what she is.

If you’re planning on going, why not browse the internet and brush up on your Renaissance language skills.  And you should add this Insult Generator to your research – my favorite one so far: Thou puking elf-skinned flap-dragon!  Yeah!  I kind of feel like it’d be worth getting in a fight with someone if yelling this was the origin…

The Wenches!  So funny!

The Wenches! So funny!

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The Queen!

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Look at this awesome yahoo.

Garlands for Sale!

Garlands for Sale!

There’s plenty of food and drink.  The whole turkey legs are famous and it’s a trip to see these things towering over those that are eating them.  The beer is plentiful, well-priced and they have some decent brands on tap.  Not just the normal light whatever water that’s normally served.  Don’t get me wrong, they have that too, but at least they are offering options.

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You know you want one.

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No turkey leg for this one.

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The only thing she and I have in common is our love of ice cream.

Music

Music.

Advertising

Advertising.

If you are someone who likes people watching, drinking and boobs – you will hate yourself if you don’t make this happen.  Mark my words.  It’s amazing how both the people who work there and the patrons assume their chosen characters.  They are shockingly and wonderfully committed.  There are lords, ladies, fairies, vikings, pirates, wenches, soldiers, knights, etc.  You are encouraged to interact with them and doing so will only enhance your experience.

There are many different “Ren Faires” as they are commonly called, but the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California is the oldest having had its first Fair in 1962.  This particular fair depicts a fictional Elizabethan England town, Port Deptford, in the 1580s.  There are now many fairs being held across the country (and some internationally) that draw hundreds of thousands of people each season.  A season is usually anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months and held primarily during the spring or fall.  Click here for a little more history.

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Viking!

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Pig from the petting zoo.

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I don’t know how to describe this guy, but I like it.

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Fairy.

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A man and his goose.

IT’S THE LAST WEEKEND IT’S HERE!  Only $25 to buy a ticket when you get there, or $23 to buy ahead of time at designated locations (pick one up at Walgreens); the hours are 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday.  Click here for their website which will give you all the possible information you may need and then some –

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True.

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Too Many Sunsets? Never.

24 Jan
Stunning

Stunning

Now, the best thing about my recent Mexican experience was going to The Mayan Baths.  This is where I spent the last day of the Mayan Calendar.  This is where I was potentially spending my last days on earth.  And you know what?  I was perfectly fine saying good-bye to the world looking at this view.

This place is amazing.  If you are lucky enough to get here, to go here, you win. The caves are the brainchild of an extremely creative and inspired man.  It’s an underground grotto that has passageways and chest deep pools filled with water from a natural hot spring and it’s overlooking the Mexican countryside.  It’s designed so that every year on the Winter Solstice, the sun sets right down the center of the bath’s water filled passageway and can be viewed from the back of the cave’s main dome.  Also known as, absolutely stunning, a memory you’ll have forever, an experience you’ve never had before and something to tell people about for the rest of your lives.  You know, something like that.

You can also get a massage, have a drink (with a full bar at your disposal) and food (usually cooked with fresh fish caught that morning from fish ponds also located on the property.)  Finally, you can cozy up with a toasty bathrobe and towel warmed on a uniquely designed pyramid heater located in the main lobby.  Another little plus is they pass out dark glass rectangles when the sun is setting so you can look directly at it without your eyes exploding, nice touch.

Sipping some great tequila, while bathing in perfectly warm water in a candle lit cave while watching a magnificent Mexican sunset will be one of the highlights of your life.  I mean, the place has been blessed by Buddhist Monks so you’re bound to feel some magic happening.  Good luck trying to find something more amazing.  Yeah, good luck.

*These photos were taken at different stages of sunset over different days –

Walking down into the caves

Walking down into the caves

Underground walkway to going down to the pools

Underground walkway to going down to the pools

Looking up in the main lobby

Looking up in the main lobby

Main lobby in the caves w/ the pyramid heater

Pool View of the main lobby w/ the pyramid heater in the center

Main dome

Main dome

Sunset view from the main dome

Sunset view from the main dome

Wading from the main dome down to the outside pool

Wading out to the outermost pool

We see this on the way

We pass this along the way

Still wading out to the outermost pool

Still wading out

Almost out to the outmost pool

Almost there

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Outward view from the caves

Outward view from the caves

Almost down

Almost down

Outer most pool

Outermost pool

View from infinity ledge from outermost pool

View from infinity ledge of outermost pool

View from the infinity edge of outermost pool

View from the infinity ledge of outermost pool

Looking past the infinity edge at the outermost pool

View from infinity ledge at outermost pool

Turning to go back inside from the outermost pool

Turning to go back inside from the outermost pool

Wading back in toward the man dome

Wading back in from the outermost pool toward the main dome

Main dome

Main dome

Main dome

Main dome, you can see the arch where the sun is shining through on the back wall

Inside the main dome taking a picture out

Inside the main dome taking a picture out

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Better Than Disney World

23 Jan
La Paroquilla

La Parroquia – the first Cinderella’s Castle

This year I tried my hand at an exotic-type getaway for the holidays.  More like a mini-family reunion that happened to be somewhere foreign.  There were no last-minute Target trips, candy canes or even a Christmas Eve slumber in my childhood bed.  My boyfriend and I, along with the rest of my family on my mom’s side, visited my uncle who lives down in San Miguel de Allende.  A magical colonial city in the mountains of central Mexico about 3 1/2 hours NNW of Mexico City.

This is such an extraordinary town; it’s special.  It’s well known for being an artist’s community and has attracted many creative types and ex-pats over the years.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s idyllic main church, La Parroquia, looks like a better version of Cinderella’s castle.  It’s a town that’s modern while still being quaint, with its cobblestone streets and plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping and culture.  You can read more about its history here

My trip was filled with more breathtaking sunsets than most see in a lifetime, a group ATV ride to ancient pyramids, more great tequila than should be drank, and an absolutely awesome family that I’m really glad is mine.  But one of the most phenomenal parts about my trip was something that took place about 10min outside of the city.  A trip to the Mayan Baths – coming soon in the next post…

Don’t let the over-sensationalized news freak you out.  Mexico is much more awesome than most people give it credit for.  There are some very safe cities in Mexico; as long as you travel smartly (like you should everywhere you go) you can have a sensational and enlightening trip south of the border.

The colorful buildings of San Miguel

The colorful buildings of San Miguel

Statue (wish I knew who) in one of the town's jardins

Statue (wish I knew who) in one of the town’s jardins

Some Christmas decorations

Some Christmas decorations

Toy sellers in the Main Jardin

Toy sellers in the Main Jardin

Storefront

Storefront

Sky view

Sky view

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Sunset view from the gorgeous B&B/Hotel of Casa Puesta del Sol

Sunset view from the gorgeous B&B/Hotel of Casa Puesta del Sol

Cactus - come on, it's Mexico

Cactus – come on, it’s Mexico

Cemetery of Children - outskirts of San Miguel.  Came across it while on the ATV ride

Cemetery of Children – outskirts of San Miguel. Came across it while on the ATV ride

ATV ride

ATV ride

Traditional wedding, I snuck a shot

Traditional wedding, I snuck a shot

A town we passed that has the unique art talents of carving cantera stone into beautiful pieces

A town we passed that has the unique art talents of carving cantera stone into beautiful pieces

Beautiful cantera stone

Beautiful cantera stone

At Hacienda Galindo

At Hacienda Galindo

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That place w/ the line must be good

That place w/ the line must be good

Market

Market

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One of many beautiful sunsets

La Paroquilla at night

La Paroquilla at night

The NEW Hollywood Walk of Fame

30 Nov

Someone’s fantastic street (or sidewalk) art…

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These are awesome, and I couldn’t imagine them being anywhere but where they were found – on Hollywood Blvd.

My Bizarre Fascination with Cemeteries

27 Aug

I’m completely fascinated with cemeteries.  Never could put my finger on why…

Palm Trees a Go-Go

20 Aug

I am depressed.  This is a sad post.  Very, very sad.  Hey, stop laughing at me; I’m being serious.  This is what depresses me…

There are many things I love about LA, but an image that has always been extremely dear to me is that of streets lined with tall, skinny palm trees that are up so high, they dazzle the sky.  They’re peaceful and beautiful additions to a bustling, high-octane city.  They’re so perfect, so calming.  I choose certain streets to drive down over others just so I can see them.  Billions of people associate palm trees and Los Angeles, and rightfully so.  Of all the buildings and people who have changed over the years, the palm trees have stayed the same; they are one of the few things that tie the worlds of old and new Hollywood together.  And this is when it gets sad…because in the near future, they are going to be gone.

Trees are living and because of this atrocious fact, they also die.  This is something we learn as youngsters, usually the day our first goldfish goes belly up.  The city isn’t replanting them for a slew of stupid reasons, some of those being that their upkeep is expensive (all that trimming, etc.), this particular type of tree doesn’t provide shade (Seriously???  Is this the only reason nature exists in a city?  To provide shade??  Jeez, I feel like that’s right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”), and they’re not particularly known for their help with carbon monoxide/air filtration/cleansing the smog, etc.

This particular species of palm tree (the tall skinny kind – so scientific, I know) has a typical lifespan of roughly 100 years and the majority of these were planted back in the 20’s & 30’s.  Do the math.  I can’t image this city without them, but unfortunately they are going to start dropping one by one.  Watch out for your cars and houses.  Don’t worry about me in that capacity, I’m covered, I rent and have subterranean parking.  But, one day there will be Oaks and Sycamores lining our streets instead of the palms that will very soon be celebrating their centennial.

There is a project dedicated to replanting trees in LA, called the Million Trees Project, which will replace the fading palms with new trees.  They’ll be putting in all sorts of trees – except for palms.  Sure, some will be planted, but the amount will be nowhere near the quantity we have now.  This species of tree isn’t one of those lucky bastards that gets to live it’s remaining days in La La Land and revel in its fame.  Imagine all those little baby trees that get to see their relatives on TV and in the MOVIES!  Oooooo!!!  But no more, shade is a problem in LA and we need to rectify it.

The types of trees that are going to fill our city in 20 years.

It would be wonderful if there was a better way around this, but alas, we are going to be forced to conform to the new LA.  The sycamore and oak version of LA.  People will come to our city with stars in their eyes, they’ll see the Hollywood sign, they’ll go on audition after audition, they’ll go to Amoeba and the Cinerama Done, but they won’t see the abundance of palm trees that we see today.

Maybe Hugh Hefner will come in and save the palm trees like he did with the Hollywood sign.  He is my local hero…

The Old Zoo (aka A Spray Paint Can & a Dream)

16 Aug

This sign says it all.  No, I mean literally, it does say it all.

I associate the Old Zoo with animals and spray paint.  But, you probably saw the animals thing coming, right?  This is one of the more interesting places I’ve been in Los Angeles and I can’t imagine there is anywhere else like it.  I like places where animals have been freed from their cages and graffiti adorns the walls (and everything else) so I was bound to like this place…

Around this time last year, I went to the Old Zoo in LA’s Griffith Park for the first time.  I went early in the morning to do a little exploring and picture taking (see below) and I loved what I found.  There’s not much to it and you get this odd feeling like you’re trespassing, when clearly you’re not.  It’s eerie, fascinating, thought-provoking, dirty and completely enjoyable.  It’s so out of place and I was truly shocked at the fact you are able to meander into these abandoned and heavily graffittied animal cages, stroll the nearly condemned buildings and completely take in these seemingly forgotten grounds.  When you’re there you feel as if you are in an isolated history.  But no!  It’s smack dab in the middle of a very cherry Griffith Park, very close to the Merry-Go-Round and 17 different birthday parties all complete with bounce houses.  The cages are completely open; you can walk right into them and peer out at your faux caged world.  I didn’t expect such laissez-faireism from the City of Los Angeles; you would think this place would be locked up!  Torn down!  But, I sure am glad it’s not.

This place is a teenager’s haven and you can tell it’s not lost on them.  I got a kick out of all the beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, pill bottles, condoms (whoo hoo! they’re not procreating!), snacks and litter.  And that does nothing but add to the general sense of displacement you feel from stepping onto the grounds.

This zoo was in commission from 1912 to 1965, with most of the existing buildings having been built in the 1930s.  After it’s 53-year run it closed (or left open) it’s doors and made the 2-mile journey across the big lawn of Griffith Park and set up shop at its current location.  This is all according to their posted signs; I’m a heavy researcher.  They go on to say, “Once, bears, lions, monkeys, macaws, goats, elephants, reptiles, and turtles, among other things lived here and the sounds of their growls, roars, calls, and clamor filled this canyon.”  While I find that all very exciting, does anyone else have an issue with their general ranking of animals here?  In what world do macaws and goats (goats!) get filed in the cool-animal ranking order before elephants?!  I’m being serious.  And I love turtles, but do they really get a shout-out when we’re talking about bears and lions?!  Yeah…I’m going with no.

This is a cool spot to hit up if you’re looking for a little bit of mellow exploring in Griffith Park Proper.

Directions:  You can take Los Feliz Blvd. to Crystal Springs Drive, pass the road that leads to the Merry-Go-Round (there are signs pointing to Mr. Merry-Go-Round) and take your next left onto Griffith Park Dr. (not like there are necessarily signs to these roads), follow this into a parking lot where it dead ends.  It’s Griffith Park guys – directions are hard.  You’re going to park and walk up the hill/take the stairs up to the grassy clearing.  The bear caves are across the grass to your left, it’s a good place to start, explore away!

Entrance to the bear caves.

Inside one of the cages.

Zoo love.

People are creative.

Who knew Audrey Hepburn was a skank.

Looking down an open row of cages.

Starfish and BBQ = Long Beach

25 Jul

I took this picture last year at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  I always love going to the Aquarium; I like it even better when I can get a discounted or free ticket – the normal price will usually run you about $25 for an adult.  Here are some perks:  It’s air-conditioned.  If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.  It also has playful sea otters, a shark petting pool, a cool collection of  jellyfish and sea anemone, and numerous other interesting fish and exhibits.  Some pictures of some of my favorites are down below.

In fact, why don’t you make a day of it by hitting up one of two Johnny Rebs’ in the area if you are a BBQ fan.  Which you should be.  I think eating BBQ enhances your quality of life and makes you live longer.  I’m going to say a few things to you:  Texas Toast, grilled cheese, pulled pork – combine, enjoy.  It’s amazing.  Go there.

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