And so I bid farewell to Amsterdam this morning, but not before spending some quality time outside near my hotel. Strange to think that in the same day I had breakfast in Amsterdam, lunch in the nation's capital -- during another stopover in that buzzing mecca known as Dulles -- and dinner at home sweet home in Santa Monica!
Saturday, April 29, 2006
It was Hail to the Queen yesterday -- literally -- as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was pelted with hail on Saturday during the Dutch annual Queen's Day festivities. But, true to form, this Queen Bea just whipped out her umbrella and went on with the show. As for me, I caught the spectacle on TV. One look out the window of my hotel inspired me to pack my bags for 7th and Montana!
How do they ring in Queens Day -- an annual celebration in honor of the Dutch Queen Mother -- in Amsterdam? Orange balloons and street fairs dotted the city. Dam Square -- the city center -- was transformed into an amusement park last night complete with a house of horrors in front of the Royal Palace. A Genuine "Drag Queen Olympics" was meanwhile held a block away.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Some people find Eindhoven a bit "industrial," but I can't resist crowing about it. The city itself is a combination of two villages Philips pulled together just before the turn of the century to create one of the world's first "company towns." Maybe that's why roosters can still be heard crowing in front of our Consumer Electronics offices. Inside, we like to crow about the Emmy we won for development of 16 x 9 widescreen television!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Well, I made it to Eindhoven, my "home away from home" in the Netherlands, in one piece. Shortly after getting off the train from Amsterdam this morning, I stumbled across a new find: "Sizzling Restaurant." While I couldn't bring myself to eat there, the name alone is intriguing. The cab driver tells me it has a good reputation. Then again, maybe he just meant that everything is well-done ...!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
Here I am in the Big Apple, where my company hosted a "celebrity" event promoting the concept of "Simplicity." Besides Bebe Neuwirth (on stage, photo #2), our products were the stars of the show, including: a kiddie catscan (#3), an automated planter (#4), a tree-shaped air freshener (#5) and a coffeepot that filters its own water (#6). My personal favorite? A touch-screen mirror that lets you send audio-visual messages to your loved ones!
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Pack your bags! So many people are traveling this week, it's like an exodus from 7th and Montana. Howard leaves today for Denver and New Orleans; Richard leaves this week for Florida; Terry's heading to New York and I'm on tonight's "pink eye" back East. Perhaps the only one staying put is the gentleman pictured here, who always brings his carry-on luggage to 7th and Montana, anyway!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
"Do you work here?" That was the question the folks at the next table asked me this morning. While I set them straight, the question did leave me wondering. Have I spent so much time at 7th and Montana that I qualify as an employee? Or was it the Eau de Barista cologne I spilled on myself, as usual. Then, again, maybe they just confused me with my identical twin (See Photo 2).
Friday, April 21, 2006
A trail of evidence fueled suspicions of foul play at 7th and Montana this morning. While our Favorite Building Manager was nowhere to be found, photographic evidence suggests he left the scene in a hurry. Several cards bearing his signature, "Raffaelo Carra" were strewn across the counter. But where was Raffaelo?!? Perhaps the suspicious vehicle parked along 7th Street holds the answer (See Photo 2)!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. Actually, you should lend them to Howard and Toby as both are recovering from nasty ear infections. At least Howard was still able to enjoy his perfectly toasted bagel at 7th and Montana this morning. As for Toby, the happy-go-lucky Cocker Spaniel seemed perfectly happy with his kibble.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
It's official: The Powers-that-Bee at Starbucks must have a spelling bee in their bonnet. Nearly two weeks after I submitted an e-mail to Starbucks suggesting that they start providing the definitions of the spelling words on their coffee sleeves, they've responded with a form letter ("We're passing your comments to the appropriate people"). How very A-N-T-E-D-I-L-U-V-I-A-N of them!
Monday, April 17, 2006
It was a double-dose of mistaken identity yesterday as a gentleman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Clean mistook me for someone else. Moments later, united with his companion, the strange character could be heard muttering in an alien tongue while brandishing a television antennae as a weapon. Maybe we should add the word D-O-P-P-E-L-G-A-N-G-E-R to Starbucks' list of spelling words.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
A special thanks to Terry for bringing a taste of Italy -- a special chestnut cake -- to 7th and Montana today. After struggling with the lack of airline food last night, this home-cooked delicacy was a real treat. Speaking of which, Terry also brought news of Skymeals, a catering service offering a gourmet alternative to airline food. After last night's "Chicken Curry," Skymeals sounds like a plane good idea!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at my hotel room last night to discover an unusual stuffed animal on my bed. At first I thought it was a gift from my hosts at Apple but then I noticed a brochure, introducing "Iki" -- a stuffed Limpet. According to the brochure, "Iki" is available for "adoption" by calling the front desk. Like most of the seafood around here, I guess Iki is available at "market prices." Indeed, it all seems a bit "Iki."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I'd like to extend a big, strong "Mahalo" to all those poor applicants I interviewed for my alma mater. The annual results are in and I have a little "admission" of my own: Once again, everyone I interviewed was rejected. It's the same every year: I get the kids all excited about the University and then they get rejected. It makes me wonder, what's the alma mater with the admissions process?!?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
Inside sources report that our Favorite Polish Lowland Sheepdog Charlie did reasonably well during his Anger Management 101 course yesterday. Sure enough, the irascible canine seemed downright sheepish this morning. Somehow, though -- even with all this training -- I can't help wondering whether Charlie is really biting off more than he can chew.
Sunday, April 9, 2006
It was a bevy of Babushkas at 7th and Montana this morning as nearly a dozen Babushska-clad women descended on Starbucks en masse. Was it a field trip from a Kibbutz? Or perhaps the Powers-that-Be are adding B-A-B-U-S-H-K-A to Starbucks' list of daily spelling words? One thing is clear, the Babushka crowd certainly knows how to "scarf" down their cappuccinos in a hurry!
Saturday, April 8, 2006
If you're looking for a slice of heaven, try planting yourself at Ocean View Farms for an afternoon. I visited Bob and Joyce today at their garden -- on the occasion of Ocean View Farms' 30th anniversary -- and got a chance to see this all-out community effort first-hand. The crops may be varied -- from tomatoes to cabbages to fava beans -- but the harvest is the same: a good time!
What's decaying and decrepit and riddled with holes on 7th Street? It's none other than our Favorite Fixer Upper, that's what! After several months of stasis, I'm pleased to report new signs of renewal and regrowth at 7th and Alta. The holes in the front yard have been filled with actual plants (pictured here). Perhaps our Favorite Renovation Expert has decided to put some roots down ...?
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Why didn't I make it to 7th and Montana this morning? Because I was busy horsing around, that's why! Actually, I was at an industry event at The Los Angeles Equestrian Center where we discussed topics ranging from professional piracy to high-definition television. And while the event was at the Equestrian Center, there was no horse-shitting allowed!
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Step aside, Dr. Leake ... we have a budding "Dr. Leaky" in our midst. Poor Ralph. No sooner did he repair the leaks above our favorite Blockbuster than "down came the rain" to reveal yet more leaks. Perhaps he should get some inspiration from today's "Akeelah and the Bee" spelling word sponsored by Starbucks: Argillaceous means "made of clay." Try shoving some clay in the cracks, Ralph!
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
For anyone wondering about the spelling bee P-A-R-A-P-H-E-R-N-A-L-I-A at 7th and Montana, Starbucks is promoting the movie Akeelah and the Bee. According to Starbucks P-R-O-P-A-G-A-N-D-A, the film chronicles the exploits of a precocious eleven-year-old girl with a gift for spelling. I hope they didn't F-O-I-S-T too many Grande Drips down the poor kid's throat. After all, who wants to buzz their way through a spelling bee?!?
Monday, April 3, 2006
Sunday, April 2, 2006
It was three cheers -- and two tables -- for new Starbucks Manager Oscar as word spread today that a mere two weeks into the job he has increased the seating capacity at 7th and Montana. I thank you, Oscar, from the bottom of my -- err -- bottom. You deserve an Oscar!
Saturday, April 1, 2006
The crowd at 7th and Montana was all fired-up and neighborhood dogs ran for cover as an unidentified woman shrieked like a banshee at our Favorite Baristas this morning. Moments later, a squadron of firetrucks arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, they weren't coming to take her away. Noxious gases of another kind were evidently spewing out of the nearby TCBY!