Sunday, February 28, 2010
It was a battle of Good versus Evil at 7th and Montana this weekend as a Mischievious Imp tried to smuggle Weapons of Mass Destruction into our midst. "Oh look," I said to myself as the Imp walked by hoisting a wooden rifle, "It's Baby's First Uzi." But have no fear, an Adorable Young Tyke dressed as Batman made the scene, intent on protecting everyone from harm. Unfortunately, he took one look at me and my Spycam and flew away like a bat out of Hell ...!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Everyone associates Gaudi with the best of Barcelona architecture, but in my opinion, one of the nicest buildings in town was designed by one of his competitors, Lluis Domenech i Montaner. The Palau de la Música -- a concert hall -- is one of the best-kept secrets in Barcelona from an architectural perspective. It doesn't get the same attention in all the guidebooks as Gaudi's work and that's a shame. I think it's a victim of its location: The Palau is hidden away from public view on a virtually unmarked street in the old section of town, where the streets are narrow and the buildings are huddled practically on top of each other. But that's also what makes Domenech i Montaner's work so striking. He surrounded the concert hall with colored glass, bathing it in light and giving it the appearance of an indoor garden. The walls are covered with mosaic flowers and sculptures; pillars -- also covered in mosaics -- resemble trees and the ceiling features a bright gold, stained glass sun in the shape of an inverted cupola. Unfortunately, the Palau doesn't allow visitors to take photographs and a pesky security guard was watching me like a hawk. But here's a link I found on Trip Advisor to a whole series of photos from someone who got a little luckier than I did: Forbidden Photos of the Palau de la Musica.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
A pair of Derangels, Deranged Angels who flapped their wings in the breeze;
The Invisible Man, a quiet character who wore a pair of sunglasses and a hat that seemed to be floating in mid-air;
A disembodied head on a plate, who stared up at me from a pile of Paella and shouted "Welcome to Barcelona!;" and last but not least ...
A "Living Statue" who sat on a toilet, reading a newspaper and watching passersby. Judging from the pile of Plaster of Paris by his side, I think he had the runs.
La Rambla culminates in a monument to Christopher Columbus which stands atop the very place where Columbus returned to Spain to report to Isabella and Ferdinand after his first voyage to the Americas. The statue of Columbus (pictured above, on a 130-foot column) is supposed to be pointing to the New World but, in reality, it points East, towards Columbus' home city.I walked along the banks of the Mediterranean for a while, before turning inland to check out a few more sites, including:
La Seu Cathedral, a church which dates back to the 13th Century but incorporates elements from earlier Roman ruins in the area; and
The Arc de Triomf, built in 1888 to commemorate a "Universal Exhibition" in Barcelona, welcoming other nations to the city.
Speaking of Triumph, I enjoyed a Victory of sorts at the Starbucks near Via Laietana. The Poor Barista on duty was thoroughly confused when I ordered a "Grande Half Caff." "You want what?!?,' she screeched. "You know," I said, smiling, "A Half Caff." She squinted at me and perched her head on the pastry counter -- striking a pose not unlike the "disembodied head" I saw on La Rambla -- and then she began rambling away in Spanish. "Let me help you," I said, "I just want a Half Caff ... nothing else. No pastry!" I thought her head was going to explode. She asked her colleague for advice -- speaking so quickly all I could understand was "Ay, Ay, Ay ...!" and finally she handed me a Grande Americano. It was bliss. The coffee wasn't bad, either ...!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
UPDATE: Thanks to my friend and reader, Bari -- otherwise known as The Girl with Too Much Time on Her Hands -- we now know that the mysterious Valentines Message floating over Our Favorite Starbucks today was from Jim Carrey to Jenny McCarthy. Now that's what I call taking your relationship to new heights...!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It was three cheers for the City of Santa Monica today as word spread that they've launched an innovative new iPhone application called GORequest that allows concerned citizens to report all kinds of problems to the City with the push of a button. I first heard about it from Neighbor Bob who sent me an e-mail urging me to check it out. "Having read your blog for many years, I'm sure there are a lot of items at 7th and Montana in need of attention," he said, "Maybe you could start sending a few pictures to the city to see what happens." Today I decided to do just that. I downloaded the application after work and went on an evening inspection tour of the neighborhood, intent on finding something something amiss. I was so busy examining the sidewalks for signs of cracks or graffiti that I nearly walked right into a Sweet Little Old Lady. "Is something wrong, dear?," she asked, "Have you lost something?" I couldn't help noticing that she was walking two poodles. "Well," I said, "I haven't lost anything but maybe you can help me. Have your dogs done their business yet?" I showed her my new iPhone application and explained how it allowed me to report all kinds of incidents to the city. "I'm just trying to put it to the test," I said. "I'm sorry I can't help you," she replied, waving a plastic bag in my direction, "They've already gone!" "Oh, well," I said, "Perhaps we can stage something?" She politely declined, but not before giving me some valuable advice. "Why don't you check the sidewalk in front of the Carlthorp School," she suggested, "Nobody cleans up after their dogs around there." She was right. Seconds after arriving on the scene, I came face-to-face with a steaming dog turd. I whipped out my Spycam, opened the GORequest application and submitted a report to the City entitled "Dog Poop, Ahoy!" I've already received an e-mail from the City, thanking me for my efforts and promising to take action within ten days ...!