Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wicked the Musical - Pantages

Last night, I saw Wicked. Good story, Good performances, great set. Very broadway style here in Los Angeles. Lots of singing and dancing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joan's on Third's lemon bars recipe - LA Times

Joan's on Third's lemon bars - Servings: Makes 9 bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting the bars
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with 1 cup flour and the powdered sugar, stirring just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough into an 8-inch square pan and bake just until lightly golden, about 18 minutes. Remove and cool the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, baking powder and remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk in the lemon juice and eggs until thoroughly combined. Pour the custard into the pan over the baked crust and bake again until it's set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and cool the tart on a wire rack.

3. When cooled, dust lightly with additional powdered sugar and cut into bars. The lemon bars will keep for 1 week, refrigerated.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweeney Todd - The Demon of Fleet Street Movie

I saw this movie yesterday - I actually had intention to watch American Gangster at the Beverly Center but they changed the times strangely, so they weren't showing American Gangster the time I thought it was going to show. I saw Sweeney Todd instead which I had no interest in watching at all. This movie was actually pretty good. The one thing that ruined it for me was the woman sitting directly behind me singing all the songs out loud throughout the whole movie. So annoying. Either this was her 100th time watching sweeney todd or she learned the words from the soundtrack. She knew every single word. my goodness.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wicked Musical at Pantages Los Angeles

Wicked Musical at Pantages - Half price tickets thru 2/29/08 (Tuesday thru Friday only)using 1WINTER promotion code on ticketmaster. I went thru each of the dates and the best seats available were for this Wednesday, orchestra row nn (center right), which i purchased for $61.50 each including all ticketmaster fees. Only orchestra seats were available half price for each date. I'm sure ticket availability changes daily.

Genghis Cohen

First time I tried this restaurant - PF Changs type chinese food. Apparently, very popular with families and couples. Food was reasonably priced. Orange chicken and Kung pao chicken ($11) . Firecracker shrimp ($15). So-so taste. Ordered paper chicken with 4 pieces, firecracker shrimp and kung pao chicken. Paper chicken had way too much ginger (overpowered any other flavor) and very, very greasy. Kung pao chicken so- so taste and firecracker shrimp (apparently their most popular dish) tasted so-so. Firecracker shrimp tasted exactly like ketchup, fried with a little spice. If i ever go there again, I will try the orange chicken, my favorite, which i do like at pf changs. Most likely, i'll go to pf changs if i have a craving for orange chicken. Too bad this place was so disappointing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Microsoft Natural Wireless Mouse 6000 Review

I refunded the Mx revolution over the weekend. I didn't really think anything special of it. I noticed the microsoft 6000 mouse was on sale half price for $35 (orig price $70) thru staples online this week until 1/26. Plus i had a staples customer appreciation coupon of 12% off almost anything. I purchased 2 so i can use one at work and one at home. The mouse takes some time getting used to since the mouse puts your thumb much higher than the typical so your wrist is slightly rotated higher. So far so good but my shoulder has to get used to it since it forces you to have better posture. I'm now thinking that the old mouse i had caused me to have shoulder and lower back pain since it forced my wrist lower (almost flat against on my desk) and shoulder to go forward. i hope this mouse works out. It uses AA batteries but the source locater is big and bulky with a long cord but can easily be hidden. Software was easier and faster to install than the logitech (mx revolution and mx 610) mice i tried.

update 6/5/08 - after using the microsoft mouse every business day (8 hours/day), i finally have to change the batteries (4 months). that's a pretty good battery life in my opinion.

Kona, Hawaii Airfare

Presidents Day Weekend. $447 Roundtrip including taxes. I had to book thru expedia b/c when i tried to book on the actual airline, continental, the prices were different strangely. Unfortunately, there is a stopover in honolulu also. Direct flights nonstop was $550 on united. March prices was too expensive, starting at $600.

Jcrew Leather Rivington Kitten Heel Boot

I stopped by the Jcrew in Century City last weekend. I wasn't too crazy about buying these boots since i was looking for boots with a low heel, but the sale price was too hard to resist. Orignally $228. Sale price $69.99 plus an additional 20% off. Total price I paid including tax was $56. A 2.5 inch heel isn't so bad after all. What a deal! I recently checked the price online and it is still regular price.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Movie

I just saw this movie at the Beverly Center. It was an ok movie, but should have been edited to make it shorter. Some parts really dragged on unfortunately. $9.50 adult, $7.50 student. They seem to have all the leftover movies.

Also, Beverly Center increased their parking fees recently. As i left the elevator on the parking level where i was parked, there was a girl standing right next to the automated parking machine reminding me to pay at the machine since there are no people working at the parking exit now. It used to be $1 for 3 hours. It is now $1 for each hour up to 4 hours. Ridiculous. I just went there to watch a really old movie that had been out for a while, not even at a discounted price. Now Beverly Center is trying to make a buck any way they can by charging that much for parking. I'm not too crazy about the stores either. I only like bloomingdales and h&m, but both stores are chains and located in other areas where the parking is free.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cassandra's Dream - Woody Allen Movie

Saw this movie yesterday at the newer landmark theatre across the street from westside pavillion. Assigned seating. Nice soft leather, reclining seats. $12 adult. Nothing special about this theatre except for the selection of food and snacks was better quality perhaps and better variety. Enjoyed movie except for some elder people sitting next to us sharing their thoughts out loud for everyone to hear and the elder guy in back of us who predicted what was to happen next. I wish people would not talk during the movie.

There is not a good selection of new movies to choose from lately . Mad money and 27 dresses were the other new movies this week. Both look really bad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jcrew Tenley Low Heel boots

I had ordered and received the Jcrew Tenley Low Heel boots last week in Dark Rust (Copperish color). Price I paid with tax was $171 final sale, no exchanges no returns. Unfortunately, the color of one boot was noticeably lighter than the color of the other boot. Jcrew has a great return policy and accepted the boots for return at the store even if it was final sale. Thank goodness. They offered to mail another boot pair since it was available at the time in my size, but I declined.

Logitech MX Revolution Mouse

I just purchased the mx revolution cordless mouse over the weekend on sale at staples for $60 (regular price $99). This mouse generated good reviews on amazon. Mouse works well and is ergonomically designed. Default features include forward and back button, docement flip button and google search button. With the google search button, you can highlight a word and then press the button and the google search results appear on a separate box on the left side of your screen. Battery life has been ok so far with 2 days of moderate use and still is showing full charge on mouse. Rather than using 2 AA batteries, this mouse comes with rechargeable battery and battery station which needs to be plugged in to your electrical outlet (just like a cell phone). I find it just another clutter.

I don't know if all these features justify the $60 I payed (i'm surprised people even pay $99 for this mouse), so I'll be returning it this weekend. I really do not like the rechargeable part.

I just ordered the Logitech MX 610 for $47 thru amazon, which does use 2 AA batteries.

Happiest Country According to Social Science - 20/20

Social science ranks happiest country among 178 nations.
Iceland #4
France #63
Italy #50
USA #23
Denmark #1

5.5 Million People. Denmark pay 63% income taxes, but govt pays for all healthcare and education. They spend more money on children and elderly per capita than any other country. 9/10 are full blooded danish. Higher taxes are easier to pay if you know its going to someone who looks and thinks like you according to social science.
Bankers make just as much as artists. People don't choose careers based on income or status. Danish don't judge people based on their career (e.g. showed garbage man who enjoyed his job-5 hours per day and prince descendent learning carpentry).
Shopping/consuming not a priority. Danish trust each other and their govt. Mothers leave babies in strollers unattended outside cafes and most bicycles are left unlocked. Danish can afford cars but choose to ride bicycles that show no status.

Story was slightly bias but interesting.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Robbery in Koreatown, Caught on Tape - LAPD Blog

Robbery in Koreatown, Caught on Tape
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying a man captured on surveillance video punching and robbing an unsuspecting victim.
On Saturday, December 29, 2007, at about 10:30 p.m., the female victim, 52 years of age, had just parked her car in the parking garage at her apartment complex in the 600 block of South Wilton Place.
The suspect had previously entered the garage and was lying in wait for an unsuspecting victim. As the victim walked by him, he sprung from his hiding place and began punching the victim repeatedly in the face, knocking her to the ground. The suspect took the victim's purse and began to walk away, but returned momentarily to remove jewelry from the victim as she lay on the ground.
He is described as a male black, mid twenties, 5 ft. 5 in., wearing a dark colored, hooded sweatshirt with a multi-colored design on the front, and dark colored pants and shoes. Detective Kim said, "We hope someone in the community will recognize something familiar about this suspect and contact us. We hope to locate him before he can harm anyone else or commit more robberies."
The victim did not require medical treatment, but did suffer bruising and contusions from the attack.
Anyone with information is asked to call Wilshire Robbery Detectives W. Wong or R. Kim at 213-922-8205. During off-hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Washington Mutual Sucks - Complaint

In 12/06, I had opened both a checking and savings account online. The special offer for opening both accounts simultaneously online was 5% APY for the savings account portion. After wasting an hour of my time on the telephone and then going to my nearest wamu during lunch combined, I found out that my checking account was closed (without any warning or notification of closure) by wamu on 12/31 due to inactivity for 2 cycles. Apparently, this was stated in the disclosures when I opened the account. I must admit, like many, I did not read the disclosures. Shouldn't they have a notification at least to state that they were going to close the account? Had I known, I would have left $1 in the checking account. I did not see one message on my wamu messages account inbox stating this information, but I did see several messages stating that my online statement was available. My savings account went from 5% in oct to 4.89% in Nov to 3% in Dec to the current rate of 0.25%. I saw wamu was currently offering 4.75% apy if both a checking and savings are opened online simultaneously. I just opened another account and will close the old accounts. This is not the first time I was dissappointed with their customer service. If they weren't offering such a competitive savings rate, I would take my business elsewhere.

Online Savings - California
Interest Rate 4.65%
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 4.75%

Maintain a minimum balance of $300.00 each day (savings account only) of the monthly statement cycle to avoid the monthly service charge amount of $4.00.

Apparently, you have to leave at least $1 and make a transaction (such as money transfer from checking to savings) every 6 months or so to for the account to stay active, according to a customer service rep.

Update 1/9/08 - I just emailed a complaint about WaMu to the Federal Consumer Help Department:

To file a complaint, you can:
Call us toll-free at 888-851-1920 (TTY: 877-766-8533) 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST
E-mail us at
Send us a fax at 877-888-2520
Write to us at:Federal Reserve Consumer HelpPO Box 1200Minneapolis, MN 55480
update 2/2008. i received a letter from the Office of Thrift Supervision
Department of the Treasury Consumer Affairs letter regarding my complaint last which reads:

Dear xxxxx:

Thank you for your inquiry. We have forwarded a copy of your inquiry to the institution and asked that it respond directly to you.

We have also requested that the institution provide us with a copy of its response from our review. If the response appears to address your concerns, and if no issues involving federal regulations administered by this agency are raised, we will not take further action. However, a complete copy of our file on this matter will be retained to assist us in monitoring the institution.

This agency has no authority to arbitrate disputes involving contract interpretation, questions of fact, or other legal issues. Such matters are in the jurisdiction of the courts.

If you contact us again, please do so in writing and use the above-referenced case number in your correspondence.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Very truly yours,


I did also receive a personal letter from WaMu with an explanation as well. case is now closed. i still hate WaMu and have changed back to capital one. interest lowered from 4.75% to 3.30% (due to feds lowering interest rates). capital one curently offers a 3.85% apy for amounts over $10,000.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

There Will Be Blood - The Movie

Watched this movie at the grove last night since it had gotten good reviews. Over 2.5 hours long which was unnecessary. I got very bored after the 1st hour and just wanted it to end. I swear it just wouldn't end and when it finally did, I was so relieved. It was too slow. On the up side, the acting was ok.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Coke Zero

Diet coke out of stock at target. I am used to the artificial diet coke taste. Purchased coke zero instead. Zero calories. Coke zero taste closer to the classic coke but leaves a horrible aftertaste that lingers for a long time. too bad i purchased a 12 pack. gross.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sawtelle Kitchen on Sawtelle

Curry's and katsu's and pasta's. I've always heard good things about this place but never tried it until yesterday when I was forced to since both Asahi and Hide were both closed. I ordered the calamari steak katsu ($10.75) which comes with a miso soup. Perfectly deep-fried, crispy calamari came with potato salad and coleslaw salad and an egg salad type tartar sauce. Somewhat bland flavor but still pretty good. my only other complaint - green salad dressing, potato salad and/or tartar sauce have way to much of an overpowering onion flavor. onion flavor does not leave my mouth until hours later.

sawtelle kitched has nice, romantic ambience.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vito's Pizza in West Hollywood on La Cienaga (south of Santa Monica Blvd)

I used to go to the Vito's across the street from LACC. I loved the white pizza and the calzones. It was very cheap too. One day, it closed for remodeling and never re-opened. Another pizza place took it's place and was absolutely terrible. I thought Vito's closed for good but had recently read that Vito's was now in West Hollywood. I had the urge to try it since I had missed the white pizza. I try white pizza whenever i see it on any italian/pizza menu and had never had one as good as vito's. I went to vito's yesterday. It now looks cleaner and is located in a mini-mall. Individual slices were $2.50 and i am happy to say that the white pizza is the same as how i remember it from its old location. i wanted to order the calzone also, but the prices were ridiculous at $15. It used to be around $6 at the old location. oh well, no big deal.

Amoeba Music in Hollywood

I stopped by Amoeba yesterday because at i had a gift certificate. Despite all the music downloading and discount stores carrying a wide selection of music, this place seems to have a lot of business- people are actually buying music and dvd's there. since i like a lot of mainstream music, i can find albums i like at discount stores like target and best buy for less. however, i really don't shop for music too often. perhaps people go there since it has such a large selection and older/harder to find albums. Amoeba also has a large selection of used cd's and dvd's which are guaranteed to play perfectly. i've had some problems with used cd's, so i stopped buying them. You can return the used item for a store credit within 7 days if not perfect. I'm surprised that Virgin Megastore on sunset and cresent heights is going out of business but i did stop going there since i was in high school, when it first opened. purchased the following (all new):

nadia-the movie $10
joni mitchell hits $17
modern lovers $13
Shangri las - Leader of the pack $15
jesus and mary chain 21 singles $17
mary j blige what's the 411 $9
aretha franklin hits $9
tori amos under the pink $11

be careful of the newer photo enforced light at the corner of cahuenga and sunset. i know someone who got a ticket from that corner recently and the penalty was $159, not including $10 fee and traffic school.