Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Super Cool Stunt: Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare

On Saturday, June 30 2012, two real-life Hot Wheels cars sped through a 6-story double vertical loop in Downtown LA at the X Games – and it was incredible! Lucky me, I got to have a part in working on the social media for Hot Wheels.

Watch and enjoy!

Hot Wheels World Record: Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X Games Los Angeles

Big congrats to Team Hot Wheels drivers Greg Tracy and Tanner Foust on completing the loop and setting a new Guinness World Record!

A Beautiful Day at the Huntington

Sunday, after an incredible night in Pasadena celebrating our friends’ wedding at the gorgeous Langham hotel where we danced, took a ton of silly photobooth photos, invaded the lobby/sitting room and spent the night sharing a room with some friends, we decided to take advantage of our location. I’d wanted to go to the Huntington for a while, and we hadn’t made the time to head out there, so since we were already in the neighborhood, we decided to head on over.

The admission price was pretty steep — $20 each — and there weren’t any hats on sale at the gift shop, so we were worried we’d get horribly sunburned, but we decided to go anyway, and I’m very glad we did!

Huntington Cactus Garden

We started with a walk through the expansive cactus garden. I could not believe how many different types of desert plans lined the walkways and went as far back as I could see. It was like we were in a Dr. Seuss book, with all the fun, bulbous shapes and twisted trunks around us.

Huntinging Cactus Garden

Then we went to the lily pond and sat in the shade, watching the ducks and red dragonflies chase each other around. It was incredible to see somewhere in LA so full of life and beauty.

Huntington Rose Garden

Then we walked through the jungle area, up to the rose garden, and then on to the serene Japanese gardens with their koi pond, bridges and delicate plants.

Japanese Gardens and the Huntington

We also went into the conservatory to see the tropical gardens, and we saw the corpse flower, though it hadn’t started to bloom yet and didn’t smell at all.

We didn’t go into any of the museum buildings, and we didn’t make it all the way to the some of the farther gardens. We’ll definitely have to go back to see more — and we’ll have to bring the good camera!

Check out more of my photos on Flickr (all taken on my iPhone).

More Than a Year Later, Tuttle LA Is Still Going Strong

Francine at Tuttle LA

Me at Tuttle LA at Toorak Coffee with Jeb and Vaughan in the background. Photo by Ms. Jen Hanen

Remember back when I started posting about Tuttle LA? Well, we started trying to recreate the magic of the Tuttle Club social media cafe that I was involved with in London over here in LA last February. It’s always been a loosely organized group of freelancers, web workers and geeky folks, and through this small but dedicated group, I’ve made new friends, discussed a lot of interesting ideas, worked on a few projects and learned a lot.

When we started, we were meeting at The Library, a quirky coffee shop in Long Beach with an always-changing space. It was cozy and we enjoyed meeting there for nearly the entire first year, but we soon felt like we were outgrowing the changing space we liked to call ours. The tables were getting smaller, the Wi-Fi wasn’t getting any better, the place wasn’t getting any closer to the freeway, and we were constantly surprised by what we found in our meeting room, from a clothing store to a performance space (seriously, check out the older photos from our Flickr group).

We decided to change venues over to a newer coffee shop, Toorak Coffee, also in Long Beach, and we’ve found a happy home. The staff knows us, there’s lots of room for us to stretch out, we never feel like we’re being too rowdy during our heated discussions, and the Wi-Fi is quick and reliable. We only wish there were more outlets for our laptops. It’s also easy to get to since it’s just minutes off the 405.

I’m proud that we’re still meeting every other week like clockwork, and we’re currently discussing adding post-Tuttle educational programs. We’ve also had a number of special guests, including many Tuttle friends from London.

Just this past Friday a group of about 7 of us were discussing how valuable Tuttle has been to us. Since just about all of us work from home, Tuttle has provided an important outlet for meeting new people and adding a social component to our workweek. Because of it, we’ve gotten feedback on new projects, collaborated on work and gotten inspiration to try new solutions or conquer new tasks.

When we started out, I didn’t know if anyone would even show up. Now, our group isn’t huge, but we regularly have 6 to 10 people, and sometimes even a few more. Though I originally hoped we’d have a large, thriving group, I am happy with our steady pack of regulars who are committed to coming and helping each other out.

So Jeb, Jen, Vaughan, Al, Matt, David, Geoff, Kelly, Luke, and everyone else who stops by, thank you for being a part of Tuttle LA. It’s meant a lot to me, and I’m happy to hear that it’s meant a lot to most of you. You’ve helped inspire me creatively and professionally and you’ve introduced me to many great ideas, apps and tools.

Want to learn more about Tuttle LA and when we’re meeting next? Visit TuttleLA.com.

A Relaxing Weekend in Ojai

We found some trees that change color in Southern California!

We found some trees that change color in Southern California!

OK, this post is only more than a month late, but I did want to share…

Over Halloween weekend, Evan and I decided to get out of LA for a bit. He’s been working 6- or 7-day weeks, and he finally had a full 2-day weekend to relax for the first time in more than a month. Also, neither of us really like celebrating Halloween, so it was the perfect weekend to get away. We considered Palm Springs, or Santa Barbara, or even Solvang, but they all seemed troublesome and pricey that weekend — there was a giant Phish concert out in the desert, and Santa Barbara has a major Halloween celebration, so we thought of some place a little closer and quieter — Ojai.

We were only going for one night, and we only decided to go a few days before the weekend, but thankfully things weren’t too busy and we were able to book a beautiful room in a very cute and cozy bed and breakfast called Inn Harmony. Inn Harmony is on a residential street just a block away from the main shopping and restaurant area. The yellow house had only a few rooms and it really felt like staying in a friend’s beautiful guest room. The furnishings looked new and were a mix of classic shapes with contemporary funky fabrics, the bathroom was quite modern, and we even had our own little balcony. There was a wine and cheese happy hour, a nice yard and porch where we spent time reading, and an absolutely adorable and friendly little Havanese dog.

How could you not love that face?

How could you not love that face?

Ojai turned out to be a great little vacation spot. We went on a nice hike which crossed back and forth over a small stream and gave us some beautiful views of the Ojai valley. There were so many hikes in the area that we had a hard time choosing which one to do. We also had a nice dinner at the Ranch House, where we sat on their heated patio in a lush garden. We got a very private table that was on its own platform amid the trees, and shared a bottle of wine and a nice meal.

One of the views from our hike

One of the views from our hike

We also went wine tasting at the Old Creek Ranch Winery, which was just outside of Ojai. We tasted a large selection of their small runs of wines and were impressed with all of them, especially the now sold-out sauvignon blanc and the sangiovese. Though they buy their grapes from other vineyards, they do make the wine on the pastoral property, and there were plenty of people picnicking with their families and dogs.

Ojai turned out to be the perfect weekend retreat for us. We relaxed, spent time outdoors and had fun checking out the little shops that featured the very talented local artists, like Steven Spiro. It was also really easy to get to — it only took about an hour and a half to get there. I’m excited to find another weekend when we can go back.

Mindshare LA: A Night of “Enlightened Debauchery”

mindshare la june flyerLast week, Kacie and I went to Mindshare LA. I’d been meaning to go to this event since I first read about it the fall, but had never actually made my way over to hear the talks and mingle with the rather intellectually elite crowd. But then I started getting more into LA’s tech evets, and I met Travis Savo, who is part of Mindshare Labs, at BarCamp. Once I had a personal invite — and knew one of the speakers (Jason) — of course I was going to go.

The event was held at a repurposed firehouse on the east side of Downtown LA. We entered from an alley, where a Border Grill taco truck was parked for our dining pleasure, and picked up our name tags before exploring the already crowded venue. There was a little courtyard, where Travis would DJ later, another outdoor space where there was an open wine and beer bar as well as snacks from Portos, and an inside space with a bar, some small side rooms, and a room set up for the presentations.

The speaker list was a diverse group of people all passionate about what they do.

Jessica Jackley, the founder of KIVA, gave a talk about microloans and about what KIVA is doing to help alleviate poverty around the world. I got to learn a bit more about the lending process and was really inspired by how she has been able to grow the organization so quickly and effectively.

Geoffrey Sommer, an aviator and risk analyst who has done work for NASA, talked about killer comets and meteorites and talked about how closely we can predict an impact and whether we could really do anything about it. I’ve always been a sucker for disaster shows, though they absolutely terrify me, and from what he has determined, we probably shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about things coming from outer space to kill us.

Ariel Blumenthal, a composer and the founder Sentient Music for Media talked about creating custom soundtracks for spaces that evolve as you move through the space and set differet moods in different parts of the spaces and Dr. Alex Benzer, the author of Tao of Dating for Women and Tao of Dating For Men talked about why smart people often have a difficult time dating.

The big talk of the night, though was Jason Porath‘s A Short History of Hollywood’s Genitalia Coverups. I first heard Jason give the talk at BarCamp, and it had the room roaring. We all laughed at terms like “tent removal” and “scrotoscoping,” and got to see quite a few examples of Hollywood coverups. I’m hoping the video of this one turns up sometime so I can share it.

After the talks, we stuck around for another drink and enjoyed the music. The courtyards were beautifully lit up with firelight, and we also got to check out a laser maze — I didn’t actually try it, but it looked like something a bank robber would have to go through.

I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s a video from SEOP:

SEOP at the Events: MindShare LA | 6/18/09 from SEOP on Vimeo.

A Hike in Griffith Park

Griffith Park Observatory

View of Downtown LA from the Griffith Park Observatory

Yesterday, my friend Jared and I went for a hike in Griffith Park. I hadn’t been hiking there in a while, and it was great to get back out there and experience some of the nature LA has to offer.

The paths are mostly wide and sandy, and they wind up and around hills where there are views of downtown, the San Gabriel Valley and the Hollywood sign. There’s also the very nicely remodelled Griffith Park Observatory, where you can wander around checking out exhibits on the sun, planets and stars (and it’s free).

Me and the Hollywood Sign

Me and the Hollywood Sign

I’m not sure quite how far we walked, but I think it was between 3 and 4 miles. There were plenty of other people out walking and running, and there were lots of dogs there, too. There isn’t much shade on the trails, but there are some areas to relax, like the small garden and picnic area at Dante’s Peak, and by the Observatory.

Check out the rest of the photos on Facebook or Flickr.

Jared and Albert Einstein in the Griffith Park Observatory

Jared and Albert Einstein in the Griffith Park Observatory

Introducing: The Tuttle LA Blog

tuttlela blog

Today, we finally launched the Tuttle LA blog. It was meant to be a super easy and quick installation, but took longer than expected, mostly due to technical problems with the host we were going to use.

I kept it nice and simple, but added some neat plugins that I hadn’t used before, including Event Calendar, so you can see our upcoming meetings, and Twitter Tracker, which I wish had a few more top-level options, but is a nice way to pull a Twitter search into your sidebar and is easy to style.

tuttletwitter

With the launch of the blog, we also announced our next meeting, this Friday, April 10, 2009, at The Library Coffee House in Long Beach. We’re meeting at 10:30 a.m. again, and anyone who’d like to come is welcome. Hope to see you there!