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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Madeline Bistro Opens in Tarzana

This week our friends and fellow parents from school, Molly and David Anderson, have opened their new vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Madeleine Bistro. As a confirmed carnivore, I can tell you, this vegetarian cuisine is among some of the best food I have ever tasted. Any of you who know me personally understand just what a compliment this is!

Two weeks ago, Rosanne and I attended a "pre-opening" which featured a 6 course tasting menu of the many dishes that Madeline Bistro will feature on their regularly changing menu. Even though I am a notoriously "picky" eater, and not fond of vegetables at all, I ate, and greatly enjoyed 99% of everything I was served. It was a wonderful meal on the scale of many of the fine restaurants in Los Angeles. The added kick of it being vegetarian was merely a wonderful extra. We both walked away that evening with one of the best food "highs" we have had in a long time.

My favorites from their current menus (linked below) include:

Thai red curry - Pan-roasted tofu with basmati rice cake, late spring baby vegetables
"Chicken"-fried seitan with Mashed potatoes, pan gravy, baby carrots, haricots verts
Cajun Caesar Sandwich - Blackened seitan, Caesar dressing, French roll, plantain chips
Madeleine club - Chicken-fried seitan, tempeh bacon, sourdough bread, plantain chips
Raw blueberry-lavender soup with Strawberry-kiwi-lemon sorbet terrine, macadamia tuile
Flourless chocolate cake with Whipped creme, raspberry coulis, creme anglaise

I also enjoyed several other dishes that are not on the current menu, including an artichoke risotto that was amazing. I look forward to being able to try this again in the future.

If you or your friends are into great food that happens to be vegetarian, please stop by Madeline Bistro and enjoy yourself!

Lunch Menu | Dinner Menu

Madeleine Bistro
18621 Ventura Blvd.
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 758-6971

Dinner: Tuesday through Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Friday and Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Lunch: (beginning Wednesday, June 1st)
Tuesday through Friday: 11:30m - 2:00pm

Sunday Brunch: (beginning Sunday, June 12th)
Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm

Closed Monday

Build your own robot fun

A fun little web application that lets you assemble cute or scary robots.

Save Yourself: Build Your Own Robot

(Via del.icio.us/tag/robot.)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Haunted Mansion Papercraft

Even though I worked at Disney for 5 years, I don't think I caught the obsessive infection that others seem to get. That said, this build-it-yourself papercraft version of the Haunted Mansion is certainly neat. Certainly looks like a lot of work , though.

There are many sights for downloading projects like this, including papercrafts that move. A Google Search for papercraft will give you more than enough to keep you busy for weeks.

Papercraft Haunted Mansion to download, cut and glue

(Via Boing Boing.)

Outboard Brains for Mac OS X

"Outboard brain" is a term meaning any sort of toll that helps you keep track of all the ideas you generate, all the things you need to do and all the stuff that help you run your life without trying to keep it all in your real brain. This can be a notebook, a PDA, a computer program or a web service.

I use several tools in this was including the Delicious web link service, my Handspring Treo 90 PDA and even this blog.

If you need to expand your "storage" and use Mac OS X, here are some tools you might find useful in creating your own outboard brain.

MacDevCenter.com: Outboard Brains for Mac OS X Outboard Brains for Mac OS X (part1)

(Via del.icio.us/tag/osx.)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Trail Smarts - LocalHikes.com

Living in Los Angeles, there are almost too many hiking opportunities. Trying to decide between one or other can be difficult task. "Am I in the mood for mountains or coast line? Waterfall or desert? Urban or rural?

LocalHikes.com comes to the rescue with hundreds of hikes for many metropolitan areas, not just Los Angeles. The added benefit here are the reviews posted by other hikers detailing trail conditions, closures and more. As fire season gets underway here in California you can often go out for a day of fun only to find your favorite trail has been closed due to "red flag" alert. Checking with LocalHikes.com before you go won't solve all your problems, but it might save you some time and gas money.

LocalHikes - Search for day hikes and... LocalHikes - Search for day hikes and hiking trails near U.S. Metropolitan Areas

(Via del.icio.us/tag/la.)

Low-tech PDA?

How low-tech can you go and still "get things done"? Well, it seems you can go pretty low indeed. I especially enjoy the fact that if you use the pads with carbon paper you get an automatic archive of all your notes. This is great when you jot something down for someone else, but want to keep a copy yourself. In an odd way it reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's pantograph, which allowed him to make copies of all the letters he sent to others.

This gets my 'Too cool" rating for the day.

Blessedly simple

Guest Check PDA

This is a clever variation on the Hipster PDA that I picked up over on the HPDA wiki page. Use a cheapie, pocket-sized pad of restaurant “Guest Checks” to take notes. The hack is to use the kind with old-school carbon copies, so you’ll always have an archival copy of any notes you take.

Check out the full set on Flickr.<

(Via 43 Folders.)

Friday, May 27, 2005

hexod.us: Bike Metro

hexod.us: Bike Metro

Wow! Hexod.us points to a great resource for bikers in LA. Yes, there are people here who actually ride a bicycle. Some of us even walk, too! (GASP)

As they mentiion, the RouterFinder is a great resource. Sort of like a Google Maps for bike routes. It also includes a very necessary item, an elevation map. You want to know if you have head up a mountain or an go through the pass to get where you are going. It also integrates with Mass Transit, so you can take a bus for part of your journey or get home when you go farther afield than your legs can handle.

Bike Metro

Coincidentally, I happened upon this site, Bikemetro:
Looking for a bike route to get you to work and back? Bike paths in your area? Tips on bike maintenance? Information on safe biking? Tricks to make your commute easier? You can find it at BikeMetro.com!

The routefinder is pretty cool, letting you choose a route based on your level of biking ability and giving fairly good directions along with elevation changes so you know when to expect those hills.

(Via hexod.us.)

Event: Echo Park Stairway Tour

This is extremely short notice, but the tours are on-going. You can get more information by following the links below or visiting Historic Echo Park Walking Tours. We love walking tours and are always on the lookout for them, We even ran Palm Spring Walks for 2 years, giving walks on the architecture, celebrities and history of Palm Springs. One of our favorites was London Walks. If you ever there, I highly recommend them.

hexod.us: Echo Park Stairway Tour Enjoy the stunning views and unique history of northern Echo Park and Elysian Heights in an approximately 2-hour-long tour that includes some of the city's tallest public stairways and hidden communal spaces. This is an outdoor tour only--building interio

(Via del.icio.us/tag/losangeles.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tom Peters on Making a Great Presentation

More and more these days, we are all called upon to make presentations, whether a 30 second "elevator speech" or a formal dog and pony show in front of the entire company. Tom Peter's put together this series of PowerPoint slides with his take on making any presentation the best you can.

Presentation Excellence

My brother-in-law, a senior ExxonMobil exec, and I got into a discussion about presentations the other night. We both heartily agreed that "presentation excellence" was a great boon to one's career/professional success. We also agreed that there is little or no formal training in preparing/giving presentations. He showed me a list of key ideas that he provided to his colleagues. (Proprietary.) The discussion motivated me to make my own list.

(Via Dispatches from the New World of Work.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hammer Museum is FREE this summer!

What a great way to introduce new patrons to your museum. As the temperatures heat up, we all look for places to "beat the heat" while having some fun. I know where I will be making a few visits this summer.

Hammer Announces Free Summer!

In case you were wondering how amazing the UCLA Hammer Museum is (exhibitions, programming, bookstore) then here is either your chance to find out or just make you love it more. The Hammer Museum has announced that for the first time it will be offering FREE admission this summer season (June 7 - September 4) for all exhibitions and programs.

It's going to be a good summer! Click the link to read about upcoming summer Hammer exhibitions.

(Via art.blogging.la.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Make a Photo Lab For $49.38

I've always wanted to try my hand a black and white photo developing, but I always figured the supplies and equipment would cost too much. I even have, in my garage, the previous owners darkroom space. We use it for a nicer storage space, but it wouldn't take much to get it working again. Hmmm....another project for my To-Do List. (SMILE)

Make a Photo Lab For $49.38 Here's a secret: you can develop black & white film cheaply and cleanly in your very own bathroom. The site has a list of all the things you'll need, where to get them and a good step by step (with black and white photos) on developing your own film. The comments are a great too for some additional tips too Link.

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Italian food recommendation

Based on this review from la.foodblogging.com I think Rosanne and I are going to have to check this place out. It sounds like everything we look for in an Italian restaurant and more. It was such a good review that I thought I would share it with you. Buon Gusto!

When the moon hits your eye…

My friends at work know there’s one place to go for lunch that will always put a smile on my face. Palermo. Even though this local favorite was awarded Best Pizza in LA by LA Weekly, I find it fun to keep trying different items on the menu. My worst dining experience there was when the food came out merely good instead of the usual must-keep-eating-even-if-stomach-bursts fantastic. I have never eaten anything bad here. So what makes this place so outstanding? For me it’s three things: the welcoming, home-style familiarity feeling the restaurant emits, the friendliness of the servers, and knowing just what to order. (Continued at the link above)

(Via la.foodblogging.)

Library to require fingerprints to use PCs

This bothers me in so many ways. If someone is coming in to use a public resource, what does matter who they are. This also makes me ask the next question, how long before they require fingerprints to check out books? A scary slippery slope indeed!

Library to Require Fingerprint to Use PCs FearUncertaintyDoubt writes "Three libraries in Naperville, IL, soon will start requiring patrons who use the library's PCs to provide a fingerprint scan. The article says, ' Library officials say the added security is necessary to ensure people who are using the computers are who they say they are. Officials promise to protect the confidentiality of the fingerprint records.'"

(Via Slashdot.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Quiet lately...

I realize that things have been a bit quiet lately, so I thought I would give you a hint of what is happening here. I am currently involved with assisting a friend in installing some POS (Point of Sale) software for the restaurant he is opening. This has become a bit of a nightmare. We have run into difficult to install software that doesn't understand USB printers and a host of other "gotchas". It is extremely frustrating and sucking up entirely too much of my time, but I am sure we shall overcome eventually. You just need to keep plugging away.

Secondly, I have been getting more and more involved in the daily operations of the Tech Podcast Network. I recently took on the task of wrangling the increasing number of requests for membership in the group, so this has been taking a bit of time in the evenings and other times when I am not out working in the field.

So, there is a little "catch-up" on my part. I hope your days are productive and, more importantly, fun!

Friday, May 13, 2005

New book on Podcasting!

Todd Cochrane, host of the Geek News Central podcast and fellow member of the Tech Podcast Network is releasing one of the first books on podcasting today.

Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide

If you have an interest in creating your own podcast, or just listening to them, I highly recommend you pick this up at your local bookseller.

Here is the press release from Todd's publisher, Wiley Books:

Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide

It’s like TiVo for audio programming. Podcasting, one of the newest crazes to hit the online world, enables subscribers to listen to audio content anytime, anywhere on their personal MP3 player, computer, or even cell phone. All they need to do is download some free software and sign up to receive automatic downloads of their favorite internet broadcasts – be it music, news, or talk. Podcasting pushes content out to subscribers, providing them with continuous access to updated audio content of all kinds. Where does this content come from? It just so happens anyone can create his or her own podcast. PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide (Wiley; June 2005; $19.99), part of the ExtremeTech® series, shows readers not only how to find, download, and listen to podcasts, but also how to create a podcast of their own.
Armed with a basic knowledge of PCs, weblogs, the Internet, and a copy of PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide, readers can become the hosts of their own radio-style show.

Step-by-step instructions explain:

  • Creating a podcast with just a PC or Mac
  • Building a more professional recording studio
  • Integrating on-air phone calls, interviews, music and more
  • Dealing with copyright, music ownership, creative commons, and RIAA issues
  • Integrating advertising into broadcasts
  • Hosting and distributing podcasts
  • Understanding the geeky stuff – RSS, XML and Enclosures

Podcasting has taken the online world by storm, and even some traditional radio stations have begun to experiment with delivering their content using this technology. But is doesn’t take a professional to create a podcast. PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide puts the power of broadcasting into the hands of anyone who feels they have something to say.


Todd Cochrane (Honolulu, HI) is the owner and host of Geek News Central, a popular technology news hub and weblog that serves more than 250,000 weekly visitors. Always on the cutting edge, Todd’s podcasts, which began in Oct 2004, were among the first, and after only 6 months had nearly 10,000 listeners with the audience growing at about 15% per month. The popularity of his podcasts has drawn the attention of Fortune 500 companies and he was one of the first to actually have advertisers on his podcast.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What I'm Reading...

Here is list of items currently sitting on my "Reading" Shelf or in my backpack as I travel around town. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

LA Podcasters Meetup for May 2005

Heads-up all you LA Podcasters, the next Podcaster Meetup (maybe we need to change the name now) is coming in about 2 weeks. Below is the announcement from Lance, our Meetup Organizer.

Be sure to join the Yahoo Group if you want to stay informed on all things LA Podcasting!

Your Organizer, Lance Anderson, sent the following message to the members of Los Angeles Podcasters:

Hey Guys & Gals

The LA Podcasters will soon be moving to Yahoo:


Why? Because Yahoo is free!.... Don't worry if you haven't signed up yet (I still need to!). In the meantime, please send me your email address if haven't already. We want to stay united.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 24 at 7:30pm at the Farmer's Market (Grove) near the community room.... I hope to see you there.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Two new articles in Valley Scene Magazine

The new issue of Valley Scene Magazine is out and I have two articles in this edition. Both of these articles are more general purpose, rather than focusing on technology, as I usually do.

You can check out these articles until May 14th, 2005 on the Valley Scene Magazine web site and, after that date, directly from this website, using the links below. The articles appear in the Arts & Culture and Electronica sections.

Here is a small sampling of each article:

Micro-chipping your pet

"Losing a family pet can be a heartbreaking experience. When Rover or Tabby slips through an open door or garden gate, owners can be seen frantically driving about the neighborhood or posting signs on telephone poles. While most owners take all the usual precautions to protect their animals, some are turning to technology in order to increase the chances that their pets return home.

RFID Chips

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips are the electronic equivalent of the traditional collar and tag, except they can never be lost or removed. The small chips, 4-5mm, in length are implanted directly beneath the animal's skin, usually between the shoulder blades for easy access. These chips have a special coating that clings to the skin and prevents them from moving about once implanted. Many veterinarians provide RFID implantation as one of their normal services. Average prices run about $40 if there is an existing relationship with a vet." [Continued]

Ventura Studio Artists Tour offers "behind-the-scenes" look at studio and homes

"Watching an artist at work is an intimate experience usually reserved for family and friends. Unless an artist chooses to work in public, most art lovers only see the finished product - the canvas, the ceramic pot, the photograph. On May 21st and 22nd, though, a collection of artists in the Ventura area will throw open the doors to their studios, and even homes, to welcome visitors for the 2nd Annual Ventura Studio Artists Tour 2005.

Visiting an artist's workspace can be amazingly enlightening. Works in progress, source material like photos and sketches, personalized tools like palettes, brushes and easels, each provide a small piece of the puzzle that goes into the final artwork. Even more important, though, are the collections of art with which the artists have surrounded themselves. Balinese shadow puppets hang beside older paintings, which sit beside masks from Venice. These collections can help the visitor understand the underpinnings of the artist's work in ways that words cannot convey." [Continued]

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

WelchWrite Newsletter - May 2005 now available

If you aren't on the mailing list for the monthly WelchWrite Newsletter, you can read it on the web. Each newsletters contains a short article by me, news links, interesting web sites and more.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Traffic info via RSS

Residents of any urban area live and die on traffic info, but this is especially true here in LA. Yahoo now offers RSS feeds of traffic conditions that simply show up in your RSS reader instead of forcing you to go after them. I know I am going to be checking this feed each time I leave the house.

The setup is a bit manual right now, but not beyond the average computer user. If anyone needs help, drop me a comment and I will make up the URL for you.

Vehicle traffic conditions RSS

Now you can check the best route home from your RSS reader - Yahoo! offers traffic conditions data via RSS.

The URL to add to your newsreader looks like this:


Edit the URL to add your information:

  • czs is your zip code

  • mag is the level of ‘magnification’ (3 = 4 miles, 4 = 10 miles, 5 = 40 miles)

  • minserv is the minimum severity of the traffic condition (1 = minor, 2 = moderate, 4 = major, 5 = critical.)

Useful! (Hey, developers - anyone want to whip up a quick page that generates this link without manual URL hacking? Send it in - tips at lifehacker.com.)

(Via Lifehacker.)