Technology

The Amazing Race

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by Holly Goldberg Sloan

toddsarahpalin.jpgI’m obsessed.  I want to know everything.  I’ve hunted for her favorite recipe for Moose stew.  I spend hours on my computer searching for footage.  I want transcripts.  YouTube moments.  Because I couldn’t write the stuff that comes out of her mouth.  And I write dialogue for a living. 

She is…special. 

My husband Gary has pointed out that she is our first Reality Television Candidate. 

I believe my husband is on to something.  Her qualifications would be more appropriate for the television show: "The Amazing Race".  For those uninitiated, Wikipedia explains the show on CBS to be: “a reality television game show in which teams of two people, which have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams.

No matter what you think of her run for the Vice Presidency, there is no denying that she and the First Dude (that’s more fun than Todd, isn’t it?) would make an excellent “Amazing Race” team.

Losing a Partner

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by Holly Goldberg Sloan

200px-ibook_g4.jpgIt happened suddenly.  One minute we were together, touching, my hands on his body, as close as always, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, signs of dire distress.  It sounded like a heave or a deep sigh.  But I heard a click in there somewhere as well.  Something more than the whirl of a distant fan.  I heard danger.  I heard Mac’s finally gasp.

And then, after four years together, nine to ten hours a day, seven days a week, for all 52 weeks of the year – half of those trying to work, the other half simply searching together for answers – it was over. 

Lately, he was the first thing I reached for in the morning after my husband, who gets up early, was gone.  I pulled him off the table and woke him up from his sleep.  I demanded that he bring me the New York Times.  That was always the start.

Getting Uninked

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by Anya Strzemien

tattoo1.jpgWhen I got my first tattoo at age 16, I pretty much knew I'd want it gone by the time I was 30. My rationale went like this: the year was 1995, and I figured technology was bound evolve to the point where, by the time I was that old, tattoo removal would be cheap, fast, and easy. Wrong! But I'll get to that.

The first tattoo was a star on my wrist. Not so original nowadays, but we didn't have Lindsay Lohan and Sienna Miller back then. And, sure, you have to be 18 to legally get a tattoo, but this was in the early days of Giuliani administration in New York, back when we were barely carded for anything (especially alcohol, I was elated to learn).

The second tattoo came about during my freshman year of college, and this one really marked some silly adolescent judgment on my part. I knew what I wanted it to say (and it's something so college, so 18, and so earnest that I can't even bring myself to tell friends what it means anymore, let alone HuffPost readers), but I didn't want it to be in English. Arabic, Farsi and Hindi looked too linear, Chinese felt too cliché. So, naturally, I settled on Japanese. I could have lived with the star for the rest of my life, but really, Asian character tattoos are a crime of fashion that should be punishable by law.

I Love Ooma

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by Dave Dinsmore

ooma-logo.jpgIf you haven’t heard of Ooma, you will soon. I discovered it because I was sick and tired of paying ATT&T for a landline we rarely ever used that cost us over $40 a month with no extras. We didn’t even have call waiting, which was nice for us, but the busy signal always freaked our friends out. At least they knew we were home even if they couldn’t reach us.

One day last fall I came across a message on one of my geek boards about a box that uses your current phone number and phones over the Internet. More research showed that everyone was talking about Ooma, a system that seemed to be as popular as Uma Thurman among the nerd community.  I was a bit skeptical until I saw over 75 positive reviews on Amazon. It seemed this system was exactly what I was looking for. Unlike Vonage a similar service that has a monthly fee, once you purchase the Ooma system (about $200), you never have to pay another phone bill again. That’s right I said NEVER.  Plus, getting to keep our existing home phone number (for a small fee) was essential. We’ve had it for 12 years and it’s the one number my wife can actually remember.

Sketchfest San Francisco

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by Laraine Newman

sketchfest.jpgThis past weekend I was in San Francisco for The 8th Annual Sketchfest. This was a two week long Comedy Festival with comic performers ranging from Stand-up, One Person Shows, Improv Groups, Sketch Companies and then there were shows that sort of defied description. Some of those were the ones I took part in. 

I was lucky enough to see a few shows besides our own.  I saw The Lampshades; the best fake lounge act I’ve seen in a long time.  The physical work they do is sublime and hilarious. I took a peek at 2-Headed Dog, but they were doing a sketch that had three men running around in their underpants and little else. They were dancing in a manner that had their peculiar distributions of body fat jiggle in a way that caused me to run out of the theatre.  I’m not saying I’m the Venus DeMilo, but I don’t choose to subject anyone to the sight of my sorry flesh sac.

The Theme Park Improv Show had Scott Adsit from 30 Rock and Oscar Nunez from The Office. They were outstanding, but what was really impressive was two of the performers in the troupe were the event promoters. You just never figure people that talented would have it together enough to pull something like this off. They did some of the best improv I’ve seen in a long time.

Snowflakes in Southern California

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by Susan Russo

snowflake.jpgJeff and I go to the gym early every morning. Since it’s still dark out when we leave, it’s been pretty chilly lately. This morning when I turned the key in the ignition, the dashboard starting flashing. It also began to beep—a subtle bing, like the musical “fasten your seatbelt” bing that you hear on airplanes. “Great,” I sighed, “something else is broken.”

Jeff, never one to presume the worst, leaned over, looked intently at the dashboard, and said matter-of-factly, “Nothing’s broken.” “It’s not?” “No. It’s just a snowflake,” he said. “What’s just a snowflake?” I asked. “On the dashboard. Look at the temperature,” he said. It read 39 degrees. And there it was—a cute little snowflake.

Apparently Volkswagen was thoughtful enough to alert its drivers when it’s cold outside. Having driven the car only in Southern California, we had never seen it before. If this keeps up, I’m gonna have to ask my mom to let me borrow some of those gloves and scarves I gave to her when we moved here.

Heidi 4 Paws

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by Mary McNamara

From the L.A. Times

heidi-banner2.jpg

There is nothing in this life to prepare a person to review “Heidi 4 Paws,” which premieres on KCET Sunday morning.

When my editor handed it to me with a gleam in her eye, she said: "It's Heidi. With dogs." I was confused. Did Heidi Klum have a new reality show involving dogs? Had Heidi Montag snagged a canine Christmas special?

"No, it's the story 'Heidi.' With dogs."

I began to feel bovine in my incomprehension. "Heidi" with dogs instead of goats?

"No, the dogs play all the characters."

Including, it must be added, the goats.

And there it is. "Heidi 4 Paws" is a live-action retelling of Johanna Spyri’s classic tale of an orphan sent to live with her cantankerous grandfather high in the Swiss Alps -- with dogs in all the roles. Dogs in kerchiefs and Swiss frocks, dogs in alpine hats and canine approximations of lederhosen, dogs in wigs and spectacles and, yes, little Clara's wheelchair.

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restaurant news

Latitudes at Wentworth by the Sea
New England
by Kitty Kaufman

 Latitudes at Wentworth by the Sea

This is a fish story about Latitudes at the Wentworth Hotel. It starts with a beach tour so I get to learn about the real New Hampshire since what I know is negligible. We are driving the coast...

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Al Duello: My First Night in Rome
Italy
by Rachel Rader

al-duello-roma-italia.jpgI just spent my first night in Rome and wanted to share my dinner from last night. It was at Al Duello, a place a friend recommended. It was absolutely incredible.

It's a cute little place off a...

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Michael's Pizzeria
Southern California
by Matt Armendariz

michaelslogo.jpg You might remember we were on a slight squash kick recently. It coincided with a visit to one of my favorite restaurants here in Long Beach, Michael’s Pizzeria. I’ve said a million times that I...

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Surfas Cafe
Los Angeles
by Laraine Newman

surfas2.jpgThe other day, my daughter Hannah and I stopped by Surfas. It always surprises me when she wants to go there, since their prepared food is, lets just say..um..esoteric.  She ordered the 72 layer...

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