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the california science center in l.a. is an interactive museum that encourages kids to take an interest in science in a fun and hands on manner. located in between usc and the coliseum, the science center makes science learning fun for everyone! exclamation points convey a sense of enthusiasm. this month, the science center’s special exhibit is… “star wars: where science meets imagination.” that’s right, the landspeeder that luke takes into mos eisley isn’t technological nonsense irresponsibly put together by lucas. it is science! the science center teaches us that the landspeeder was actually inspired by maglev technology, magnetic levitation technology. fascinating!

the exhibit showcased many costumes and droids from the star wars universe.

[even the medical droid from episode v was there (top); a wampa, or better known to southern californians as the abdominal snowman on the matterhorn (bottom)]

[marshall and jmar building their very own R2 unit (second from top); jmar creates his own city (bottom)]

the exhibit itself was pretty small. interestingly enough, i was more entertained by the interactive activities (building hover crafts, droids, and cities) than by the memorabilia that filled the room. aside from the worthless (optional) 15 minute movie about robots in the real world, the exhibit was alot of fun, and free admission is always a plus. if you live in the los angeles area, i recommend you check it out; i’m sure the lifesize millennium falcon cockpit will be more than worth your time (of course, we didn’t fork over the $2 to go inside it so we can’t give you a personal account of that). science learning for everyone!

after we visited the star wars exhibit and reveled in our geekdom, we decided to get some food at phillipe’s, home of the original french dip sandwich per recommendation of jmar. phillipe has offered delicious french dip sandwiches since 1908 and claim the distinction of creating this wonderful gift of a sandwich to the world. i definitely recommend phillipe’s, as the french dip i ate that day could have very well been one of the best french dip sandwiches i have ever had. but i guess they all tastes the same (<- counter productive anecdote). in my opinion, phillipe’s is a relevant piece of los angeles culinary history and should be visited immediately. after eating what i perceived as lunch (everyone else thought that we were eating dinner), we then made our way to south pasadena, home of the great. we walked down mission street and visited a few mom and pop stores. there is a classic drugstore that has all the necessary elements: ice cream, kitschy nostalgic toys, and drugs. after we bought some crack at the drugstore, we continued down the adjacent street and went into ‘out of the closet.’ jmar bought a sweet red flannel shirt, marshall bought a nice short sleeved shirt and a blazer, and alicia bought a magenta (?) skirt. i found a cool edith piaf record. all in all, a good day at the thrift store, wouldn’t you say? after stalking the town, we made our way back to jmar’s abode. marshall and jmar played some ‘gears of war’ which i must say looks very impressive. we were then treated to some ‘broasted’ chicken from charlie’s trio. mmm, just thinking about it makes me hungry. then again, i am starving right now. all in all, it was a very productive day in los angeles. next time, i want to go to the getty or the observatory.

today’s purchases:
-two water colored portrait postcard from the star wars exhibit, one of chewbacca and the other of billy dee williams.
– edith piaf record from out of the closet.

on friday night, we went to la cave. la cave is a steakhouse and bar that has live music every night of the seven day week. It is appropriately named; only after you walk down a short flight of stairs of wine red carpet (at least that’s how I remember it) is the cave seen in its entirety. the concept is kind of like “cheers” in hell. of course, that isn’t an appropriate description at all so let’s picture this: here’s a classy steak house that offers only the best cuts and fresh seafood, now look at that fancy restaurant under the dark red neon lights of vegas. all the lights in the house are red, creating an effect that says yes, I must certainly be in a restaurant built in a cave. something about the red lights imply sleaze, but perhaps that is an unfair attribution. either way, the place has an undeniable charm and sense of character. we sat ourselves in the corner booth opposite the stage and the bar. we were told that la cave would be a great place to chat and catch up while treated to the magic of live jazz. apparently, live jazz night is wednesday.


instead of thelonious monk inspired jazz men, we saw two skinny sid vicious worshipping dudes. the singer of the group had spikey black hair and an all black ensemble, save for his two overlapping studded white belts that hung loosely over his skin tight jeans. the set list was a pleasant surprise of cover songs ranging from ‘born to be wild,’ to ‘ziggy stardust,’ and even ‘your song.’ the dudes were pretty entertaining. at first I was rattled by their faithful following of the rock and roll play book. the writhing guitar solos on the ground, the indulgent 8 minute renditions of ‘satisfaction,’ and my personal favorite, the shirt coming off in the middle of the set (meaning after the second song, he performed shirtless). these guys are really cheesy I thought, but then I also thought, ‘hey this is kind of awesome.’ you don’t see this kind of rock and roll idolatry anymore in this day and age. it was like watching rock cliches unfolding in front of me, but with a certain earnestness and that, I can appreciate. someone in the bar cried out, ‘moby dick! moby dick!’ and without a word of affirmation, the skinny dude busted into his version of ‘moby dick.’ and come on, he took his shirt off like he planned it. is this a parody? nay, this is real. that sort of thing transcends criticism and deserves applause. bravo, dudes.


all in all, the cave was a lot of fun and I would like to go there again sometime. as for the young cats playing them classic rock covers, godspeed.

approximately 10 minutes into the set

rajiv: best friday night ever!


i’ve always tried to share the music i like in posts but i never felt like i could accurately explain why i liked a certain song. i always sound like a failed literary journalism major. but reading allen’s recent post on music, i was inspired to give it another go.  this is a playlist of “tender” songs that i recommend. the songs are linked to videos so you can listen to them first hand.

love will tear us apart – susanna and the magical orchestra
the song is a cover of a joy division song. in contrast to the original’s faster colder approach, susanna and the magical orchestra give a much slower haunting affair. the instrumentation and vocals sound fragile, but never weepy. the song sounds like how a bluesman looks; under the weary smile, you know that there is a tried and hardened soul. this song has a certain cleansing quality.

through the roof ‘n’ underground – gogol bordello
gogol bordello are often tagged as gypsy punk. a gypsy is a troubadour in the truest sense; carrying with him the bass drum and accordion under one arm and the slander and pride that comes with being a gypsy in the other. the song is uplifting. eugene hutz’s warbling voice is courageous and familiar like that of an old friend. ” And as we’re crossing border after border/We realize that difference is none.”

glow worms – vashti bunyan
listening to the gentle guitar, the lyrics are exactly the sort of words you would expect to accompany the melody. fragile and fleeting, all the while surely returning to the beginning. “dawntime mist begins reflecting light/waking sun will soon forget our night/love me through the day and i’ll with you go/into summer and the next year’s snow.” through the impermanence of our lives, bunyan offers a faithful heart. the idea is simple and grand.

the night they drove old dixie down – the band
there is something about civil war america that i have always been attracted to. it was unsettling to empathize so strongly with the confederate south when our text book history lessons told us not to.  it is the pain and sadness of defeat. the redemption that the south wanted so strongly to believe in, this is what i find so moving. it is this tenderness of a wounded heart and the faith of a people that i am so strongly attracted to.

Que Onda?

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