Friday, September 29, 2006

Another Negative Story I Could Have Been Faced With

A Pasadena firm that interviewed me and didn't hire me has negative news to deal with.

It's just uncanny how these places get hit with bad news after I get turned down in favor of someone else.

Of course, the way the mind works, I wouldn't have noticed if the same kind of bad news was happening before, or happening to places that didn't interview me at all.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Went to the "Weird Al" Yankovic Al-bum Signing

In case I haven't told you a billion times before... I'm a huge fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic. His latest Al-bum, a dual disc work, was released today. Al announced a couple of weeks back that he'd be doing a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood.

Great... I figured my buddy Craig and his wife and I would all go there like we did last time, only this time my wife would be there, too.

Since it is a busy time at the office, I wasn't going to take any time off. My plan was for my wife to drive up to the office to meet me, and then we'd go from there.

Craig and his wife couldn't make it, so Craig asked me to pick up a copy of the Al-bum for him. Kori wasn't feeling cheery enough either, so she declined to meet me at the office and told me to go it alone.

So, I slogged through traffic to go to the Virgin Megastore on Sunset in Hollywood. I hadn't been there since Al signed his previous al-bum there.

The problem was, the signing was actually at the company's Hollywood & Highland store. This, I didn't discover until after I had picked up the al-bums and the DVD set of Al's Saturday morning TV show.

Horrified, I slogged through more traffic and parking adventures and made my way to the end of the very long line in H&H Virgin Megastore. Then someone told me I was going to need a wristband. Yeah, like last time, when I went to pay for the al-bum days in advance and got a wristband that meant NOTHING as I waited in line behind many people who didn't have wristbands? Like that?

Well, apparently this time they really meant it. You needed a wristband. To get a wristband, you had to buy the al-bum in the store. Fortunately, I showed them my receipt from the other store and explained my situation, and they gave me a wristband.

I was in line behind two animation students from CalArts, so we started to talk Disney after they saw me pick up a paperback copy of Disney War.

The line snaked through the store as monitors overhead showed either a live shot of Al at a table getting carpal tunnel syndrome, or video from the dual disc. The music from the al-bum played on a loop.

At one point, the line snaked right past the fully-accessible "Adult" section. Yeah, considering half of Al's fans are kids, that was really well thought-out.

Many times, staff went down the line, telling everyone they needed wristbands and that they can only have ONE thing signed. Many times they did this. Many, many times. If that was going to be the case, Craig would have to go without.

Heck, as we approached the heavily-guarded signing area, the staff wanted to see exactly what it was that was going to be signed, and the wristbands were taken away - presumably to keep us from getting back in line to get a second item signed.

I opened the little lyric/credit booklet to page I thought best, and I slipped Craig's copy directly underneath it so it looked like just one booklet. I slipped in my business card with Craig's surname on the reverse side.... just in case.

Sure enough, when I finally reached Al, he signed the first booklet to "The Pellmans" and signed the second one, which he did not hesitate to sign (Al is very, very nice and patient with his fans), to Craig's family. I was so concerned about violating the "rules" that I didn't enjoy the moment as much as I should have.

Al shook my hand, I thanked him in general, and I thanked him for turning me on to Ben Folds.

Having had two items signed, I turned around to see the security staff glare at me like I had just released 27 rabid wolverines in their store. But hey, they had slipped someone to the table between me and the guys from CalArts, who graciously agreed to take my picture when I was with Al, so if they can do something like that, why can't I get two items signed?!?

Upon exiting the store, I bumped into Kevin, who remembered me as the Disney guy... Like me, he's gotten married since we last met. It was nice to see someone I recognized besides Al.

I made my way back to my car and drove the long drive home. The signing had started at 7pm, I had gotten in line before 7:30, and it was about 10pm when I got out of there.

Al is my favorite performance artist, and I'm glad he manages to be so cheery, patient, and friendly as he spends time with fan after fan after fan after fan.

Okay, time for my "nap" before I have to return to the office in the morning.

Friday, September 22, 2006

KB Home Facing Slowdown

Scott Reckard and Annette Haddad of the Los Angeles Times tell us that waning home sales are taking a toll, and that KB's revenue growth has slowed.

Westwood-based KB said it was releasing only limited financial results for its fiscal third quarter because of an internal probe of its stock option practices. Other companies caught up in the growing option controversy have had to restate earnings after similar investigations.

KB said revenue rose 6% to $2.67 billion in the period ended Aug. 31. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected revenue to come in at $2.61 billion. A year earlier, revenue soared 44% from the same period in 2004.

KB Home also said home orders in its U.S. and French markets plunged 43% from last year's third quarter. On the West Coast, orders plummeted 58%.

This kind of news seems to be happening to companies a certain someone interviewed with and was subsequently not hired. It's getting eerie, like this person was being protected from being a new hire facing a layoff.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Latest DVD Reviews Now Online

Go to to read my reviews.

This time, I review two DVDs featuring Disneyland Park. Each one is presented as an OAKFAN Production, meaning they aren't official Disney DVDs. They are from the "Bringing Disneyland Home" series - "A Sights & Sounds Home Video Tour of the Happiest Place on Earth" and "The Golden Horseshow Shows Edition".

Some of these enthusiast-made DVDs are excellent, some less so. You'll have to go to to find out about these DVDs...unless you've seen them already.


Monday, September 04, 2006

I Was Quoted

New Signs Aim to Reflect Identity in Unincorporated Areas
By Jennifer McLain - Whittier Daily News Staff Writer

>>Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights are the next in line to get upgraded street signs, Los Angeles County officials said.

Although a timeline and cost have not been finalized, Ken Pellman, the county's Department of Public Works spokesman, expects the signs to be installed within the next year.

"These signs are part of a larger effort to recognize and distinguish communities that are in the unincorporated areas of the county," he said.<<

There's a lot more. Good article.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hometown Company Does Good

Walter Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times updates us on how Trader Joe's is doing in Manhattan. Until recently, they were headquartered in South Pasadena.

>>Since opening near Union Square in March, Trader Joe's has caught the fancy of finicky New Yorkers.
Though its stores have sprinkled the East Coast for a decade, Union Square marks the Monrovia-based company's first toehold in New York City.
Privately held Trader Joe's won't divulge financial information, and company officials declined to be interviewed about their Greenwich Village outpost. But analysts estimate that the store is probably one of the highest grossing in the 256-store chain.
Because of a quirk of New York law, Trader Joe's must run the wine store separately from the main market, and grocery employees are limited in what they can say about it.<<

I wish there was one closer to where we are living now.