Tag Archives: California

AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Leaves Me Annoyed

When news this week was announced that my current cell phone carrier, T-Mobile, is going to be merging with AT&T, I was less than thrilled. This comes after last week’s rumors that T-Mobile and Sprint were going to be merging. I was hoping this was just another bad rumor but the fact it was being reported by real news organizations, not just websites that post rumors, meant there was more to this one than the speculation about the merger with Sprint. With official announcements coming from T-Mobile, it just confirmed what I hope was not going to be the case. I’m not a happy camper about the news.

Why would I be not happy about the news? Well first off, I’ve been a very happy T-Mobile customer since 2003. I originally switched to them from my first cell phone carrier, which was Sprint. I didn’t leave Sprint because I was not happy with their service, I switched because Sprint is a CDMA technology carrier and I wanted to go to a GSM carrier as it’s more of a world standard service and since I do like to travel outside of the United States, I wanted a phone I could easily use outside the US. T-Mobile also offers to unlock their phones when you’re one of their customers so that when travelling abroad, you can easily switch out your T-Mobile SIM card with a pre-paid SIM card in the country you’re in to get a local number there. It’s a great option.

Continue reading AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Leaves Me Annoyed

Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.

What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”

Continue reading Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

Arrival Rocks Palm Springs With ABBA Music

When it comes to ABBA Tribute Bands, Arrival from Sweden is the world’s best. It is the most authentic recreation of an ABBA concert you’ll ever see, and Vicky Norbäck-Zetterberg, founding member of Arrival, has gone to great lengths to ensure the most authentic show possible, including enlisting the help of ABBA’s costume designer, Owe Sandström, to recreate some of ABBA’s signature costumes and choreography that’s be researched to match how ABBA originally performed the songs live. All the music is created live, unlike some ABBA tribute bands that actually bring recordings to sing to their shows. And who can resist authentic Swedish accents as they are real Swedes who are able to accurately sing the songs the way ABBA did.

Arrival’s performance in Palm Springs was part of the 2010 Evening Under The Stars charity event benefiting Palm Springs AIDS Assistance Program. The event was held on the grounds of the O’Donnell Golf Club, just a short walk away from Downtown Palm Springs. As the event was $395 a plate for the charity dinner, I was attending as a guest of the band. I had the opportunity to hang out with the band before and after the performance along with a couple of other guests the band invited.

Continue reading Arrival Rocks Palm Springs With ABBA Music

Add A New Element Of Fun To Disneyland With Wishing Stars

I was originally planning on spending today at Disneyland with a friend and possibly some others, however my friend had to cancel earlier this week, so since I had my heart set on going up to Disneyland and I was going to be going by myself, I opted to go yesterday instead of today as it would just work out better for me. And while I was there I took the opportunity to play a wonderful iPhone app game designed to be played at Disneyland called “Wishing Stars.”

The concept of the game is that several “Wishing Stars” have been broken up and scattered throughout the Disneyland park. In order to find them, you have to take your iPhone to the location of the clues and hit the “I think I’m standing in front of it!” button. You can’t cheat because the app uses the GPS built into the iPhone to verify that you’re standing in the correct spot. It won’t accept your attempt to stand in front of the correct answer unless you actually are in front of it. Essentially its a GPS based treasure hunt. The game is the perfect addition to Disneyland for an Annual Passholder who finds themselves wanting something more to do within the park besides the rides.

Continue reading Add A New Element Of Fun To Disneyland With Wishing Stars

Paramount Builds Theme Restaurants Of Entertainment Properties

Following the great day at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Robert Shadbolt’s birthday, our group decided on dinner at Anaheim’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. The chain of Bubba Gump restaurants takes it’s name and inspiration from the 1994 Forrest Gump film originally directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. As a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump offers a seafood dining menu in addition to a themed gift shop and effectively offering a unique way to keep the spirit of Forrest Gump alive and well in the mind of consumers long after the original theatrical run of the film.

According to the press kit, Paramount Pictures originally approached Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. about extending the brand of Forrest Gump into the realm of casual family dining. And by 1996, the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company themed restaurant opened it’s doors in Montery, California. The company specifically targets tourist destinations for their restaurants, such as the Anaheim location which is a couple of blocks away from Disneyland, and other locations including Universal’s City Walk in both Hollywood and Orlando, Times Square in New York, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bubba Gump is Paramount’s most successful foray into themed restaurant licensing, but wasn’t the first.

Continue reading Paramount Builds Theme Restaurants Of Entertainment Properties

Get Your Belly Fat Cure Book Autographed By Jorge Cruise

Now that the Belly Fat Cure Book is out and available, Jorge Cruise is going to be getting out there to meet folks and one of the ways to do that is by book signing events. At the moment, only the first two are scheduled, and for lucky Costco members, both events are at Costco stores.

For Costco members in the New York area, Jorge will be at the Costco in Westbury, New York on Saturday, January 9th, 2010 at Noon. And for Costco members in the San Diego area, Jorge will be at the Costco off Morena Blvd. on January 30th, 2010 at Noon. Come bring your books or buy one there. Jorge want as many people as possible to come down and get their books signed, he wants to meet you, take photos with you and more.

I know two signings doesn’t cover a whole lot of the US and I’m sure more dates will get added in other places. In fact, Jorge is soliciting suggestions from his blog readers on where he should go to do future book signings. You can send in your destination suggestions by clicking here and leaving a comment on Jorge’s Blog.

More specific details on the book signings including the address and phone numbers of the two Costco locations are as follows: Continue reading Get Your Belly Fat Cure Book Autographed By Jorge Cruise

The Touring Xanadu Stage Show Returns To Southern California

One of the highlights of 2008 for me was the opening of Xanadu at the La Jolla Playhouse. The stage show that became a surprise hit on Broadway and was even nominated for a few Tony Awards, made its debut as a touring show in San Diego. Following San Diego, the show moved to Chicago and then played a brief stint in Tokyo before going on a brief hiatus for a few months, but now the tour is back on the road starting in Costa Mesa, California, just a short drive from San Diego.

I immediately fell in love with the show when I first saw it and then proceeded to see it several more times before it’s run at the La Jolla Playhouse finished it’s two month run. I took several friends to see the show and one of the highlights was when I took my mom to see the show as I was able to get on stage seats for that performance. I didn’t tell my mom until we got there that we’d be sitting on stage, she wasn’t so amused by that, but we had a good time and she enjoyed the show.

With the return to Southern California, I definitely wanted to see the show again, and since my dad was back from doing work in Austin, Texas and my grandfather was in town it seemed like a good opportunity to take them to the show. I asked my mom if she wanted to see the show again, if we did the Christmas Eve matinée show and she said she was interested but had too much to do to prepare for my brother and his wife’s arrival and Christmas to take time out to see the show. But she did like the idea of me taking my father and grandfather to the show so that she could get some things accomplished while they were out of the house. So I booked the tickets for my dad, grandpa, and I to see Xanadu on Christmas Eve at 2 pm.

Continue reading The Touring Xanadu Stage Show Returns To Southern California

Filled Up Which Wich? Loyalty Card

In what will most likely be my final visit to Which Wich? for the year, I went to redeem the loyalty punch card for my free sandwich. I had collected the necessary ten stamps from the purchase of ten sandwiches over the course of the last couple of months. I have to admit I love these kind of gimmick programs as I find the collection process of the program nearly as much fun as the redeeming aspect of the process. It’s almost like a mini-goals card, and each punch brings you one step closer to that free prize, in this case a sandwich.

When you think about it, it’s really a good deal for the restaurants or other businesses that offer these kind of loyalty programs. In the case of Which Wich?, the value of a completed card is the price of a single sandwich, here in the San Diego area, that means a full card is worth $5.25. But in order to get that $5.25, a total of $52.50 needs to be spent. That’s just the bare minimum that must be spent, that doesn’t include the chips, cookies, or drinks people may buy in addition to the sandwiches. Which Wich? even takes it a step further and adding an end of the year deadline for the punches to be collected and redeemed. This card when full expires on December 31. Any unredeemed cards or ones that didn’t collect enough punches are voided and the whole process starts over on January 1.

Continue reading Filled Up Which Wich? Loyalty Card

Economy Dinner Night At Rubios

Economy Dinner Night At Rubio'sOn Wednesday night some of my friends got together for a little get together at one of the local Rubio’s restaurants. It was dubbed an “Economy Dinner Night” due to one member of our group of friends, Jason Murillo, works for the corporate office of Rubio’s which is here in San Diego (or rather Carlsbad to be more specific). He was able to allow us all to get together and use his 50% off employee discount.

Rubio’s was started by a fellow San Diego State University Alumni, Ralph Rubio, on the basis of a fish taco inspired by the fish tacos Rubio tried and loved on a surfing trip into Mexico. Rubio brought the concept north of the border and hasn’t looked back ever since. His fish tacos were a huge hit here in San Diego and the company has been expanding out to bring the concept of fish tacos as well as many other Baja inspired menu items to all parts of California as well as Rubio’s restaurants in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. I remember being very hesitant to try my first fish taco, but I was hooked and I usually offer to take my out of town friends to try one, although I’ve had a few just not be able to wrap their minds about fish being inside of a taco. It’s their loss because they’re quite good.

Continue reading Economy Dinner Night At Rubios

Thanksgiving At My Parents’ New Home

Mom's New HouseI got to have my first look the new house my parents moved into in Temecula, California on Thanksgiving. I was a little sad to see the old house in the process of being packed up and ready to go last week when stopped by. (Click here to read about that visit.) But I was excited to see the new house even though it’s considerably further away from where I’m currently living.

My first look at the house wasn’t actually when I drove up, when I got the e-mail from my mother with the new address, I checked it out on Google’s maps using the street view feature. The photo was not unlike the one I took that’s shown above. The house is definitely bigger than the older house and as my mom tells me, it’s approximately 1000 square feet bigger than the old house, but because lacks the same level of storage space of the old house. Understandable considering the old house, my folks had “California Closets” installed in all the closets to maximize the closet spaces and a full set of storage cabinets inside the garage. The new house has just the bar to hang clothes in the closets and from what my folks told me, the garage wasn’t even drywalled when the bought the house. So eventually the closets will get transformed into California Closets and cabinets added to the garage, but it’s not a priority.

Continue reading Thanksgiving At My Parents’ New Home