BlackBerry Goes Hollywood

Bubbles Everywhere | © Xomad

There’s something to be said of Steve Jobs’ hatred of buttons by BlackBerry users. All I know is, there’s no app for the alleviation of frustration caused by a 100% visually dependent phone. Nor is there an iPhone app (or my iPod Touch, for that matter) that provides the tactile experience which enables me to type anywhere near my 115 WPM laptop keyboard rate.

Ordering a drink via BBM

Enough with the geek talk. Because BlackBerry has thankfully become local to me since Xomad, who holds these events, pitched me a couple weeks ago on an exclusive party at a location not to be known until the night of (or in my case, a couple of days prior). VIP entry? Sure, I thought. Let’s give it a shot. I relished the invite since it was specified that perks would be available by adding contacts by scanning bar codes or adding PINs…iPhone users need not apply.

It ended up being at Siren Studios, another studio lot in Hollywood, and I was sent via BlackBerry Messenger an image to show to the valet for comped parking. We walked up to and stood for a few minutes in the “VIP” line, but after a few minutes I found my PR contact and we were escorted inside in high style…unbeknownst to me until later, along with LA Snark.

BBM Lounge and Dance Floor | © Xomad

Nevermind that the drinks I ordered by adding a contact with screen name “Beverage Services” never came to our table – and that it was easier to go straight up to the 1-deep open bar for our libations – the concept was still cool. As VIP, we also had access to the green room where there was another bar and gift bags filled with BlackBerry headphones, T-shirts and holsters.

And so maybe I didn’t order any carne asada (just came from dinner) or get a touch-up on my make-up (I had just applied) but all the same, those options plus a VIP bathroom were available via BBM – thus making us BlackBerry users feel pretty special. The beats were also bumpin’ and bootys got down; it was Hollywood’s clubbiest at the clubby-club-club.

Requesting a Touch-up via BBM | © Xomad

And it wouldn’t be a Hollywood party without the unexpected celebrities dropping by…and my failure to recognize any of them. Apparently Spice Girl Mel B, Quinton Aaron (Blind Side) were there – as were both Mark Salling (Glee) and Vienna Girardi (The Bachelor), despite his adamance on their not being together. What say ye? (Don’t ask me – I’ve never seen the Spice Girls Movie, The Blind Side, Glee or The Bachelor!)

The best part of it all is that this was just the kick-off as far as BlackBerry parties in L.A. (and beyond). Stay tuned for another event which will take place in September, where you guys – my readers – will also get VIP entry. I’ll also be hosting a BlackBerry-related giveaway. And don’t worry, even if you have an iPhone, you’ll still get to enjoy open bar.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Next BlackBerry party slated for September
Stay tuned for VIP guestlist details
Location to change

Siren Studios
6063 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028-6434

The Cult of Katamari

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to call myself a “gamer” (I’ve had a stint at Counter-Strike before, with Sega Genesis, Atari & Apple IIc before that) but hey – I’ll try anything once. Especially if I’ve heard it to called a cult classic before. What’s really the big deal with this ball-rollin’-Katamari king-queen-person-thing?

The premise is simple. Roll over everything and pick up everything smaller than your roll. Get larger as these smaller things stick to you and conquer all! Roll over cities, all over a tea room, towns – even pick up squid in the sea. And while I had a chance last week at a Namco Bandai event at The Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip to try out a few games, Katamari Forever – the 5th installment in the Katamari series – actually had me considering a console purchase just so I could play the game.

Katamari Forever – which is available only for PS3 – is released today. First of all, it’s just a beautiful game. One of the new features in …Forever is comic book-styled graphics. Not only is the the game at its highest resolution – in 1080p High-Def  – it took that technology and put an artful means to it.

This is one of those games where your friends aren’t fighting you over the controller because they’re having almost just as good of a time watching you play. The landscapes and environs your character, a “cousin,” gets to roll over with his/her Katamari is just too fun. Another new feature is the “Prince Hop,” which with the Sony SIXAXIS controller, you get to jump your Katamari with a flick.

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Seduced By Pinkberry

The granita

Despite the fact that my previous posts about Pinkberry were less-than-favorable, I ended up on the list of bloggers invited to the original West Hollywood location to try a “new taste” they had been cooking up before taking it public*. After all, Pinkberry got its first boon virally – and they were going to tap into its original source of traffic marketing to give them the publicity they wanted again.

Tara, Shelly, Me

Ohh…granita. Smoothie. Liquid yogurt. Yogurt Drank. So this is the next accessory. And the point of it all is as simple as being a less threatening driving hazard, since you don’t have to consume this Pinkberry with a cup and spoon – only a straw. Point taken. I think we can relate to that, being metal-encased Angelenos and all. No need to justify anyone else‘s road rage, now.

The Drank tasted good. Call me biased – since my verdict on the yogurt had been read so long ago, and repeatedly – but I enjoyed the granita more than the yogurt. Unlike Caroline, I have yet to try Starbucks’ Sorbetto but I can imagine they are similar. Clearly the exact same in targeted demo, though. But there is a good amount of tang in the smoothie and I think this is the medium in which I can appreciate the “grit” in the yogurt taste.

The granita was also filling. When Tim and I mentioned this observation to Pinkberry founder, Shelly, she exclaimed, “Good!” while giving us two thumbs up. 😉 So as for meal substitute, the granita can definitely fill that role if you happen to not mind being nutritionally challenged. The small size had even made me full, but heck if I couldn’t squeeze another one in just because it was free – and I did.

The Pinkberry folks treated us bloggers well. They set up a DJ and gave out goodie gift bags with gift cards, Pinkberry tees and pins. They also made sure we were sufficiently stuffed with either granita or yogurt for the night. So yeah, I admit it. I’ve been seduced by Pinkberry in a kind of one night stand. So as a token of my appreciation, I’m letting you all know that you can try the granita starting tomorrow (Friday, September 12) at 6 Pinkberry locations. The ones in the L.A. area are the original West Hollywood store and the one at the Farmer’s Market at Third and Fairfax, connected to The Grove.

Pinkberry
868 Huntley Dr
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 659-8285‎

6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles
, CA 90036
(323) 933-2516‎

Anybody want a free American Apparel Pinkberry Men’s Medium Tee? It says, “I [swirl] Pinkberry.” 🙂

*Thank you, Tara Met Blog!

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You Are How You Speak/Write

It was a note from upstairs. It was in response to one I had sent up earlier. The verdict to my inquiry? Negative.

The negating adverb used in the one-sentence message was the simple “No.” Good enough. Or not, apparently, because both letters were capitalized, underlined twice … and enclosed between two quotation marks. Just like I used it above, actually, sans capitalization and double underlining.

If I knew how to code double underlining in this post, I’d might have tried to duplicate it if not for fear of being unable to do justice in describing this hand-written “=NO=” as no ordinary adverb. You see, there’s a difference between having no socks and having “=NO=” socks – like if you came out wearing mismatched socks as opposed to no socks at all, I suppose.

I don’t advertise that I’m a bit of a grammar nazi.

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I Ran 26.2 Miles One Day

I had faithfully trained for 4 months prior. Beginning with 15 miles over 4 days per week, I increased to 40 miles per week before finally tapering (dropping back to 20 mpw) 3 weeks before my big day. It was an unbelievable experience – and one which I thoroughly enjoyed as I had never displayed such discipline as in my training runs (perhaps even during school). On that fated day in 2005, I ran my 26.2 miles in 4 hours 25 minutes, averaging a little over 10 minutes per mile.

As my running habit had formed, I had developed an appetite and an addiction. I supplemented my 3 large-sized meals per day with 3 bowls of cereal. I ate cheesecake for breakfast everyday. I craved steak on a regular basis. And 3 days after I ran the marathon, I was itching to run again. So like any other day, I put on my Brooks and set out. Only 3 blocks later, my right knee experienced a dull pain. I continued, and the dull turned to sharp. I turned around and walked home, sad.

When you train for a marathon, you traditionally run a maximum of 20 miles in the long run before the actual race – while saving the full 26.2 for race day. Theory says that the full distance is too taxing for the average body to run as a training distance, to be done again a short time period later. It turns out that that was probably true, given my knee pain was a new occurance and never experienced during training, or even during the marathon.

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Ugh. I Own a BMW.

I was on my way to my therapist’s office yesterday for one of those all-revealing, heart-wrenching sessions when I saw an M6 turning left. It looked like my coworker’s car.

I looked as I passed and sure enough, it was him – complete with yarmulka covering half his head. He was the same coworker who had just started snowboarding this year and rode the lift up with Brad Pitt, Maddox and Pax Jolie a month ago.

Thought I would let him know of my “spotting” him via SMS.

Me: Just passed you.

Him: Lucky you. How’d I look – good?

Me: Like one of those assholes who drives a Bimmer.

Him: Bitch.

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W00t Makes The Dictionary

If you haven’t heard already, “w00t” made the dictionary. Granted, it’s not Black’s Law Dictionary but Merriam-Webster, making it consistent with syntax frequented by us mere commoners. Additionally, it’s the Merriam-Webster online spawn of what they call the “2007 Word of the Year” in which voting takes place online. Here’s a newsflash: Gamers spend a tad more time online than a sample of the general public so the voting results may be a little skewed towards l33t talk.

Far be it for me to pretend I’m a hip-to-l33t blogger (or 100% original in anything I adopt), but I’ve been using “w00t” in proper interjectory word placement for at least a couple years now. The confusion I experienced was when it actually got penned into said Merriam-Webster history. Despite my regular usage, I did not know that w00t is an acronym for “We Owned pwned the Other Team.”

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Eat Your Heart Out

Chauncey on the ChaiseI admit it. I’ve been a cat-lover for some time, now. Fortunately, there’s been a prince in the house to feed that craving and his name is Chauncey (as in, Billups).

He’s wonderful. Playful, curious, vocal, inquisitive, nocturnal. Black (with a couple white hairs here and there), sleek, shiny, long-tailed, agile. Has to have his paws on everything. He belongs to my roommate, yet has a special place reserved in my heart.

Just look at the guy…

I’ve wanted my own cat. I just haven’t admitted it to myself enough to commit. Perusing lolcats on ICanHasCheezburger.com, sure. Voting for the cutest kitteh on Kittenwar.com, sure. Playing with Chaunce when I get home from work (as all kittens should be played with everyday), sure. Scooping litter, taking in for check-ups, mandatory play-time–not so much for me. I’ve been a hypocrite.

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I’m Turning Smart

I’m taking a break from my Europe posts for a bit but actually complimenting them, in a way. This time, it’ll be a sort of European auto edition one.

Because I did it. I reserved a Smart Car.

Smart fortwo

They’re coming to The States in the first quarter of 2008. And, if I go through with the reservation (pending an actual test drive), I’ll be literally halving the curb weight of my Judy Jettason. I’ll be going less than half my current horsepower but there may be some solutions to that in the future–what with people inserting Mitsu engines in the current models in Europe. Somebody’s got to program a chip, no? Less than 1500 lbs. and stocked with a 3-cylinder, 1-litre engine capable of 71 hp and a top speed of 90 mph, the Smart fortwo is perfect for an urbanite like me. That’s what they call us, anyway–their “target market.”

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Presenting Dubfest 2007

It might have been my third or fourth year in a row helping out with the event–my memory serves me quite poorly. Then again, so has my mainstay in the Southern California VW-Audi scene. I dropped out of it no less than three years ago. But I do my part in staying true to my “automobile roots” by committing to helping out with Dubfest every year. Plus, I’m happy to do my small part and come through for Tom, who is one of the coolest and sweetest guys you’ll ever meet in the SoCal Dub scene.

I had the minor mods, but now she’s almost bone stock. She’s just really loud, and no less fun to drive than when I first got her. The (2nd set of) bushings have softened up and my suspension could be replaced. It may be a long time coming already but I’m determined to cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, she’s doing a great job handling the hustle, bustle and poor road construction of mid-town L.A. traffic.
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