Monday, November 29, 2010

Drivers Turning Right Don't Look Right

This has been on my mind for a long time now and I finally want to write about it. When I'm a pedestrian walking on a sidewalk opposite of oncoming traffic, the drivers who pull out from a side street looking to turn right almost NEVER look to their right to see me coming! They slow down and only look left then pull right on out!

When I would have Aidan in the stroller with me, I'd just stop and wait for the morons to pass, or if they were coming down the street as I'd cross, I'd slow way down and make eye contact before proceeding.

There was one time that both my husband and my child were with me and we were just about to step from a curb when an idiot barreled through without looking even once!

I'm signed up for Google news alerts for a certain keyword I'm interested in reading more about and every day there is news from all over the country about mothers and their children getting hit by these drivers and I bet you that most of these accidents are from pedestrians walking against traffic on the sidewalk with stupid drivers who don't look right before turning right.

Please don't be a stupid driver: LOOK RIGHT before turning right.

Have you been mowed down (or almost) as a pedestrian?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Highly Intellingent Talks

I found some excellent speeches on iTunes that I've downloaded onto my iPod, simply captivated and actually LEARNING something as I prepare dinner every night.

They're talks given by The Cato Institute. The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

The first talk I found was by a lawyer from the Pacific Legal Foundation named Timothy Sandefur who wrote a book called The Right to Earn A Living: Economic Freedom And The Law. This book is about all the licensing and fees that the government imposes on business owners and entrepreneurs who simply want to earn an honest living. He discusses laws that are passed that makes a new moving company, for example, seek permission from its competitors before being allowed to operate. Taxi cab regulations are also heavily regulated. You have to have a license to be a FLORIST for crying out loud. Anyway, the talk was VERY good, and I'd like to get his book at some point.

I also listened to this speech on Cato on how public employee unions are going to sink this ship that is our country:
Although private sector unions have been in decline for decades, public sector unions have been on the rise. Both private and public unions have undue political influence and use that power to seek privileges at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Are unions good for America?
You can find this speech here and download the audio. The first and third speakers are fascinating and frightening all at once.

Here is the list of all of Cato's podcasts. They have speakers from all over the world talking on a huge variety of topics. I feel smarter everyday that I listen! :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Experience at the Pixar Exhibition

Ever since the Oakland Museum announced that it was hosting an exhibition of Pixar's 25 Years of Animation, I knew I had to go. I mean I have a Pixar movies site, for goodness sake, I must!

I'm not a person who feels I have to be first at everything, so this exhibition has been going on for three months already and in addition, the first Sunday of every month provides free admission. Last month I couldn't go, so this month I decided I must go and my friend Caroline joined me!

However, come Sunday morning, it was heavily pouring rain outside and I thought - well, there probably won't be that many people waiting in line today since it's raining so hard.

We got into Oakland at 10:15 and the museum didn't open til 11 and there were already quite a crowd lined up, huddled under their umbrellas 45 minutes early. So I hopped out of the car to wait in line while Caroline parked her car.

Ugh, it was so wet n cold waiting all that time and the folks ahead of us were a group a three with one tiny umbrella to share. Needless to say they were drenched by the time the gate opened. I was impressed at the loyalty of all these people to come see the exhibition. I would guesstimate that close to 1,000 people showed up!

Anyway, on to the awesome Pixar exhibition. It was so cool to see the storyboards and conceptual drawings. I found some of the collage pieces for The Incredibles to be really well done. Many of the acrylic and pastel paintings are beautiful pieces on their own and would look stunning on the wall as a unique piece of art.

There were 3-D models of all the characters from each Pixar film showcased in the middle of each room and in one room, there were a half dozen glass and wire sculptures of the different plants on the tepui plateaus of South America that were studies for Up. Absolutely GORGEOUS.

One of the highlights was something called a Zoetrope. It's like a small merry-go-round where different Toy Story characters are in various animated poses. The Zoetrope spins around faster and faster, the lights go dark in the room, then strobe lights flicker on the spinning Zoetrope and the figures come to life. There are sound effects to it, making it all the more real. It was VERY cool!

Another part of the exhibit I really enjoyed was seeing color studies for the scope of the film. I saw several - Up and WALL-E. The entire movie is made up in a series of panels that convey the mood of the film through the color schemes. They were simple pictures, but put all together it had lots of impact and you could see the whole film on one section of wall.

And of course, the conceptual art was wonderful. Many pieces were digitally created and they look just like colored pencil or conte crayon. Other pieces had the precise lines of an architect. The talent of the artists at Pixar are extraordinary!

So that was my experience of the Pixar exhibit at the Oakland Museum. I encourage you to go too, especially if you live in the Bay Area - Pixar is your neighbor and probably the premiere animation studio in the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Special Day Today

Yeah yeah, it's election day and that's what everyone on the news stations will be talking about all day long.

But I'm excited about the DVD/BluRay release of Toy Story 3! I should be getting my copy in the mail either today or tomorrow. Unfortunately, we don't yet have a BluRay player, so we only got the DVD copy, which is got lots of exciting special features anyway.

I also want to remind everyone that my contest to win your own copy of the Toy Story 3 BluRay/DVD combo pack ends today! It's been a week of fun with lots of good quality entries, and I'll be sending off the top 5 entries over to my guest judge over at PixarTalk to make the final decision. This announcement will be made on November 5th.

You, my friends, have until 9:00 PM PST tonight enter your movie review for your chance to win.