Thanksgiving in San Francisco

For Thanksgiving this year we returned to San Francisco and a great time was had by all.

We took a bay cruise that went under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz which provided amazing up close views… of the landmarks and also a few seagulls that were watching us on the boat.

The weather held up for most of the weekend with some rain on the drive home. Here are a few photos from the trip:

#Blue skies shining on me. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA. #CCphotos

A photo posted by Anthony (@citycynic) on

Happy Thanksgiving from San Francisco! #fishermanswharf #sf #sanfrancisco #CCphotos #thanks

A photo posted by Anthony (@citycynic) on

Golden Gate Bridge view + two. #sanfrancisco #sf #goldengatebridge

A photo posted by Anthony (@citycynic) on

Can’t wait to go back next time!

September 11th: Thirteen Years Later

It happens every year. Summer ends and it’s September all over again. And then it’s September 11th.

This time, it’s thirteen years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center that I witnessed from my window that one September morning as a junior attending New York University.

This is the second anniversary since I’ve lived in Los Angeles and Melissa and I will be going back to visit my family in New York later this month. Among other things, we plan on visiting the 9/11 memorial and museum.

911neverforget

I think that will be a good thing, although I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be feeling when I’m actually back at what I can only continue to think of as Ground Zero.

I was still in New York as the Freedom Tower went up and I was so happy to see progress in that construction and the first steps to completing the memorial that was already by then long overdue. Now that the 9/11 Museum is complete I think, just like my yearly trips there following for several years on the anniversary to reflect, that I should go and see the permanent tribute to those we lost that day.

I’ve just started talking about my experience that day in any form that lasts more than a few minutes. Not often and usually just before September 11th if someone asks, but that’s something. It still hurts to remember… but I will never forget.

ALSO: Check out Rex Sorgatz’s Life Atop Ground Zero which details the transition at Ground Zero over the last 13 years in realistic detail that offers some hope for the future of the site.

Watch your Dodgers and SportsNet LA at these SoCal bars and restaurants

While 70% of Dodgers fans wait (and wait… and wait) for the new Dodgers channel SportsNet LA to be carried on Dish, Charter, Uverse, DirecTV, Charter, and other carriers, why not check out the Boys in Blue at your local SoCal bars and restaurants?

CityCynic.com has been monitoring the web for bars and restaurants who get SportsNet LA. (This post will continually be updated.)

Scully-and-SportsNet-La

Here’s what we’ve found:

The Arena Sports Bar & Grill 6131 Telegraph Rd. Commerce. (323)721-2100 commercecasino.com

Tattle Tale Room 5401 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City. (310) 390-2489 tattletaleroom.com

The Short Stop 1455 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. (213) 482-4942

Frank ‘n Hank 518 S Western Ave. Los Angeles. (213) 383-2087

Slater’s 50/50 61 North Raymond Ave. Pasadena. (626)765-9700 slaters5050.com

Busby’s West 3110 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica. (310) 828-4567 busbysla.com

Barney’s Beanery 8447 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood. (323) 654-2287 barneysbeanery.com

Dirty Bull Tavern 21797 Ventura Blvd. Woodland Hills. (818) 610-8308 dirtybulltavern.com

BRÜ HAUS, 11831 Wilshire Blvd. Brentwood, (310) 473-2337

Mohawk Bend, 2141 Sunset Blvd. Echo Park, (213) 483-2337

Mok Maru Jon Sul Jip, 222 N. Western, Koreatown, (323) 465-6803

The Short Stop, 1455 W Sunset Blvd. Echo Park, (213) 482-4942

Rusty’s Bar & Grill, 1368 Madera Road, Simi Valley, (805) 955-0081

North End Bar & Grill, 2626 Hermosa Ave. Hermosa Beach, 310-379-5379

Buffalo Wild Wings, 7060 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, 323-466-1721

Jameson’s Irish Pub, 6681 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, 323-798-5360

Riordan Tavern, 875 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, 213-627-6879

Sportsnet-LA-billboardSharks Cove Sports Bar, 309 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Manhattan Beach, 310-545-2683

Cantina Cabo, 30 Washington Blvd. Marina Del Rey, 310-306-2500

33 Taps, 6263 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, 323-962-1400

901 Bar and Grill 2902 Figueroa St. Los Angeles 213-745-7900

Artisan House 600 S Main St. Los Angeles 213-622-6333

Charlie’s Trio 5769 Huntington Drive Los Angeles 323-223-3871

Mohawk Bend 2141 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles 213-483-2337

Short Stop 1455 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles 213-482-4942

Palomino’s Restaurant and Bar 10877 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles 310-208-1960

Busby’s West 3110 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica 310-828-4567

Busby’s East 5364 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles 323-525-2615

Baja Sharkeez 3600 Highland Ave. Manhattan Beach 310-545-8811

Grunions Sports Bar & Grill 1501 N Sepulveda Blvd Manhattan Beach 310-545-9910

Bandits Grill and Bar 1980 Ventura Blvd Camarillo 805-445-4742

Barney’s Beanery 8447 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood 323-654-2287

Connie & Ted’s 8171 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood 323-848-2722

Chaparral Lanes 400 West Bonita Ave. San Dimas 909-592-2772

Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant 145 East Huntington Dr. Arcadia 626-462-0250

Oak Tree Lanes 980 North Diamond Bar Blvd. Diamond Bar 909-860-3558

Red Car Brewery and Restaurant 1266 Sartori Avenue Torrance 310-782-0222

Paragon Bar and Grill 8319 Louise Ave. Northridge 818-996-3353

Lamppost Pizza 4368 Peck Road El Monte 626-444-2631

Red West Pizza 2119 Pacific Coast Hwy Lomita 310-325-4333

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill 24201 Valencia Blvd #109 Valencia 661-255-6400

Redondo Beach Cafe 1511 S. Pacific Coast Hwy Redondo Beach 310-316-1047

San Pedro Brewing Company 331 W 6th St San Pedro 310-831-5663

Lulu’s Restaurant 16900 Roscoe Blvd Van Nuys 818-988-0707

Pep’s Sub & Pizza Shack 151 N. Grand Ave Covina 626-332-8475

Samurai Sal’s 1602 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne 323-375-6416

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor 1880 N Hacienda Blvd La Puente 626-918-7471  

SportsWatch Bar and Grill 27961 Highland Ave. Highland 909-280-3250

Giovanni’s Pizza 1150 Brookside Ave. Redlands 909-793-0014

Marie Callender’s 5455 Philadelphia Street Chino 909-613-0434

Beer Hunter Sports Pub & Grill 78483 Hwy 111 La Quinta 760-564-7442

Oak Tree Sports Bar 980 N Diamond Bar Blvd. Diamond Bar 909-860-3668 

Cronies Sports Grill 2855 Johnson Drive Ventura 805-650-6026

Sabroso! Mexican Grill 13129 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove 714-537-7080

La Habra 300 Bowl 370 E. Whittier Blvd. La Habra 714-526-2058

Mario’s A Taste of Italy 4507 West Coast Hwy. Newport Beach 949-722-7151

OC Sports Grill 450 North State College Blvd. Orange 714-935-0300

The Ranch Restaurant 1025 E Ball Road Anaheim 714-817-4200

Lengthwise Brewing Co 2900 Calloway Dr, Bakersfield 661-589-7394

 

If you find any others, drop us a comment and we’ll add them to the list! And hopefully we’ll all be able to watch the Dodgers on SportsNetLA sometime soon!

 

Sources: LA WeeklyNBCLASCPR

 

Does this make it official?

Today I spent a few hours of my day off from work to get my brand new California license plates.

As anyone who has had to go to the DMV — no matter which state — knows, going to the DMV isn’t really ever something one looks forward to.

smogcheckComing from New York, as my car did, there are a number of extra steps to registering your car in California. One of those is a vehicle verification, which they can do in about 15 minutes at the DMV for free. The second is to get a Smog Check, something that was sort of foreign to me, since New York requires yearly car inspections.

The smog check was actually interesting, although an additional expense of around $50 in addition to DMV registration fees. You basically bring your car to a Test Only business and they run some emissions tests by driving on rollers at 15 MPH and then 25 MPH and recording the pollution your car emits by sticking a sensor in your tailpipe. After a few other visual checks of certain things under the hood, you find out if you pass or fail. Luckily, my car passed the first time!

The time spent at the DMV actually wasn’t terrible. I had made an appointment for the first time I was there and got called in about 15 minutes. The DMV lady entered my information into the computer and collected the registration fees. The second time, I walked in with all my completed paperwork and had to wait about 45 minutes for my number to be called. But once it did, the lady at the counter reviewed my paperwork, typed in the additional info, and handed me my brand new California plates!

wpid-IMG_20140326_094240.jpg

Success!

It was actually pretty funny to get the different reactions from my friends and family when I posted this picture on social media. Some asked if the plates were real (what?) and some others said it was about time!

All I know is I guess it must be serious and I am enjoying living in Los Angeles! Oh yeah, and my car will continue to be covered in Mets stuff!

 

Living in the land of earthquakes

At 6:25AM this morning, a lot of people in the Los Angeles area were awakened by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake.

I wasn’t one of them. I slept through it.

While many people took to Twitter to discuss who else felt nature’s St. Patrick’s Day alarm clock, I was still asleep and didn’t know there had been an earthquake until Melissa woke me up to tell me.

What was funny was that subconsciously my brain had incorporated the shaking into a dream I was having and I thought the movement was just Melissa getting out of bed to get ready for work.

earthquake

Come to think of it, since moving to Los Angeles in July 2012, I’ve only felt one earthquake — a 3.1 centered in Rancho Cucamonga. As a native New Yorker, all this earthquake stuff is fascinating to me, while also a little bit unnerving.

The one earthquake I’ve felt so far, that 3.1 I just mentioned, happened late at night, just as I was about to go inside to go asleep. I was sitting in my living room and the show I was watching had just ended. I was about to stand up from the couch and I felt a downward movement that made the glasses and plates in the kitchen shake and make some noise. Before I could process what that was, I felt some gentle swaying — left to right, left to right, left to right — for about 15 seconds. And then all was still.

Not bad for a first earthquake experience, I’m told.

newsquake

People that have grown up their whole lives in California seem to describe earthquakes as minor disturbances that occur rather often, but that they usually don’t have much of a reaction to at all. It makes it very hard to gauge how I should be reacting to them. To me, having lived through may hurricanes, a few minor tornadoes, and tons of blizzards, the thought of a natural disaster — no matter how minor it may be — happening without being given prior notice by meteorologists and tracking it’s route on the news beforehand is just really strange.

But this is where I live now, the land of the earthquakes., So I guess I’d better get used to them.

REVIEW: The Wild Hunt by Ashley Jeffery

[I received The Wild Hunt free of charge as a participant of a Blog Friendly PR campaign in order to publish this review. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.]

BOOK REVIEW

thewildhuntJust finished reading The Wild Hunt by Ashley Jeffery, the first book in The Wild Hunt Series, and thought I’d share my thoughts in case you’d like to read the book too. Plus, keep reading for a chance to win a book and swag pack giveaway!

This is supernatural fantasy genre novel is written from the perspective of the main character Lorelai, who we quickly find out has the ability to see ghosts. And not just your Ghost Whisperer disembodied white  wispy ghouls, but rather gorey, gut-spilling, stuck-in-the-state-they-died zombie-like ghosts.

Lorelai, or “Lo” as almost all the other characters call her, starts to grow on you as you come to understand the trauma she has been through and how heavily it weighs on her day-to-day life.  While she is a heavily-flawed teenager and rough around the edges, it is fun accompanying her on her journey as she begins to find out about strange occurrences happening around town.

wildhunt2The other characters Lo interacts with are of varied depth and interest, but one could argue this mirrors real life. Not everyone is captivating, but the characters in this novel that do grab your interest leave you wondering what their motives are and whether they are there to help or hurt Lo.

To go on without mentioning the passing similarities to elements of and characters from Twilight and The Vampire Diaries would be a disservice. At the same time, this novel is it’s own story and doesn’t try to “be” anything else. And actually, if you enjoy those series, you’ll probably enjoy The Wild Hunt as well.  And no, this isn’t a vampire story, in case you’ve drawn that conclusion. But it is a supernatural fantasy, so maybe some overlapping elements just can’t be helped.

The story does leave you wanting more, which is a good thing, considering this is the first book in the series. Because the first book sets up all the characters, my guess is that the next one will flow more quickly.

One drawback to this self-published novel is that it lacks the benefits of a going through the proofreader’s eyes. There are many punctuation, spacing, and spelling errors throughout the text that actually became distracting. So much so that I actually had to go back and re-read portions just to make sure I understood what was going on. Now that being said, it doesn’t take anything away from the story, however  it does detract a bit from the overall experience.

Overall, The Wild Hunt is a wild ride of self-discovery filled with gruesome ghosts and supernatural beings. Can’t wait to see where the next book takes them…

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

To win a signed copy of The Wild Hunt PLUS a swag bag filled with goodies, just do the following:

+Become a Fan of Ashley Jeffery on Goodreads

+Tweet the following message: “Check out the CityCynic.com review of #TheWildHunt to win a free signed copy! #giveaway @citycynic @blogfriendlypr”

+When you’re done, leave a comment below saying hello!

Good luck!

 

Nightmare Before Christmas Disney Ear Hat Ornaments

Sure, it’s the middle of summer and you’re sitting there sweating and/or enjoying your air conditioning.  But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to check out some of the cool Disney ear hat ornaments, right?

Usually in August, Christmas is the furthest thing from my mind. But Disney went ahead and sent me an email about their exclusive Disney Parks collection and I just had to click on the Nightmare Before Christmas collection!

And WHAT’S THIS, WHAT’S THIS? There’s magic in the, uh, EAR. Or something.

LOOK!!!

pking1 pking2
jackclaus1 jackclaus2 zero2 zero2a sally1 sally2 mayor1 mayor2 oogie1 oogie2

How cool, right? I really like the attention to detail!

Disney is really outdoing themselves with these ornaments! I may have to pick up 1 or 2… or 3 of them for this Christmas!

Nightmare Before Christmas ear hat ornaments retail for $22.95 each and are available online at DisneyStore.com

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