Friday, January 30, 2009

It's not easy being green...

That's what my latest photographed celebrity used to say. Here's the man, sorry amphibian himself, Kermit the Frog.
The iconic Kermit the Frog The Jim Henson Company Studios, founded by the creator of the Muppets himself, can be found on La Brea Avenue here in Hollywood.
The Jim Henson Company studios in Hollywood I believe the reason Kermit is dressed as Charlie Chaplin is that their HQ used to be the Chaplin Studios until it was sold in the 1950's.



I do think that Kermit is one of the most popular Muppets and has become a cultural pop icon for many people who grew up with him.
Kermit the Frog Muppet Jim Henson's Creature Shop also created some of my favourite movies of all time - The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, plus also provided animatronic puppets for the brilliantly underrated TV sci-fi show Farscape.


It's amazing what Hollywood stars you see out and about here...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25,000 reasons to jump with joy...

Fantastic news loyal Jason in Hollywood fans, my blog has now exceeded 25,000 visitors. It's such a thrill and makes me (and Cooper) want to jump with joy.

Puppy jumping with joy
It's taken around ten months and I'm getting more and more visitors every day, so my New Year's resolution to reach a 50,000 target in 2009 doesn't seem that unachievable.  

Spread the word my friends! If you like what you see let me know - vote in my polls, send me an email, post a comment or just keep coming back for more...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can I come on holiday too...?

That's what Cooper is wondering before we go off on our travels, can he come too. 

I wish you could pup and we would take you with us in a heartbeat, but those horrible immigration people wouldn't let you in (I have enough trouble with them already) and let's face it, you're getting a bit too big to fit in the suitcase now.  
Suitcase puppy
You know we'll miss you terribly, but you're also going on an adventure of your own.  You'll be staying with some lovely friends who you already know and who have a fabulous swimming pool that you like to play in.

Nearby there's a huge park for you to run about and go for walks in and your puppy-sitters even have some outdoor space (and not just a roof terrace). We apologise in advance for the damage you'll do to the plants in their garden. 
Suitcase Cooper
I know they'll spoil you rotten and you'll probably have so much fun you'll not want to come back home to us (although I hope you will).

So don't be sad, as we won't be gone for long and we'll be home before you know it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cashing in on Super Obama, or how President Obama single-handedly plans to save the economy...

A week into his new Presidency, I think I've discovered how President Barack Obama plans to kick start the U.S. economy.

Rather than emergency rescue packages for banks and bail outs for big business he's just going to plaster his face over every comic and magazine he can and get the American people (and even folks around the World) to spend enough dollars to keep the economy going.
Amazing Spiderman 583 Obama cover 4th printing
It may all be a publicity stunt for some publishers, but Marvel Comics has now had to print a fourth edition of Amazing Spider-man issue #583, featuring a storyline revolving around the inauguration of the United States 44th President.
Savage Dragon issue 145 Obama cover
Other comic book publishing houses like Image jumped on the PR bandwagon with covers and plots featuring Obama, with guest appearances in Savage Dragon and Young Blood. 
Young Blood 8 Obama cover
Plus you can also find him on the cover of comic collecting magazine Wizard, with a fab painted Alex Ross cover...
Wizard Collectors Edition Alex Ross art Super Obama cover
and a slightly more manic parody on MAD magazine...
Mad magazine Obama cover
Trawling through the internet it's easy to see that even before he was elected President, his political rise to the top and his election campaign was being covered in comic book form.
Obama - The Comic Book coverSavage Dragon 137 Obama cover
Barack Obama Presidential Material cover
Seems like there's no stopping the heroic rise of Super Obama...

Monday, January 26, 2009

More fabulous and funky billboards from around LA...

As my previous collection of cool billboard advertising from around L.A. appears to be one of my most popular posts on a regular basis, I thought I'd give the people more of what they want - more movie billboards, more hot male model billboards, more TV show billboards and other classic poster sites brightening the skyline of Los Angeles.

Hot male model billboards

Aussie Bum underwear advert photographed on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Aussie bum male underwear billboard
Abercrombie & Fitch black and white male torso fashion billboard taken on Sunset Blvd.
Abercrombie Fitch hot male model billboard
And for a closer look (because he's worth it)...
Abercrombie and Fitch hot male torso billboard

Movie billboards

In addition to the ArcLight Hollywood on Sunset Blvd being a wonderful cinematic experience, they also have great poster sites above the cinema. Here are two examples, one for the Christmas tear-jerker Marley & Me and the other for Baz Luhrmann's epic romance Australia.
Australia and Marley & Me billboards at ArcLight Hollywood
Here's another billboard for the World War II outback adventure Australia...
Billboard for the film Australia
and dog lovers' choice Marley & Me (this one shot on Melrose Avenue).
Marley & Me movie billboard on Melrose Avenue
Quantum of Solace was a non-stop spy movie that gripped you for the whole film and the various billboards for the second Bond outing with Daniel Craig really stood out too (especially with that piercing blue sky).
Quantum of Solace billboard
Bond Quantum of Solace billboard
Possibly one of the most disappointing films of 2008 was the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, but that didn't stop them marketing the hell out of it with promising teaser posters in the Summer...
The Day the Earth Stood Still billboard Sunset Blvd
followed by full on Keanu Reeves billboards closer to the opening date in December.
The Day the Earth Stood Still remake film billboard
A much better movie to spend your money on was the fast paced thriller Eagle Eye.
Eagle Eye movie billboard
Speaking of great movies, here's a gigantic billboard for the Summer blockbuster The Dark Knight, featuring Batman on his Bat-pod bike in the heart of Hollywood.
The Dark Knight Movie Bat-pod billboard
I didn't see Lakeview Terrace, but Samuel L. Jackson does his trademark menacing look in this billboard.
Lakeview Terrace movie billboard
Then we have a billboard for MILK, a favourite movie of mine in late 2008, starring Sean Penn who just won Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Hopefully there's an Oscar on the cards too.
MILK movie billboard
Lastly for the movie billboards, we have a brilliant film, sadly overlooked in this year's Oscar nominations, Gran Torino.
Gran Torino film billboard

TV show billboards

They like their billboards big over here, often taking up the whole sides of buildings or in this case the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Blvd, for returning TV show Dexter.
Dexter TV show billboard
Regular visitors to Jason in Hollywood will know my complex history with the TV show Entourage. Here's a massive season five cast promo poster for the series on one of the largest billboard sites along Sunset Boulevard.
Large billboard for Entourage Season 5 cast
And a more traditional size, but no less eye-catching.
Entourage TV Show season 5 billboard

Classic billboards

Good old Santa Claus drinking his traditional bottle of full-fat Coke. It looked so odd to see this festive poster against the beautifully blue Californian sky on Santa Monica Blvd.
Classic Santa Christmas Coke billboard
But it's just a superb example of a design classic...
Classic Father Christmas Coke billboard
I know it's slightly bizarre to end with such a festive image at the end of January, but you and I both know that this year will just whizz by and Christmas is really only just around the corner.

Enjoy this new batch of billboards, let's see if they are as popular as the first selection. I'm glad to say that the weather has brightened up today, so it's the perfect opportunity to photograph some more great advertising against the blue skies of L.A.

I'm sure you'll be seeing them here soon, so keep checking back for more...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dog-Blog: We love the comfort cushion leash...

If like us you have a puppy who still insists on pulling on his leash at times, then I'd highly recommend the Comfort Cushion Leash by Aspen Pet.
Red and purple comfort cushion leash
Don't worry I'm not on commission or trying to sell you anything, just wanted to pass along some wisdom in case your hands are suffering from all those walks with a powerful pup.

We've just bought Cooper's third padded leash (he's nearly chewed through his black one, so we needed another), so now he has a nice purple four foot leash (for street walks) and a longer six foot leash (ideal for running along at the beach).
Comfortable leash handle
They are double-lined, so not only are they kind on your hands, but they are more resilient and do survive puppy teeth for longer too!

The padded handles are great because I find that with the Californian dry heat and dusty winds, I get sore and cracked hands, so the last thing I need is for them to be aggravated by a coarse nylon leash (which has happened in the past).

The padded leash is available at Pet Co, but oddly I've not been able to find it at Pet Smart stores.Padded leash handle
Cooper's growing up because we also had to buy him a new dog collar today. It's not as spiffing as his studded leather one that was a present from family in England, but it'll do for now (and at least we're safe in the knowledge he'll be able to breathe comfortably).

And that's my sage advice imparted for the day folks, if you have a big dog like our yellow Labrador (Cooper is over 70lbs now and his father was around 100lbs full grown), I totally recommend this leash.

Damn, if only I was on commission think of the money I could make...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

L.A. is not so much fun without the sun...

It's true, when the sun stops shining in L.A. it's not such an exciting place, especially when it's raining.
Los Angeles in the rain - The Hollywood Hills
Palm trees just don't look right when it's miserable and wet and the basic architecture in L.A. really benefits from the copious amounts of glorious sunshine, without it most of the buildings are just plain ugly.
Cloudy Los Angeles in the rain
But let's face it, not many places look great in the rain. 

Obviously this is the perfect weather for snuggling down indoors and either taking a nap like Cooper, or catching up on some chores, like the dreaded ironing (although why I bother when it's all going to be crushed into a suitcase in a few days time I don't know).
Pup sleeping whilst it rains
Apparently the weather is going to be like this for the next couple of days, it must be trying to reacclimatise us to the bleak weather back in the UK.
Cooper riding out the stormy weather
Fortunately most times the blue skies do break through the clouds here to provide a brief respite of sunshine and we remember why they call this the 'Golden State' and not the 'Grey State' (or 'Gray' as they say here in the U.S.).
Blue skies breaking through
Also another good thing is that it's still relatively warm here even with the gloomy rain, well it was in the mid-80's a few days ago.

Right, better zip outdoors and walk the pupster whilst it's momentarily stopped raining...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The curious case of Cooper the Labrador...

Even though he may not be living his life in reverse like Brad Pitt, Cooper does live his life in a certain ordered way.  

I am of course referring to his walks throughout the course of a day, which number from four to five times daily. They can be broken down in the following ways:

WALK TYPE 1

Like clockwork we're usually awoken around 6am to 6.30am by a big sloppy wet tongue or a gigantic puppy paw in the face.  Taking it in turns each morning, like zombies we get up and take pup out when it's still dark.
Pup chewing his stick
Since he's learned to cock his leg to pee, Cooper has been even keener to go out in the mornings to mark his territory. So these days by the time we get to the end of the street he's pretty much run out of piddle and is just going through the motions cocking his leg at every opportunity.

Unfortunately as it's dark (and he's still only a puppy) he still gets spooked easily, so any weird shapes (like discarded Christmas trees) or sounds will startle him or make him become an immovable object.
Stick fun for pup
Luckily that early in the morning you don't meet so many other dogs out and about, so at least you are spared the whole rigmarole of Cooper lying down 'every' time he sees another dog approaching.

Usually these walks are quite painless these days, as he poops quite quickly and trots along at a faster speed than other walks.  Plus, there's also the extra incentive of 'breakfast' (or 'dinner' which is the word he recognises for meal times) when he gets home.

WALK TYPE 2 

These are the walks we both least look forward to. Around 8am to 8.30am Cooper will just come and stare at you or put his paws up on the bench where you're sitting and you'll know he wants to go out (and no amount of treats or toys will satisfy him). Note the word 'wants', as he doesn't always 'need' to go out.
Cooper at 9 months staring
So whereas the first walk is around half an hour, the second walk usually lasts a considerably longer time.  This is mostly due to the fact that the moment you get outside he usually plops himself down and finds a stick to chew (we've learned to let him get on with it rather than dragging him away as it makes our life and generally the walk that much easier).  
No stick too big for Cooper
We've also come to realise that no stick is too big for Cooper, in fact the bigger the better it seems.

This is typically followed by lots and lots of sniffing.  Inevitably other dog owners are taking their pets out before they head off to work and so tend to be in a rush and not in the mood for playtime with Cooper.  Of course that doesn't stop Cooper lying down at every occasion (apparently it's a submissive thing), which makes the walk seem endless.
Pup enjoying his stick
Another factor making this second walk a bit more painful can be the weather. By this time in the morning on a good day it can already be really hot out and it doesn't take long for Cooper to get hot and bothered, which slows him down.
In heaven chewing sticks
So inevitably Cooper tends to save up his poop until the very last minute before we're heading back in, after about 45 minutes to an hour.

WALK TYPE 3

This walk is to Runyon Canyon and of late has replaced his second walk of the day and we're up there for the three and a half mile hike by 8.30am to 9am in the morning.  Otherwise because of the cooler weather and less intense heat we get there after lunch from 2pm to 3pm (to ensure we get back to the car before the light fades).
Runyon Canyon ridge pup
Soon we'll have to change our schedule again as the nights will start getting lighter and days hotter, which means very early walks or late afternoon start times.
Runyon Canyon dog hike
At Runyon Cooper can run off leash and socialise with other dogs so it's the perfect environment for him.  These walks always exhaust him and if he doesn't go to Runyon at least every other day he has too much energy and his naughty streak starts to shine through.
Curled up by the fire after a Runyon Canyon walk
Another TYPE 3 walk would also include a trip to the beach where he can also run free, chase balls and frisbees and splash about in the waves.

WALK TYPE 4

Depending on whether he's been to Runyon that day, by around 1.30pm he starts wanting to go out again. 

We're finding that on the warmer days after he's had a pee, he mostly wants to find some shade, lay down and munch on a stick, so in the coming months as the temperature gets warmer, we'll see how this lunchtime walk evolves.

WALK TYPE 5

Again if he's not been for a long walk to tire him out, which can take two to three hours out of my day including driving there and back, he starts getting restless around 4pm. Sometimes you can just play with his toys, throw some tennis balls or play tug rope with him and that amuses him for five minutes, but ultimately he wants to go out.
Pup munching on his stick
That's the disadvantage of living on the third floor of a condo complex and not having a backyard where you can leave him go outside to do his business, especially now that we've ('touch wood') house trained him so that he's not using his training mats indoors anymore.  When he needs to go, he needs to go.

WALK TYPE 6

Cooper gets his 'dinner' between 5.30pm and 6pm and so depending on what our social calendar is like, he gets a final walk around the block last thing at night so he sleeps comfortably through until morning and doesn't wake us up even earlier than he already does.  We had hoped that a late night jaunt would make him sleep in later, but sadly no, it makes no difference at all.
Cooper with stick in mouth
And there you have it, Cooper's exercise schedule for the day. He's a very lucky boy getting to go out so much. 

Obviously being home in the week I get to do the lion's share of the walks in the daytime, but at the weekends and on holidays the walks are always easier when there are two of us to distract him from all the scents and sights around him.
Beach puppy playing with his frisbee
Don't get me wrong either, we do love taking him out for walks around our West Hollywood neighbourhood and really enjoy our trips to Santa Monica, playing at the beach and hikes up Runyon Canyon, but occasionally we'd like a bit of a lie in (are you listening Cooper?).

This week it's another kind of challenge as we've had some rain which limits where you can take him.  We've been at Runyon when there have been thunderstorms which really scared Cooper and you always have to be careful of mud-slides there in wet weather, so after a few days without a nice long walk, our pup becomes a bit restless.

Maybe we should just invest in a treadmill...

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