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December 2007

Hurrah for chocolate and coffee! What a stress relief...

By Joy A. Kennelly

All my myspace friends have been so sweet. Even though I may not know most of them, it's very sweet to be acknowledged. Amazingly enough from as far away as China, England and right around the corner in Venice, CA!

I finally broke down and told some of my personal friends it was my birthday today too which helped. Nice to be sung to first thing in the morning! I love that. Check out my myspace page for a fun rendition from the band Venice. I wish those guys would come perform in the South Bay. Same with some of the other bands that popped by.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is my savior too! Thank God for French Vanilla coffee and a chocolate muffin (heated up 20 seconds please.) I feel like I have my brain back finally. It was really hurting there for awhile and now... pure peace of mind. Chocolate is definitely my drug of choice.

Although I have to admit it did cross my mind that what I really needed to do was go down to the Pier Plaza tonight and get wasted. JUST KIDDING! But I can see why people do this because it's so boring down here. What else is there to do to meet people? Especially during the winter?

I wish there were fun things to do that didn't revolve around drinking though because I am not interested in making alcoholic friends, although it seems inevitable down here. Who knows though? Maybe in the New Year we'll start some other fun stuff.

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have a good one!
Drink responsibly!

My birthday is 12/31 - and I hate it.

May I just tell you how much I hate having a birthday on a national holiday and one that is as significant as New Years? THIS MUCH!!!!

I hate telling people it's my birthday because they're all caught up in their New Years plans. I hate having a birthday on New Years because I get presents (when I do) that are combo birthday/Christmas often times.

I've had some good birthdays. Don't get me wrong. But last year I cried for hours before my party (that old adage - it's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to - being so true) and was sad the entire time even though my friends all showed up and we were dancing, having fun.

This year, one of my friends is mad at me and hasn't spoken to me since before Christmas - why? He won't tell me although I suspect he read one of my blogs and got offended over something I said or wrote. I'm sorry.

Then my other friend was supposed to go with me to San Diego and now is too sick and busy at work to go. So, my New Years/Birthday plans are a bust.

I don't know. Maybe it will all change in the morning, but right now I'm just upset over everything. I actually get birthday greetings from people on myspace that I don't even know which is nice, but I don't know them. They don't know me.

My mom has suggested I change my birthdate to something else and celebrate at another time of year. Does everyone celebrate every birthday though? I don't think so. I just like feeling special to people who matter to me once in a while.

Okay, enough bitching and moaning. I've just got a call from a friend who's cheering me up.

Talk later.

My friend just sent me this - too funny!

I take no credit and accept no blame for what follows. It is just funny and worth reading all the way to the end. I'm just bummed the pictures of all these people didn't show up when I copied it because it really added to the explanation.

Enjoy! (The last three are my favorites because they're so true!)

Why did the chicken cross the road?


The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

To die in the rain. Alone.

Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be     crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never  reboot.

Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

I invented the chicken!

Did I miss one?

Where's my gun?

Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

You know you live in a party town when...

By Joy A. Kennelly

It's not even 10am and a guy just walked by my window drinking a beer. ICK!  And we wonder why Hermosa Beach has this reputation as a place to come get drunk. OY!

This is what I recently posted on Myspace to discourage stupid drunks ruining New Year's Eve down here on Pier Plaza (not to beat a dead horse, but this is shocking news:)

Found this on a blog and thought in light of the upcoming New Year's Eve parties going on around the world, you men might like to know this little known fact about public urination - very serious.

In Hermosa Beach, for those considering coming out to party here and thinking of publicly peeing, it's a misdemeanor with an $800 price tag. In other places it's a sex crime and if caught you would have to register as a sex offender.

Here's the even more shocking news from the blog I read:

'Currently, under state law, anyone caught urinating in public is charged with indecent exposure, which is a sex crime. Once convicted of that crime, that person would be required to register as a sex offender. At least 13 states require registration for public urination; of those, two limit registration to those who committed the act in view of a minor.

In at least one state that considers public urination as indecent exposure, a single conviction means the offender's name, and possibly his or her photograph, will be placed on the state's registry of sex offenders. But under a new federal law passed in an overzealous effort to protect children from sex offenders, states are required to include anyone convicted of indecent exposure twice within three years in the registry.

As one might imagine, being listed on a sex offender registry ruins lives, sometimes permanently. Many lose their jobs, and, in a growing number of cities, offenders have to move away from schools, parks and day-care centers, either uprooting their families or living apart from them.'

So think about this before you whip it out ok? We don't want to see it, smell it, or deal with it in Hermosa Beach this New Year's, nor any other time for that matter."

Oh, and just found this on another blog from a guy in Seattle - same topic (if you're bored - skip today and I'll have more scintillating topics soon. However, it's very interesting if you understand this is a national "issue." Too funny.:)

From the blog and I quote:

"I’ve been made privy to a rather peculiar rumor about Seattle. According to my sources, Seattle is very tough on public urination. Supposedly if you’re caught pissing out the night’s beer by police, they can and will charge you with public nudity rather than public urination. And the kicker is that you allegedly gain low-level sex offender status for doing so. Which, as far as I know, is something that follows you rather viciously on your permanent record…

Granted, this may be just an urban myth. I heard it from a friend and I’m not sure where he heard it. I mentioned it to somebody else, and they said they’d heard similar as well. That kind of hearsay obviously doesn’t prove much of anything though.

The only thing similar I could find online on the subject was this clip from the Stranger, a “hip” local rag:

1993 - “Public Urination” (Passed 8-0 by city council): This law increased the penalty for peeing in public, so now, rather than issuing a simple citation and sending a urinator on his or her way, the police can charge the offender with a misdemeanor. That means arrests, fines, and possibly even jail time...."

Oh and here's another live instance of it in action per this other guy's blog - Nobody's Business and I quote:

Juan Matamoros's full bladder is going to cost him. Twenty-one years ago, he had too much to drink, and was caught when he urinated on a street in Essex, Massachusetts. Matamoros was charged with "lewd and lascivious behavior" — which apparently got him classified as a sex offender. He currently lives in Deltona, Florida, with his wife and two young sons, but he's been ordered to pack up and move.

Deltona's ordinance, stricter than those of the state and neighboring cities, prohibits sex offenders and sexual predators from living within 2,500 feet of a school, bus stop, day-care center, park or playground. Matamoros lives on Brady Drive near three city parks, including Dewey Boster Park and a child-care facility.

The 49-year-old took the stand before Volusia County Judge Peter Marshall in DeLand on Monday to say he never molested anyone back in 1986, but just got drunk and urinated at the side of a car along a Massachusetts street when three people passed by and saw him. He requested he not have to move his two young sons to an area with a concentrated number of sex offenders.

Judge Marshall claims there's nothing he can do — the law is the law. He found Matamoros guilty without adjudication (the man's record does not contain a finding of guilt) and ordered him to move no later than July 1.The county's sheriff, Sgt. Erik Eagan, doesn't feel the least bit sorry for the guy, because Matamoros received prior notice of the sex-offender law's enactment, and besides, Matamoros allegedly violated probation for a drug offense.

I sure wouldn't want a sex offense attached to my name if I were a guy. Maybe the young men in Hermosa Beach and those who come to get drunk from outside the area will see themselves in this tale and realize it's serious. Hopefully reading about it before they're too drunk to care...

Toilets are created for a reason men. Use them! And don't forget to put the seat down if you live with a female. Just teasing. But do urinate in private.

Okay, that's my little public service announcement for the week. Lots of good stuff brewing with the residents who are as sick of this issue as I am. More to share in the New Year!

Have a good one! Happy New Year! Drink responsibly! Pee privately!

Two more good books - How Starbucks Saved My Life and They Did it With Love

By Joy A. Kennelly

Seeing as I've been bed-ridden for the past few days except for a few jaunts here and there, I went to the library and checked out a few books to pass the time away. Haven't had the time to read for pleasure lately and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in these two very different stories.

How Starbucks Saved My Life, by Michael Gates Gill is a very interesting tale of a man of privilege who loses everything only to find his soul. (Or at least that's how I read it!) Here's the official book reviews from Amazon:

Editorial Reviews
        From Publishers Weekly
"The son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill grew up meeting the likes of Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. A Yale education led to a job at prestigious J. Walter Thompson Advertising. But at 63, the younger Gill's sweet life has gone sour. Long fired from JWT, his own business is collapsing and an ill-advised affair has resulted in a new son and a divorce.

At this low point, and in need of health insurance for a just diagnosed brain tumor, Gill fills out an application for Starbucks and is assigned to the store on 93rd and Broadway in New York City, staffed primarily by African-Americans. Working as a barista, Gill, who is white, gets an education in race relations and the life of a working class Joe . Gill certainly has a story to tell, but his narrative is flooded with saccharine flashbacks, when it could have detailed how his very different, much younger colleagues, especially his endearing 28-year-old manager, Crystal Thompson, came to accept him.

The book reads too much like an employee handbook, as Gill details his duties or explains how the company chooses its coffee. Gill's devotion to the superchain has obviously changed his life for the better, but that same devotion makes for a repetitive, unsatisfying read. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.    

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yale graduate, prosperous ad exec: Gill has it all. Then he turns 60 and finds himself precipitously bounced from his job and saddled with the triple threats of a ruined marriage, an unexpected newborn, and a brain tumor. Despairing at the prospect of looming poverty, he stops at a Manhattan Starbucks to comfort himself with a latte.

By chance he sits down next to Crystal, a young African American woman recruiting new workers for the coffee giant, and she offers him a job. Almost as an act of desperation, he accepts, and he dons the uniform of a barista-in-training at an Upper West Side Starbucks.

This son of privilege who had hobnobbed with Queen Elizabeth, T. S. Eliot, and Jackie Onassis, now keeps daily company with a diverse crew of brash young New Yorkers for whom Starbucks' progressive employee benefits and demanding, inspiring standards of public service offer hope.

Gill starts at the bottom, cleaning the bathroom, and he has trouble mastering the cash register. Over the months he learns to deeply respect Crystal, to appreciate the mutual support of his coworkers, and to genuinely cherish the passing parade of customers, each unique. To his own astonishment, he realizes that he actually looks forward joyfully to every hectic, exhausting workday. Other corporate giants can only envy the sheer goodwill that this memoir will inevitably generate for Starbucks. What a read." Knoblauch, Mark

I obviously agree with the 2nd reviewer since I didn't find it an employee handbook at all, but a man's journey to find himself when he'd lost it all. I loved the stories of his previous life of privilege inter-laced with his current Starbucks job. The characters he worked with made it interesting to read too.

I'm not the only one to think so because apparently Shari Smiley of Creative Artists Agency thought enough of his story to attach Tom Hanks and Gus Van Sant to the potential film project and she's supposed to have the Midas touch. Very cool.

I wonder though how well this book will translate into film. Reminds me too much of The Terminal, Hanks other film about a man stuck in one environment too that didn't do too well if I remember correctly. However, screenwriters can do miracles so I'll just wait and see what they come up with.

Just know the book is very good and worth a read. Especially for men.

The other book, They Did It With Love, by Kate Morgenroth, makes me never want to move to the suburbs since there's so much betrayal, murder and mayhem that ensues when one couple leaves the city to move to Greenwich, CT I didn't know it existed!

Here's Amazon's review of the book:

"Editorial Reviews Book Description
  Secrets lurk under the smooth surface of a wealthy Connecticut neighborhood, until a murder reveals all

Sofie and her husband have left Manhattan in search of a more tranquil life in the suburbs. But when a member of Sofie’s new neighborhood book club turns up dead, things get messy. She discovers that everybody has something to hide, including her own husband. Her neighbor Priscilla has been married to Gordon for fifteen years, but the love left their marriage a long time ago. Susan is Priscilla’s biggest supporter until she has to choose between loyalty to her friend and telling the truth. Ashley is eager to fit in, but her youth and status as a second wife keep her on the outside. She may know more than they think she does, though. Julia seems to have it all—the perfect house, job and husband. But her untimely death has people questioning how perfect her life really was. Through this swamp of suburban secrets, Sofie must wade to find the truth behind Julia’s murder and the state of her own marriage. They Did It with Love is a delightful, twisty, and twisted exploration of the things we’ll do for love.    

      About the Author
  Kate Morgenroth is the author of Kill Me First and Saved, and two YA novels, Jude and Echo."

This one kept me guessing right until the end! The characters were entertaining, the mystery book club a great setting for murder mischief, the deteriorating wealthy marriages, and everything else this little community unravels rivals Desperate Housewives!

It was very enjoyable and a nice escape from my life in CA to their lives in CT. Great for women to read and relax to. Men too, if you care to learn how to kill your wife. JUST KIDDING. Not that kind of book at all. Just checking to see if you're still reading.

Okay, that's all for now. Nice to finally feel like I can breath a bit. Now to stop coughing up a lung. OY!

Just finished the best book "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul"

By Joy A. Kennelly

A friend lent me the book entitled Wild At Heart Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul which I just finished today.

Here's Amazon's Editorial Reviews, and I quote:

"Editorial Reviews
If Christian men are going to change from a pitiful, wimpy bunch of "really nice guys" to men who are made in the image of God, they must reexamine their preconceptions about who God is and recover their true "wild" hearts, writes bestselling author John Eldredge in Wild at Heart: Discovering a Life of Passion, Freedom, and Adventure. Eldredge throws down the gauntlet--men are bored; they fear risk, they refuse to pay attention to their deepest desires.

He challenges Christian men to return to authentic masculinity without resorting to a "macho man" mentality. Men often seek validation in venues such as work, or in the conquest of women, Eldredge observes. He urges men to take time out and come to grips with the "secret longings" of their hearts.

Although the book succeeds best in its slant toward a male audience, it also strives to help women understand the implications of authentic masculinity in their relationships with men. Eldredge frames the book around his outdoor experiences and appealing anecdotes about his family, sprinkling the text with touches of humor and overlying everything with heartfelt passion.

Even as he mixes eclectic ideas about masculinity from popular movies such as Braveheart with classic words from Oswald Chambers, and lyrics from the Dixie Chicks with stories from the Bible, he points to only one answer for men searching for their true wildness of heart. Writes Eldredge, "The only way to live in this adventure ... with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes ... is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God." --Cindy Crosby    


Book Description
God designed men to be dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires--aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a "nice guy."

It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death. In this provocative book, Eldredge gives women a look inside the true heart of a man and gives men permission to be what God designed them to be-dangerous, passionate, alive, and free."

and here's another blurb:

"Helping men rediscover their masculine heart, this guide to understanding Christian manhood and Christian men offers a refreshing break from the chorus of voices urging men to be more responsible, reliable, dutiful… and dead.

God designed men to be dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires-aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a "nice guy." It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death. In this provocative book, now available in trade paper, Eldredge gives women a look inside the true heart of a man and gives men permission to be what God designed them to be--dangerous, passionate, alive, and free."

Very interesting insights into what it's like to be a man. It also gave me insights into myself ironically enough. I believe this past year for me has been one of refining, defining, and shaping into someone who is authentic and real, no matter what it costs.

It hasn't been easy, nor do I feel my journey is over, but it was very comforting to realize that I'm not alone in my desire to be my true self. Men face this every day of their lives. What was so interesting to me, and what gave me more compassion for the men in my life, is that so often men feel like failures and like they're not living authentically.

They may hide it by becoming workaholics, sexaholics, and alcoholics, but when all that is stripped away and all they are is who they are, there's this wound that has never been healed. Only God can heal that part of them.

What was also interesting to read is that in other cultures there are set ways men become men - set initiation processes that allow the young boy to realize he is now a man. In our culture we don't have that. What the author, John Eldrege proposes is now their initiation is when God takes men through deep valleys of pain and suffering and they come out the other side stronger and more who they were meant to be.

I'm totally paraphrasing and probably don't have it right at all, but that is my humble interpretation. It also made me wonder if the reason we have such a huge alcoholic issue in our country today is that so many men are trying to hide their pain in something that is socially acceptable, rather than face it, deal with it and move through it? Just a thought.

That's why I always encourage people to visit Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides a loving structure with which to work through your issues one step at a time under the guidance of someone who has been there before you and come out the other side. It often provides the only loving, safe relationship some men ever experience which is healing in and of itself too. (For women too.)

What I kept trying to see in this book is that if the church has given men the idea that they need to be "good boys" where is there the mandate for them to conquer and fight for what is right? What church offers an opportunity for men to show us women what they're made of when all we're offering is Bible Study, singing, and other non-aggressive, non-masculine forms of expression?

That's why I like my church pastor because he is totally into men being men. However, I wonder how many single men's needs aren't being met because they don't have kids and families and don't want to participate in building things for them? Like that sled run.

I wonder if we had more mission trips where we built churches, or built whatever in interesting foreign locations, then we wouldn't be creating an environment where the single men of our community could feel like they were conquering something and wouldn't feel so inclined to just get drunk like so many do today in the South Bay?

What are we offering them as an alternative churches? City Council? Government? Where are the battlefields where men can be men except in the military? Why aren't there more opportunities here in the states? Why must there be killing and distant lands involved? What about something local and pertinent that draws men together to work together as one?

Not on some female-oriented fund-raiser or toy drive, but something that men can do with men and as men without drinking themselves silly? Something that's for the good of the community - not just their own selfish pleasures? Just wondering that's all. I'm not a man and don't know what that could be, but I  hope that by raising the issue, perhaps those wiser and older than me would consider it.

I'm just kind of rambling, but I really hope that there will be some new ways for men to express and exert their masculinity, or we're going to continue to raise up generations of frustrated men who over-drink, over-work, or over-sex just to fulfill their God-given desires to matter in the world.

This is an excellent book that raises very pertinent issues concerning men today. I highly recommend it for men AND women to read. Just click on the link I've provided above for the way to purchase it through Amazon.

Now to get back to living - even though my sinus infection or allergies are wiping me out again. Oy!

Watching Allison Janney on the Ecozone Project show after pleasant Christmas day

By Joy A. Kennelly

It's kind of funny to realize that I grew up in a eco-friendly environment unknowingly. Just turned on Allison Janney's EcoZone show after a very pleasant day with friends on Christmas. We walked Naples and saw the cute decorated homes all along the canal. Very nice way to end the day.

Now seeing this show I realize that my Dad was way ahead of his time so long ago. He was doing composting back in the 70's. We always recycled paper (had to use the 2nd side to make sure we didn't waste anything.) I vaguely remember him re-using plastic ziplock bags and foil too which at the time I felt was extreme.

However, my favorite memory was us raising rabbits to eat! Looking back, it feels like that scene out of Michael Moore's first film where that woman was raising rabbits. I laughed out loud in recognition when I saw it because for awhile there we did that too! Too funny. Still can't really eat rabbit. Sorry bunnies.

Dad also used to have solar panels on the house. Very progressive guy! I remember just thinking he was cheap and now he's hip! Too funny. I guess if more people will do this now we'll save the earth.

So, hope you had an eco-friendly Christmas and enjoyed a relaxing day like I did.

Have a good week.

Christmas Eve service at Bay Cities - Awesome!

By Joy A. Kennelly

Tonight's musical Christmas Eve service at Bay Cities Church was a lot fun - didn't realize my little church had so much soul and gospel flavah courtesy of Peter Rivera (Rare Earth fame) and James Gambrell rocking the house. And who could forget the Mackinga women and Mark Sullivan? Amazing talents - all!

It was a great time for the kids too. The men of the church created a 100 foot long sled ride for the kids to go whizzing down into 50,000 lbs of snow. That's 50 feet longer than the Skechers' MB Fireworks Christmas celebration the other day! And just think, we didn't have any sponsors to help pay for it! Pretty good, eh?

Just what the doctor ordered.

Merry Christmas everybody!

My friend's New Year's Eve party invite - fyi

New Year's Eve Bash at CBS Radford Studios Backlot! Celebrate New Year's where they shot Seinfeld!

DJ, Dancing, NY Pizza, Champagne toast, Party favors

168 Film Project - "Team Stedfast" Fundraiser
The 168 hour film adventure from start to finish.

Hosted By: John Hanson, Belinda Benko and Jay Gammill

TICKET PRICES: $30 each or 4 for $100 includes free parking

Buy TICKETS online! Names of guests required for RSVP list due to security clearance.

I personally plan to go to San Diego, CA, but hope the rest of you support and enjoy this New Year's Eve Rocking event. Check out the talent putting it on - cutie patooties.

Should be fun!

Sweeney Todd - Less singing; More killing. Cush Salon and other stuff...:)

By Joy A. Kennelly

Okay, remember the sweet little east Indian ticket reservationist who didn't know anything about Hawaii and spent all that time trying to get the spelling right of Kuaia? Guess who I got when I called United again tonight? Yep. Him. Isn't it a funny ironic small world?

This time I asked him about another location and when my destination wasn't allowed on my free ticket I asked about where to fly to get closest to Tahiti. Oh my goodness, he didn't know where or what Tahiti was! Oy, oy, oy! I know I'm dumb for not realizing that LA was the closest airport apparently, but I didn't have the benefit of a computer screen since I was driving and he did.

I guess my frustration with him is because I used to do his job for five years for both Alaska and Delta Airlines and know what he should know in this position. I thought it was so funny to get him again, but couldn't deal so told him I'd call back and promptly hung up.

Guess who I got when I called back? HIM!

That made me LOL because I realized then I couldn't escape my fate. I then asked to speak to his supervisor which he was nice enough to transfer me. I explained to the women that when I worked in the airline industry even when my airline didn't service the location, the computer will give you the code to figure out an itinerary regardless of which airline you're booking.

For him not to know that and waste more of my time... not good customer service United Airlines. I thought I had been so smart by going online and figuring out my original itinerary prior to calling only to learn that my ticket doesn't allow for inter-line agreements meaning I can't fly on their partners.

Makes me seriously reconsider not jumping ship next time they ask for volunteers to be bumped. Oh well, I will figure it out eventually. It is a free ticket after all. I just need to hurry up and book it! It was just too funny to hear his little sheepish voice one more time. Merry Christmas Rameesh wherever you are in India. Do they even celebrate? I wonder.

My friend Domi invited me out to the Arclight tonight for a snack and a movie. I agreed because I was traveling up to Beverly Hills to have my hair done at Cush Salon courtesy of my friend Adrienne and was also meeting my other friend Marcia who I haven't seen in a long time after that which made it worthwhile to stay up there so late. Plus, we all always have a good time together so...

I'm glad I did. Sweeney Todd was a very fun, albeit horror, movie set to music. Who knew there would be so much music to all the gore? I've never gone to see anything Stephen Sondheim has done so totally wasn't prepared to hear murder sung about so casually. Or to see so much spurting blood! Domi said it reminded him a lot of all the horror films he has done. NOT MY THING AT ALL!

For such a murderous, gory story, I was surprised the killing didn't start earlier into the film hence my blog title. Enough with the back story - get to the point Burton. Just kidding. Tim has his own unique style of filmmaking - although I'm beginning to think his art director doesn't know any other looks beyond goth, but then again neither does Tim Burton himself it seems! I guess you want his style, then you see his movies.

Ghostly white makeup with heavily made-up smudged eye makeup, weird blue tones, stark contrasts of color and black and white mixed together, bad teeth, oh I could go on, but I'm tired. You get the drift. It's really stylistic and moody which is very interesting visually actually, but almost distracts from the actors because it is so unusual. I sat through most of the killings with my eyes covered because those images, despite some looking like red paint, would stick in my brain too long.

It was fun to hang out with Domi and who knows, we may start working together again if we can come to an agreement that we're both happy with. I'm still not into horror, but as long as it's strictly red carpet escorting, that's fun so... We shall see! Stranger things have happened.

I enjoyed spending time with Marcia catching up too. We went up the block from her place to a little pizza place that was very delicious. I loved the interior since it was all stone work with pretty furniture. Can't remember the name since I'm tired and it's late, but it's near the Belmont. Check it out next time you're around.

My lovely, lovely, lovely hair took three hours to create. I say you can never be too blonde or have too much chocolate. I'm so blonde I look like a summer baby. I LOVE IT! You really must see Martine at Cush Salon for color and ask for Chassie, the owner, to cut your hair.

It's the cutest, hippest best kept secret of Beverly Hills salons. No pretension, just good hair in a relaxing, hip environment. I feel so glamorous. Just like a movie star after having them treat me to their amazing skills. I had had my hair cut previously up in Beverly Hills at a salon I just walked into because I couldn't take it any longer, but I wish I had waited.

What a difference having your hair cut and colored by people with training and expertise. Plus, they were both so humble about it too. A lovely, lovely, lovely experience. I love being pampered like this. Next week I've got to visit Glen Ivy Day Spa to follow up on today. Full pampering please. I've earned it.

Thank you Adrienne. You're such a good friend to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you get this salon lots of media hits and that they provide you with everything you ask for to help them achieve it too! They deserve some media coverage for sure.

If/when my stupid camera works again I'll take a pic of my hair and upload it. Now I'm ready for New Years Eve - watch out boys. Cougar on the prowl...

Okay, enough of that. Real quick rundown of the past week. The Manhattan Beach Christmas Fireworks display was simply fantastic. They had this really fun band leading us all in Christmas and Hanukkah carols for an hour prior. Can't you just see me dancing the Hora loudly singing the Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel song? It was so much fun being silly like that.

What was really cool is that numerous streets are closed off to turn the hill going down to the Manhattan Beach pier into a walk street and it was jam packed wall-to-wall with what seemed like thousands of people out celebrating. Yet, I didn't see one drunk. What a novel concept. Maybe they hit the streets later, but I doubt it.

Maybe because the emphasis was on children with local business, Skechers', and numerous other Downtown Manhattan Beach businesses sponsoring an adorable snow camp area. Yeah Skechers! Thank you everyone for such a delightful community event! The fireworks display went on for almost 1/2 an hour and were set to Christmas music which made it even more fun. I sent numerous friends little videos from my phone to watch. Very exciting!

The inexpensive spaghetti dinner at the MB Fire House was fun too. I wasn't hungry because it was so early when we arrived so I just watched my friend's enjoy everything. I enjoyed the eye candy collecting money though. Too bad I was with my guy friend so it looked like we were together.

Nothing against you bud, but you're cramping my style. LOL. I'm sure I'm cramping yours too. Oh well, next year should be good for both of us since it's 2008 and it's going to be great. We all had fun together. That whole night was a real blast. I love singing along loudly and just goofing around. Great time letting off steam after the hell I'd gone through only a week prior.

What's interesting about that previous hellish experience is that last night I went to a local friend's Christmas gathering and it actually came in handy. During the night she received a call and became afraid for one of her friends who lives up in Hollywood since he mentioned killing himself. Since I'd just been there myself (feeling suicidal) I offered to go with her to help calm her down and offer some of the wisdom I'd gained from my therapist and the Suicide Prevention Hotline (SPH) people to him too.

When we called their hotline (which is 310 391-1253 or toll free in Los Angeles and Orange County 877 727-4747,) they were extremely nice and knowledgable. Did you know there is a Psychiatric Mobile Response Team (PMRT) who will come and be with you within an hour if you call and need help? Their number is 1 800 854-7771 I believe. What I liked about the SPH is that they walked us through how to handle her friend since he wasn't probably going to call them himself that night.

When I called Alcoholics Anonymous' hotline, suicide prevention was beyond their abilities. However, I gave him their contact numbers too since they're a great place to go when you've hit bottom and need ongoing support dealing with your drinking problem. Call 1 866 507-6237 for the national hotline and 310 618-1180 for the local hotline if you need help too ok? You are not alone! There are people who have been where you are too. It's never too late to turn your life around and get help for this disease.

Now if you should run across someone who threatens suicide, the key questions to ask are, "When are you going to do it? Have you thought about how you will do it?" Apparently, although we think it would lead people to actually do it, it's not out of the ordinary to the person you're speaking to and just helps you gauge how serious they really are.

However, I highly recommend leaving stuff like this up to the professionals - call for your own expert advice from the SHP, don't just take mine please.

Isn't it funny how God used something that was meant for evil (me wanting to kill myself) and used it to help someone else for good? The ironies of that night just kept hitting me. Especially when we drove past my friend's old place on our way to her friend's house and it turned out I actually knew the street having known someone who lived there myself!

It also turned out I knew of this hurting man indirectly because my friend who lived on that street at the time had catered his wife's memorial service. Small world. It was just meant to be that I was there for this man I think. When we finally did reach him he kept wondering why I was there and how I knew so much about suicide prevention. When I explained I'd been right there where he was only a few weeks ago, he was blown away. I'm blown away. God has a quirky sense of timing and purpose is all I can say.

I don't think I'll be experiencing anything more like that for a bit since the doctor has prescribed birth control pills to help regulate my hormones. Yeah! Free sex! Just kidding. Although I will admit the thought crossed my mind.

One of the side effects apparently is to have your breasts become larger. If mine do, I won't be able to see my toes! I think that looks retarded on women when that happens. Sorry, no thank you. However, I will say my friend who recently underwent breast augmentation really deserves to have new breasts.

Hers looked like the African women I remember from living in Kenya who would pull this long sad narrow balloon out of their blouses to feed their nursing babies on the bus. Seriously, that bad. If anyone needed fake boobs, my friend does!

What was freaky is that although I had a lot of people praying for her never in a million years did I expect to hear from her the very night of her surgery sounding so chipper and normal. Kind of weirded me out!

She was ecstatic and said she had no pain whatsoever. Even the doctors were shocked at how well she was recovering from the surgery. I was shocked too! She sounded a little frenetic too which was weird. That was explained today when she returned my call asking after her and learned that she'd been drugged then too and barely remembered our conversation.

I'm just so relieved she's doing so well, especially after the heartbreak of Kanye West's mother's death. I was so nervous for my girlfriend because it was going to be a much more complicated surgery than she had originally thought, but I think due to her excellent condition from all her pilates training and all our prayers (two big churches were praying for her) she is doing really, really great. Thank you God.

Mama's got new boobs! Cougar's got new hair! Time to go out and celebrate! Her husband is going to be so happy. I know she's ecstatic. Now this type of re-constructive surgery I support any time any place. Oh, and I also support the new boobs Hermosa Beach is considering. Check out This is Hermosa forum under the 2 lanes vs. 4 lanes smackdown thread for my commentary on boobs in Hermosa Beach. You have to scroll down a bit...

Let's see what else? Third Tuesday was awesome as usual. I forgot how much I missed the encouragement of that group. All 300 plus of us prayed for a quick end to the Writer's Strike. It was really sad to see how many people in the audience it was affecting. I hope it ends soon. I want an awards season!

I bumped into my old friend Matilda and just felt like hanging out with her all night rather than socialize like I normally do. I'm so glad I did. After hearing another encouraging, funny message from the pastor, we generally break into small groups to pray for each other. Usually there's 4-5 people in each group, but again, this evening it was just me and Matilda. Since we'd been talking all evening we knew what to pray for each other.

However, I wasn't prepared to have her pray for my family situation because I hadn't mentioned it as a prayer request and all of sudden my floodworks began. I just stood there silently crying with crocodile tears just flowing uncontrollably down my face while she prayed for healing of my entire family because the breakdown of my family relationships deeply, deeply, deeply affects me.

I know I've hurt them too, but at a certain point there needs to be forgiveness and letting go of grudges. I can't undo the past and even Jesus forgave me my sins (which have been many!) I just need to stay away from everyone until I feel like this cloud of condemnation has passed and it's ended. May never happen, but I'm praying it does. Enough's enough. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Now to get on with living.

Or as they say in Al Anon:


Be honest with yourself
Be Humble
Take it Easy – Tension is Harmful
Play – Find recreation and hobbies
Keep on Trying whenever you fail

Learn all the facts about Alcoholism
Attend Alanon meetings often


Be Self-Righteous
Try to dominate, nag, scold or complain

Lose Your Temper
Try to push anyone but yourself
Keep bringing up the past

Keep checking up on your alcoholic
Wallow in self-pity
Make threats you don’t intend to carry out
Be over-protective
Be a doormat

Who knows how this family stuff will all resolve itself, but I have a real peace about avoiding the parent's gathering this year. Although I'll miss seeing my oldest niece and my aunts and uncles since this is the time of year I normally see the relatives.

However, I'm hoping to go to San Diego for New Years' so maybe then I'll pop by to visit or even stay over. Who knows? I can't think that far ahead right now and they're all very busy people with busy lives too.

I did receive a nice Christmas card from one set of relatives which was very comforting and sweet of them to remember me. I'm so behind on sending out cards I really must devote some time to it asap.

My visit to Niki Shadrow's 20's party at the new 86 nightclub was fun as usual. It was great to hear the old timey 20's music and see people dressed up in flapper costumes. Reminded me of the Little Rascals. Remember them? Oh tay buckwheat.

Also, the Toledo Show performed and they were amazing as usual. I'd actually written a press release promoting the Stories from the Red Room documentary about The Toledo Show and Harvelle's. Yes, we have one in Redondo Beach now. And yes, The Toledo Show performs there too! You really have to see this R & B cabaret act - they're great! A little risque, but sexy as all get out. Click on the above link for a little preview.

My ex-boyfriend used to love Harvelle's in Santa Monica and loved the blues so he got me into it too. I love that little hole-in-the-wall place on 4th. Lots of good memories there. I'm glad they're down in RB now too. I really must get a group together some night and go hit it. Too fun.

My cookie exchange party just prior was a lot of fun too. I sent some of the cookies I collected to the soldiers for them to enjoy. I've never seen so many varieties of cookies in one place before. That was a cute party since it was a lot of women from the Republican's Women's Federation. Only in the South Bay. Never, ever in Hollywood I think!:)

Here's a little blurb on them: Manhattan Beach RWF is a dynamic group of like-minded conservative women with shared values. We are a diverse mix of ages, backgrounds and professions - but share a common desire to elect Republicans! We meet every month, usually the second Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a member's home. We have a speaker each meeting, 2-3 fundraisers per year and social outings.

So, care to join? Email Rosalie at ManhattanBeachRWF (at) cfrw (dot) org. I just think it's kind of funny and wish my mom would join since this is so her thing. She's the most rabid Republican I know and just cracks me up with her passion. I guess I come by my political activism honestly. Only mine is on the local level only.

What else to tell you all. I think that's all and if it's not, oh well. I'm very tired. Can't wait to visit with my girlfriend and hear all about her breast surgery recovery. I'm going to try and make kugel as a treat since her Bubby used to make it all the time as comfort food.

Can't you see it now? A shitska baking a traditional Jewish dish? Oy vey! But she needs some comforting so I'm going to give it a whirl. Should be interesting.:)

Okay, that's really all. Have a good day (seeing as it's 2am and morning already.) Good thing I don't have anywhere pressing to go till my 1:30pm lunch tomorrow. Yeah!

Sleep well everyone!

Here's the "card" my agent Aur-Aelion Israel sent out - too funny!

From my commercial agent, Aur-Aelion Israel - one of the best guys in the biz who runs Almond Talent. (I don't know if he wrote it or not.) I just thought in light of all the hyper-sensitivity around this time of year you all might enjoy the laugh.

I wish the same to all of you reading today!

It's best read out loud:

To My Liberal Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

To My Conservative Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Check out my latest posts on my wordpress blog

By Joy A. Kennelly (new link here too - check it out!)

Hi Everyone, I've been busy promoting my client, Artist Gali Rotstein's Art Opening Reception January 12, 2008 at Lois Lambert Gallery in Bergamot Station and will have more time to blog about all the fun events I've been attending later today. Check out my wordpress blog ( for recent highlights - very fun!

Hope to see you at the party!

This is a great article on PR in the Wall Street Journal today - very funny

Are Your Clients
Happy Now,
Mr. Brabender?

This Persistent PR Man
Is Offbeat Yet Practical,
Just Like the Fish 'n Flush
December 19, 2007; Page A1

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Hi, there. Hope you are well. We thought you'd like some information for an interesting feature. It's about a Kansas public-relations professional who has carved a unique niche for himself by sending the nation's media outlets thousands of copies of news releases for "practical yet peculiar" consumer products.

[Todd Brabender]

He's Todd Brabender -- whose clients include the SummerSled (it works on grass) and Litecubes (the glowing ice cubes). His latest PR pitch, for the Fish 'n Flush toilet fish tank, begins: "It's a unique new product whose decorative appeal could turn the bathroom into the most talked about room in the house."

Mr. Brabender, who is 41 years old and a former media person himself, is the kind of PR guy journalists hate to love -- but love nevertheless. An old-fashioned press agent with newfangled powers, he blasts emails far and wide from the basement of his flagstoned mid-American home. Media elites may fume over coverups and spin, but for reporters with holiday news holes to fill, a bulletin about guppies in the toilet is cause for elation.

As Lisa Reicosky wrote in the Canton, Ohio, Repository: "Sometimes in this business we receive press releases we just can't ignore." That was the first sentence of her story on the Fish 'n Flush. "The toilet fish, yeah, that caught my eye," says Ms. Reicosky. "I'm part time. I need the PR people to give me my ideas." The Repository (circulation 65,000) gave the Fish 'n Flush 241 words.


At least 500 newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations -- online and off -- have taken this bait in a year, says Mr. Brabender. He figures it would have cost the makers of the Fish 'n Flush a million dollars to buy that kind of advertising. As it is, except for Mr. Brabender's $2,500-a-month fee, they haven't spent a penny.

"It's all Todd, generating PR for us," says David Parrish of AquaOne Technologies Inc., in Orange County, Calif. AquaOne designs leak-control hardware and uses a clear-plastic showroom toilet tank to display it. "We were standing around one day," Mr. Parrish recalls, "and I said, 'Wouldn't it be fun if we had fish in it and you flushed it and the fish didn't go down?'"

Thus the Fish 'n Flush came to be. A Web site went up with a mail-order price of $299. Somebody who knew somebody put AquaOne in touch with Mr. Brabender. His release went out and orders came in. With no advertising and a "how did you hear about us" box on the site, AquaOne could draw a straight line from media plugs to sales.

"We see the geographic pattern," says Mr. Parrish. "If we get orders from Bangor, we know Todd's done something in Bangor." Sales have reached 1,000. Now Mr. Brabender has launched a second Fish 'n Flush campaign. The vehicle isn't a new story, just new reporters.

[The Fish n Flush]
The Fish 'n Flush toilet fish tank.
Below, full text of Mr. Brabender's press release on the Fish n Flush.
Here's some information for an interesting consumer feature. The release below details a creative product called the Fish n Flush that is proving to be popular in homes nationally. Perhaps you could use this as a feature highlighting off-the-wall type products that are designed to create buzz and unique consumer interest.
We would be happy to arrange an interview, provide supportives or help in any other way further. If there is someone better to send this to can you please forward this to him/her or provide me with the contact information? Thanks and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Todd Brabender
Spread The News PR
* * *
Fish n Flush Aquarium Toilet Tank Brings Decorative Twist To
(Westminster, California) -- It's a unique new product whose decorative appeal could turn the bathroom into the most talked about room in the house. The Fish n Flush is clear two-piece toilet tank that replaces a standard toilet tank and cleverly contains a fully functioning aquarium inside. The Fish-n-Flush's insert can be filled with water for fish or left dry for use as a terrarium for a pet reptile or to house colorful plants or foliage.
"We wanted to develop a product that had a dual purpose -- to serve as a proper, fully functional toilet and also as a source of entertainment and conversation," says Richard Quintana, CEO of AquaOne. "Fish-n-Flush is definitely an attention-getter."
Introduced by AquaOne Technologies, Inc., the patented Fish-n-Flush aquarium toilet tank fits most toilets and operates as a conventional interior tank, which is manufactured of clear PETG to ensure a strong and durable reservoir. The aquarium will accept fresh water, as well as salt, warm and tropical water. In addition, the 2.2-gallon aquarium piece can be easily removed for cleaning without obstructing the toilet from working. The toilet tank itself holds 2.5 gallons which offers sufficient head pressure to flush properly.
AquaOne worked with a marine biologist to develop the technology and produce a certified working aquarium. Fish-n-Flush comes with gravel, two plastic nine-inch plants, a dual filter system, LED lighting, a built-in feeder, fill valve, overflow tube, flapper, suction pump and two screws. The power level is set at a safe 12 volts.
"One of the key attractions to Fish-n-Flush is that we see the toilet serving as a great way to help toilet train young children," Quintana adds, "as well as a fun fashion statement for the homeowner who wants to have something unique."
The Fish-n-Flush sells for $299 and is available at:
# # #

"There's such turnover in the media," he said one workday morning, "we'll hit people who missed it last time." Clean-cut and clear-eyed, he sat at his computer fielding Fish 'n Flush queries: the DIY Network, Exceptional Parent Magazine, the Muncie Star Press. Said Mr. Brabender, "We're out on the dance floor one more time."

It's a crowded one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts roughly 100,000 Americans in journalism but 235,000 in public relations, most of them in big organizations. But technology has not only given rise to mobs of small shops between the coasts, it has also turned the humdrum news release into a reviled variant of spam.

For reporters offered a chance to disseminate "relationship advice" from a porn star-rocker power couple, or to cover "the top 10 reasons label printers make great gifts," the delete button is never far away. To survive the cull, a pitchman needs a gimmick.

Mr. Brabender's: "funny yet functional," a newsroom natural. That's why CNBC's "The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch" wanted Michael Daoud on the show. Mr. Daoud invented the Xshot -- a stick you screw onto a camera to take pictures of yourself -- and on the day of the New York taping, he got on the phone to Mr. Brabender for a pep talk.

"Don't sound like a circus hawker," Mr. Brabender told him.

"Right, right," said Mr. Daoud.

"Keep an eye on Donny," Mr. Brabender said. "If he glazes over, wrap it up. Don't spew. Be a well, not a fountain."

"A well, not a fountain," said Mr. Daoud. "Great advice, Todd."

After hanging up, Mr. Brabender said, "My goal is make it easy for the media. Media people like easy stories. I know. I'm a former media guy myself."

From 1988 to 1994, Mr. Brabender worked at 6News, a Lawrence TV channel with two daily newscasts and long stationary shots of traffic on a Kansas River bridge. He grew up in Rock Falls, Ill., where his father was a salesman for Senco nail-guns. ("It's a great nail-gun," says Mr. Brabender.) His "blood boiling" to be a newsman, he came here to the University of Kansas, got a journalism degree and then went straight onto the crime beat at 6News.

"Bike thefts were up one year," he says, but when his wife got a job at more pay for half the hours, he quit to stay home with their two kids, and signed on with a service that monitors mentions of corporate names on TV. "I saw stories about new products," Mr. Brabender says. "I thought it would be neat to be a person who got the media interested in stories like that."

He says he had thought most successful PR types lived in New York or Los Angeles, but in 1996 a friend of his, Cathy Hamilton, dreamed up a gag gift -- Boyfriend in a Box -- a set of sham snapshots and love notes to help women fend off advances. She asked Mr. Brabender to publicize it. He did. The gag went over big, and the next thing he knew, Mr. Brabender was founding Spread the News PR, his own firm.

To start, his research tools were a yellow pad and a chair at the public library. Now, for $850 a year, he logs on to ProfNet, where reporters looking for sources tell PR people what they're up to. For $3,500, he gets MediaSource, a list of reporters that he uses to make sure his release for SingingCoach learn-to-sing software, for instance, doesn't go to somebody who covers national security.

Mr. Brabender doesn't want to be a pest. He doesn't send out samples, except on request (and hardly ever sees, much less uses, any of the products himself). And he tries never to send a release to one reporter more than three or four times.

He doesn't pitch himself, either. Weird clients just attract weirder ones, enough this year to pull in fees of $300,000. Not that the play Mr. Brabender gets them is totally ecstatic. In November, Esquire magazine consigned the Cone-i-Vore pinecone picker-upper to its "things we won't be covering this month" column. On the other hand, Lena Fiore can barely believe what he did for Toilet Tattoos.

"People say PR is a frill, but it's such a necessity," says Ms. Fiore, who is 43 and lives in Macedonia, Ohio. The Toilet Tattoo, a decorative toilet-seat appliqué, was her invention. "I have a white commode," she says, "and I wanted to cover it without using a germ-harboring rug." She has them manufactured in Minnesota.

A friend led Ms. Fiore to Mr. Brabender. "There was a sincerity about him," she says. He blasted out his release in September, announcing "a unique new bathroom decoration." By his count, the news has filled 1,229 inches of space in 131 newspapers, including six inches in the Oconomowoc Enterprise of Oconomowoc, Wis.

"People are skeptical of advertising," says Ms. Fiore, who doesn't do any. By itself, she says, Mr. Brabender's release has brought half a million Toilet Tattoo sales to her Web site, at $9.95 apiece. "I don't know what it is about newspapers," says Ms. Fiore. "When people read about something, maybe it's more real to them. They seem to believe it whether it's true or not."

Write to Barry Newman at

So, got any weird products you want publicized? HA!

One last thing about the soldiers - Operation Positive Karma

By Joy A. Kennelly

Hi again. I forgot to tell you one last thing. Some of the women from my Ladies Who Brunch group also got together to send gifts to the soldiers listed below and they've sent out five boxes thus far. We are all so excited to be doing something positive for those serving our country that one of the women has decided to make this an ongoing effort and calling it Operation Positive Karma (that's Hollywood for you!LOL)

I think whatever she wants to call it is fine, it's the action of the effort that I love! So, I'll keep you posted in case you care to join us. Also, feel free to start your own Operation whatever wherever you are to support our troops. I'm sure you know someone who knows someone who is serving overseas. Just ask them who needs love and encouragement from the states, get the names and address and go for it!

I used to run a Hungarian Orphan Toy Drive for disadvantaged children in Hungary I had volunteered with after graduating from college and am sure we can find sponsors for the shipping and whatever else we need because I used to do that for four years with my toy drive. Even got a write-up in the LA Times at one point which was fun, but not the reason I was doing it.

SO! I encourage all of you to consider those less fortunate because it sure makes you feel better not to focus on yourself and your woes! Trust me. I know of which I speak!

Okay, now that's really all. I must get back to work. Thanks for stopping by.

Sending you lots of love and good will this Christmas season!

Here's how you can benefit our soldiers serving overseas

By Joy A. Kennelly

Okay, here's the correct address to send any gifts you care to send to the soldiers I've listed in earlier posts:

CPT Rick Landgraf and Soldiers
HHC / 319th MI BN
Camp Slayer
APO AE 09342

Thanks! I know we have so many demands on us this season and you all have your favorite charities to support, just throwing this out there in case you can make room in your heart and your wallet to send some love to those who are serving our country.

God bless America! Merry Christmas everyone! More later. I need to take care of more business and then can relax with a good blog.

Enjoy your day.

This is really great re our soldiers serving overseas


A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas
'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Christmas spirit weekend - too fun

By Joy A. Kennelly

I need a break from what I've been working on so hi there. Blogging is my way of relaxing and unloading my brain. Hope you don't mind the dump - just teasing.

This weekend, to catch up on my Christmas spirit since I'd lost it this year for some reason (I know the reason, but won't bore you here or offend family members,) I packed my entire two days off with back-to-back events which was great fun.

After hearing back from some people that it was too much for them I began to wonder if I could do it all too, but I shouldn't have doubted myself. With a little mid-Sunday nap - I was good to go!

I love Christmas and everything that happens around this time of year. Since I'm not gifting my family other than my parents this year I decided to donate gifts to soldiers serving in Iraq who don't receive a lot of gifts according to their Captain.

Here's the information if you'd care to join me. I've bolded the people I'm sending gifts to so you can choose the others. I'm sure they would love to hear from you! Imagine if you were stuck over in Iraq at this time of year and didn't think you were getting any presents only to receive something from someone like you or me?! Do it!

I'm asking CPT Rick which is the right address to send everything to, but if you know, then just put it in the comments ok?

Here's what was sent out. I had a great time picking up almost everything and have asked them to write back with their thoughts. I wish more movie studios and entertainment execs would consider donating to the soldiers too. I'm sure they'd love free movies! Go for it!!

My weekend wrap-up follows afterwards.

CPT Rick Landgraf HHC / 319th MI BN
Camp Slayer
APO AE 09342

Plz send out the address to whoever you would like; Some good items to send to myself and my Soldiers:

Fly Strips
Dental Floss
Granola Bars
Beef Jerky
Bug Spray
Skin Lotion
Athletes Foot medicine
Lip Balm

Below are some Soldiers in my unit that do not get things sent to them too much. Their address is the same as mine (you just need to swap out the name - again I've bolded the ones I am gifting.)

PFC Sara Gutierrez (Female)
SPC Robert Still (male)
PFC Jimmy Richards (male)
PFC Jason Harris (male)

PFC Kevin Cabrera (male)
PFC Lewis Green (male)
PFC Shatoni Royal (female)
PFC Ariel Montesino (male)
SPC Malcalisha Jefferson (female)
PFC Tomika Wallace (female)

The above listed Soldiers are either single or their families do not have a lot of money. Anything that is sent would be greatly appreciated.

Rick Landgraf
319th MI BN
Bragg, NC, 28310-5000

Again, I'll let you know which address is the best one once I learn myself. Thanks!

My weekend started off with a last-minute decision to join my friend Shana at the new Landmark Theatre to watch the film Juno. I'm glad I went with her because I wasn't sure how I would I feel about it since I'm a birthmother and sometimes adoption stuff hits me harder than other times.

I actually really, really enjoyed it. I especially loved the scene out and inside the abortion clinic. Too funny and poignant. The only time the film made me tear up a little was the hospital scene when her dad says, "One of these days you'll be here on your terms." What made me lighten up right at that moment is that an older couple sitting in front of us repeated the line rather loudly because their companion didn't catch it.

I didn't notice it at first, but Shana pointed out that there were many more "mature" guests at Landmark than the Arclight would have. Then to have that couple "whisper" so loudly cracked us both up. I still didn't see the demographics as clearly as she did, but I wasn't in the mood to drive to Hollywood on a Friday night. Plus, I wanted to experience that theatre. I liked it and next time want to get the smaller, 40-person setting with the couches. Cool!

I had just seen Allison Janney on The Ellen DeGeneres Show discussing her role in Juno which made it fun to see her act in the film. I loved the scene of her creating a vision book for her future dogs. Shana and I have done vision boards together before so we just looked at each other and cracked up when we saw her on the big screen.

See? We're not crazy. Everyone's doing it. You should try it. You might just like it too! I'm telling you, it works!

I was hoping to get all my Christmas card writing done after Shana & I parted, but forgot my address book. I then popped by the airport to cash in my free ticket, but the lines were so long I bailed. What was funny was seeing my friend Julie drive by me at the airport after picking up her husband. I called her to say hi and she was surprised as I was to see each other.

Saturday I did some quick Christmas shopping for the Hermosa Beach Toy Drive Wrapping party and the soldiers before hitting the very fun party scene that awaited me at the Hermosa Beach Civic Center. I was blown away to walk into what I can only call a toy wrapping factory!

There were tables filled with people just sitting wrapping toys they were pulling out of large white boxes strewn throughout the large room. There was wrapping paper everywhere, smiling faces, young and old alike wrapping all kinds of toys and gifts to make five different children's charities very happy with everything that was donated.

That experience was everything that JL Bowler had claimed it would be. The entire community seemed to come out in support. At least it seemed like all of city council was there. Everyone was very nice, although PT wasn't too happy to see me there which made me smile. Oh well, it's a mile-long city - get used to it. I live here too. Right?

I even made a point of introducing myself to the infamous Sam Edgerton who was in his glory passing out t-shirts that said, "I survived the toy wrapping party" or something like that with a list of all the sponsors on the back. I think this event was his original idea along with one other person and it was really cool to see how successful it is.

Congratulations Hermosa Beach City Council - great experience! I now understand all the toy drives around town. Some of the downtown bars (I mean restaurants) donated food for lunch which was plentiful. Very cool to see that too. I walked away with more respect for everyone involved now that I saw the results - it wasn't bogus at all, but a very real community effort that bars just happened to benefit too. Interesting.

Had to dash off to an audition, but was glad I made the effort to drop off my gifts and wrap a few. I'm not the best wrapper so it was probably just as well I didn't stay much longer!:) I loved seeing the rows and rows of bikes that were donated also. Very sweet. I love how generous my community is!

I also love how wonderful my church, Bay Cities Community's adult musical was that I attended later on over at our little Lomita church. It was really great to see some of my favorite people in the choir perform solos - my favorites were Mark Sullivan and James Gambrell's performances, but the entire show was great fun!

Mark, if you're reading this, would you please post your personal web site in a comment for me? I couldn't find it and want people to see your background. We have some amazing singers at Bay Cities Community Church!

My buddy Winston Sam picked me up from there to travel together to the Belmont Shores Christmas Boat Parade over at my friends, Justin and Stephanie's home for a little impromptu wienie roast. It would have been s'mores too, but the friend I'd invited who was bringing the chocolate was discouraged by the lack of parking and left without leaving it! Bummer!

We had fun anyway. Justin is in the Coast Guard which I was surprised to learn is part of Homeland Security. Who knew? I also learned he's probably one of the few guys involved in the Coast Guard who gets seasick - too funny. He makes me laugh, often when he's not even trying to be funny.

His friends were nice and it was fun to watch their little children play happily in the sand as the boats floated by merrily to music. There was a marching band on one, Elvis music playing another, and lots of people waving (from what we could see at night.)

I got my baby needs met by holding the littlest one who settled right in on my lap and fell asleep after a bit. I called him my lap warmer because he was such a heater. I teased his older brother that I was going to take his little brother home with me to which he agreed which made us all laugh. Very cute!

Winston and I took a quick drive down Belmont Shores village to see places I remembered from before, but they were all gone and it wasn't even that many years ago! It was very interesting to see how this little community's shopping area compares to downtown Hermosa Beach. Much more modern, corporate stores which I'm not liking as much, but it was bustling.

I wish there was a cool coffee house on Upper Pier Ave with couches and chairs that stayed open longer than 6pm now that Java Man is closing so early to accommodate the damn taxi stands for all the drunks leaving our city. Oy! Do I have to drive to Hollywood now? Double Oy! Maybe I should raise that issue at the Upper Pier Avenue Commission meeting?

Sunday was just as jammed packed. Sang at both church services wearing my gold glitter pumps along with my green spangled skirt (which I call my Mexican hat dance skirt it's so flashy.) What was so funny to me is that I've worn this outfit up in Hollywood to various events and never once have I received the compliments like I did this past Sunday.

Everyone loved it! Made me feel more Christmasy wearing it especially since I woke up not feeling well. I like dressing up to sing since I rarely do to go out now that I'm not "working" Hollywood 's red carpets so often. Maybe next year... I'm hitting a 20's party this Wednesday up in Hollywood which sounds like fun though.

Dashed over to King's Harbor Church to catch my friend's daughter's performance which was really good. It was just a drag to have to sit through another sermon waiting for the kids to go on because I was so tired I was falling asleep in the pew!

This has been a weekend of adoption though because I saw one of the board members from Harvest Home, the maternity home I lived in while I was pregnant nine years ago over in Venice, CA. They celebrated their Christmas party this past Sunday and had invited me, but I wasn't in the mood this year. Sometimes I go, but this year I didn't need the memories. It's an amazing ministry to unwed mothers though. Please support them!

The King's Harbor Church is very pro-adoption and has a couple events coming up around this issue. If you're considering adoption, then you might want to visit the church on January 17th to hear from some who have done it in the past. I'm tempted to ask if they want me to speak from my experience, but it's not my church so I won't.

I have to run now cuz my friend's waiting on me, but I'll share my fun times at the Manhattan Beach Christmas Fireworks Display later that night - very, very, very fun. Just loved it!

More laters... 

Check out my friend Kevin's photos - very stunning and fun too

By Joy A. Kennelly

My friend Kevin Painchaud runs the Media Network Group and their mission is "To provide opportunity and contacts to people who strive for excellence in their chosen field." Kevin's a great guy - very smart, very connected, very funny, very nice which is why his group has been so successful for so long. (He doesn't know I'm saying this about him right now, but you can tell him if you know him.)

SO! He just returned from Italy and Ireland and sent us all this really cool photo tour of his recent trip with his friend that he set to music. Click here to watch it. He has such a great eye some of the pictures are quite stunning. Others are just silly and fun like him.

Enjoy! Just wanted to share because I've missed hearing from him via his regular email newsletters. It's nice to have my bud home. We've known each other for many years and he's a great guy.

Welcome back Kevin!

Yeah! School is finally over! I'm getting my life back...

By Joy A. Kennelly

Just had my last final exam presentation tonight at UCLA and I am so happy school is over for now. I need a break! Although I've really loved meeting all the cool speakers, getting to know Julian and Henri, my teachers/mentors, better and learning new things about the industry as it is today, but I just need some down time to enjoy Christmas and party a little.

This whole semester I couldn't really go to any of my usual social events because everything in Hollywood normally falls in the middle of the week vs. the weekend and I was too busy. I miss socializing! Tonight to celebrate the end, my friend Julie was gracious enough to meet me for a little impromptu bar hopping of our own in glorious Hermosa Beach.

We were curious about North End Bar having heard so many terrible things about the place that we decided to check it out first. Here's a quote from one web site:

"Worth Noting: Cursory research on the joint turns up a sketchy crime history in the neighborhood, so try not to bumble about hammered in the wee hours."
Interesting, eh? Otherwise all the locals have nothing but great things to say except for one resident and perhaps others a little less vocal about the noise, urination, bottles in their yards, fighting, etc. after the bar closes. Wonder what the outcome of the meeting with good 'ole Police Chief Saveli was? Inquiring minds want to know...

As we walked into the bar, there was a loud disagreement going on among some of the patrons with the young couple leaving in a huff, while the guy yelling at them remained at the counter nursing his liquor. Very exciting stuff and we just walked in on it! The female bartender was very nice, but she wasn't spilling. Who knew what kind of show we would have had if we'd only arrived a few minutes earlier! :)

Because their kitchen closed at 9pm and we were hungry we opted to go Downtown to find a place still serving. I had been so pumped up earlier I hadn't been hungry, but after my presentation I was starving. We ended up at Union Cattle for some nibbles and it was very pleasant.

Very quiet, but perhaps it was because we were downstairs vs. the upstairs bar, but we weren't there for that so it didn't really matter. I had presented my ideas for publicizing the City of Hermosa Beach in front of three PR experts as part of my final exam and was excited to share the outcome with Julie.

One of the gentleman, when I was through presenting my 18 page report, said, "In all my years of doing public relations, I've never heard of anything like this ever." Made me feel good like we were all on the right track. I'm going to be contacting him in the next few days for ideas on how to proceed based on what I've started since last July with the media and government officials . We shall see!

I have one more class ending tomorrow night which will be a little sad to end because I've really made some good friends there, but I am ready for a break! Me and some friends are planning a get-together at this weekend's Christmas boat parade in Belmont Shores which should be fun.

S'mores anyone?

I say you can never have too much chocolate. That's my drug of choice. You can have your alcohol. Not my thing since sometimes it gives me acid reflux. Bummer. Just depends on the quality though so I do enjoy certain drinks, but am not a lush - that's for sure!

Now that class is over I will have time to write about more of the speakers I heard in my other class taught by Henri Bollinger who were quite good too. I really love learning and meeting new people which is the only thing that kept me committed to attending class regularly when there were so many cool events going on in Hollywood.

However, the way my fine artist client, Gali Rotstein's Art Opening in January is shaping up I think we're going to kick off the New Year first class all the way. More details to come, but save Saturday, January 12, 2008 because it's going to knock your socks off.

Lois Lambert Gallery themselves are inviting over 4,000 guests! Then there's my list, Gali's list, Children's Action Network's high-profile entertainment industry list, all the other artist's who are included in this Group '08 show, and all the media relations I've done - this is going to be one of the better parties Bergamot Station has enjoyed in a long time if I do say so myself.

Plus, rumor has it there are other BS galleries throwing their own openings, so come early and stay late. Oh, and most important... BUY ART!!!! You know I have to say that or I wouldn't be doing my job as Gali's publicist right? There will be plenty to choose from, but buy Gali's first ok? Sometimes I make myself LOL.

I hope you LOL too.

Stay tuned, more to come...

Check out my new blog - The Joy Writer PR at Wordpress

By Joy A. Kennelly

Now that my personal life is a little more under control - (went to the doctor today which was very enlightening), now I can move forward with other areas of my life. SO! To that end, check out my latest look and info on my clients in my new blog - The Joy Writer PR.

Lots of exciting things happening on many fronts. Take a peek and tell me what you think! Oh, and mark your calendars on 12/21/07 to remember to watch A Home for the Holidays. All the details for the TV Special are on the Children's Action Network site.

I'm thrilled we're benefiting Children's Action Network with proceeds from the entire night of Gali's Art Opening in January at Lois Lambert Gallery!

Check out all the details on my other blog, The Joy Writer PR. I have always had a heart for children who are orphaned, or abandoned, or in need of adoption even before I placed my son in an open adoption nine years ago.

I just think it's cool to think my life has come full circle and now I'm working with the organization I've always wanted to become involved with because of my personal experience, now on a professional basis. God is good! That's all I got to say.

Now I need to run. I have a women's Bible Study Prayer meeting to go to and God knows I need it!:)

Love to you...

Yelp, Studio DNA, Funnel Mill, Bodega Wine Bar, Landmark Theatre, and Anna's

By Joy A. Kennelly

Today I remembered there was a Christmas block party I had rsvped for hosted by Yelp taking place down in Santa Monica right near where my old boyfriend used to live. It was too late to get anyone to join me so I headed down by myself not sure what to expect.

What a delightfully fun afternoon and evening! Total serendipity! Here's the official invite - cute or what?

It's A Holiday Block Party! - LA Yelp's Second Annual Holiday Bash!

That's right, we're takin' over an entire Santa Monica city block for a continuous flow of fun you won't wanna miss!

When is it?
Sunday, December 9th

Who's involved?
Studio DNA
Funnell Mill
Bodega Wine Bar
(Basically, the 814 to 930 block of Broadway in Santa Monica)

What's happenin'?
Awesome "spoken review" yelper performances
Complimentary salon styling sessions
Nokia phone giveaway
Discounted holiday shopping
And sooo much more!

 Click here for yelper chit chat about the event!

OH AND...ATTENTION ALL ATTENTION WHUUUWERRRS: If you are interested in being considered for a slot on the yelper "spoken review" stage, then include that in your RSVP and I will send you more info. :)

Thanks everyone and look forward to closing out '07 in true Yelp fashion with y'all!

Ciao for niao,

I hadn't ever been to a "yelp" event before, but it sounded interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot. I found the site promoting my artist client, Gali Rotstein's Art Opening Reception taking place January 12, 2008 at Lois Lambert Gallery from 6pm - 9pm (gotta get the plug in there or I wouldn't be a good publicist now would I?)

I arrived at the first location, Funnell Mill, and after checking in decided to go on down the block and check out the hair salon rather than stay there. When I walked into Studio DNA everyone was very friendly, it wasn't too busy and there was a lot of interesting African Christmas ornaments, art, purses, children's table ware, shoes, necklaces, and other cool items to look over. It soon filled up with an eclectic crowd. Made me glad I came early.

I asked what they were all about today with their salon specials and the very nice woman manning the front desk said we're offering free salon treatments. At first I resisted because I didn't feel comfortable being in a party setting getting my hair washed, but after she explained it was to demonstrate the new Bumble and Bumble hair products and would deep-moisturize my hair, I thought why not?

I'm so glad I did! My hair hasn't felt this soft, or looked this good in a little while! The owner, Aubrey (whose initial is part of the salon's name along with his life and business partner, Danny - get it? "D N A" aint that special? Very nice guys.) was very wonderful and trimmed my bangs which have been bugging me forever. I felt like a new woman after his skilled touch. I really enjoyed the pampering too. Thank you Aubrey! You're the best!

After experiencing the new hydrating hair treatments specially designed by Estee Lauder Research Laboratories and Bumble and Bumble so your scalp is treated just as well as your hair, Aubrey blew my hair out all flippy and curled which was a lot of fun to wear out of there. I felt so girly pretty!

If he's this conscientious and skilled just blowing out my hair, I can't wait to have my hair cut there too! There wasn't time today, but I'll be back. They're located on the corner of Broadway and 9th and are celebrating their one-year anniversary. Very stylish salon, friendly personnel, talented stylists and reasonable prices with great South African specialty Christmas gift items you won't find elsewhere. What more could you ask for? Great reviews on Yelp too!

The party crowd was initially predominantly Asian, but there were all ages and types of very stylish people milling around. What I really liked about this crowd was that everyone was very friendly. Very interesting seeing as many people hadn't met prior, but maybe had read each other's profiles online and connected at this event for the first time.

After getting my hair done I walked down to the Bodega Wine Bar to check it out. Their motto is "wine for one & wine for all." I remember that space from years ago and it looked nothing like it does now. Great wine selection, sexy moody environment, nice lay-out and very helpful staff. The food was good too. I'm telling you I hit the jackpot on this party.

I met a very nice woman there who explained that although she lived in Long Beach, she had met a lot of her nearby neighbors just going out to attend events she learned of on Yelp which seems like a real social group. She also explained that Yelp reviewers took great pride in writing their reviews of places they visited. It was almost like the reviewers were blogging more than reviewing, but it really made places come alive as a result.

Soon, some of the "Yelpers" got up to read their reviews and it was almost as if they were local celebrities the way the crowd responded. It was very cool to see an entire bar almost quiet down completely to hear someone read their writing.

One guy was very funny and wrote Santa a letter as his way of describing the place he had gone to visit. Another guy compared his favorite bar to a long-lost girlfriend - very clever writing.

My new friend told me that many of the Yelp reviewers were from the advertising community. Very good writers, some so much so they'd been asked to write for magazines which again, I found very interesting.

Her husband had been approached numerous times, but he writes for fun and to please himself since he's a nurse and uses Yelp strictly as a creative outlet. Very fun. She's a librarian so very literary too I would assume. I can't wait to go back to the site and really read some of these reviews now that I understand the culture a little more now.

Soon after there was a drawing for a free Nokia phone which I was hoping to win because it had 8mg of storage, took pictures, had an mp3 player and all kinds of other cool features that I forget now. I didn't win, but had an enjoyable snack and conversation.

To kill time before the drawing I had returned to Funnell Mill for a cup of coffee. I wrote some Christmas cards and when I asked someone for more cream because my coffee tasted a little bitter, he took my cup away and said he would replace it.

He then brought me the cutest coffee serving, almost like a formal English tea setting, but with my  fresh brewed coffee rather than tea. He then explained that he was the owner. We had a wonderful conversation discussing his philosophy of business, all the various types of gourmet coffees he offered (including a $60 cup of Kopi Luwak from Indonesia--$600 a pound!-- You must be a coffee connoisseur for him to even consider serving you! I love it! A coffee critic!), and how he started the business with his fiance. Very nice guy.

This is definitely not Starbucks! It's a gourmet coffee house in the heart of Santa Monica that people find out about word-of-mouth which is why I'm telling you. Check it out. Relaxing music, simple surroundings, classy service, personable owners, and great freshly brewed coffee. An enjoyable way to cap off my night, but it didn't end there.

My friend Brenda called me out of the blue and asked if I was planning to hit another party in the area. I hadn't heard of it and really wasn't sure I really wanted to since I was having such an enjoyable experience just hanging out alone with the interesting people I was meeting. I told her I'd meet her there after the Nokia drawing. She went ahead because she was close by, but then called me to suggest we meet elsewhere instead.

She suggested the new Landmark Theatre over in the Westside Pavilion which I was game to experience. I'm so glad we did. It's way cool. They have three theaters that seat 40 or less people with couches! How cool is that? Plus, numerous other larger theaters with up to 300 stadium seating. All brand new, very quiet, very relaxing and with all the quality of a larger-size theater with great sound and visuals. HIGHLY recommend you check it out. Better than the Arclight and closer too! Check it out and you'll agree I promise.

It was teeming with people. Even saw my local bank teller from Hermosa.

For a film buff like myself and Brenda, we were lovin' it. Not in the mood to see a film tonight, but definitely keeping it in mind for future events and as a place to return to. Brenda plans events for a large Christian entertainment group in town called Inter-Mission and because she's so busy working over in Studio City at CBS Studio, we rarely see each other since I'm way down in Hermosa Beach. It was real special to spend time with her after so long.

We opted to catch a quick bite and since we were so close to Anna's, one of my favorite old-school Italian restaurants in the neighborhood my Goal Gal group and I had gone to in the past, we went there. Even though it had been months since my last visit, the owner acted like he remembered me and was very gracious. Brenda and I enjoyed catching up on each other's lives since she was leaving for home next week and I wouldn't have seen her otherwise. We loved our night out!

So guys, if you're looking for a romantic evening with your favorite gal, Brenda and I suggest going to Anna's for dinner then getting great seats in the smaller, intimate theaters to watch your favorite movie together cozied up next to each other on your own private, leather couch. If Brenda and I had a special guy you better believe we'd be suggesting it to them! Very romantic and low-key at the same time. FUN!

Brenda and I had a Ro-tic evening - you know - romantic without the guy. She and I wonder when God is bringing us our special guys, but we're enjoying life in the meantime. We're thinking we need to throw some cool events in the new year and invite everyone we know to catch a movie there. Ya never know. I know guys she doesn't know and vice versa so could be fun. I'll keep ya posted.

I finally feel in the Christmas spirit! I needed a day like today. I bought a few gifts, wrote some cards, decorated my little live tree, put out my Christmas decorations around my home while listening to Christmas music (now I'm hearing the all Elvis hour of Christmas music - very fun) and feel very content.

I hope you're having a great Christmas season and enjoying yourself! Like Elvis is singing - "Santa hear my plea and bring my baby back to me!" Whoever my baby is right Elvis? LOL:)

That's all for now. Busy day tomorrow and need my beauty sleep. C ya!

Jim Mackinga's last two messages to encourage your soul

By Joy A. Kennelly

My Pastor, Jim Mackinga, over at Bay Cities Community Church keeps preaching exactly what I need to hear, especially at this time of year. Since it's been such an encouragement to me, I thought I'd share the notes with you too because it is Sunday after all right?

So, without further ado, here's the notes from this Sunday and last Sunday's messages:

"Loneliness Is Real & Difficult"
"How God Wants Us to Deal With Pain"

Things that Cause Loneliness

1. When separated from those you love.

2 Timothy 1:2-4:

    2To Timothy, my dear son:
      Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
    3I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

2. When disappointed by friends or family.

2 Timothy 4:15:
15You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

3. When commitment to Christ causes division.

Matthew 5:10-11:

    10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

2 Timothy 4:14:

    14Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.


When we look back at our lives, we'll wish we would have loved more. Greatest lesson of loneliness is that we need God. The void can never be filled except by God.

1. In our relationship with God.

Genesis 1:27:

    27 So God created man in his own image,
       in the image of God he created him;
       male and female he created them.

Loneliness comes from our need for relational fulfillment. It's not hard to know God, just trust Him.

2 Corinthians 1:8:

    8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.

2. In our relationship with others.

Gen. 2:18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him." God designed us to enjoy fellowship with others.

Ephesians 6:2:
2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise—

Proverbs 18:24:

    24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
       but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

1 John 1:7:
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.

3. Living life loving God and others.

Matthew 22:37-40:
37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

When loneliness hits, refuse to run away or hide out. When you serve others you always feel better.


1. Build a growing relationship with God.

John 14:6-7:

    6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

James 4:8a
"8Come near to God and he will come near to you." A promise from God.

2. Conclude - You're forever safe with God.

Hebrews 13:5-6
5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
   "Never will I leave you;
      never will I forsake you."[a]

6So we say with confidence,
   "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
      What can man do to me?"[a]

3. Give your life away in love and service.

Romans 12:11:
11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

John 13:35:
35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

2 Timothy 4:17a
17But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed...

Joshua 24:15:
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

God has given us the freedom to decide who we will serve - self, God, others.

That was last week's message. Here's today's along the same theme...


What causes discouragement

1. When I experience lasting frustration.
2. When I experience regular criticism.
3. When I experience unfulfilled expectations
4. When I experience personal set-backs.
5. When I experience growing stress.
6. When I experience someone's death.
7. When I experience the loss of hope.
8. When I experience being hurt by others.


1. Put your hope in God. (When in extreme pain, say "Jesus is my Lord.")
Psalm 42:5-6a

    5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and 6 my God.
       My [a] soul is downcast within me;
       therefore I will remember you

Psalm 146:5:

    5 "Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
       whose hope is in the LORD his God" - ask for help!

1 Timothy 6:17:

    17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

1 Timothy 5:5:
5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.


1. Never forget my privileges in Christ.

Romans 8:1:

Life Through the Spirit

    1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a]

2 Corinthians 5:17:
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Ephesians 2:13:
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Philippians 4:7:
7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19:
19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:39:
39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2. Focus my life on what matters most.

Colossians 3:1-2

Rules for Holy Living

    1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Romans 12:2:
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 4:8:

    8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


1. Never forget my privileges in Christ.

2. Focus my life on what matters most.

3. Stay grateful for all God has done.

Acts 13:38:

    38"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." Scars don't go away, but God gives us the freedom to really live in spite of them.

Ephesians 1:7:
7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

Psalm 103:12:

    12 as far as the east is from the west,
       so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 1:18a

    18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
       says the LORD.
       "Though your sins are like scarlet,
       they shall be as white as snow;

Colossians 3:3:
3"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." It is finished and we are protected by God's love in our life.

Philippians 3:20:
20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Peter 1:3-4

    3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,

Colossians 3:4:
4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Peter 3:13:
13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

I hope this has encouraged you like it did me. You're all invited to join us next Saturday, December 15th at 4pm and 6pm for our adult choir and soloists performing in the Adult Christmas Musical "Celebrate the King" and a light dinner served in between both performances over at our Lomita campus.

Here's a map to our Bay Cities Community Church Lomita campus.

2043 Lomita Blvd.

Lomita CA 90717

(310) 326-1043

(Located on the NW Corner of Lomita and Eschelman.)


A.R.K. - A Random Act of Kindness - Evan Almighty

By Joy A. Kennelly

I have had the roughest week of my life. I have felt suicidal, alone, attacked, despised, loathed, and any other adjective you can think of. Ironically enough it was the result of the actions of someone who claimed to love me. If this is love, I want no part of it. Doesn't help to be pmsy on top of everything else. Damn hormones.

The worst part is that I don't understand why she chose this time of year, or now to deal with something that has bothered her since our childhood. We had such a wonderful Christmas together last year and now... When the conversation began, "You said such and such 10 years ago" I knew it wasn't good. Needless to say, it only got worse. Even with two Al-Anon meetings. I'll keep coming back though.

Now I know why people hate Christmas so much. I have never hated Christmas ever, but the last two years the pain of the loss of certain family relationships and now another one is enough to tip me over the edge. Fortunately, I have another family created by our common love for God who have stepped in to love me through this. I will forever be grateful for their kindness, prayers and support. I want to see Christmas like a child again like Jars of Clay sing.

I wasn't planning to blog about this, but tonight, have to.

Rather than go out to see a movie I decided to see what was on cable. I have never paid for a movie at home, but for some reason, chose to rent Evan Almighty because I needed and wanted to see a comedy. I saw the previews and trailers, but this movie's message was much bigger than anything I'd seen or expected.

I'm watching it half-dozing because I was up at 3am for an hour with a coughing fit, when my friend Adrienne calls to tell me they've recovered her license plates that were stolen the other day. To me that's a miracle. I've never seen the police work so quickly on anything like this before.

She's doing great. Thank you for praying for her. We've decided if they find the guy(s) who've harassed her, we're going to have to put a hit out. JUST KIDDING! Really we are. Killing is evil and wrong. No one no matter how awful they are deserves to die.

Her testimony makes me think I have some powerfully praying people on my subscriber list and at my churches. Thank you! That's what prompted me to share this story in hopes my despair and subsequent hope will encourage you right where you are now too. Also, that you will pray for me and my family now too. If you have been, thank you. God is moving in my family even though it's hard to see it just yet. But I have faith.

Anyway, Adrienne's call woke me up. I began watching the movie a little more closely then still not knowing why I chose it until it comes to the scene where the family leaves Evan Almighty aka Steve Carell (I just love him in anything he's in) because they think he's crazy and can't take it any more.

The family is all sitting at a food spot watching him being mocked on the news for deciding to build an ark when there's been a drought, when God aka Academy Award Winner, Morgan Freeman, appears to Lauren Graham aka Evan's wife when the kids are in the bathroom.

They get to talking because he's her server (I thought it was cute his nametage said Al Mighty.) He explains that when people pray for patience, God doesn't give people patience, He gives them situations to increase their patience. Then, he says, and I'm not quoting properly because I began sobbing knowing then that this was why I was watching that movie rather than something else, "When people pray that God will bring their family back together, he puts them in situations to draw them closer together."

I'm in one right now. A situation that is. What's so interesting is that I've had my Bible Study praying for reconciliation with my entire family because I've had estranged relationships with certain family members for years and years. Maybe this is how God is going to move.

I know I'm not the only one to ever experience this which is why I don't mind sharing my heart on this with you. You are not alone if you're suffering the loss of someone you love in your family and they're not dead, but might as well be to you. This is such a common occurrence I'm surprised to learn about more and more people experiencing similar situations. I'm so sorry if that's you too.

I know it's hard. You can pretend it doesn't matter and it doesn't hurt any other time of the year, but when the holidays hit, then it hits you smack in the face. The past two years it's hit me harder and harder. My birthday is December 31. Every Christmas is a reminder that another year has passed in more ways than one.

The longer I'm single, the more I realize how much I love and depend on my parents. When they're gone... who knows who will be family to me. I do have certain friends who are like family, but other than my best friend Kirsten who's known me for almost my entire life, a lot of these friendships are not as deep. This is when I hate being single the most.

That's why it hurts so much at Christmas. I have lost relationships with family including children I love and now it appears I might be losing more since I'm at odds with their mother. For reasons I don't really understand. That's what kills me. I love children. They love me too.

I love my family too and I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago. Now to get certain people to realize that. Even my Dad said it's time to let the past be the past. He and I have. And we have had HUGE disagreements and yet...

I chose to go watch the children's Christmas musical at Bay Cities today to compensate for longing to be near little kids during this Christmas season. I'm so glad I did. I bumped into my friend Donna I'd met at the women's retreat this past June and the little two-year old she takes care of. Sophie was the child's name just like my littlest niece. She was this little cute blondie dressed all in pink with cutie pie written on her top appropriately enough.

After a little bit I asked her if I could hold her on my lap and she was so cute, she said, "No, but maybe next time." Got to appreciate a child's honesty. Okay Sophie, I'll wait till next time. Thank you very much. I needed to smile today.

I then went to sit in the church and watch the show while they stayed in the atrium area to allow Sophie to move around while Donna watched the show projected on the big screen. I wanted to see it live. I'm glad I did.

The whole children's show was absolutely adorable. I don't know how many kids participated, but I do know about 30 adults were involved if that helps you figure out the ratio. Some of these kids are really talented singers and gifted actors too. It was great to see. Meaghan, the children's leader, is so talented and gifted at bringing out the best in people. She's a gift to our entire church.

The older kids are pretty well-behaved and recited their lines perfectly; then you see little ones who are four and younger and they just totally crack you up. They're shouting the words at inappropriate times, raising their shirts over their heads, playing around with the shepherd's cloth or halos on their heads, or just singing out confidently as if they were born to sing to a full packed house. Or just standing there scared to death.

Makes you realize some kids are born with the gift of performing from birth and others aren't! Some got up on stage and begin bawling which was also pretty funny. Especially when they're dressed up in a cow costume to be part of the manger scene with baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Then there's the adult who dressed up like Angel Gabriel complete with the fake breastplate and angel wings. Too fun.

It was just like watching something out of a Christopher Guest film but with a much younger cast. I knew it would lift my spirits. Being loved by my Dad when I dropped off their Christmas presents really helped too. He's not a hugger, but he knew I really needed to be loved and actually hugged me twice which is rare and special for him. I love him so much. He truly is my hero. We've gone through so much together and we are closer than ever as a result.

Sorry, I promised I wouldn't write about my family any more, but this has been killing me slowly, yet surely. I needed to share this, or I may never blog again. I've sat down off and on all week to write a blog that will entertain and instruct you because the rest of my life is great and school is interesting, but I just couldn't bring myself to pretend that nothing personally was wrong when it was so desperately. I get writers block when that happens. I have to be honest or I'm not true to who I am as a person.

I had a great conversation with my friend Amy today too. She was so comforting despite the personal struggles she's going through with her own family. They won't know whether the cancer her dad has is benign or malignant until after Christmas. She's cute. She says they're living quite happily in denial.

She had the honor of having one of her college papers selected as one of the top three the teacher is going to keep as an example of an excellent paper. Way to go Amy! She's getting a masters in counseling/therapy - I'm a great one for her to practice on.:)

She said she appreciated all your prayers because she could really feel the peace that surpasses all understanding in this situation. I'm so glad. Not for the denial, but that they've decided to live happy. I choose to live happy now too. It helps when you have friends in your life who love you even when you're a blubbering periodic mess. At least I still have them right? Periods that is. Friends too. TMI! I know. Sorry.

There are people who have difficulty sharing personal things and then there's me. HA! Welcome to my world. I'm listening to this very cool English Christian kid I randomly picked off myspace. Check out Joe Brooks. I especially like I Find The Light in You. He's a little cutie too. Way too young, but I can admire him can't I? Cougar on the prowl! LOL:)

I'm also digging Kari Jobe. Doesn't she have the sweetest voice? Maybe I am starting to feel like I will enjoy this Christmas after all. Maybe I'll go write some Christmas cards by the fireplace at Casa Del Mar tonight.

Or not. Maybe tomorrow.

Merry Christmas everyone. God bless you as you deal with the family issues you might be facing too. You are not alone.  We all have our struggles with family too. Just don't let it get you down. God loves you so much. I had to be reminded of that myself when I was at my lowest point. No matter what we've done, or what people say we are God loves us. Isn't that comforting?

But if it gets real bad like it did for me this week and you think you can't take it any more, please call and get help. You really aren't alone. There is help available. Your friends love you and if you feel you have no friends, call the following suicide prevention groups. I'm paraphrasing the copy, but just know bottom line, someone is there to talk to you if you're feeling like you can't take it any longer.

Hang in there. Give it another day. And reach out for help like I did. There's nothing shameful about asking for help. Cry out to Jesus like Third Day sings.

"The Befrienders, is a great site for those reading this blog internationally. This group works worldwide to provide emotional support and reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress. They don't judge, or tell you what to do - they listen.

The Suicide Prevention Center is for those who live in Los Angeles, CA.

24 Hour Crisis Line
1.877.727.4747 or 310.391.1253

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With over 120 crisis centers across the country, their mission is to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential."

If you're living a life affected by someone else's drinking, visit an Al-Anon group and receive comfort  knowing you're not alone and learn new ways of living. If you're the drinker and want to change, visit an Alcoholics Anonymous group. If you click on either link, it will lead you to where there's a meeting near you.

And, if you have courage and a desire to plug into a family that is like none other, then cross the threshold of a church near you.I've made the best friends of my life at church and am living proof that God's love is alive and well in Hermosa Beach, CA.

You're invited to join me at Bay Cities Community Church either in Redondo Beach or Lomita, CA tomorrow if you're in the South Bay. All the directions are in the church link. I might hit the 8am again in RB just to enjoy the intimacy of a smaller service, but there are services at 9:30 and 11:00am too. Or find a church near you.

You'll be blessed. I guarantee it. God will meet you right where you are, especially during this Christmas season. Here's Jars of Clay to share Love Came Down at Christmas to take us out.

God bless you.  God loves you and so do I.

Please pray for my friends Adrienne & Amy - they need your support

By Joy A. Kennelly

If you pray, would you please consider praying for my friends Adrienne and Amy. Both are going through extremely difficult times and are really hurting.

Adrienne has been robbed twice in two weeks and Amy's dad might have a fast-growing cancer, but they won't find out until after Christmas.

Please pray for peace, comfort, a temporary place for Adrienne to live until she goes home for Christmas, and safety - it's really hard living in LA sometimes and this has been an especially tough time. However, Adrienne is going to make it through. I'm sure of it!

Please pray for peace, comfort, and quality time as a family as they prepare for the unknown. She lost her mother to cancer and now to lose her Dad this way... Very difficult time.

My heart goes out to both of them. When I hear what they're facing, my life isn't so bad. In fact it's great compared. Makes you really stop and be thankful. Please pray for them. They really need God's tender care right now.

Thank you.

Wasn't going to blog, but... Tonight was too cool

By Joy A. Kennelly

Julian Myer's Entertainment Public Relations class at UCLA just keeps getting better and better. Where else can you go and meet 3-4 top-level executives (Presidents!) doing work that inspires you, or leads you to greater opportunities? I love too that I can ask all the questions I want and they love answering them!

Not to say I've networked with any (yet), but just the idea that all the Presidents and SR. VP's and others are willing to come out on a Tuesday night after work and speak to us is very cool. Especially when class runs till 10pm!

I think many of the speakers come simply because they love and admire Julian. I think some also come because they took his class so long ago and want to give back to those rising up behind them. I really admire everyone, ok, maybe almost everyone who took the time to come out.

(A particular blowhard I know professionally who came last week was really annoying, but I jumped out of the class and missed hearing and seeing him fortunately. What's sad is how many people he gets to intern with him.You'd think people would notice he's constantly looking for help which isn't a good sign, but new people to the business can be naive.)

I really, really admire Julian who just completed a marathon in Las Vegas in 16 hours - he is 90 or pushing 90. How impressive. What I love about him is he absolutely loves what he does, loves the people he brings in, and really wants us all to succeed. I love the way he introduces people and thanks them for speaking because it's obvious he holds them in the highest respect which in turn brings it back to him because he's such a gem. He is giving back to so many of us in so many ways.

I am truly inspired every time I come to class to see the caliber of people he has booked for the evening. He has more stamina than a lot of us too. We start promptly at 7pm and run straight through to 10pm with no breaks. I've just started asking for speakers cards as they're packing up because there isn't any time otherwise to do so.

I really must go to sleep, but let's just say tonight was extremely interesting and totally the people I wanted to meet! If I have time I'm going to write a big blog wrap up of the wonderful speakers we've been having to date.

Thanks Julian. You're an inspiration to us all. I wish you many more years of bringing together aspiring and mid-career publicist and veteran experts in the industry. You're one of a kind! And I mean that in the best way possible.

God bless you one and all. Sleep well.

India help, Los Feliz Village Holiday Festival, The Liquid Muse

By Joy A. Kennelly

Well that was sure funny. I just called United Airlines to find out if my free ticket I received after being bumped allows me to fly to Kauai and just spent 10 minutes with a guy in India just trying to get him to spell it properly and learn where it is in Hawaii.

I was very patient, but finally asked him if he was in India to which he didn't answer. Then I asked to speak to someone else and he said, please give me more time I'll get it. I told him I've given him 10 minutes just to learn how to spell the place and I'll call back.

Totally bummed my ticket doesn't allow me to fly to Hawaii or Alaska. When I called back I asked the girl which place I could fly to get closer and she said LA or San Diego. That made me laugh too because I live in LA. Now to check out South Beach or somewhere in the states. I'm so bummed. I was really looking forward to a free trip to Hawaii!

My parents just returned from there and had a great time. Oh well. I've enjoyed the chocolate covered macadamian nuts they brought back... There's always next year. I just have to use this ticket by 1/3/08. Where to go? Where to go?

What I don't want to do is end up like the woman in the skit at Bay Cities this past Sunday who is single and all excited about going out with her friends, but then they flake so she's sitting home alone talking to her mom. Now don't get me wrong. I love my mom very much, but that just ain't my idea of fun you know.

The whole sermon was entitled "Loneliness Is Real & Difficult - How God Wants Us to Deal With Pain." I'll share more of it later, but right now I want to share a funny embarrassing moment that happened while my friends and I were hanging out up at the Los Feliz Village Holiday Festival (which was very hip and cool and fun by the way. More about that too.)

My friend and her family came because she's totally always up for fun stuff even if last minute. My other friend came spur of the moment too and walked around wearing flip flops freezing his feet off all night as a result. At least I had a jacket to spare that looked unisex.

There was a magician performing tricks for the kids out in front of Starbucks which really entertained them. I wanted to make sure we caught a ride on the double-decker bus and asked them all to come over to wait with me a little ahead of time. We were getting bored standing around so Kirsten asked Winston if he'd mind taking her son back across the street and we'd call them when it came.

I then totally put my foot in my mouth and said, "Run across like you're an illegal alien." When I looked around after saying such a stupid thing we were totally surrounded by Mexicans. My bad. I don't know where I come up with some of this stuff. Fortunately, the young teen-agers got the joke and laughed along with me. I don't think the rest of them spoke English.:)

Maybe it was all the trips down to San Diego for Christmas and Thanksgiving where you see all those yellow signs of people running across the border on the freeway that stuck in my subconscious all these years. I don't know. I do know that this came out during a Groundlings sketch too!

Three of my classmates were given a theme and then had to create a movie poster out of the theme. They were asked to freeze and then the announcer, me, had to turn and make up a movie title on the spot based on their pose.

Well, the group I had to describe was two of my dark haired classmates acting menacing towards the blonde girl who was cowering. I turned around saw them and said to the audience, "Ladies and Gentlemen, you're in for a very special treat with this movie- "Two Mexicans attacking the blonde girl."  Everyone erupted into laughter because it was so off-the-wall and the darker haired people weren't even Mexican. Plus, I think it shocked them a little that I would say such a thing. I know it did me.

Where is this fear or humor about Mexicans coming from? I should be careful, Carlos Mencia might try to steal my material. HA HA

I guess growing up near the beach with only blonde, tanned surfers has had its effect. I hope you realize I'm only teasing and mean no harm. It was very funny at the time, but maybe you had to be there. I apologize if anyone was/is offended. It truly was funny...:)

Back to the festival. So we caught the double-decker bus and when we came to the next stop where Mariachi's were playing (I'm telling you, Hollywood is so much more multi-cultural! LOL) we waited until all the hundreds of people (ok, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but it really seemed like it at the time) got off the top deck to allow us to jump upstairs.

It was really fun riding up there in the cold and then when we got off at the next stop we caught some great shopping. Kirsten bought all kinds of cute, one-of-a-kind unique necklaces as gifts while Winston and I hit the Rosetta Stone Gallery where my friend, Denise, was working. I believe she's the gallery/store owner and chair of the Los Feliz group that put on this whole event. She has some gorgeous Asian pieces among other amazing furniture.

Just to tease Winston I made him pose near some of the Asian work because of his heritage. He has such a great sense of humor he totally went along with it. I think someone more uptight might not have enjoyed my sense of humor, but he's just as wacky as me so it works. We were totally taking the funniest pictures all night long. I'll have to upload them to my myspace page soon.

We all posed near a blow-up Santa on a motorcycle. Then we went to a really cool store called White Trash Charms which had the best decorated Christmas tree set against a very cool assemblage of Andy Warholish art with their store name emblazoned across the soup cans like his famous ones.

They were blaring rockin' Christmas dance music and it was a lot of fun. The hair salon, Transcends, where the blow-up Santa was had the cutest little Boston Terrier named Joey outside entertaining us with stupid dog tricks.

Here's a blurb from citysearch about that place: "For more than two decades Academy Award Nominees, Emmy Nominees, pop divas, producers, directors and internationally known celebrities utter the name of Bob Geevar with a sense of awe when it comes to hair." Who knew we were visiting hair royalty? They had great music and snacky poos too.

Los Feliz is mainly singles so I doubt some of them really were expecting children to visit which was fine. It was so obvious when we finally came upon the puppeteer. He TOTALLY cracked me up because he's playing this extremely depressing music, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth half smoked, while he 'raises" a seemingly dead puppet from the dead. NOT kid friendly, but Kirsten's kids were fascinated.

I made the mistake of saying out loud - I must have your picture smoking because I thought the irony was so funny, but he didn't like the joke and threw it away before I got my camera ready. Just imagine a tall, thin 30ish guy with greasy hair (at least I think so, or else I'm just making it up to make the story sound better) smoking a cigarette wearing a long winter coat standing over a small, thin table playing with a marionette to dreadfully depressing non-Christmasy music. Get the picture? This is the funniest part - billed as an activity for kids! Too funny. He was very good at it, but it was totally inappropriate.

Otherwise, everything was great. Kirsten said all the vendors were very trusting, even taking checks, and very nice to work with. Also very creative gifts. Everyone had great snacks and hot drinks throughout to warm you up. The places that were open were busy and the activities were fun. I think the free Santa pictures were a big hit as was the antique trolley dashing through the streets.

I bumped into one of my former filmmakers which was fun too. I didn't realize it had been so long ago, but he said 2001 was when he participated. We may end up working together which I hope because he's extremely talented if I remember correctly. I think all my filmmakers were to be honest.

In any case, we had a good time that night. I came away with lots of fun ideas for next year too. Great job Los Feliz Business Improvement District! I wonder if we have a similar group in Hermosa? If not, we could use one. But that's another blog at another time.

I'm tired. More details on Jim Mackinga's sermon - which was awesome as usual - later. I will say this though. I don't know why, but all of a sudden we are collecting the most attractive male and female singles I've seen in quite awhile. The 9:30am church service is packed! I've never, ever seen it that crowded before and it's awesome!

I'm going to have start blogging about how fun the 8:00am service is to get more people to come to that one next time. That service really is fun because of it being a smaller, more intimate crowd Jim just lets loose and is crazy funny sometimes. He even went a little over time this week because he got so carried away telling so many stories.

I really miss not being able to sing, but I'm still not 100%. I sound like I've been smoking for years.  Everyone thinks I am so much younger than I am when I have my regular voice because it's so much higher. Oh well, it's fun to be different.

On another note, my friend, Natalie aka The Liquid Muse's house party was fun Sunday too. She just sold her book of non-alcoholic cocktails for pregnant women called Pregitini's (sp? Natalie?) and was celebrating.

She has a real fun site with lots of interesting things for those who imbibe. Check it out and tell her I sent you.

Okay, I really must go. Hope you come again real soon.

American Gangster, Mafia Code of Ethics, Hermosa Beach

By Joy A. Kennelly

I've been wanting to write about this for quite some time. Did anyone else catch the Mob's Code of Ethics article mid-November? I found it extremely interesting, especially after seeing American Gangster last night.

Here's a link to the BBC's article on the mafia in case you missed the original. But back to the movie for now.One of my friends is a former rapper (I believe there's a lot of illegal activity going on in that genre too, but that's a discussion for another day.)

One year we decided to hit the Oscar Gifting Suites for fun and publicity since he's a celebrity. To make sure he received a lot of attention he wore his PINK fox fur mid-length jacket along with his customary pink and black spotted mink top hat.

Now if you can visualize a 6'2" solidly built, black rapper turned filmmaker wearing that coat in the Beverly Hilton hotel around Oscar time you can IMAGINE the attention he received. When I was watching Denzel Washington stride into the boxing arena area wearing such an ostentatious chinchilla coat, I had to text my friend to tell him DW was wearing his coat to tease him. My friend also has a floor length pink fur coat, but says it's not ever cold enough to wear it in CA. He totally cracks me up!

That movie was great. I was kind of bummed that I'd seen so many of the pivotal scenes in trailers and commercials, but it was still great. Almost every night of my classes, one of the guest speakers brings up that movie, or one of my classmates does. I think Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington did an amazing acting job in it. The actors and/or the movie have got to be nominated for something come Oscar season.

I also enjoyed seeing Cuba Gooding Jr. play someone other than Mr. Happy. He had range which was fun to watch. I couldn't place Josh Brolin until I saw his name in the credits. Excellent bad guy. Makes me wonder, based on that movie, how much more corruption is going on in the South Bay,CA that we don't even realize. Even my attorney agrees with me. I personally don't think I really want to know everything.

I will share selections from the Mob's Code of Ethics because I think it applies to Hermosa Beach and city council and others doing business here. I'm also revealing the end of the movie so if you haven't seen it yet, I'll tell you when to stop reading to avoid ruining the surprise.

According to yahoo, 

"The list bars mobsters from hanging out in bars, from befriending police and being late for appointments. It also bars them from 'taking possession of money that belong to others or other families.'"

No bars, eh? I wonder if city officials would do a better job of running the city if they stayed out of the bars they're meant to govern. Just a thought. Ha! Not to say that all or any of them do, but we know one recently elected candidate who's been and is very cozy... P.T. anyone?

You know what else totally cracks me up about living in Hermosa? The amount of former councilmen and mayors I keep bumping into. I guess in a city that's only a mile or so with a population of 18,000 it's inevitable right? However, I've never, ever met that many in casual settings anywhere else I've lived. I guess it's a rite of passage or something for the men down here or there's nothing else to do. LOL!

Now from the Herald Sun on the same mafia topic:

"The list, found typed on a single sheet kept in Lo Piccolo's leather case, also dictates a Mafia member can never approach a rival without a third person present."

Maybe it's a good thing that former Mayor/bar owner, JL Bowler is escorting us on our little bar hop excursion after all. Although our planned visit is a friendly one. Just fact finding and fun with former Fat Face Fenner Faloon restaurant owner turned PR guy for all the bars in Hermosa Beach. Very interesting.

I liked the fact that the mob isn't supposed to "befriend" the police too.

Here's a quick blurb explaining why this code of ethics is a good idea from a cool blog called The Business Ethics blog. For the whole article click through. And I quote:

"It's worth pointing out the parallels between the Mafia code and the ethical strictures placed on members of legitimate business enterprises, including:

""#3.  Never be seen with cops." (i.e., avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest)
"#4. Don't go to pubs and clubs." (presumably this is to make disclosure of 'company secrets' less likely)"

Very interesting, right? Just keeping it real.

Back to American Gangster (click for the Hollywood Reporter's review.) Now here's the paragraph to avoid reading for the ending ok?

I loved that Richie, the good cop played by Russell, when offered a bribe by Frank, the drug lord played by Denzel, totally turned it down and also turned in a million dollars when there were so many other dirty cops.

I also loved that as a result of Richie's integrity, so many of those crooked cops and others were caught. I don't know what it would take to clean up the corruption here, but one can only hope that eventually the truth will be revealed. Dateline20/20? LA Times? KNBC?

That's all. I'm sure everyone wants to believe that there isn't corruption in our city, but I think it's rampant everywhere in the country. It's just a little closer to the surface in certain parts.

More to be revealed. That's all. Gotta run.

Have a great Saturday and don't forget to visit the Los Feliz Village Holiday Festival tonight taking place from 6pm - 10pm on Hillhurst between Franklin and Hollywood. It's freeee... Great for the whole family.

See you there...

Amazing what a good night's sleep does for perspective

By Joy A. Kennelly

Rather than fight this battle I'm just going to resign the account. Not worth the headache. I don't need to stoop to their level and there's better business opportunities right around the corner. Monday in fact.

Time to work with people I enjoy working with and who respect my abilities. No time for others.

Feels good to have made this decision. I've ended such business relationships in the past and always felt so much better afterwards. No amount of money is worth being disrespected. I guess I'm learning faster and faster!:)

SO! That's all on that. Onwards and upwards to bigger and better opportunities.

Peace out.