Economic status based on the location of Major Chains

April 29, 2013

Someone named IamNorris posted a map comparison showing where “Whole Foods” are located versus “Walmarts”, with the implication of this being a determination as to “where the rich people live, versus where the poor people live”.

Something that dawned on me was, “Where’s the middle ground?  Where’s the middle class?”  And so I started thinking… where does our family shop?  I think I’ve got the solution:  “Trader Joes

Locations of Whole Foods in Los Angeles:
Big surprise, they’re all located in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Westwood/Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice.


Locations of Walmarts in Los Angeles:
Again, not surprisingly you see them located in Norwalk, La Mirada, Hawaiian Gardens, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, & Paramount.


Location of Trader Joes in Los Angeles:
Again LOTS of Culver City Rancho Park, West Hollywood, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Silverlake, Mid-Wilshire, Manhattan Beach.


I love my Energizer All-in-One.

April 22, 2013


Have you ever had a piece of equipment that you bought “just in case” an discovered how incredibly useful it is after the fact?  It’s like a 6th man on the bench that suddenly steps up.  That’s what the Energizer All-in-One is like.  It’s the Jeremy Lin of home accessories. 

At its most basic, the Energizer All-in-One is a single body luggable battery with 3 uses.  It can:

  • Jumpstart your car when the battery goes dead with its jumper cables
  • Inflate tires & other items with its air compressor
  • Provides 12V AC power for either a conventional US power socket or dual car accessories
  • Provide directional light using a bendable LED white flashlight at its top

I bought this on a lark during a Black Friday thinking that it’d be convenient.  It’s usually $120 but it was going for 60% off so I said, what the heck.  Boy, am I glad I did.  This thing is so convenient it’s crazy.  Here’s why:

  • imageI’ve left my lights on or drained my battery 5-6 times accidentally by having items plugged into the car adapter or leaving my lights on.  This has jumpstarted the car in under 5 minutes every time.
  • I’ve had to inflate my tires or my son’s basketball/soccer ball numerous times and simply pulling this out was dirt simple.  No need to find a power source for the compressor:  The unit IS A POWER SOURCE.
  • I’ve had to jump my car in the pitch black.  The arcable/bendable LED flashlight at the top is exactly what you need to illuminate the area around your car battery to hook the jumper cables to it late at night.
  • The AC adapter port provides power to charge my laptop an addition 10hrs plus.  I have no idea how much juice is in this thing because it’s never run out of power on me.

There’s two catches:

  1. The instructions say that you must recharge the unit after every use or you’ll diminish the life of the battery.  I bring my unit indoors and plug it into the wall immediately after using it.  I’ve read some negative reviews about the unit on Amazon – the primary complaints revolved around the unit not being able to retain a charge, and I highly suspect these folks used it, then left it for a while with a diminished charge & that goes against the instructions which clearly states that the unit needs to be fully recharged after every use.
  2. To recharge the unit you need to plug it into a wall socket… and there’s no cable to do that.  ANY lightweight TWO-pronged AC extension power cable will work & I didn’t need heavy duty cabling.  I used a thin power extension cable I typically use for Christmas tree lighting.  It would be nice to be able to charge the unit via the car adapter while the car is running but I guess I understand that there may be safety hazards associated with that.

Ultimately, this has saved me a ton of money on AutoClub calls.  Maybe I’m absent-minded and a little abnormal but I used to have to call AAA to jumpstart my car at home all the time (6-7 times a year) because I’d drain the battery due to my forgetfulness around plugged in peripherals on the AC adapter or leaving my lights on or simply not using the car and letting the alarm system drain the car battery.

…but now I don’t need to.  The Energizer All-in-One has saved my bacon more times than I can imagine and did it QUICKLY if I was scrambling to work.  If I could write a Yelp review for this little unit I would.  But I can’t so this is my review.  Most useful piece of equipment I’ve owned in years.  5-stars!

(Photos taken from M. Johnson/webrat55 on Amazon)

Aqua Notes. For $7, never lose track of a thought you had while in the shower.

April 13, 2013


Every so often a product comes a long that makes my mouth hang open, thinking, “OMG – that’s EXACTLY what I need.”

AquaNotes was exactly that product.  It’s a waterproof notepad that allows you to jot down ideas or reminders you have while in the shower.

The notepad isn’t actually made of paper.  It’s a white rubber/plastic material that you’d swear has the exact consistency of paper.  It allows for writing on by pencil, pen, and basically any writing utensil.

The top of each sheet is perforated so that you can rip the note off of the pad to take with you to work or wherever you need to go.  It doesn’t get “moldy” or “retain water”.  It just hangs on the shower wall using two suction cups, along with a 3rd suction cup that holds a pencil.  (Both included)

And it’ costs $7.  $7 to never ever forget a thought you had in the shower.  I bought a stack of them & I bought one for everyone in my family as a stocking stuffer.


EVENT: Sake Tasting – “Mission: Sake Endeavour”, California Science Center, Los Angeles, July 26th, 2013

April 13, 2013


The 7th Annual Sake & Food Tasting Event is scheduled for Friday, July 26, 2013 Samuel Oschin Endeavour Pavilion at the California Science Center.  More details to follow. Stay tuned at

Repairing my 65” Mitsubishi Diamond Projection TV (WS65718)

April 9, 2013

imageYesterday, my Mitsubishi Diamond Projection TV (WS65718) wouldn’t turn on.  Nothing happened when I hit the power button.  I punched the “System Reset” button using paperclip.  No dice.  I guess it was bound to happen considering the set is over 10 years old (purchased in 2002) and really, despite being left on for days sometimes, never had a failure until now.

Off to Bing I go for a solution.  Unfortunately, the only advice I got that seemed of value was this:

Unfortunately there is only two things the end user can do. First, unplug the set from the wall for 5-10 min. This forces the micro-processor to reboot. After plugging the TV back in and it still does not start up, then a technician will have to be called in. You can go to to contact them and/or find the nearest technician.

I indeed tried this, and failed.  I ended up having to find a repair shop to do a house call and evaluate my TV’s reparability.  After all, the unit is massive and isn’t the kind of thing you throw into the back of the car.

If you live on the Westside of Los Angeles (Santa Monica/Mar Vista/West Los Angeles/Westwood/Century City/Beverly Hills/Brentwood) the only shop I found that did repairs on Mitsubishi TVs was a place called “Precision Sound Service” – and they were recommended by the original store that I purchased the big screen from over a decade ago.  And yes, they did house calls.

Today, Diego stopped by and took a look at the unit for a service charge of $89.  He popped the front & the back and grimaced.  He said he’d have to take out the entire projection & electronics assembly and take it back to the shop to replace 1 of the larger modules & possibly one other.  Estimated price:  $350.

I swallowed but ultimately, who am I kidding?  If he gets it fixed – and fixed well, it’s more than worth $350 being that a new TV would be $5000 in the range I’m thinking of.  Besides, this unit was in the $10,000 range & state of the art back when I got it.  (At a deep discount, mind you) so I think $350 is a fair investment for 10 years+ of usage.

So the massive assembly left with him.  And the TV is pretty much just an empty hull.  We’ll see how good these guys are.

To be continued…