Friday, July 29, 2016

S'Mores and Mega M&Ms

I was gone so long from Los Angeles this time, that when I came back, the universe had provided THREE new varieties of M&Ms to try.


The red-white-and-blue theme gave away these as being leftovers from the Fourth of July, but I was completely happy to test them on July 27.  I really liked these!  They are smaller than most M&Ms, and consist of a graham cracker core, coated in chocolate and then candy.  Nice texture and flavour, these are recommended.

Mega Milk Chocolate M&Ms

I should have put something in the photo for scale, as these came out looking like regular M&Ms, but they're not, they are huge.  They seem to be around 2.5 X the diameter of a regular M&M, and thicker but proportionally flatter.  They were OK.  Nothing bad about them, but not as special as I was hoping.  I was hoping they'd be like a peanut M&M where sometimes the peanut gets forgotten and you have a large round blob of unexpected chocolate, but the shape of these doesn't give you that.  I weakly recommend them; there's nothing wrong with a giant M&M, but nothing terribly exciting about it either.  If they could make them the same shape as the peanut or peanut butter M&Ms, then they might be on to something.

Mega Peanut M&Ms

These had been waiting for me when I got off the plane, so I admit I scarfed them down before I remembered to take pictures, or even that I ever had a blog.  They were OK too, but no more satisfying than a regular peanut M&M.  Well, maybe a bit more satisfying, but since the peanut to chocolate ratio is lowered, you can't pretend as easily that they are good for you.  Still, I recommend them, but if you like a bit of nutrition built into your candy, then the regular peanut variety is the way to go.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Friendly neighbourhood concrete factory

Los Angeles has the most interesting things sitting right where you wouldn't expect them.

This is the Hollywood Cemex Plant, handily located across the street from Best Buy and Target, and the Sprouts Farmers Market.  It's only a few blocks from our house, and we don't live in a bad part of town, either.  It's right in the city, and not in an industrial area.

I hear rumours of it closing now and then, but it's still plugging away at making concrete (or maybe just grinding up components), on La Brea Avenue, between Melrose and Santa Monica.

Smoke from the Santa Clarita fire

Here are some photos Ed took from the roof deck last Saturday, July 23, as an apocalyptic cloud came at us lazily from over the Hollywood hills.  The fire was around 30 miles north of us, and had been burning for a day when the wind shifted and brought the smoke our way.

A bit later the whole sky was quite dark, and the sun was like a red stop light in the sky - the camera compensated and brought out the yellow though:

The sky was like one of those science fiction movies for most of the day.  It was a relief to wake up to blue on Sunday.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bumper crop of oranges

We've had William, our orange tree, for several years now.  Most years we get an orange from him, one year as many as three.   This year, we moved to the house with the roof deck, and living four stories closer to the sun seems to be agreeing with him.  Plus, we tried watering him more this year.

Here's William in April 2015, on the right, a few months after the move, and before blossoming:

William grew a lot up on the roof deck, and filled out considerably.  I forgot to take pictures while in blossom, but he was covered with them.  Of all the little fetal oranges, nine started to grow, and seven remained on to grow to full size.  Here he is in November, with oranges.  You can see that they are full size, even on a small potted orange tree:

Here he is on December 31, with the oranges ready to pick:

Here are the slices from one of them:

We ate them while my brother and sister-in-law were visiting.  They were the best oranges we'd ever had.

I hope we get a good crop next year, too.  They were delicious.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crispy M&Ms

I can't resist a new M&M, even though I only eat them these days when a new flavour comes out.

I didn't expect to like these, but I did!  A lot.  They've got a crispy rice centre to them, still chocolatey, but lighter due to the puffed rice centres.  Recommended.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas tree

Here's our Christmas tree for 2015.  We got an artificial Birch as it fits our very limited floor space better than a conifer would:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Baby Goliath turns three!

Our little Giant Sequoia moved to West Hollywood earlier this year.  We came along too.  He has his own corner of the roof deck now, and is thriving as he reaches for the sky.  I think the dead needles close to the trunk are a normal part of the growth phase, if I understand correctly, as the new growth is really healthy looking:

To see how big he is getting, here he is beside William the Orange, who used to tower over him.  (William has seven full-sized oranges this year, I'll post about that once they start to ripen):

Here's little Goliath last year, 2014, when he turned two, with William and his orange crop in the background:

And fall of 2013, when he turned one:

And the two below are from 2012, when he was just a little newborn giant sequoia, with his buddy William the Orange behind him to show how far he's come.  (William has gotten a little shorter, possibly, I think the top part might have died off and he got beefier, but still, he's not that much smaller.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ocean freezing up

Flying out of Grise Fiord a couple of days ago, I took these photos from the plane.  The window was repeatedly frosting up, so these pictures turned out rather well considering they were taken through a layer of frost that I kept scratching at to try to clear.

Here's Grise Fiord (the actual fiord, not the town), with the open water at the mouth of it.  The light is the "golden hour" of evening, even though it's just after noon.  It's only around a week from losing the sun for 3 and a half months, so the days are very short and the sun just scoots across the southern horizon for around 3 hours.  The sunsets are also long and beautiful at this time of the year.

Thin layer of ice, with some thicker pieces that have broken off freezing into it:

I love the patterns that broken ice makes on the ocean:

I loved this pattern, and the way it meets a cloud bank at the top of the photo:

This photo is from my hotel room in Resolute, of the sun setting in early afternoon:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The roof deck

I'm still up in the progressively more-frozen north (the icebergs aren't drifting by any more, they are stuck in the forming ice), but I thought I would post these photos of my roof deck back in Los Angeles, for a little contrast.  These are from April 18, and I guess I was too busy doing not much of anything back then to post them!

I love bougainvillea, and now I have one.  It doesn't always look this good. It almost died of transplant shock when we first got it, and now waffles between looking dead, and being totally and spectacularly covered in hot pink flowers:

A couple of views from the north side of the deck, looking northeast, and then northwest.  The hills are loosely the Hollywood hills, although they have different names in different little sub-neighborhoods.  Click on the photos to get a better look, you can see the Hollywood sign in the distance in the first one:

Looking to the southeast, that is downtown off in the distance.  I forgot to take a photo looking southwest, but you can see Century City from our place.  We can't quite see the ocean, we aren't up high enough.

We don't have any pets, so we have named a lot of the plants.  That is Goliath the Giant Sequoia on the left, I'll be posting about his third birthday once I am back in LA.  That's William the Orange beside him (I never said they were terribly creative names):

The boxes of succulents, we inherited from the previous owner, we think they were staging props:

I forgot to take a photo of the lounge chair, but we have one.  It's tucked into a little alcove in the wall where it stays shady until mid-day, and I read up there sometimes.

I'm looking forward to going back ... it's nice to be able to drop back into summer, no matter what season I leave Canada in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Low tide

A few more photos from low tide, these ones from this evening.

Actually, this first one is from around 1:30 pm, around high tide, for contrast:

Now low tide, or around an hour before it became it's lowest: