"Don't stop!"

"Don't stop!"

"Don't stop!"

Repeating the mantra over and over, out loud, I climbed to the top of the Temescal Canyon ridge today during a late afternoon hike.  After my hike there yesterday, I'd planned on trying a new trail today at the Will Rogers State Park, but I was too busy to go early enough (it begins to get dark here around 5:45PM, and I don't want to be caught on an unfamiliar trail in the mountains after dark), so I headed back to Temescal Canyon around 3PM.

My goals today were to both shave some time off my hike and to try not to stop -- at all -- on my way up the mountain.

I shaved 4 minutes off the hike both by not giving in to the constant screaming from my burning thighs to STOP, on the climb to the top of the ridge, and by running during more of the hike.  The Vibram Five Fingers 'Trek' shoes make running much easier because of their somewhat thicker -- yet still thin -- sole.

Running on an uneven, sometimes boulder-strewn narrow mountain trail, littered with rocks of all sizes and shapes, fallen limbs, low branches and other natural obstacles -- much of the time perched on the edge of a steep canyon wall -- requires constant focus on the ground and the area ahead of you. Unlike jogging on the strand along the ocean, where I can just put my head on auto-pilot and daydream as I run, when I'm running on a trail, I have to keep my mind on what I'm doing or risk a nasty fall, or worse (tumbling hundreds of feet down a canyon wall would not be pretty).

So. Ok, I did stop today, but only three times. First, at the top, where a Jewish family (a young father and his 10 and 11 year old sons) were reading bible passages and at another spot -- both only for a few seconds to gulp down some much needed water.

I stopped one other time, at the narrow foot bridge, to photograph and shoot video of the beautiful waterfall and fast-moving stream -- especially beautiful today with no one else around but me. (see the 1 minute video below for peaceful waterfall)

Once I'm done hiking I'm always starving, and I head to my favorite California Chicken Cafe on Lincoln, a few blocks from my home. It's a favorite for the LAPD, too, and today I was surrounded by cops while eating.  The two photos are of LAPD cars and my SUV. A better photographer could have made a really cool pic out of this scene.


A long-time fan of John Waters, his films and art, we developed a bit of a friendship after I saw one of his exhibitions here in Beverly Hills last spring.

An observant reader of this interview will understand why.

Temescal Canyon has become one of my favorite spots to hike. It's close (located at Temescal and Sunset Blvd it's only 15-20 minutes from my door ) and challenging.

The Ridge route quickly forces you up a huffing and puffing 1,165 feet along a steep narrow trail of winding switchbacks until you reach the top, with a dose of satisfaction and fantastic views as your primary reward.

With the best intentions at the beginning of the trail, I begin with a slow jog but quickly peter out. It's all I can do to keep my legs continuously moving without giving in to the incessant urge to stop and gulp down some much-need air, even for a few seconds.

Wearing the new Vibram Fivefingers "Trek" shoes that came in the mail last week, which have a bit more sole than the regular Vibrams I've been wearing, my descent to the canyon floor is more comfortable and I can actually run on parts of the trail without the usual pain caused by the various size rocks.

Today I was able to run a mile at between 8.5 and 10 min as I neared the end of the trail.

The utter beauty of these mountains, the canyons and the views are like a magnet to me.  Tomorrow I'm going to try a new hike which will be in the Will Rogers State Park. It's longer and more challenging.  Stay tuned. :-)

My first reaction to Apple's new iPad was a 'yawn'.  But as I spent time on the Apple website getting familiar with it, I became more and more impressed.

With it's Bluetooth capabilities, SD card slot, and other features, it's a likely replacement for my whisper thin and uber light Mac AIR laptop.

Now I can't wait to get my hands on one!

I was surprised today when some of my readers told me they noticed I had no blog posts this past weekend. I am honored and greatly appreciate that anyone's actually reading my blog. Thanks much! <blush>

My friend, Mark Ruschman (formerly Ruschman Gallery, Indianapolis) visited on Thursday to discuss purchasing art for my condo, and to visit the annual Los Angeles Art Show.

I've been impressed with Mark on many levels since meeting him through my friend Bob Beckmann when I was buying art for my home and offices in the early 90s. Mark's gallery was one of the best in town, and his knowledge of art and keen eye for what I liked was amazing.  Mark and I went on numerous trips to NYC, Chicago, and across Indiana and the Midwest, to look at lots of different artists and, with Mark's guidance, my Indianapolis collection steadily developed over the years into a yummy backdrop to my home and office environments.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when, immediately upon entering the lobby of my Los Angeles condo building, Mark walked around looking at all our art and began talking -- in depth -- about each piece and it's artist!  Our building contains millions of dollars of original pieces and prints, in varying media, including a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, displayed around our public spaces. Mark knew virtually every piece and the history of the artist!  His narrative was an eye-opener for me! What a great way to begin a visit!

We spent most of Friday at the Art Show where we were immersed in fantastic art of every type from around the world. I suspect it was because of our economy that not many dealers or artists from the East Coast were in attendance this year, but there were many from Asia.  Stunning art from China, Korea, Japan, and other Asian nations. If you have a Facebook account, here are some great photos of the show.

Saturday's weather turned from rainy to beautifully sunny and dry. The week's storms had passed and the weather was perfect. We drove around in a Tesla for an hour (loaned to me by the Tesla dealer), then visited the stunning Getty Center and ended the afternoon with a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.  (There are must-see photos of the Getty below - just click on one to begin a manual slide show).

We wrapped up the weekend with Sunday breakfast at one of my favorites, The Kettle in Manhattan Beach, and then watched the COLTS game back at my place before Mark had to fly out Sunday afternoon.

Fun weekend!

NOTE: more photos and video follow the Getty pics below.

I hate slow moving, dark storm clouds!  Los Angeles is set to get pounded by the worst of our week-long storms tonight and I've just watched a slow-moving chain of huge storm clouds move right past my window, from off the Pacific Ocean heading toward downtown.

This storm is predicted to dump even more heavy rain onto our already soaked ground and into our overwhelmed storm sewers, on its way to creating another blizzard and snowstorm in the mountains to our east.

It looks like the Wizard of Oz playing out in front of my window right now. Ugh!

In today's WSJ, highly-regarded tech-guru, Walter Mossberg, asks: "What if you could collect, in one well-organized, searchable, private digital repository, all the notes you create, clips from Web pages and emails you want to recall, dictated audio memos, photos, key documents, and more? And what if that repository was constantly synchronized, so it was accessible through a Web browser and through apps on your various computers and smart phones?"

There is. It is. You can. It's called

When I began using this free, web-based program about a year ago, I quickly discovered that it's everything Mossberg claims -- and more. This is such a productive tool for me, that I upgraded to the paid version.

And, today, Evernote has released its new, super-upgraded Windows version!

Try it, it's free and you'll love how it helps bring organization to your life, and freedom from fear of losing things.

Another highly recommended productivity tool!

If you've ever tried to organize a trip, no matter how big or small, without the help of a personal assistant, you know what a hassle it can be.  I've been using a free web-based service for the past couple of years, called Tripit.com, and have been so happy with it that I upgraded last summer to the 'pro' paid version. Tripit.com will make your life easier if you travel.

TripIt is a free travel app that keeps your TripIt itineraries and trip planning information at the ready. And, now, for my friends who use BlackBerry phones, Tripit.com has just released it's new Blackberry app.  So easy to use: book a flight on Expedia or any online site, and forward the confirmation email to plans@tripit.com and within seconds you'll get an email from Tripit.com telling you your itinerary is ready!  Do the same with hotel reservations, auto reservations. Poof!  All neatly added to your personal itinerary.

You can easily add any other plans, meetings, events -- anything at all -- with their details, and your itinerary keeps it all in one tidy location. Includes the ability to upload and attach most doc types (PDF, DOC, etc).  Maps are automatically attached, for your convenience, for your hotel, your meetings, etc.

Access all this information with your browser from any computer, or from your free iPhone or BlackBerry app. I can't tell you how many times I've done a quick check on my iPhone as I'm hopping into a cab and grabbing info about the hotel I need to go to.  No more rummaging around for a paper schedule somewhere.

Give it a try. You'll love it. Highly recommended.

With dual citizenship and an extensive travel resume spanning the globe over the past thirty five years, I've long considered myself a citizen of the world. I believe our futures are tied to the world and that the world's problems are all connected.

Global awareness and participation has become more and more important over the past few decades, of which the recent tragedy in Haiti is just one example.

Observing and learning from those in other countries who are helping to push their own societies forward, whether they're ordinary citizens or government officials, is a crucial way to help gain insight into more and perhaps better ways to help move our own societies forward.

In order for such a critical process to function at it's best requires good relations between countries, which our US State Department strives to build and maintain every day. Part of that process is an on-the-ground US citizen in a foreign land, a US Ambassador.

US Ambassadors are a vital link in our connection to the larger world, and I am especially honored to have been invited to attend the swearing in ceremony for my long-time friend Anne Slaughter Andrew, our new US Ambassador to Costa Rica, to be held in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the US Department of State in Washington, DC.

President Obama has appointed, and the US Senate has confirmed, one of the brightest people I know, and an amazing woman of many talents. Given Anne's extensive background, much of it related to the environment and the new energy economy, this is the perfect assignment for her. No doubt, she will make this nation proud with her service on our behalf in Costa Rica.

Congratulations Anne!

U.S. State Department Invitation
The second round of this week's expected storms here in southern California has now passed through Los Angeles.

Luckily the worst of the coastal damage is south of Marina del Rey in the Long Beach and Orange County areas. News reports indicate 72 MPH wind gusts, tornados, boats lifted 30-50 feet in to the air, cars overturned, flooding and rivers of mud.

For a few lucky minutes a beautiful rainbow emerged over Los Angeles (see photos and video below).

This city is now bracing for the third, and final storm, which is expected overnight -- and is being reported to be the worst of the three.  Serious weather is forecast for tomorrow and Thursday.

With luck it will pass through with as little damage as possible and no serious injuries.