Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

Dr Wang is back from vacation and feeling refreshed. This week's e-mail is from Marlene in Memphis, TN. Marlene writes:

Dear Dr Wang,

I've had a string of bad luck over the past few months that I can't seem to shake. It all started when my looser boyfriend accidentally left the door open and my cat Miss Tiddles ran away. Then the following month my car was stolen with my purse in it while I was at the gas station buying ciggies. If that weren't enough, last week I lost my job. At least my mortgage is paid off, but I have no savings and I am a bit behind on bills at the moment. The only thing I splurge on is my weekly trip to the beauty parlour for a wash and set. I'd like to know when my luck will change and what's in store for me.

Thanks, Marlene

Dr Wang responds: Dear Marlene,

Sorry to hear about poor Miss Tiddles running away. I decided to meditate at the base of The Great Bubble Wall to ponder what is in store for you. The bubbles were barely flowing today, indicating a karmic lowpoint for you. There are some dark days ahead for you, but mainly because your power is about to be turned off for not paying the utility bill. I suggest you skip the beauty parlour this week and pay your electric bill instead.

The good news is that you have some very good luck coming your way. The Great Bubble Wall has started to flow in the shape of a "G Clef" pattern, which I interpret as a new connection to the music industry. Based on what you have written, your life could become lyrics to a country music song. You are about to meet a country singer while working a part-time job at the Piggly Wiggly store. There you will strike up a conversation about a hidden talent you have of writing song lyrics. This country singer is having writer's block and will be excited to meet a fresh talent. Begin writing as soon as you can, but write from the heart and you will dazzle this singer, which will lead to a #1 hit single for you both.

Until then, you will need to keep your job at the Piggly Wiggly to get caught up on bills. Do not despair, there are some exciting times ahead for you. In the meantime,

Keep swimming upstream,

-Dr Wang


"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, psychic betta fish "Dr Sidney Wang". Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dinner at Cafe Amuse

A few days ago John and I had dinner at Cafe Amuse, a cute restaurant in downtown Palm Springs on Tahquitz Canyon Way. I'd drive past it several times since it opened but for one reason or another had not yet checked it out. Being the Palm Springs Savant, it's unusual for me to be so tardy in trying new dining spots in town. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that I enjoy nice restaurants and am quite particular about where I spend my money when I dine out. Without question, my favorite restaurant in town is Copleys on Palm Canyon, but even I need a little variety now and then. So off I went to Cafe Amuse to check out the food and service. A friendly host promptly greeted us with a welcoming smile when we entered the patio area. I was surprised at how considerate the host was as we passed by another table of guests-he took care to show us a pathway that would not disturb the seated guests. Soon a young waiter approached as asked our preference in type of water. When he returned, I noticed his excellent posture and how he held his left arm behind his back as he filled our glasses with water. I watched a few other servers in the restaurant serve in the same style. Good service training is one of the hallmarks of restaurants I usually enjoy. So far so good...

Above: We were brought some delicious warm herb bread, which hit the spot while we sipped on a nice glass of Zinfandel.

The starters, above left: sliced tomatoes, fresh basil with onions and goat cheese, and above right: chilled Vichyssoise soup, which was exquisite on a warm evening.

The entrees, above left: John had the Baked Salmon and above right, I went for the Beef Stroganoff, which had the perfect blend of herbs and flavor. It was made with beef tenderloin, which melted like butter. The service was very good and the food rated well in my book. I would definitely recommend it for dinner. I'm intrigued to go back for breakfast sometime soon!
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, April 28, 2008

I shall call it, a "Mini-Reunion"

This past Saturday was what I have dubbed a "mini-reunion" of sorts. Please note that as I say and type "mini-reunion" I make the quote mark gesture in the air with my index fingers to accentuate the term, not unlike Dr Evil from the Austin Powers flicks. A former co-worker and his wife were visiting California to attend the Coachella Music Festival, which is just down the road a piece from Palm Springs. A small group of friends made the drive out to join them as well, and we met for lunch on Saturday. With spouses/other halfs, we were a group of eight for lunch, but I managed to get a photo of the four of us who worked together on the same team for a few years. The photo above, here we are, from left to right with names and nick-names too: Shannon, "The Hawaiian Woman/Feather Queen", Todd "Toddington", Ben "BenWu", and me "Palm Springs Savant". I am lucky to have worked with them, they made work interesting and fun.

above left: The group of eight, pausing for photos at La Casita Mexican restaurant, and above right: My friend Ben and his lovely wife Natalie. She's smokin' hot. If she were a president, she'd be "Babe-raham Lincoln".
Anyway it was a nice "mini-reunion" for us. The rest of the gang went onto Coachella- way too crowded and noisy for but those crazy kids will be kids I suppose. Happy Monday to you...
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Art Review: Marvelous Metals

Welcome to another installment of the Sunday Art Review. Today's focus is on the use of metals in art. It's a surprisingly common medium used in contemporary art, for a variety of reasons. People often dismiss metals as being "too cold", lacking feeling or depth, but I have found several examples that demonstrate the versatility of this medium. Depending on when you read this, I hope you can relax with a nice cup of coffee, a Bloody Mary or a glass of wine as you check out this week's collection of art. The featured piece here is called "Dancing Fire" by accomplished metal artist John Searles. I like this piece in particular, because of the wonderful shape and color. It actually makes me happy inside when I look at it, which is why I have made it the feature of today's Sunday Art Review: Marvelous Metals.

above: "Barnyard: a simple, yet sweet piece that evokes a sense of Americana.

above: "Roadrunner on the Go". A three dimensional piece, bringing the piece to life. You can see the roadrunners feet extending beyond the wood mount panel.
above: no title. I've been saving this photo for awhile, it is a metal sculpture from on board the Dawn Princess cruise ship. I love how the artist used beautiful curves and angles.

above: "Red Leather". This red-metal piece has wonderful depth and warmth to it. My apologies for such a poor quality of the image.

above: "Badge of Honor". I like the depth of this piece, and the use of color and texture effect with enamel on metal. Did any one of these catch your eye today? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you look at it? As always, thanks for stopping by, I very much appreciate it!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Saturday Seven: Favorite Retro Commercial Characters

I've always been a sucker for product advertising that has a lovable character or personality. Back when I was a kid, Sunbeam bread had the cutest little girl, straight out of the 1940's who was either eating a slice of bread, squeezing it, or pointing to a loaf of "butter topped bread". They must have known that no one could resist that little girl's face when it came to buying bread. Slick marketers knew how to develop relationships between consumers and products. This brings me to another scintillating edition of:
The Saturday Seven: Retro Commercial Characters
There are so many memorable, retro commercial are my favorites, I think...

#1 Aunt Jemima

#2 Mr Clean

#3 Mr Peanut

#4 Kool Aid Man

#5 Toucan Sam
#6 Poppin Fresh Doughboy
#7 Rosie and "The Quicker Picker-Upper"

Bonus entries: honorable mentions:
Cora and her coffee

Those fun dancing cigarettes
What were your favorite retro commercial characters? Any I didn't include? Go ahead, join in the fun and comment. "It will make you look younger too."
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, April 25, 2008

Life in The Springs

As far back as the early 40's Palm Springs has been a popular destination to relax and enjoy the desert climate in a casual atmosphere. Our desert has played host to the Hollywood elite, young starlets, ambassadors, former presidents, singers and comedians who kept a home in the Palm Springs area. Last Sunday John and I attended a party at the former estate of legendary crooner Frank Sinatra. As I took this photo, I couldn't help but think about all the intersting things that had gone on in this house. Here, Sinatra hosted many glamorous parties, with stars including Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Phil Silvers, Greta Garbo, Mary Livingston, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Lana Turner, and Ava Gardner. If only the walls could talk! The classic mid-century house was designed with Sinatra in mind, including a pool shaped like a piano. The walkway along side the pool has a shade structure that casts a shadow of piano keys. It's a beautiful property with loads of character, and represents an era of the high life in our desert community.

Life in The Springs Today...
Even today, the social scene in Palm Springs is largely what takes place in private homes, hidden behind tall hedges and stone walls. Poolside cocktails and intimate dinner parties are framed with a dramatic backdrop of the mountain-scape. Palm trees glow by the light of the pool and are illuminated by landscape lighting in the cool of the evening. It's the perfect setting to surrender to the desert and let your mind escape from it all.

above: I took this photo at the home of some friends during a party they hosted recently. I could have sworn I felt the presence of Marilyn Monroe...
Where the Young Elite Go...

above: Private poolside cabanas at The Viceroy hotel are where today's trendy visitors relax and enjoy the desert. It's a fun place to go to watch the LA crowd play in our desert least this is a place I can call "home". Happy Friday everyone!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meeting Author/Artist Michael Stern

Last Friday night we attended a benefit for the Palm Springs Art Museum, where I had the opportunity to meet Michael Stern, co-author of a new book "Julius Shulman: Palm Springs". Mr Stern happens to be an artist who has created oversized illuminated photo-based art exhibits and installations. He recently curated an exhibition at the museum featuring photographer Julius Shulman's work about Palm Springs. It's a great coffee table book featuring sixty buildings by some of the most note worthy mid-century architects whose work helped define Palm Springs. His book features great information and fabulous photos about mid-century modern architecture. Together with the photos, he cleverly depicts the glamor and casual desert elegance of the Palm Springs lifestyle. Several famous homes are featured, including those of Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope, just to name a few.

above: a close up of the book cover

above: My book was signed by Julius Shulman and Michael Stern as well, addressed to the Palm Springs Savant!

And now, a few images of Palm Springs homes...I took these photos from the pages of my book. Enjoy~

These are such nifty homes, I hope you enjoyed looking at my new book!

-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wisdom Wednesday: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

Dr Wang is away today and will return again next week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Visit to Whitewater Preserve, Part 2

Today is the second of a two-part series on my visit to the Whitewater Preserve, just north of Palm Springs. My journey continues where it left off in yesterday's post: driving deeper into the preserve. I was in awe of the beauty of these lands, so carefully preserved for future generations of visitors. Despite being in the middle of the desert, there was abundant life, stemming from the Whitewater river from deep in the canyon. I paused along my journey to admire this view above. The multiple hues of green and yellow, with the nearby rock formations were set against the breathtaking snow-covered San Jacinto Mountains in the far distance. It was a feast for the eyes.
What I didn't see...

above: This photo is for Bee...I didn't want to disappoint you, so I put this photo of a mountain lion! But I DIDN'T see this big kitty at the preserve! It's just to entertain you and provide some sizzle to the post ;-)
Discovery of the Former Trout Farm...
Can you imagine that this beautiful pond below used to be filled with smelly trout?
The Whitewater Preserve includes 291 acres of land that were formerly the Whitewater Trout Farm. Two non-profit organizations, the "Friends of the Desert Mountains" and the "Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy" purchased the former trout farm to establish the preserve. The original trout breeding ponds were cleaned and turned into lovely pools.
above: the park grounds are well cared for and blend perfectly into the surroundings.
above: this large pond is so clean and pristine, it's hard to believe it was once used to breed trout.

above: Prickly Pear cactus were abundant and numerous.
above: Road Runners are a common sight in our desert; I spotted several at the preserve.
above: The wild brush and flowering weeds were like paint on a canvas, beautifully accenting the rolling desert hillside. It turned out to be the perfect weekend respite, I think even John was surprised at how much I enjoyed this journey into the wild. I'm just glad we never encountered any rattlesnakes. There are somethings I'd really rather just read about.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Visit to Whitewater Preserve, Part 1

Today is the first in a two-part series about my recent visit to the Whitewater Preserve, a wildlands conservation just north of Palm Springs.

Whitewater Preserve is 2,851 acres in the San Gorgonio wilderness and is part of a larger 33,000-acre "Sand to Snow Preserve System." Amazingly, despite being in the middle of the desert, the Whitewater River runs year-round, through the preserve, giving life to all sorts of vegetation that serve as a habitat for the endangered critters and a respite for migrating birds. The canyon plays host to a substantial population of bighorn sheep, snakes, deer, mountain lions and bears... oh my! In this first installment, I am presenting photos of my journey into the Whitewater Preserve...

above: This scary sign warns visitors of what lies ahead...

above: This was the view looking north, into the preserve. You can just barely see a patch of deep green vegetation, which is deep in the canyon.

above: I really enjoyed the colors of the San Gorgonio mountains. In this photo you can see some of the coloration from the mineral deposits in the mountains.

above: This is a portion of the Whitewater river, running from the preserve. It's small at this time of year but it does flow all year long, providing valuable ongoing replenishment to the Palm Springs Aquifer underground.

above: I stopped to look downward, onto the whitewater river.

above: this is the view looking back out of the preserve, so I am facing south, staring at the north face of the San Jacinto Mountains, which still have quite a bit of snow on them.

above: Deep in the canyon of the preserve, I studied the sides of the mountains. The rock formations, mineral content and texture was beautiful.

above: These rocks at the base of the ridge had the most interesting horizontal colors and deposits dating back to their early formation.

above: The first part of my journey into the preserve was a feast for the eyes. But I did not yet know what was further down the road, deeper in the canyons of Whitewater Preserve. Please come back tomorrow for part 2 of my journey...
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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