Archive for June, 2008

Fresh Hydrogenated Oil & Easy High Fructose Corn Syrup

Fresh & Easy just introduced a new line of products and I suppose they think I’ll be impressed. I can only assume this new line was based on consumer feedback about their existing line. My wife went to pick up some hot dog buns for the camping trip (or as I like to call it, Jon’s Living Nightmare) we’ll be enjoying over the July 4th weekend. She saw the new bread product and flipped it over to read the ingredients. Well what do you know? High Fructose Corn Syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Oil are two of the first five ingredients. Barf.

I don’t shop at the F&E store because it’s convenient. I shop at the store because they offer vaguely healthy food that’s not laced with toxins, preservatives and little bits of cosmic doom. So why then did they choose to actively start making (and promoting) certain new food items that are jam packed full of hydrogenated corn syrup or bat guano or whatever the hell it is that they squeezed in there to appease the perceived masses? If I wanted to buy crap like that I’d shop at Wal-Mart.

Shame on you Fresh & Easy! If you can’t fulfill your marketing promise to provide me with easy healthy food choices then I promise you I will shop somewhere else. So just stop it already. The clock is ticking.

I sent them some feedback about their lovely new products and you can too by clicking here.

Put That Cell Phone Down and Drive

Hands-free phoneWhile not specific to Orange County, I thought it might be prudent to remind everyone that starting tomorrow, it will be against the law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in California. So if you’re one of those drivers who still enjoy yapping away while driving (which probably accounts for 98% of OC drivers I see), you’ve got until tomorrow to get used to the speakerphone or buy yourself a hands-free device.

What are the consequences if you want to play the rebel? Sadly, the punishment is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. If you get caught, it’s considered an infraction rather than a moving violation, so a conviction will appear on your record, but it won’t add points. Fines start at $20 and go up to $50 for each subsequent offense.

Another law that takes effect tomorrow will ban anyone under the age of 18 from using cell phones while driving, even if they are using a hands-free device. The cops can’t technically pull over drivers to determine if they are under 18, but they certainly can if they see you with a cell phone in your hand.

Emergency calls to 911 are the only exception to both new laws. For more information, visit the DMV’s Wireless Telephone Laws FAQ.

[Photo courtesy of … the Internet.]

Old Towne Eats

Old Towne Grinder 1
Being that I live in the Old Towne Orange sector of North County, I thought I would do a little series of posts on the many great places to eat in and around the Orange Circle Orange Plaza Square. I feel it is very important that we do our part to keep the small restaurants in business and preserve the great community Old Towne Orange has to offer us. Plus, most of them are WAY better than the big chains.

Picture Yourself Inside Sleeping Beauty Castle

Well the secret is finally out. It’s probably the worst kept secret in town. But in case you somehow missed the LA Times’ coverage or the most recent photo update from our friends at Mice Age – The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Though is going to be opening again – and sooner than you may think.


[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia]

The Mouse is all about synergy and the all new super exciting Blu-Ray edition of Sleeping Beauty will be coming out on Oct 7th 2008. If I were a betting man, and I am, I would be betting all my quatloos that Guests will be walking through the innards of Sleepy Beauty Castle before Halloween. The old attraction, while quaint, was really showing its age when it went down for permanent “rehab” in 2001. This new version is supposed to be goosed and poked and spruced to give Guests a few surprises.

This is all well and good but I am going to take this opportunity (as I do with all my Land posts) to wonder aloud why they don’t…


Kay? Thanks. Bye.

Pancakes Galore!

Ever since my husband and I first started dating, going out to breakfast on a weekend morning has always been a nice treat. When we lived in LA and the Bay Area, we quickly found a couple of local shops to call our favorites. However, after moving to Orange County in 2002, we’ve been without “our breakfast place.”

Sure, there’s IHOP or even Denny’s, but we were used to mom and pop places, or at the very least, anything besides ginormous chains. Johnny Reb’s on Chapman is close enough and offers good breakfast fare, but I always feel like I need a shower or a change of clothes after eating there because you come out smelling like you took a dip in the frialator.

Then, a couple of weeks ago,  The Original Pancake House opened in Orange. Closer to us than Johnny Reb’s, plenty of menu choices, and there isn’t a thick scent of frying oil wafting about inside. They offer traditional egg dishes and a variety of different pancakes (bacon pancakes, anyone?), but they also have crepes and a few specialties like the oven-baked Apple Pancake and Dutch Baby. They have crispy thick-sliced bacon, and they serve a bottomless cup of Diedrich coffee with real heavy cream. While it’s still far from a mom and pop place, there is more of a neighborhood feel to it than the nearest IHOP, possible due to it being the only pancake place east of the 55. The prices aren’t all that cheap (we’ve spent as much as $40 for two there), but we like the food and the staff is friendly.

The downside? The wait can be long. Like, an hour or more long. This is probably because they’re new and, again, because they are probably the only pancake house east of the 55; sometimes it seems like everyone who lives in East Orange with a hankering for pancakes is there at the same time. Still, if you’re in Orange and love pancakes, definitely stop by sometime. I highly recommend the Dutch Baby!

"Car-less" in Orange County-Tips

I know things are bad when I am excited to see gas at $4.53 a gallon. Luckily I have been working on my “Carectomy.” Living in Orange County my whole life, I’ve known people who don’t have cars, but never thought I could live without one. That was until a few months age when I decided to see if I could go a whole week without driving my car. The primer was when I found out that my work pays for public transportation, and that there was a bus stop right outside my complex. I was able to get to and from work in about forty minutes, only twenty minutes longer than if I drove. Next, thanks to reading quite a few articles in LA Metblogs: Biking in LA I came to realize that biking to work was doable for me. Thanks to “W” and the economic stimulus check, I promptly bought a bike, and after a few weeks of getting some legs under me, I started the 5.7 mile trip (each way) to and from work. While tiring, I realized that it benefited economically, physically, and environmentally. Most of all, I found out that it is possible to go “car-less” in Orange County if one plans properly.

Here are some tips I have found useful:


  • Plan the route. I personally use Google Transit when I need to plan out my route or check bus times. One can also go to OCTA and route the trip, or download the schedules for the buses that are used regularly.
  • It is good to know the schedule, and try not to cut things too short. Especially if one is going to work. Buses can sometimes have a +/- of a couple minutes, so it is better to be earlier than late.
  • Be prepared if one has a bike, and the rack is full, one will have to wait for the next bus.
  • If bus riding will be a regular occurrence, I would suggest to purchase a monthly pass from OCTA


  • Wear a helmet
  • Know the rules of the road. A bike has the same rights and responsibilities as an automobile.
  • Make sure the bike is in good working condition.
  • Scout/plan the route. OCTA and the city of Irvine both provide downloadable maps of the bike lanes and trails. Get a feel of the terrain and plan the appropriate route taking into consideration the hills, etc… Bike Metro is a great site to plan a trp and see the terrain when it is working.
  • Give yourself time to cool down/ change if needed.


  • Plan trip accordingly. See the Metrolink Train site for schedules and fares.
  • Get to station early, especially if you have not purchased tickets. The trains won’t wait.
  • Much like the bus, know the previous and next trains to and from the destination.

I know that on most days, I don’t have to drive my car. That does not mean that I don’t drive my car on occasion. It is nice to only have to fill the tank every couple weeks is a wonderful alternative. There are always extenuating circumstances that require the car, but after so many years of thinking that it wouldn’t work for me, I found out I was wrong.

edited to add Bike Metro link

Arboreal Excitement at Disney

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a falling limb of any sort creating quite this much buzz.

Go check out Mark & Steve’s intrepid firsthand account on the whole “OMG! A tree branch fell in Disneyland!”

I Hate California Drivers

Yes it’s true. I am originally from the great state of Oregon and we were all taught at a young age that we should hate Californians because they are buying up all our real estate and driving around town in their fancy cars like maniacs on a rampage. Today, more than ever, I hate California drivers.


You wanna know why? I’ll tell you why: I was driving through the streets of the The District at Tustin Legacy and the car in front of me (a lovely Accord hybrid) was driving down the parkway, minding her own business when out of nowhere a New Beetle slammed into her car. Both vehicles spun around. I stopped the car, put on my hazards and got out to see if the driver was okay. She was visibly shaken and the entire driver’s side was smashed in – poor lady was crying and couldn’t even get out of the Accord because the doors wouldn’t open.

Once me and some other random citizen were assured of the driver’s safety (we called 911) I decided it was time to leave. I got back in my car and began to try and back out. This was no easy task, because the streets there are of the divided parkway variety with gaps every few hundred feet. Anyway, here’s the part the just enraged me: my fellow citizens felt the best way to assist me with moving off the street was to honk their horns incessantly and refuse to stop, slow down or make room for me to leave. Apparently they felt, you know, that I needed to be punished for checking on the well being a fellow human. Really? Is that what we’ve come to? This isn’t New York. This isn’t even LA. We’re supposed to better than this. Bunch of brain dead monkey f@#kers – why I aughtta…

So I ask you this, why are you honking at me and flipping me off and refusing to be kind? Am I slowing down your breakneck dash to Starbucks? Am I making you late to a life saving surgery? Am I making you turn off your cruise control? Or are you just a dick, plain and simple?

OC Metblogs on Twitter

For you Twitter users, we are following the lead of LA Metblogs and have created a OC Metblogs account on Twitter. Follow along if you would like.
Don’t worry, We do not plan on spamming and have some neat ideas planned for incorporating Twitter with selected articles and special announcements form OC Metblogs.

Daytrip- Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Last month I accompanied my wife while she was tending to her horse in it’s new location, I decided to take a bike ride around Santiago/ Modjeska Canyon. Besides being in awe of the devastation the wildfires had created, I found a little jewel that I did not know even existed.
Run by Cal State Fullerton, the Tucker WIldlife Sanctuary houses a small natural history museum with preserved specimens of the local wildlife. Across the way from the museum is a wildlife sanctuary houses tortoises, turtles, a couple ponds, and of course birds. The bird porch is a great place to sit, take pictures of the birds, or just daydream. On top of the peacefulness and nature, the staff (I spoke with Kirk) is bright and enthusiastic about what they do. If you are a hiker, there are trails leading up from here. More information can be found on their site.

Check out the Metblogs Flickr Pool for photos took of the sanctuary.

If you have children or just want to see what wildlife Orange County has/ used to have, then I highly recommend you check it out.

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