Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

Sorry for the absence in posting. I have been traveling for the past few months. I will be blogging about my adventures soon.

The following is my Halloween feast for this year.

My mom created this year's tablescape. It was a pumpkin theme. 

Tomato soup with grilled cheese bites.

Munchible Mice

Guacamole Cups

Taco Mac Cupcakes

Fire Ants on a Log

Witch's Brew (Lime Gelatin, Vodka, Pineapple Juice, and Sprite)

I did some recipes from last year and even tried a few new ones. It was fun cooking these recipes. To top off the night, I ordered pizza and watched the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus.

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween. 

Happy Halloween from the Halloweenie.

~A.E. Keener

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Update of the Past Few Months Part 2

 If you've visited my A.E. Keener Facebook page recently, you may have seen a post about this picture.

This award was the reason for my second visit in April to California. I was invited to the Beverly Hills Film Festival because my screenplay, Patchwork, was selected as a finalist for BHFF's screenplay contest. The Film Festival lasts five days and is filled with features, shorts, animations, and documentaries. The week ends with a black tie gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel where the awards are presented to the winners.

The films were shown at the TCL Chinese Theaters which is the more modern version of the Grauman's Chinese Theater located nearby. 

The Marquis display for the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

Like the old movie theaters, the TCL Chinese theaters have red curtains over their screens. They rise before the movie is shown.

With the curtains up.

It was fun to see different features, documentaries, shorts, and animations from all over the world. Plus, watching these films in the heart of Hollywood made it even more special.

I stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel which is on Hollywood Blvd and right across from the Chinese Theater.

The Ceiling in the Roosevelt Hotel

One of the main areas.

During breaks between movies, I would explore the boulevard which was busy and filled with exciting things to do.

The El Capitan Theatre: Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama and Walt Disney Studio's Premiere Theatre.
The Egyptian Theatre: Home of the first movie premiere.

I love the Egyptian design.

A car decorated in tiny cars.

The Dolby Theatre

Disney Ghirardelli

A view of the Hollywood Sign.

And of course, the infamous Chinese Theatre.

I didn't have as much time to explore other areas of the city; but I did have a couple of hours one day for an excursion to the California Science Center.

My main reason for going was to see the Endeavour. I wrote in a previous blog about watching the spaceship's last flight. It now resides at the California Science Museum. Naturally, I had to see the spaceship up close and personal. 

The Endeavour.

A slightly closer shot.

A view of the famous tiles. 

Some Fun Facts about the Endeavour:
       ~During reentry, the nose and leading edge of the wings are hotter than any other part of the    shuttle.
       ~A single tile could cost as much as $2,000 to make. 
      ~ The black coating seen on the tiles under the orbiter helped the tiles shed heat. The white tiles and blankets on the orbiter's topside helped to reflect solar radiation when the shuttle was in orbit, which helped the Endeavour to keep cool. 

I still can't believe that the Endeavour has been in space. Being this close to a piece of history, I was filled with awe.

The California Science Center also has several other exhibits. I was limited on time so I was only able to visit one other exhibit, The Kelp Forest Restoration in the Ecosystems area. 

Kelp Forests are important ecosystems located off California's coast. They are home to a diverse wildlife. 

At the California Science Center, they are growing kelp forests to help educate on their importance.

Swimming through the Underwater Forest

Another Shot of fish swimming

In the Jellyfish tank, the movements were so beautiful that I had to take pictures.

Who knew jellyfish were so graceful?

Another fun excursion provided by the Beverly Hills Film Festival was a party at one of L.A.'s night clubs: the OHM Nightclub. If you know me,  I'm kind of grumpy if it's past 10 and I'm not within a few feet of my bed. However, OHM had several key factors that helped influence me to go:

There were books...


And steampunk decor... Of course, I had to go.

Along with these excursions, I also was able to enjoy some wonderful food and drinks from several great restaurants. A couple of my favorites were:

Black Cod from The Public Kitchen and Bar

A cosmo inspired specialty drink made with market fresh ingredients from the Library Bar.

Halibut from Il Cielo.

And Il Cielo's Panna Cotta was just so pretty.

And of course, an old fashioned Coke Float from Disney Ghirardelli's. 

On my last night, I attended the Beverly Hill Film Festival's Award Ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. In true Hollywood fashion, the ceremony was a black tie affair with red carpet and photo opportunities. 

After a full course dinner, the awards were presented; and I received 2nd Runner Up for Best Screenplay.  I still can't believe that it actually happened. 

Naturally, there was only one way to celebrate:

Cupcakes from the original Sprinkle's Cupcakes.

This California Adventure was an exciting and "rewarding" experience. Being able to receive an award  in Tinseltown itself, was a dream come true. 
~A.E. Keener

Interested in my adventure? Click the links below to learn more:

Beverly Hills Film Festival:

Thompson Roosevelt Hotel:

El Capitan:

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre:

Dolby Theatre:

California Science Center:

OHM Nightclub:

Public Kitchen and Bar:

The Library Bar:

Il Cielo Restaurant:

Disney Ghirardelli:

Sprinkles Cupcakes:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Update of the Past Few Months Part 1

It's been a while since I last updated the blog. I've been finishing my writing season a.k.a completing/ editing a novel, completing a screenplay, and lengthening a pilot.  With all that writing, whenever I had a break, I was too exhausted to update the blog.

That being said, I still have had several interesting adventures.

Both in February and April, I traveled to California. On the first trip, I visited Pasadena, Huntington Gardens, Reagan Library, and the Getty Center.

Pasadena is a city about 20-40 minutes (depending on traffic) from L.A.

A view of one of Pasadena's main streets.

It is also home of the Rose Bowl. It was under construction when I visited, but we were still able to view it from a distance.

Besides the Rose Bowl, Pasadena is also known for the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens. The Huntington is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington. Henry Huntington built a financial empire which included railroad companies, utilities,  and real estate holdings in Southern California. He married his uncle's widow in 1913. His wife's fascination with collecting art and his collection of books led to what the Huntington is today. The Huntington also houses 14 gardens as well. The grounds were so extensive that we didn't have time to explore all of them.

Huntington Mansion has been converted into an art gallery. 

A statue from the statue garden.

A shot of one of the rooms.

Another shot of the rooms.

The famous Pinkie. An oil painting by Thomas Lawrence. His idealized portrayal of childhood led to international fame and iconic status.

The famous Blue Boy. An oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough. It was Gainsborough's mastery of brushwork and paint that lead to its fame.

One view of the Japanese Garden. There is a plaque in the garden that reads: In honor of the visit of Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan (June 21, 1994).

A view of the bridge in the Japanese Garden. 

Another view of the bridge. I love the reflection in the water.

From the Bonsai garden.  A Prostrate Juniper.

Another Bonsai. This one is an Olive Tree.

A Bamboo Forest

The Australian Garden

Cactus Garden

Chinese Garden

From the library. An original Gutenberg Bible. 

A first printing of The Canterbury Tales

Sidereus nuncius by Galileo Galilei. The illustrations shown here are the first ever made of the moon under magnification. This publication only had 550 copies. 

Speaking of libraries,  I decided to revisit the Reagan Library, one of 13 libraries sanctioned by the NARA Presidential Library Office.

The Reagan Library explores the life of America's 40th President, Ronald Reagan. The Library also has special exhibits during certain times of the year. When I went, they were having an exhibit on spies.

OSS Officers carried a smatchet (Smashing Hatchet for close combat during WW2)

Welbike used to get away quickly after landing behind enemy lines via parachute.

Assassination Umbrella. Used to deliver poison.

Child's Train. This unassuming toy is a concealment for a microdot lens.

Who would think an iron would be related to spy work? This one was used by West German housewives spying for East Germany. It held one-time pads and communication schedules and could be used to incinerate evidence if the housewife thought she was in danger.

Invented in the 1970's by the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. It was the first miniaturized unmanned aerial vehicle.  

"Charlie" an unmanned underwater vehicle created by the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology.

The final excursion of my February trip was the J. Paul Getty Museum. J. Paul Getty was an American Industrialist who created the Getty Oil Company. An avid collector of arts and antiquities, Getty founded the J. Paul Getty Museum. There were many beautiful works of art and antiquities. I've included pictures of some of my favorites below:

The Front of the Getty Museum

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh (1889)

Still Life with Flowers and Fruits by Claude Monet (1869)

Minerva sculpted by Joseph Nollekens (1775)

Dancer sculpted by Paolo Troubetzkoy (1912)

Bed circa 1775-1780. French. A grand bed meant for a deep niche in an important bedroom.

One of the rooms set up with furniture.

Planisphere Clock circa 1745-1749. It shows the astronomical knowledge of French scientists. The dials include the months and their zodiac signs, the days of the lunar month, and local times in various cities and parts of the world. Smaller dials show the phases of the moon, a tidal calendar for ports of northern France, the days of the week, and the eclipses of Io, one of the moons of Jupiter.

Even the gardens are artwork.

It was fun to go back to California again and explore some sites I never had a chance to visit. I'll continue with my second California adventure in my next blog.

~A.E. Keener

Interested in my adventure? Click on the links below to learn more:

Rose Bowl:

The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens:

The Reagan Library:

The J. Paul Getty Museum: