Archive for April, 2011

Top Ten Prom Locations in Los Angeles

April 28, 2011

Prom night can mean a lot to people in high school.  It is a big part of your high school career, the one night many look forward to in their senior or junior year.  Finding the right tuxedo, dress, limo, corsage, boutonniere, and date is all up to you.  Finding a great location is up to the school.  With a little research, I found out the top ten prom locations near Los Angeles, California.  Here is a list of the top locations:

1. The Athenaeum in Pasadena (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

2. The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

3. Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

4. Autry National Center in Griffith Park (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

5. The Key Club in West Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

6. The Music Box in Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

7. The Hollywood Palladium (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

8. The Bluebird Café in Culver City (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

9. The Castaway in Burbank (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

10. California Science Center in Los Angeles (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

These ten places have gotten the best reviews in the Los Angeles area.  Most of these places also have concerts and shows so they are made to have fun parties for prom.  With decorations and music, these places become part of the prom night dream.

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Taylor P.

Panda Express Has a New Market: China!

April 27, 2011

You would think that Panda Express, being a Chinese-oriented fast food place, would be a great success in China, but the fast food chain isn’t quite sure this Americanized cuisine will appeal to the Chinese people.  “The Chinese food we eat in America is very alien to Chinese people,” says writer Jennifer Lee.  Certain dishes, while known in China for thousands of years, have been completely changed to appeal to the American consumer.  When Jennifer Lee was doing her research, she went to the Hunan Province (hometown of General Tso) and showed a family a picture of Tso’s Chicken, a traditional Chinese dish here in America, but an apparently foreign dish to the Chinese people.  The following questions have been raised: how does Americanized Chinese cuisine differ from Chinese cuisine?  And how will that affect Panda Express’ success in China?

Panda Express, an American fast food chain specializing in Chinese-inspired cuisine, has its sights set on...China?For starters, native Chinese cuisine is homemade and much more organic than Americanized, fast food Chinese cuisine.  Furthermore, while Mandarin Chicken and Beef and Broccoli are American favorites, native Chinese people prefer Peking Duck and Lotus Rice Cakes.  I feel that Panda Express would be successful in China because their menu differs from native offerings.  While some native Chinese people might not like change, others may be more open minded and try new things.  After all, the basic staples of the Chinese cuisine are incorporated in Panda Express’ menu such as rice, vegetables, and sauces and spice.  Panda Express has always been one of my favorites; I hope it becomes one of China’s favorites, as well.

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Joie Montoya

Gabrielle Giffords to be at the Final Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour

April 27, 2011

Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head on January 8, 2011 and has been in recovery ever since.  She has recovered at an unprecedented rate and is expected to be at the final launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor in Cape Canaveral, Florida which her husband, Mark Kelly, is commanding, on Friday.  Giffords is said to be slowly regaining her speech, and she can even walk short distances.  Despite sustaining an injury that is typically fatal in most cases, doctors are amazed at how well she is doing in this short time span.

Dr. Dong Kim explained that there is no medical reason that would stop her from traveling safely to Florida to be at the final launch with her husband.  The flight will last fourteen days and takes off at 3:47 PM on Friday, April 29, 2011.  It will be NASA’s 134th mission and the Endeavor’s 25th and final flight.  After the Endeavor safely returns to Earth, it will be put on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  Giffords is said to be perfectly fine with her husband taking off on this flight.  Mark Kelly said he wouldn’t be going without her consent; however, her speedy recovery reassures him that she will be fine.

Update: The scheduled April 29 flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which was “scuttled after a heater in one of the ship’s hydraulic power generators failed”, was duly rescheduled.  On May 16, 2011, at 8:56AM EDT, Endeavour took off for NASA’s penultimate shuttle flight.

Watch the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-49, which took place on May 7, 1992.

National Geographic has posted a small sample of photos featuring the shuttle, each one breathtaking in their own right.

Space Shuttle Pictures: 12 Endeavour Images to Remember

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Taylor P.

Santa Clarita Paseos

April 26, 2011

Santa Clarita isn’t usually the first city that pops into people’s minds when they think of a vacation destination, unless they are planning a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The truth is, many people are not aware of things they could do here in the Santa Clarita Valley, a beautiful master-planned bedroom community north of Los Angeles that is kept very clean.  One of the things the city is known for is the Paseos, which are hidden trails all throughout the community where bicycle riders and joggers can go about their daily exercise.  These connecting trails give residents an easier time getting to parks, entertainment, shopping, and employment centers while enjoying the scenic path as well as being friendly to the environment.

Santa Clarita, CA, may be known as the city where Six Flags Magic Mountain is located, but the city has also created a network of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths and hidden trails, or paseos for local residents and visitors to enjoy.There are five different trailheads in Santa Clarita so far, which include:

Promenade Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter the trailhead off the east side of McBean and park your car at the shopping centers nearby.

Auto Center Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the north side of Valencia Bl., at Auto Center Ct.  There is off-street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Benches, drinking fountain, and information kiosk can be found on site.

South Fork Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Magic Mountain Pkwy., between Valencia Bl. and San Fernando Rd., on the west bank of South Fork River.  There is off- street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Picnic tables and drinking fountain can be found on site.

Camp Plenty Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at the Camp Plenty Rd.  Off-street parking available.  Drinking fountain can be found on site.

Lost Canyon Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at Lost Canyon Rd., just south of the intersection beneath the freeway underpass.  There is some street parking available.  Benches, drinking fountains, water spigots, and hitching posts can be found on site.

If you’d like to explore the city’s paseos, download and print Santa Clarita’s “Trails and Parks Map” or Newhall Land’s map, “Valencia’s Paseos“.

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Joie Montoya

Duct Tape Prom Dresses

April 25, 2011

Every high school girl dreams of having the perfect prom dress, perfect date, and perfect night.  What if you could win a scholarship up to $5,000 because of how great you and your date dress?  The catch is, the dress and tuxedo need to be made of duct tape.  The first place winners receive $5,000, second place winners receive $3,000, and third place winners receive $2,000.

Spring Break and Easter 2011 may have ended, but Prom Season  is in full swing.  Duck brand duct tape wants teenagers across the U.S. and Canada to bring out their creative side, making prom dresses and tuxedos out of duct tape.There are some rules that come with this contest:

  1. No purchase is necessary.  On the contest website, Duck brand duct tape is sold, but you do not have to buy your dress- or tux- making materials from there.
  2. You and your date must be legal U.S. or Canadian residents.
  3. Both of you must be at least 14 years old.

The contest began on March 7th this year and ends on June 13th, 2011.  The judges will use the same judging criteria on each contest entrant and will select ten finalists who will move on to public voting.  The judging criteria are based on workmanship, originality, use of color, accessories, and, most importantly, use of duct tape.  Public voting will begin on June 17, 2011 and will be held on www.stuckatprom.com until July 11, 2011.  There will be honorable mentions for Best Purse, Best Corsage, Best Shoes, Best Tie, Best Jewelry, and Best Prop, but no cash prizes will be given to the honorable mention winners.  This contest is a great way to get a scholarship and create a great memory for your prom!

EDIT: Mark your calendars!  Here are the dates you must keep in mind for 2012:

  • Entry Period Begins – Wed, March 7, 2012
  • Entry Period Ends – Wed, June 13, 2012
  • Top 10 Announced – Mon, June 18, 2012
  • Voting Begins – Mon, June 18, 2012
  • Voting Ends – Wed, July 11, 2012
  • Winners Announced – Thurs, July 12, 2012

Good luck to all the contestants!

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Taylor P.

Where is the Space Shuttle Endeavour Headed?

April 21, 2011

After making its final flight in April 2011, the Space Shuttle Endeavour will take up permanent residency at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  It won’t be an easy transport but definitely worth it to those who live in California.  The estimated cost to move the 75-ton Space Shuttle is about $29 million.  On top of that, a special exhibit showroom will be constructed at the center.  Although the exhibit won’t be complete for at least five years, I’m sure many are looking forward to standing next to this amazing spacecraft up close and personal.  The Space Shuttle Endeavour has one last mission to fly but so far, it has already traveled 115.5 million miles and has spent 280 days, 9 1/2 hours in space.  In June, NASA’s Space Shuttle program will end with the Space Shuttle Alantis’ last flight.

NASA's Space Shuttle Program is ending in 2011 with Space Shuttle Endeavour's and Atlantis' last flight.Brendan Kownacki, director of Strategic Innovation for Merge Creative Media in Washington, once said that the Space Shuttles are an important symbol.  “The Space Race with the Russians began as a sign of technical savvy and nationalism, and has yielded dozens upon dozens of inventions and technological advancements.  I think the shuttles represent innovation and imagination and the idea that America has a bright future beyond what we see or know or can grasp.”  I agree with his statement very much and am glad that the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be placed at a center so close to home.  Many worked on making the shuttles a reality and I am proud to say that my father was one of those people.  I feel that everyone who was involved in making the shuttle deserves special recognition.  Even though the Space Shuttle program will be ending this June, the opportunities that came from it will endure for generations to come.

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Joie Montoya

 

Three Storms: The Perfect Storm?

April 21, 2011

Extreme weather has affected three states in as many regions of the United States.  In the East Coast, North Carolina was hit by a tornado, while Texas wildfires scorched the Southwest, and a cold snap in the Midwest caused snow to fall in Michigan.  The tornado in North Carolina killed twenty-two people and damaged or destroyed more than 800 homes.  Meanwhile, wildfires have scorched Texas for days, consuming over a million acres and making the situation critical in the Lone Star State.  So far, 110 homes have been destroyed and hundreds more could be threatened.  In Michigan, record-breaking snow fell this April, bringing about seven to nine inches of wet, heavy snow, which has bent trees, snapped power lines and shut down schools throughout the Wolverine State.

April 2011 has been marked by extreme weather. Tornadoes ravaged North Carolina and the southeastern United States. A springtime snowfall has covered Michigan and the Midwest. Wildfires have scorched Texas. Is the country in the eye of the perfect storm?Can the tornado, wildfire and snowfall be related to one storm?  I believe that these storms could be related.  The cold front from the north can send tornadoes ripping throughout other regions.  April 2011 is said to go down as a record month for tornadoes.  The heavy drought in Texas may be due to the same cold front headed towards the east instead of the south, resulting in the spread of wildfires throughout the state.  The best thing you can do to prepare for these natural disasters is to have safety kits in your house and an emergency plan.  Don’t forget to set aside food and water that will last for at least two weeks.

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Taylor P.

 

Bay of Pigs’ 50th Anniversary

April 19, 2011

It has been over 50 years since the Bay of Pigs Invasion took place in Cuba.  The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban ex-patriots to invade southern Cuba.  Their overall goal was to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.  There are different views on who’s really to blame for the failure of the Bay of Pigs.  Many feel John F. Kennedy was most responsible because the Cuban refugee soldiers needed more support, and Kennedy did not send any.  This ordeal was part of the policy of containment.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion, an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban ex-patriots, took place 50 years ago, in April 1961.Many are taking the time to pay tribute to the veterans who lost their lives during the invasion attempt.  More than 100 Cuban exiles were killed, as well as many American pilots.  Hundreds of others involved in the invasion were put in jail and later exchanged for medicine and goods.  The people who fought during this time were honored as they stood up to defend their people against a disagreeable dictator.  Their efforts will always be remembered.  Today, there is a museum built on the grounds where the invasion took place.  It is a two-room museum that displays aircraft and other military equipment, arms, pictures and maps of the attack, especially of Cuban soldiers who paid the ultimate price.  There is also a Bay of Pigs memorial in Little Havana, Florida.  Let’s remember not only these soldier but all soldiers who have risked their lives to defend their country and people.

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Joie Montoya

What to Do if the IRS Audits You

April 19, 2011

The best thing to do if you receive a notice saying you will be audited is to not panic.   You should speak to the auditor and refer him or her to your tax professional so that you have a better understanding of the situation.  Getting the situation organized is a great thing to do.  Make sure you ask the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, why you have been selected to be audited.  Some reasons could be that you were randomly selected by computer; your business was part of a program to test compliance in the industry; or an employee, co-worker, or competing business told on you.

Even though you filed your taxes on time, the information you provide, correctly or otherwise (but especially the latter), may raise red flags and trigger an IRS audit. If you are audited, do the following.When handling an audit, be sure to do the following:

  • Be organized
  • Give them only the documents needed to support the deduction being questioned
  • Never give the IRS agent more or less information than is requested
  • Answer questions honestly, but briefly
  • Never give the IRS the original, and often, only copy of a document.  Make copies of the requested document(s).
  • Don’t chatter or exchange casual conversation.  Each comment only gives them more information.
  • Stay calm.  Don’t be argumentative or belligerent.
  • Wait until your representative has time to review any documents before you sign one

If you are aware of what you should be doing and have all the correct information, the audit should go smoothly.  Having a representative with you could help you stay out of trouble, legally.  Always be prepared when you are speaking with anyone from the IRS.  You do not want any mistakes to happen when dealing with them.

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Taylor P.

 

How Solar Power Works

April 18, 2011

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity.  Solar power plants started being developed in 1980. Since then, we’ve discovered that solar power has great potential.  The way solar power works is by using the energy of speeding protons to create an electrical current within a solar panel.  Photons are the fusion of atoms created at the center of the sun.  Energy from the sun is always abundant and has been powering the Earth for billions of years, feeding plants and redistributing and refreshing water supplies.  Why not use it to provide energy for our homes?

Solar power harnesses energy from the sun.  Given its present cost effectiveness, how long will it be before it replaces fossil fuels?Solar panels are able to collect and store a lot of the sun’s energy.  The storage of energy is important because the solar panels do not collect any energy during the night.  The moon does not produce any radiant energy.  Many people have a difficult time deciding whether solar power would be beneficial to them.  Frankly, I feel it would be since solar power gives off no pollution, which helps our environment.  Furthermore, the installation of solar panels in remote locations is usually more cost effective than laying out high voltage wires.  Finally, the use of solar energy to produce electricity allows the user to become less dependent on the worlds fossil fuel supplies.  Solar power is a great alternative to nuclear power.

The video, below, illustrates how solar panels work.

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Joie Montoya

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