TomTom has all but dominated the after-market GPS industry and by now it’s no wonder. Their systems are fantastic and now they’re even giving their products a healthy dose of character to make us love them even more.
TomTom announced recently they’d be releasing a special edition voice-pack for their devices using Jeremy Clarkson from TopGear UK as a downloadable expansion. Sadly, the pack was pulled before it ever hit the electronic shelves. They also have Snoop Dogg, Star Wars, Bugs Bunny, The Simpsons, and more! If the TopGear ans Star Wars idea wasn’t badass enough for ya, though, check out what they’re doing now! They’ve released an expansion voice-pack using Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street to tell you where you’re going! In the above video you’ll see the “behind the scenes” footage of the most famous gay couple ever goofing about in the studios, but don’t worry; the final product isn’t as confusing. You can, however, give the system a test-run on their website (link given below) to listen to how the final commands will sound. Still funny, by the way.
If you have a TomTom, you’re in luck! You can now download the Bert & Ernie voice-pack online and through your TomTom for only $12.95.. It really makes me want to go buy a TomTom.
Link: http://www.tomtom.com/en_us/products/voices/bert-ernie/ <== Give the link a go and play around with the Bert & Ernie voices as well as the rest of the expansion packs!
We’ve all by now seen the “don’t text & drive” campaign commercials blasted all over TV. We all know we’re not supposed to do it but some still do. I don’t. And if I did still text while driving prior to seeing this video, I’d stop.
The above video was made by Gwent Police force for South Wales, overseas. They decided to get serious with the campaign videos after seeing that New Zealand goes over the top with their drunk-driving PSAs. S. Wales spent a well-used $20,000 on this anti-text video and I don’t think it could have gone any better.
The video is brutal, bloody, emotional, and I love it.
Japan’s earthquakes shook the world. No they clearly didn’t SHAKE the earth but the effects from the country’s distress have been quite dramatic, especially to the automotive industry. Japanese automakers almost all were forced to shut down production after the quake, tsunami, and then the radioactive issues at the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown. Facilities continued their unfortunate delays and once rebounded, automakers salvaged what they could and picked up where they left off. However, everything in the area was now radioactive and materials needed to be cleaned off. Unfortunately, it’s come about now that things aren’t all rosepetals like they’ve once been thought to be.
New cars from Japan are one thing; they’re new and fresh. But it’s come to the surface that since the quake, Japan has been exporting used vehicles to other countries that are still testing positive for radioactivity at unsafe levels (legal radiation limit is .3 microsieverts per hour). Japan now has radiation testers located at it’s docks that test vehicles but they’ve still let through almost a thousand vehicles. There was even a van found originally registered within the 18-mile danger-zone with radioactive levels of 110 microsieverts —-that’s 300 times the legal limit! What’s sad is that this van was sold by a dealer knowing where it had come from.
With stories like this and others telling the tale of unsafe radioactive levels found in [deemed] suitable neighborhoods in Japan, it makes me wonder how long it will take for them to get back on their feet. The government already told a portion of the population that they could return home and continue life only to find later most of these areas contain high levels of radioactivity and they aren’t safe after all. The coastal areas of Japan also have tested positive for high levels, deeming them unsafe still. I really really hope there’s still hope for Japan; I have yet to visit!
Several months back I asked everyone to vote for me, on facebook, to win a photo shoot competition with Adam Bouska. Basically every model in America and then down the top 5 models competed to win a photo shoot with Adam, In Los Angeles, by posting their best photo and having the rest of the world vote for them. I won the contest (THANKS if you voted for me by the way!) and now several months later, I’ve gone and come back from LA and wanted to share the experience.
After winning the competition in May, I scheduled the shoot with Adam for August 26th; two days prior to my birthday. I did that on purpose. It’s not every day one turns 25 and then gets the opportunity to be out of town for the event. I’d never been out of town on my ACTUAL birthday before and I knew it’d be grand, especially being my 25th! I planned the trip with a few friends and, long story short, at the last minute that didn’t happen. I decided that even though original plans didn’t pan out, I wanted to go and I drove to Los Angeles. That’s right, drove. My car only had 30,000 miles meaning I had 70,000 left on the warranty so I thought, “Why not!?” So I did. The trip was fine, it’s supposed to be a 24hr trip but I made it in around 18.5, not counting the nap I took at an abandoned horror-movie-esque gas station in New Mexico. I also stopped to see one of my old friends, Hanna, in Albuquerque. By the way, that city is gorgeous! I love the atmosphere, and the real estate. I arrived in West Hollywood later the evening after I’d left Dallas, around 10pm the day prior. Not much happened that night as I was worn out from the drive. It must be said that my car, a KIA, managed to make it’s way on my top 5 favorite road trip taking cars. I never got “iron ass”, I wasn’t uncomfortable, the stereo kicks ass, the ride and handling is great, and overall just a wonderfully comfortable car to drive cross-country in.
After getting over jetlag, err—- autolag, the first night; the rest of the trip was fantastic! I stayed with one of my very best friends, Selena, whom lives in a house right in the heart of West Hollywood. In fact, she’s walking distance from Hollywood blvd which I took advantage of many times. Selena is an AMAZING artist with a heart as large as her talent. You may recognize her from my “Artist Showcase” blogs as “Sassafrass Art”. Look her up and purchase some art, she’s amazing. Her boyfriend, “Fast & the Furious’” Chad Lindberg whom is also a good friend of mine, was sadly missing in action for basically all of my trip but that just meant that we could gab and be girls. HaHa!! Selena first took me on a hike up the Hollywood hills to “Griffith Park” and then on up to the observatory. The view was spectacular, which is apparent in some photos I’ve snapped from the trip. This hike would continue to kick my legs in the ass the rest of my stay there. Needless to say, I felt the burn. Afterwards, we enjoyed some Vanilla-Lavendar cookies at hut at the bottom of the hill and went on to dinner. For dinner, we went to Sarah’s house (Sarah Butler from “I Spit On Your Grave” —-see it!) where we drank wine and ate homemade mexican food for a few hours. I officially want a place in said hills also, Sarah’s view was AMAZING and I’m super jealous.
The next day in LA was a lazy day. Selena and I woke up and went to a cafe on Melrose for brunch and to check out the scenes. We sat next to a gorgeous hunky marine with a gorgeous American Bulldog. Oh, wait, that’s unimportant… We spotted Kourtney Kardashian then Paris Hilton (not positive it was her but we were both pretty sure) in a blue Bentley while we were there, that was fun. After food things, we walked up and down Melrose looking for useless shit to buy. There, I found tons of things I don’t need: KidRobot toys, Japanese pop culture toys and collectibles, expensive clothes, over-priced shoes (Does anybody remember “LA Gear” brand shoes they sold in KMart and Payless Shoes about 20yrs ago? They have them on Melrose now for $100+… I wanted half of them, yes, but couldn’t let go of wearing them as a kid for about a quarter of the price. Is that weird?), and leather goods. We came across a store with tons of Sanrio and other Asian toys and I fell in love with these “guts” stuffed toys. They had Testes, Bladders, Hearts, Prostates, and Ovaries! Oh lord we were laughing at that forever. I just remembered I never went back and got them, dammit, ‘cause I didn’t bring the cash for them at the time—- I meant to go back and never did. Crap. Later that evening, I went to SupperClub, on Hollywood blvd. It was when I left to walk up there that I noticed my car, parked directly in front of Selena’s house, had been hit by some random. It’s not bad, just a scrape; but I’m pissed! It was then that I realized, I needed to get drunk and make this trip count! I’d started to feel a bit homesick that day and was also scared that I just wouldn’t have a good trip for whatever reason. I had a lot of hype built up around this trip all by myself. I walked down Sunset, up LaBrea, and hung a right on Hollywood. I kicked it in high-gear and walked up to SupperClub. It had a line of people on a red carpet and people signing papers, apparently something related to not having a reservation. I never found out. I was on the list so I went to the front and they were like, “OH! You’re Josh—- Selena’s friend, right?” “Yes,” I replied. She ushered me in and directed me over to the bar and fed me 2 shots “I had to try” (twist my arm…) and into a waiting area where I was forced to consume probably two bottles of wine. Forced! It was then that I was greeted by Selena, introduced to other members of staff and security, and last but definitely not least the bartender, whom I’d met the day prior. He topped off my wine glass the rest of the night… Forced. SupperClub is AMAZING!! At 8:15pm a curtain-wall in the waiting area opens up and you’re taken to your bed—— BED— and a waiter comes around and greets you. Everyone is given a set 4-course meal at a set time while you lounge in a bed, complete with all the dressings; and “TV tray” for your food and drinks. While you are served your amazing meals, you watch a number of things: either the kitchen on a “stage” area at the back of the theatre, the opera singers, tap dancers, acrobatics, dancers, or drunkies that are roaming around taking pictures sitting on a foam-looking merry-go-round horse. I got super drunk and had a blast. At around 11pm, Selena drove my drunk ass home and we sat up and watched TV and had girl-talk. It was a rad day. Good word. Rad.
My days are all mixed up as to exactly when I got to California and back to Dallas so there will probably be a lot of “the next day“‘s. Sorry. The next day, I woke up slightly hungover (which progressed as the days went on, read on..) yet ready to take on the day. I spent the day doing some more sight-seeing and planning. I didn’t have much planned for that day. However, around 6pm I decided I would get on the good ‘ol facebook and see what’s what. I came across a friend from Dallas I didn’t remember adding (and still never found out exactly when the adding took place or from whom added whom) that recently posted something about Burbank, California and being in LA. I wrote on the post “Hey I’m in LA too!” and almost immediately my fb inbox had some action. “Call me! NOW! #…..,” the message said. I called. “Oh my God! You’re in LA? What part? Okay, me too! Good.. If you can be at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood by 7:30pm for a friend of mine’s movie premiere—- I have an extra ticket. We’re both Dallas socialites and actors, dunno how we’ve never met but who cares—- you game?” Of course I was. I looked at the clock and it was a few minutes past 7. He said 7:30! SHIT!! Somehow, I made it. The Egyptian was just across the street from SupperClub on Hollywood blvd. and I knew this area well. You walk around a place a few times on foot, you get to know the area. 14 hookers I counted on one block of Sunset one day. 14!! And half were faux-women! I walked up to the theater and see my new recognizable friend Michael standing out front looking like he was waiting for somebody. We greeted and walked in, getting to know each other along the way. I had no idea what movie I was about to be seeing but we walked in just as it was starting. Apparently it was called “The Casserole Club.” After the film, they announced a cast and director Q&A. The director announced a few names, including one of the lead roles being Backstreet Boy’s Kevin Scott Richardson—- his film debut, some other names, and then Starina Johnson. As soon as he said that name, I freaked… I’ve known Starina for years, albeit online; we’ve never met in person but have known each other since the MySpace days. I can’t even recall HOW we started talking but we did and I’ve been a fan of hers for some time. We stayed for the Q&A with the cast and then proceeded to Musso & Frank bar/grill just down the way for the after-party. There, we met up with another Dallas-folk, Christie, whom was waiting for us at the restaurant. As we ate, we were able to interact with the cast and compliment their performances. I, of course, did all of that and then walked right over to Starina. I tapped her shoulder and we made the eyes. I asked, “You recognize me but don’t know why, right?” ”Yes,” she replied. “Josh Lofty,” is all I said back. “OHHH YEA!!! Oh my god——,” she replied. I explained to her that I was in town for work and to celebrate my birthday and how I landed at her premiere. We talked for a while before I let her get back to her cast-party-things but really—- how small is this world? After the after-party, our group decided to go bar-hoppin’ around the area. We visited several different bars: Fiesta Cantina, 11, and some more names I just can’t remember. We walked up and down the strip going into a couple, revisited another couple, and then at 1am the town started to die. Fast. We were getting shooed out of one bar and into another we went! Luckily, the door-man was from FtWorth, Texas, and recognized my “ya’ll” and let us in without any charge. …Only to find out it, too, was preparing to shut down. I don’t know what Los Angeles is thinking by closing down so early, I mean, it’s Los Angeles!! Dallas bars don’t stop serving alcohol until 2am SHARP and they don’t close/kick you out until 4am. That’s how you party—- not any of this 1am bullshit. We were all JUST getting started! With not much else to choose from, we went outside and waited for valet to bring the car around. To our surprise, there stood actor Jason Ritter! We stood around talking to him for a bit before we had to leave. We went back to the Roosevelt and then back to where I was staying. This day was random but amazing. After then, I knew the trip would be fine, just fine.
The following day was the day of reason why I was in Los Angeles; my photo shoot with Adam Bouska. After lunch with a friend I headed to North Hollywood to Adam’s studio. I must say that Adam is super talented, and loved working with him, but he’s quite a quiet fellow. We started with the fashion shots, all of which I’m stoked to see. We did several outfit changes and poses and before I knew it, I was done. As I was packing up, I realized I was wearing white and I’d not yet done a NOH8 photo with him. He’ll be in Dallas in October and during the shoot we’d talked about me working the event for him but in the back of my mind I also wanted to be the first (one of, rather. I’m sure a couple others in Dallas have one as well but I don’t know who they are) one here with a NOH8 photo since after October, they’ll be all over. I like exclusitivity; I’m a Virgo. Sue me. He agreed and here before us is my NOH8 photo. I love it. After the shoot ended, I went to my friend Mark’s house —-also in West Hollywood within walking distance from Selena. So I walked there. Mark is a good friend of mine I’ve also only known online and via phone for a few years. He and I met on ModelMayhem and have kept in touch throughout the years. Mark’s also a makeup artist for film and TV, you’ve seen his work and quite possibly seen him you just don’t know it. If you need any bad ass makeup, call him. Mark took me out on the town to a gay bar called Fubar, on Santa Monica blvd., where we met up with my Dallas group of friends again. We danced the night away over a few drinks. It was then that Michael and I noticed the go-go dancer on the pool table in the middle of the bar. Holy crap, is about all I can say. As another friend of mine is famous for saying, “Corn-bread FED, honey!” We went outside to cool off and weren’t there for 5 minutes before one of RuPaul’s girls payed the bar a visit, but stopped at our circle first. She commented on Michael and I’s outfits then without warning *SNAP* she grabbed my nipple. HOLY CRAP this shit hurt. We all were yelling at her to get off and telling her my nipples were pierced but she wouldn’t stop. “Oh that just means you like it even more!” she exclaimed. Just as I was about to pop her square in the face, Mark stepped between us and made her get off me. I know she was trying to be funny and all, as you’d expect a drag queen on some reality TV show to be but FUCK it was not funny. It literally took me another 5 minutes to catch my breath to be able to walk back in. I had a drink waiting for me so I managed. P.S., my nipple was irritated for days after but is fine now. We went back to dancing and even got our photos taken by the bar’s host and posted online! (see inset “Dance Bitch” photo) A while later, we all got chased out of the bar at an ungodly early 1am and wereforced to part ways. It’s probably just as well, we were not in the soberest of states. I also had plans the next day and wanted to get my beauty sleep.
I woke up the next day, hungover, and really starting the miss the peace and quiet from back home. EVERY morning I was woken up by a trash truck at 6am, a dog barking at his owner leaving at 8am, a fucking crow at 10am, and then Selena’s dog’s farts soon after that. By then I didn’t care anymore. I got dressed and went to Mark’s then off to the beach we went! I’d been looking forward to a relaxing day at the beach since the vacation was only a speculation. After about an hour or 10 miles later, we finally park at the Will Rogers Beach in Malibu. We wander around and check out the scenes and finally settle on an embankment right next to the water. We wandered around the beach and sat lazily for a few hours. We even spent some time getting some nice beach “facebook” photos. Yes, lame, I know. For a few hours, however, we splashed around and went crazy with the waves; which were pretty big that day. After dusting off the sand, we went for some sandwiches and called it a night. The next day was my birthday and it was full of festivities so I needed my rest for SURE that night.
The next day I actually woke up refreshed. I somehow managed to get a good night’s rest, which was great being my birthday and all. Selena woke up shortly after I did and had a wrapped present in hand. She got me a blank (paint-it-yourself) KidRobot toy that I’ve not decided if I want to paint it uniquely or to look like Patsy, my chihuahua. Selena is great, I love her. For my birthday celebrations we planned drinks at The Abbey then dinner a few hours later across the street at Bossa Nova. The Abbey is a gay bar that apparently is where you go if you go to a WeHo gay bar. I’d call it more of a pub. We got a U-shaped table in the corner so we’d have plenty of room for peeps. We had a blast! My friend Bret whom I’ve known for some time came, Caleb— another friend from Dallas, Selena of course, Mark and his friend Neil, and my other friends Chris Bordeaux and America’s Next Top Model Alum Lisa D’Amato—- one of my favorite people and one of the funniest for sure. Talk about a small world, Selena and Lisa knew each other way back when they worked with one another at a bar a few years prior. We all sat around and drank and had a good time when one of the many good looking waiters brought over a HUGE chunk of chocolate and strawberry cake that was literally on fire! Damn it was good, too. After a while, we stumbled across the street to Bossa Nova where we (the whole group) met up with my sisters and brother-in-law and sat down for dinner. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember all of the happenings at this restaurant. It was fun, though! After dinner, a few of us went back to Selena’s where we sat around the bonfire and sipped some wine. There, we were joined by my friend from E! Network, RC Williams. He and I were scheduled to go see Chelsea Lately but he had an unfortunate happening and that has since been postponed for my next trip… which should be soon. After social hour, Selena and I went to bed. What a wonderful wonderful day.
My final fun-day in LA was as good as the rest. I got up and hung out with Selena and Mark for a while before Selena had to work. Sometime after lunch and before dinner, Mark and I met up with another friend of mine; actress and comedienne Shawn Pelofsky, at a place on Melrose called Urth Caffe. We shared some amazing banana creme pie, fruit smoothies, and other nibbles. Shawn has got to be one of the funniest people I know, I swear. She’s a hoot! Well she’s a jewish comedienne so I dunno how you couldn’t love her. After goofing around at Urth for a few hours, Mark and I went to Sunset strip where we met up with some friends of mine I went to high school with at House of Blues. My friend Brittany’s boyfriend was DJing that night so we went to show our support and catch up on old times. House of Blues, by the way, has one of my favorite views of downtown LA. We sat on the balcony in the Foundation Room up top and watched the ghetto birds fly around. “Ghetto birds,” as I found out on my recent trip, are what Californians call the helicopters looking for criminals with the spotlights on. Nice. I called it an early night that night so I could get enough rest for my trip home, which was only the following day.
My final day in Los Angeles was a sad day for sure. I said my good byes to my friends and hit the road shortly after waking up. I took a final drive around the city trying to think of something else I could do before I left before finally leaving. The trip home was a long one. It was also about an 18.5 hour drive but unlike my trip there, I didn’t stop. I couldn’t reach my friend in Albuquerque and any place I’d normally feel fine about stopping in, I didn’t this go around or they weren’t open. I really just wanted to get home, so I used the alone time to think to myself about future projects or endeavors. I’ve come up with lots of new ideas or built on to old ones and I’ve got a lot more on my plate, as usual. But my point of saying so is that I’ve come back from California very inspired and I know what I need to do, so I’m doing it. It’ll all be apparent soon. I must close also by saying that there’s no place like home, and home is Dallas. I have planned for years on finding a solid residence in Dallas and renting a place in LA, and I haven’t changed my mind. I really don’t know how some folks live 100% in Los Angeles. The city is dirty, there’s a lot of fake and conceited in the culture, and no matter how many times I heard it—— I still don’t think LA is the best city in the world. LA just made me realize how good we have it in Dallas and made me appreciate living here and visiting there, more. I’ll be back in LA, sure, and probably in the next few months. I did my best to find work or ways to bring my work to California while I was there and I’d call that plan successfully executed, now it’s just time to implement. To this day though, I don’t understand how I made ot that long once in a car, much less twice. Wow, that’s a lot of time in a car…