Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Car Enthusiasts Rev It Up at Anaheim Auto Show

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact: surfwriter.girls@gmail.com


SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel cruised by the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend to scope out the hottest cars at the International Auto Show. We wanted to see the best beach rides, energy-efficient models, concept cars and exotics.
There was a lot to see. More than 400 cars, crossovers and trucks were on display. There was even a Camp Jeep test track set up to give show attendees the thrill of navigating over an obstacle course. The course included logs and stumps and a Jeep Mountain with a 35 degree slope that tested the Jeep’s traction.

We brought Patti’s husband Greg along to get a male’s perspective on the cars…and help us check out the horsepower under the hoods.

Some of the cars were real head-turners like the Lamborghini Blancpain, a special edition car created by Lamborghini and the luxury Swiss watchmaker Blancpain, that’s been creating precision timepieces since 1735. The Lamborghini’s 700 horsepower engine reaches a top speed of over 200 mph.
The Lexus LFA, billed as its “First Supercar,” was showcased, too.

Plus an array of Maseratis, Porsches, and Ferraris.

The SurfWriter Girls thought this sky blue Porsche would look perfect parked out in front of Duke’s on the Huntington Beach Pier.

To emphasize its beach credentials Porsche was even sponsoring a swim suit contest.

This classic Corvette couldn’t be overlooked, either, and would be just as at home breezing along PCH. Sunny noticed that the guys gathered around the Vette couldn’t take their hands off it.
The Red Bull Infinity Formula One car caught Greg’s eye. And, proving that he knows his cars, on Sunday the same model went on to win the Singapore Grand Prix by 1.7 seconds.

This Grand Prix Toyota got Greg's attention, too. It looked fast even standing still.

While Greg was immersed in the race cars, we caught sight of a well-known racing figure at the show and managed to get in a photo op.
Then we stopped to take a look at the latest Mazdas – the RX8 and MX-5 Miata. Along with its sporty looks, the RX8 is distinguished by its 1.3 liter Wankel rotary engine.

The SurfWriter Girls felt right at home at the Hyundai display with its giant wave theme.

We already knew that Hyundai’s racy Genesis Coupe was a winner because Patti and Greg bought one just a few months ago.

Not to be upstaged by the sports cars, the pocket-size Mini-Coupe and Smart cars were getting a lot of attention, too.

The auto show was focused on more than flashy cars, though. Two of the main themes were the Environment and Technology.
Ford was highlighting its line-up of “Eco Cars” – cars powered with EcoBoost direct injection engines that deliver a fine mist of fuel directly to each cylinder – and its hybrids and electrics.

And Honda gave show visitors a chance to take its “Eco Assist Challenge” road test. Players, sitting at a simulator, were challenged to cross the finish line, not in the shortest time, but in the most fuel-efficient time.

Toyota's Prius – one of the pacesetters in environmentally–conscious automotive design – unveiled its latest technology.

As for the technology, drivers now have such options as: parking assist, built-in WiFi, smart phones, voice-controlled hands-free music, engine start-stop systems, and accident avoidance sensors. With all the new options and apps help or entertainment is just a click away – for navigation, email, music and gaming…or even to remotely start the car, James Bond-style, for a quick getaway.

To make sense of all the new innovations we turned to Ford’s robot car ambassador designed by ABB Robotics to get the latest scoop on the technology. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green Expo Causes a Swell in Huntington Beach

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact: surfwriter.girls@gmail.com

Surfwriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel headed out to Huntington Beach last Saturday for the 4th Annual Green Expo. Even though the fog hadn’t burned off yet when we got there the booths set up next to the pier were already doing a booming business.

The Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter’s booth was jammed with people stopping by to learn about Surfrider’s ocean and beach environmental mission, make donations, and drink some of Gilbert Castillon’s Java Jaws Surfer Coffee.

Surfrider members Corey Fogel, Manuel Florence, and Casey Metkovich were giving out information about the foundation’s beach cleanups and Rise Above Plastics (RAP) programs.

Merle Moshiri, Surfrider’s Chair of the Blue Water Task Force that focuses on cleaning the ocean, was doing double duty at the Residents for Responsible Desalination booth.

Over 70 vendors participated this year, showcasing everything from energy efficient cars, environmentally-friendly landscaping, water systems, fireplace logs made out of textile scraps, window tinting, cleaning products, furniture, clothing, and food.

 Among the vendors were: Southern California Edison, the Gas Company, Boeing, Whole Foods, Earthlog, Tint Pros, Simple Green, local landscaping firms, and various non-profit organizations like Residents for Responsible Desalination and Habitat for Humanity.

 Surfrider member Mitch Kalamian, the owner of Solena Landscape Co., even made up special “Ocean Friendly Garden” T-shirts to help spread the word about going Green.
The annual event, which is co-sponsored by the City of Huntington Beach and the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, demonstrates Huntington Beach’s commitment to protecting the environment. “Sustainability is becoming a way of life,” said HB Chamber of Commerce President Jerry L. Wheeler. “Not only are developing sustainable practices in our homes and businesses the right thing to do, but you can actually make money in the process.”

Also represented at the Expo was the City of Huntington Beach Environmental Board, which works with city programs to reduce water and energy consumption and develop sustainable energy practices. The Board reviews Environmental Impact Reports, assists city staff in promoting a healthy community, and generates public awareness through its education and advisory activities.   

In the spirit of keeping Green, Surfwriter Girls Sunny and Patti made sure to check out the $100,000 Tesla electric sports car that was on display. It goes from 0 - 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and can get up to 240 miles per charge. We learned that it uses the same lithium ion batteries that are used to power a laptop. The six-figure price tag put the Tesla out of our budget, but a less expensive version is in the works. Two other electric cars at the Expo, the Leaf ($27,000) and the Volt ($33,000) were a little more budget-friendly.

The Green Expo had a decidedly festive atmosphere with people mingling, pushing baby strollers, and stopping at booths to ask advice and get ideas to make their homes and gardens more energy efficient and less polluting. John and Marianne Carey told us they were not only getting information at the Expo, but walking off the breakfast they had just eaten at Ruby's on the pier.

Adrian Gee, a landscape artist with The Plant Nerd, Inc., said one of the best ways homeowners can help the environment is to “take out the lawn. It’s one of the most heavy water users. Your water bill will go way down.” Instead of planting grass, she suggests using dimondia, a plant that is similar to grass, but lower maintenance and uses less water. Succulents are another choice, along with sages, which have flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Gee also told us, “Drip systems are 70% more effective than sprinklers.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti thought Mark Ventura’s contribution to a greener planet was perfect for Surf City’s Green Expo – a natural surfboard wax. Through his company, Ventura Enterprises, he makes the wax out of bees wax, pine sap, clay, palm and coconut oils, and other natural ingredients. The board wax doesn’t pollute the water with chemicals when it wears off…and it even smells good.

The Surf City board wax was a big hit with Surfrider member Don MacLean, who's in charge of the HB/SB Chapter's campaign against cigarette butts.

One of the most recognized vendors at the fair was Simple Green, the Huntington Beach-based company whose earth-friendly household products can be found practically everywhere. Ana Nunez, who was manning the booth, was eager to give us a sample of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner and tell us how much she loves working at the company. “It’s a family environment,” she said. “We look out for each other… grow with the company…and we learn something new every day.”
After making our way from one end of the Expo to the other, SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti had learned a lot, too. Keeping Green isn’t about doing any one thing. It’s about doing lots of little things – using biodegradable products, using less water, and conserving energy. The bottom line is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.    

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pelican Protection Alert

Pelecanus occidentalis
Photographer: Robert Hamilton
copyright © 2011 Robert Hamilton

SurfWriter Girls’ contact in Sacramento at the Department of Fish and Game asked us to spread the word about the current danger to pelicans from anglers’ nets and hooks. As part of our commitment to protecting the environment, we all need to take precautions so that pelicans don’t get caught up in our fishing lines or caught on deadly hooks.

The DFG announced that “Hundreds of birds, including the fully protected California brown pelican, have been injured or killed in recent years after becoming hooked or entangled…while trying to snag the bait at the end of a fishing line.”

Pelicans are particularly vulnerable because they often roost on the ends of fishing piers and jetties where anglers cast their lines. “To make matters worse,” says the DFG, “many pelicans linger in areas where anglers clean their fish...and are becoming contaminated with fish oil. Fish oils compromise seabirds’ natural waterproofing and insulation, making them vulnerable to hypothermia when cold ocean water contacts their skin.”

Steps we can take to protect pelicans:

·         Don’t cast fishing lines in close proximity to them
·         Don’t feed the birds or throw scraps to them.
·         Dispose of fish-cleaning scraps in secure containers
·         Call wildlife rescue organizations if you see injured birds

Don't try to capture injured birds yourself. Let wildlife rescue workers transport them to safety.

BRPE in carrier-Gulf Spill_2010: USCG photo

Some of the organizations you can contact are:

Huntington Beach
Wetlands & Wildlife
Los Angeles
Long Beach
All Wildlife Rescue & Education
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Animal Advocates
Los Angeles
California Wildlife Center
Los Angeles
Palos Verdes
South Bay Wildlife Rehab.

By taking a few precautions we can all enjoy the beach without putting California’s pelicans at risk.

BRPEinFlight-cDonDesJardin: Photo (c) Don DesJardin

In case you didn’t know, the pelican is one of the heaviest birds capable of flight and can weigh more than 15 pounds with a wing span up to 9 feet. It flies with its head tucked under and doesn’t plunge into the water to get its prey, preferring, instead, to feed while swimming.
BRPE Splash-PK5_2001: CA DFG photo

The pelican even has a well-known limerick in its honor, said to have been written by American poet and humorist Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971):

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belly can.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Patti’s Surprise Birthday Celebration!

Special blog posting by Sunny

The SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti took the Labor Day weekend off from working on ocean/beach-related stories or beach cleanups. Last Sunday I was at Patti’s house for her birthday celebration with Greg and Smokey, which also included a barbeque!

Whenever SurfWriter Girl Patti isn’t on the beach reporting events or having fun, she hangs out in her lovely home at Coto de Caza in South Orange County with her fabulous husband Greg and their pampered street-wise cat Smokey.

When Patti walked into her house she was happy and surprised to see me with two big bags full of gifts. Greg and I teamed up to find these gifts for Patti because we wanted to make her birthday a very special day.

One of the big gift bags had pictures of a lot of cats which she loved. Smokey did, too.

The highlight and biggest surprise gift that Patti discovered was her beautiful new Citizen Watch that is powered by solar energy and batteries are not needed. It has a white and yellow gold dainty bracelet with Mother of Pearl on the face of the watch.

It came from Fred Meyer Jewelers located in Westminster Mall. Patti was absolutely thrilled to receive her most elegant watch.

She was especially delighted to have a bottle of Sangria, which she really enjoys.

SurfWriter Girls Assistant Belle was looking cool and fashionable as usual. She has a new multicolored ribbon around her neck… a really good find from one of Patti’s gifts.

The balmy, warm weather had just a hint of showers but didn’t spoil the barbeque. So we had a relaxing afternoon with balloon decorated Marzipans.

We also took some time to do what Patti likes the best and that’s writing and brainstorming for new ideas for our SurfWriter Girls blog.

The barbeque dinner served was filet mignon wrapped in bacon. It included sausage in a bun, accented with grilled onions, and green and yellow zucchini. The Sangria was the perfect light, and refreshing beverage that helped to create an exquisite beginning and finish to the dinner. The best part of Patti’s birthday celebration was having birthday cake and ice cream.

Patti was so happy and overwhelmed. She couldn’t help it and wanted to express, “It was really a special day to have my amazing husband and best friend to celebrate my birthday. And Smokey, too!”