LA Health Dept. to Gays: Stick to Smoking Dick

Yes, I completely stole that headline from Defamer but I honestly had no choice. I mean, how can you not make a “smoking dick” joke when talking about something like this?

“If a waxed, muscular arm happens to whip the cigarette out of your lips the next time you light-up, do not be alarmed. Towleroad reports of a new campaign sweeping through our fair city’s streets called Last Drag. Mission: get The Gays to quit smoking”

OK, so the rationale here is that if you are gay, you hang out in bars, if you hang out at bars then you smoke, therefore if you are gay you must smoke. Except… wait for it… YOU CAN’T SMOKE IN BARS IN LA. Perhaps that little tidbit was overlooked? Maybe I’m missing something but this does seem to be an LA focused project. So… yeah… I’m always surprised when I meet people who smoke actually. I think of it like crack, is there anyone who doesn’t know it’s a bad idea? Or how about the fact that it’s one of the most disgusting things a person can do in public and not get arrested. Or how about forget the disgusting part and skip right to ‘just plain stupid’. Hmmm… here’s a habit that will make you look dumb, cost a ton of money, is very unattractive and will kill you. Sign me right up!

Monster Massive

Okay, so if there’s one thing I absolutely love to do….it’s to get my groove on with some wicked dance music. Mostly I prefer small venues (think my bedroom and me dancing around in my underwear) but occasionally I will venture out into the wilds of this sacred city. I’m not giving away the dirt on my fav intimate spot (yet) in Hollywood, because a couple of my homies have vowed to strangle me if I let the cat out of the bag….but this Saturday night the place to be is “Monster Massive”. The bill includes Felix Da Housecat, who I loooooove, and almost as much fun, Deep Dish. If you want to get down with your bad self and shake the week off, check it out: LA Sports Arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St It’s a steep admission ($45) and it will be massive, but if you like dance music it should be a really great time.
323-960-5155 for info and tickets.

Weird name, tasty puff

beardpapa.jpgA friend of mine returned from a NYC trip earlier this week raving about the miracle that is Beard Papa cream puffs. Since I was out of town earlier in the month, I had no idea a Beard Papa had opened at Hollywood and Highland until I walked by it earlier today.

After my stressful psychic experience this afternoon, I hoped a cream puff would lighten my mood. With tax, a regular puff is only $1.62, and when I stopped by around 4 p.m., there were only a few people in line. I’m not sure a cream puff alone is worth dealing with the tourist insanity of the Hollywood and Highland complex, but if you have to head over there for something else, a cream puff will sweeten the journey.

I think my psychic ripped me off

I’m taking a comedy writing class at the Improv Olympic, and part of our first assignment was to do something out of character for ourselves. I’ve been having trouble making decisions lately, so I decided my “out of character” thing would be to go to a psychic for advice.

I had never been to a psychic before, so I picked one at random near Hollywood and Vine, went in and asked for a tarot card reading. The sign outside said they were $20. A few minutes into it, the girl and her assistant started implying I should give them all this money to light nine candles for me. It blew me away that they thought I could afford hundreds of dollars worth of spirit candles until I remembered that I was carrying a shopping bag from BCBG, where I had just purchased a cute, but overpriced, sweater. I didn’t tell them much of anything about myself, so I guess “buys expensive clothes” was all they had to go on, and they ran with it. When it was over, I ended up giving them $60 (way more than I wanted to spend) which covered the reading and something candle related that I didn’t understand.

Aside from feeling seriously uncomfortable with the way they kept trying to get more money out of me, the reading itself was a neat experience. A few of the cards seemed weirdly appropriate to stuff I’ve been dealing with lately. But I think the main thing I learned from my first psychic reading is that strangers (even “psychic” ones) have no idea what I’m like. If I ever decide to get another tarot reading, I’m carrying a bag from the 99 cents store.

Update: I’ve now talked to two friends about this, and both of them had similar experiences at other Hollywood psychics. I guess “give us hundreds of dollars for candles” is a common line. Maybe if they say it to enough people, they get somebody to fall for it once in a while?

Hollywood Blvd Suspicious Package

My trusty fiance is on a mission to get us some last minute Halloween costumes, but the LAPD and LAFD seem to think that her personal safety is more important than buying some getups we will use for one day a year at the most. They have evacuated about a block of Hollywood Blvd between Highland and Cherokee. The road is blocked and people are being evacuated from businesses. She is now heading to a different costume shop on Santa Monica Blvd.

UPDATE It was actually just a suspicious package and it was on Hollywood and Wilcox.

Who Lets Their Cats Out?

If you live in LA and own cats like I do you probably have had worried nights when your kitty doesn’t come home and although he or she is probably out chasing some tail you worry they are now affixed to the road thanks to a rushed or preoccupied driver. When I lived in Hollywood I never let my cat Fractal out of my apartment to roam the neighborhood except for one time and when I tried to find him the next day I heard some muffled mews coming from our parking garage and upon closer inspection I found him stuck in the engine compartment of my neighbors car, who thankfully hadn’t gone anywhere that day. When I moved to Fullerton after my apartment filled up with raw sewage I let him roam the streets until one day my roommate found him squished. I was very sad, but at least it was an accidental killing, unlike this horridly fucked up news article I just read about some sick fuck mutilating cats in a neighborhood near WeHo using a machete. If you have seen anything or know anything about this there is a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of the suspect.

Equus featuring George Takei

With all the talk about George Takei coming out in the local publication Frontiers, it’s a good time to remember all the work George has done as an L.A. native, both for the local government and for the local performing arts community.

From his bio:

In addition to his acting career, George always has been extremely involved in civic affairs. Along with actress Beulah Quo, George produced and hosted a public affairs show, Expression East/West, which aired on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles from 1971 to 1973.

Always a political activist, George ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 1973, losing by a small percentage. At a crossroads, he had to decide whether to pursue a political career or an acting career. He decided on acting, but to remain involved in civic affairs to whatever extent he could.

George was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, serving from 1973 to 1984. George was one of the driving forces behind the Arts in Transit program in which every Metro Rail subway station is given its own distinctive look, thereby fostering neighborhood pride. He also served as a vice president of the American Public Transit Association.

George is a past chairman of El Pueblo Park Association and former president of Friends of Little Tokyo Arts, an organization that encourages and supports artists.

A community activist, George serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of the Japanese American National Museum and on the advisory committee of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

He’s currently performing in East West Players’ production of Equus which runs through November 20. If you’ve never been to a performance at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, this is a great time to check it out. It’s a good-sized venue that still feel intimate and comfortable.

And when the show is over, walk over to Suehiro and fill your tummy on an Okonomi Plate.

Equus runs October 26 through November 20, 2005, at East West Playersí David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 N. Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles. Frontiers night, featuring discounted tickets and a cast reception, is November 17. Call 213/625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org for tickets.

The Quantum Physics Of L.A. Bike Licensing

Eecue’s post below about the stolen bike being recovered reawakened my long-dormant aggravation at why the City of L.A. makes it so difficult to get a bicycle license. After all, beyond the assist it could provide in identifying and recovering stolen bikes, it is The Law (L.A. Municipal Code Article 6, Section 26.01(b):

No person shall operate or use a bicycle upon any street or public highway of the City unless such bicycle has been duly licensed as provided herein.

So being a current outlaw bike owner three times over, I decided to see if things have improved and no, they haven’t. The only sources of information I was able to locate on the matter from the city’s website were via the L.A. Dept. of Transportation’s (LADOT) Bicycle Services website (bicyclela.org), and a community events page at lapdonline.org.

With the LADOT webpage I was directed to contact the LAPD Juvenile Division, Youth Programs Unit at 213/485-3133 for more information — which I did, and after several rings I was listening to some wimpy equivalent of a HAL9000 telling me to leave a message after the tone. No welcome. Nothing telling me I’ve reached the right or wrong place. Just a synthetic voice then a beep. Lovely.
Continue reading The Quantum Physics Of L.A. Bike Licensing

Stolen Bike Actually Recovered

The other day I read this post on craigslist about some poor sap who had his 12 year old son’s bike stolen from right below his window in Venice. I felt bad for the guy and his son and hoped that he would get it back somehow and low and behold he did. I guess it just goes to show that if you keep looking for something long enough you will find it. He also points out the importance of writing down your bikes serial number so you can file a police report if and when it does get stolen.

treasure hunting

I used to post here, remember? Then I didn’t for a while because I’m lazy, but now I’m posting again because I’m trying to de-laze my ass.

Now that we have that out of the way, I thought I’d post a link to the California Unclaimed Property website. Since I struck out on the “finding sweet rewards that are unclaimed” front, I thought maybe some of you lucky people might have untold fortunes waiting to be claimed.

Here’s the link.

May your money be waiting there for you.

Feel free to reward me in beer if you discover millions.

More fee hikes at public universities

These past few years have been tough for California State University and University of California students and their families. Today the CSU Board of Trustees raised fees again, but that’s expected because of the Compact between the governor, UC President Dynes and CSU Chancellor Reed signed in May 2004.

From the LA Times:

Despite the pleas of students who complained of financial hardship, trustees of the California State University system today approved fee increases of 8% for undergraduates and 10% for those in graduate programs.

The increases mean a fifth straight year of fee hikes for the 400,000 students in the 23-campus Cal State system, the nation’s largest network of public universities. University of California regents are due to vote on similar fee increases next month.

Under the plan approved by the Cal State trustees, full-time undergraduate students who are California residents will pay $2,724 in systemwide fees next year, up from $2,520 this year. Combined with the additional fees imposed by individual campuses, undergraduates will pay an average of $3,368 next year, up from $3,164.

For graduate students, the 10% boost will bring systemwide fees up to $3,414, up from $3,102, not counting campus fees.

I’ll be at the UC Regents meeting next month in Berkeley to argue advocate against the fee hikes. Even the UCLA Chancellor Carnesale — himself a fan of increasing fees — admits that UCLA students are now paying more and getting less and that increases in financial aid are increasing but at lower rates than before. For students at UC and CSU campuses who are fed up, my best advice would be to contact student government officers to see how they’re working systemwide to mitigate the situation.

My own take on the situation as a graduate student and UCLA student since 1998.

Get Enlightened while Driving in LA: The Guide, part 1

LA is not called la la land for no reason. You can get your enlightenment in any flavor and there are many “gurus”, “guides” and “teachers” to “help” you reach it. And now, let me add myself to that list. I’ve stumbled upon a technique to bring blissful enlightened delight into your brain doing what you do every day: driving in Los Angeles.

Having a passion for pavement, driving gloves and my 5 speed convertible, I do not get excited by red in the streets. I want my adrenaline rush. I want to up shift, not brake.

And then it hits me. Can I sit in the mad LA traffic AND become enlightened at the same time? Yes! I can! And you can too! It’s true. 10 steps with a motorcycle rider extra credit and you’re the Dali Lama of LA roads, regardless of which one you’re stuck on.

Over next week or so, I’ll outline the 10 steps. To get started today, take the jump.
Continue reading Get Enlightened while Driving in LA: The Guide, part 1