Call of duty: Jury edition

I received a summons for jury duty back in August for a September service date, but postponed it because I had a full month of booked business trips in September. This week is the latest week I could move it to. Ah, the life of a road warrior. Anyway, I intend to blog the whole process as I go, since I’ve never gone through it before. I know we’ve had jury duty-related posts on before, but hey – this is an updated version!

The first step in jury duty is to call in the night before the designated reporting date and find out if you need to show up at the designated courthouse. Tonight, I called in, and I found out that I wasn’t needed tomorrow. That means that I need to call again Monday after 5 p.m. and find out if I’m needed on Tuesday. If not, lather, rinse, repeat all week. If so, I plan to blog as much as I can when I can. They don’t allow camera phones in the courthouse, so I can’t photoblog it, but I’ll take my trusty Moleskine and take notes, and update when I have access to teh internets. Exciting, no?


reckless.jpgMy friend, Milan-born local author Gloria Mattioni’s got nine lives and she wants to tell you all about them. No, not hers, others; specifically those found in her new book Reckless: The Outrageous Lives of Nine Kick-Ass Women, whose launch party is December 1 at the Borders Books at 1360 Westwood Blvd. in Westwood beginning at 7 p.m.

Gloria knows about what she writes. Having quit a successful career to go on a 20-year globetrot in search of inspiring women who defied convention and charted their own courses, in Reckless she profiles nine of those ladies she discovered who took on challenges to better themselves, pushed their limits and overcame their fears.

So why not defy convention this Thursday and come on out to Westwood to celebrate her achievement as she discusses and signs her new book. Word is there’ll authentic Italian cuisine to nosh on and she’ll be joined by four of her book’s subjects: Gevin Fax, who left a promising career in Ohio to ride a motorcycle across the country to California, Angelika Castaneda and Barbara Warren, the 61-year-old “Twin Traithletes,” famous for competing the Ironman Triathlon and more, and Lisa Distefano, a former Playboy model turned “Warrior of the Sea,” who has dedicated herself to the protection marine life.

Like LA, except not (New Metblogs)

I’m not in LA this week. I’m in Miami. And you know what else is in Miami? A brand new Metroblogging site! Caryn and I are guestblogging there and so is Johannes from Vienna who is in town hanging out with us which should make for a very interesting blog launch. It’s funny, having spent a lot of my growing up years in Florida I heard a lot of comparisons between Miami and Los Angeles. This was amusing at the time since all the Miami based folks I knew thought of themselves as New York South as opposed to having any relation to the west coast, but even more so now because I live in LA and know the cities are nothing like each other. OK, so it doesn’t snow in either place and we’ve both had the honor of having a version of Grand Theft Auto modeled after the cities but other than that, not so much. I’m here for work so I don’t know how much sight-seeing-blogging I’ll get to do, but I’ll try and post some photos if nothing else. Assuming you give a rats ass about that kind of thing, check it out.

And since we’re making announcements – Miami is the 37th Metroblogging city, because Dubai is the 36th and that went live this morning as well. Enjoy!

On the NorCal Road

Rather than do the traditional turkey thing, my honey and I spontaneously jumped in the car and drove up the coast. We landed in Big Sur at a little place called “The Ripplewood”. It’s a funky motel kinda spot, 15 little cabins by a sweet river. Cheap too, decor circa 1959 with a wood burning stove. No phone, no tv. It’s right smack in the middle of nowhere. Everything smells good and full of pine in Big Sur. All the stress of the city just drops away. We hiked in Pfieffer Big Sur State Park, gorgeous waterfall, amazing vistas of the valley. After that we dropped in on the Post Ranch Inn for dinner at sunset. That place is amazing! The buildings are all tucked into the hillside, and made of wood and glass so you can see the stunning views of the pacific. The food was out of this world…it was great not to have a traditional feast and all the drama of family.

Now we’re on the road to San Francisco…literally, cuz my car broke down and had to be towed to a shop….so we’re in a rental and cruising. I’ve been to SF many times, but always for work and always with an agenda. Now I’m just kicking it and wonder…what’s fun to do in this northern alluring city? Any suggestions out there? We’re thinking of hitting the clubs tonight….I’m partial to house music….so if you have a favorite club, restaurant or cool thing to do or see here…fire away!

Lincoln Place takes it to Hancock Park

The tenants of the Lincoln Place apartment complex in Venice got fed up with the shrug-off they kept getting from city attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s office when they approached him about the illegal harassment and evictions they’ve been undergoing at the hands of developer/landlords AIMCO, so they took the protest to Delgadillo’s (very nice) house here in Hancock Park-adjacent.

The Channel 2 truck pulled up right as I was leaving, so I wanted to scurry home to blog this.

For background, a good article on NPR’s website about moderately-priced housing going the way of the dinosaur in general is here; more detailed info about the fight between AIMCO, the tenants facing eviction and the role the California Historical Resources Commission has played in the fight on the Preserve LA site, here.

Saturday nights at The Vine Bar in Hollywood

Here’s where my shameless self promotion of the month pops up. If you’re bored on a Saturday night in Hollywood and wanna have some cheap drinks while you listening to good rock n’ roll come the Vine Bar. I play anything from The Beatles to Black Sabbath to The Jesus Lizard to The Jesus and Mary Chain to The Wipers to X to The Stooges to Bob Dylan to The Stone Roses to The Replacements to Primal Scream to Led Zeppelin to The Gun Club to James Brown to Oasis to Spacemen 3 to The Faces to Love to The Standells to The Damned to Chuck Berry to Queens Of The Stone Age to Neil Diamond to Guns N’ Roses to Van Halen to Joy Division to The Velvet Underground to Os Mutantes to Karp to Suicide to The Birthday Party to Depeche Mode to The Dicks to Spiritualized. Plus the bar is cool. No cover. No List. No Hollywood bullshit. Thanks for your time.

abLA’s 1000th!


Today reached a milestone as I made the 1000th post. Not bad for a little art blog that’s under two years old! So just a quick thanks to Spencer, Heather, and Valerie for contributing invaluable pieces and to everyone who has discovered and read any of those 1000 posts. If you haven’t read them, well, go the site right now to see all the insanity.

Here’s to 1000 more!

Silver Lake Snapshots From A Thanksgiving Morning

thank you elliottI bought the wrong kind of sugar last night for the cheesecake my wife is making from scratch today. Got powdered, not granulated. And I got cans of whole cranberries rather than the jellied kind, which is the only kind for me.

So I hop upon The Phoenix and with the sunrising behind me over Sunset do I ride with the Vons at Virgil as my destination. With the thoroughfare almost thoroughly to myself I pass an elderly gent standing on the Silver Lake overpass across from Pho and Rhambutan bemusedly rubbing a sheet of lottery scratchers. Winner? Not at that particular moment.

Further on up there are two chihuahuas, a black and a tan, sniffing around the corner of the Cliff’s Edge restaurant, lost or loose? Neither thankfully, their guardian whistles for them from nearer to the 99 where business is brisk.

At a red across from the Circus of Books, a tired voice comes from inside a tired minivan next to me and I turn to find a tired man ironically asking if I might have a buck for gas because he’s almost empty. “I only have my ATM card,” I tell him. His crest falls a bit, but he tells me it’s cool thanks and moves on with the green.
Continue reading Silver Lake Snapshots From A Thanksgiving Morning

GR Coming To Silver Lake?

Did my eyes deceive me tonight driving back from the madness that was Vons the day before Thanksgiving (where apparently there is no such thing as a four-pound ham at this late date), or did I see a Giant Robot store currently under construction next to the Tsunami coffeehouse on Sunset Boulevard?

UPDATE: I gotta start using my peripheral vision more. The GR store manager answered my inquiry by letting me know their newest branch has been open for business since July, albeit just on weekends until last month when they bumped it to six days per week.

“Tied to me tight tie me up again”

It’s not bad enough all the stupid drivers on the road narrowly missing you every day — there’s also folks *trying* to hit you.

Twenty-three people have been arrested for allegedly participating in an insurance fraud ring that staged more than 60 auto collisions on Southern California freeways and bilked about $3 million from insurers, officials said Wednesday.

A seven-month investigation led to the arrest of Huntington Park lawyer Bernard Laufer, 52, as the alleged ringleader, said state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. Laufer, taken into custody Tuesday, faces charges of insurance fraud, grand theft and conspiracy.

The investigation continues and more arrests likely will be made, Garamendi said. The probe is looking into doctors and chiropractors who may have been involved in the scam.