Rose Parade Float Decoration

Joz decorates the 2008 Donate Life Rose Parade floatIn just a couple of days millions of people around the world will be watching the Rose Parade straight from the streets of Pasadena.

Those Rose Floats don’t decorate themselves, so every year thousands of volunteers donate their time and energy to help prepare the floats for their glorious moments in the world’s view. With the parade being just a couple of days away, the volunteers are bustling to get the fresh flowers and final touches done. But despite the frenzy that happens in the week before the parade, decoration of the work starts a month in advance with the application of dry decorations, which is a lot less “glamorous” than doing live flowers.

When I was in high school, I volunteered my winter break time toward decorating the Kiwanis Float since I was a very active member of Key Club. Well, it has been a long time since high school and this year I decided I would go back and give my time to a different organization that has become important to me: One Legacy/Donate Life.
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Mashti Malone Ice Cream…where have you been hiding?


Oh sweet lawd above where has this treat been hiding? Granted I don’t get into the middle of LA as often as I would like, but somehow I missed this one.

Last night was game night at my house.  My cousin Paul not knowing that what I had up my sleeve brought along a quart of Mashti Malone “Rose Water and Ginger” ice cream.  I had planned to use the usual vanilla ice cream with the Tart Tatin.  One taste of that Rose Water and Ginger heaven on a spoon and I dumped the plain vanilla.  What an incredible pairing that was.

He picked up the ice cream at the new Mashti Malone  store in Glendale. Damn…now if they could jump the hills and enter the SGV I’d be totally happy.  A bit more on their locations after the jump.

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Red Flags: A Quickie

Got the call about the newest Red Flag conditions last night, and by I think 830am I had received this email:

The Los Angeles Fire Department is not in red flag conditions for Sunday December 30, 2007.

The National Weather Service is predicting strong Santa Ana winds for Monday December thirty first, Tuesday January First, and Wednesday January second, 2008.

If conditions warrant, Red Flag Restricted Parking will be declared. For further information please call 311 or visit

6th Day Of Giving: Read For The Blind And Dyslexic

The Los Angeles Unit of the RFB&D–Recording For The Blind and Dyslexic–is a “nonprofit organization that serves individuals who cannot read standard print because of a vision, physical or learning disability, by providing them with educational materials in accessible formats.” And they are looking for a few good readers! As they mainly focus on the recording of textbooks, they are looking for volunteers with expertise in math, science, economics and computers, along with other school subjects. (Of course they are happy to have any and all enthusiastic volunteers.) Each recording session is two hours long and each reader is paired with a director who is responsible for the actual recording. The RFB&D asks for a minimum of two hours a week and are open on evenings and Saturdays to help accommodate tricky schedules. There are three recording studio locations throughout LA, each with it’s own set of hours. (Further afield there are studios in Upland, Santa Ana and Santa Barbara.) Check out their volunteer page for more info.

Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic
5022 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027-6192
Phone: 323-664-5525
or 800-732-TEXT (732-8398) to Volunteer
or 800 499-5525 for Member Services

The Braille Institute in Los Angeles is always looking for volunteers to help with their multitude of services as well. At the moment they need specific help from bilingual folks (spanish and english) as well as someone to help maintain their website. Check out their Volunteering page for more information on the kinds of help they need. And if you are a high school student looking for community service hours or a college student looking for credited internships, check out the Internships and Volunteering for Students page.

Braille Institute/Los Angeles Sight Center
741 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Phone: (323) 663-1111
E-mail: [email protected]

Giving All Year Long


This time of year, when people are in a festive and giving mood either because of the holidays or cuz they figured out they still have some available charitable donations they can write off, it might be a good time to remind everyone that the giving mood doesn’t have to be limited to the end of the year. You can also add small, simple acts of giving into your regular routine, it doesn’t have to be a big production to convince yourself and others that you really are a good person. Take for example the pic above of the free guavas someone in Lincoln Heights put out recently. It’s a simple gesture of giving that brings some cheer to the passer by and helps get rid of that overstock of fragrant fruit. And as far as I’m concerned, those type of insignificant acts, practiced regularly, amount to more than just one large act done out of guilt or seasonal obligation.

Click ahead for the stipulations on the “free” guavas and some of my recommendations for other simple acts of giving.
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Putting The Ad In Bad: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

As seen while biking behind a No. 4 bus eastbound on Sunset past the 99-cent store in Silver Lake (sorry for the flash blowing out the center), was this entirely ridiculous ad for some business that ludicrously calls itself “The $81.58 Indian Human Hair Co.” Getting past the initial incredulousity the promotion begs the questions “why ‘Indian’ hair?” and “exactly how stupid do they think we are to believe that they’re somewhere in the vicinity of serving their millionth customer when the reality is they probably haven’t served their hundredth?”

I Love LA

Just got back from London and….ohhh how I love Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong. London is super fab and every time I go there, I find new reasons to appreciate it, but there just isn’t the sizzle LA seems to move to. Not to mention the weather.

You forget how blessed we are to live in LA until you leave and have to endure freezing rain, cold wind and diesel exhaust on the crowded city streets. No matter how hard the wind blows, or how violently the earth shakes, LA is simply a paradise.

One thing, though, that is notably different is how disconnected we are in LA from international world events. From the press coverage, to ordinary conversations, there is a heightened awareness of world politics, the economy and events in London that you just don’t find commonlace in Los Angeles. Yes, I know, star gossip rags were invented in England, but they don’t seem to have the same importance or placement we give them here.

Anyway, I missed LA’s bleached blonde hair and big tits and am glad to be back amid the palm trees.

The Giant Irony of Sport

Los Angeles. A sports fan’s paradise. A sports fan’s wasteland. You can root for anyone. Or no one.

Your team does not matter.

It is a paradox that can only be understood if you live in L.A., and one that you embrace with equal parts fervor and sadness. You search for the one bar in town that has your game, and with a little luck, a few fellow fans who wear the same colors.

Your team does not matter.

Today, we all watch for the sake of history. The New England Patriots are one win away from becoming the first team in the NFL to go undefeated in a 16-game regular season. Only New York stands in their way.

Today, we must stand together against evil. We must accept our existence as a city without a team. We must swallow our pride, and rally for one of our own biggest rivals.

Today, we must become Giants fans. Your team does not matter.

Fifth Day Of Giving: Volunteer At The Glendale Humane Society

If kids and horses (see yesterday’s giving post) are not quite up your volunteer alley, perhaps cats and dogs are more your speed. The Glendale Humane Society is looking for volunteers to help walk dogs and socialize cats in their facility. You can also help in their front office, foster animals, and help at special events. The GHS is a no-kill facility and all animals will remain in their shelter until placed with loving families. If you are interested, please click onto their Become a Volunteer page for orientation schedules and other volunteering opportunities.

You can also donate to the shelter and help them pay for things they need every month like raw bones and stuffed toys to keep the dogs active and healthy. Cats need “kitty condos” to nap and play, along with toys and treats. You can also donate to specific pet needs listed on the GHS home page.

Glendale Humane Society
717 W. Ivy Street
Glendale, CA 91204
Tel: 818-242-1128
Email: [email protected]

Gracie and Ansel would like to talk to you after the jump.
Continue reading Fifth Day Of Giving: Volunteer At The Glendale Humane Society

5th Day of Giving : Supporting our Public Schools

What better way to give a gift that will keep growing than to support our Public Schools? No matter what the criticism of the various schools may be, in the end all we want is to give our kids the best education we can. By partnering with the schools you are helping to open their minds to all that is out there for them to explore beyond what you do at home.

There are so many ways. I can say “no” to some new widget or whatever when we are shopping with the kids. They know I can’t say “no” to a book. As a result their rooms are overflowing. What do we do with the ones they outgrow? Donate them to the schools. This box of books is due to hit Wild Rose Elementary after the first of the year.

Books are a big deal for the libaries at the public schools. They don’t have a lot of acquistion money for new books and welcome your well loved editions. Contact your school and find their needs and requirements.

Check with your kid’s teachers, many of them have submitted a “wish list” of books they would like to add to their classroom. If you have a spare buck or two…buy them for the classroom.

More ideas after the jump.
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My favorite LA Icon

hollywoodsignHDRtmvppub.jpgYesterday was a perfect day to be out and about.  I opted to hit the freeways for the Griffith Park Observatory for my first visit in maybe 10 years.  I forgot what a terrific view of the Hollywood sign you get from there.  It still is my most favorite iconic landmark in Los Angeles, closely followed by the ever popular palm tree lined boulevard’s.

What is your favorite LA Landmark or Icon?  Why?

Pic by me shot 3 frames bracketed using the Photomatix HDR generation and tonemapping software.  Final image prepped with Virtual Photographer for that old timey post card look. Gets a bit bigger with a click.

Don’t Drink & Drive in Inglewood

At least, don’t drink & drive in Inglewood tonight, according to the Daily News. There’s a checkpoint. Somewhere. In Inglewood. From 9pm to 3am. Other than that……

“All too often, members of our community are senselessly injured or killed on local roadways by intoxicated or unlicensed drivers,” said Capt. Calvin Aubrey of the CHP’s West Los Angeles area.

“By publicizing our efforts we believe we can deter motorists from drinking and/or unlicensed driving,” he added.

One night = deterence.

Oh, and don’t forget, shooting your gun into the air on New Year’s Eve is bad. Inglewood has a flyer that explains why.

The Fourth Day Of Giving: Ahead With Horses

Ahead With Horses is looking for volunteers to help disabled and disadvantaged children who receive developmental therapy lessons on horseback. If you love kids and you love horses, here is a way to enjoy both. And if you need celebrity associations, then I’ll tell you that William Shatner is involved with this program. That’s right, The Shat himself.

The developmental therapy program uses vaulting — gymnastics on horseback — “to provide measurable improvement physically, mentally, socially and/or emotionally resulting in increased self-sufficiency and the ability to lead better and more independent and productive lives.” Children who may not have walked or even spoken do so after working with the horses and trainers. Ahead With Horses works with over 200 children each week. The program encourages high school students to volunteer and will provide hours earned for community service.

Contact Jennifer at 818-767-6373 for more information.
Ahead With Horses
9311 Del Arroyo Dr.
Sun Valley
See their website for more information and great photos of past events.