Friendly Reminders: Have A Safe New Year’s Eve & Tomorrow Has A Buncha Ones In It

I’m actually breaking with tradition this New Year’s Eve and going out and doing something tonight. Rather than just smugly staying indoors like the old fart I’ve become (and usually turning in before midnight), I’ll be escorting my wife and mother to a performance of “Next To Normal” at the Ahmanson, bracketed by rides to/from the Music Center on the Angels Flight funicular (which in celebration of its 109th anniversary is rolling back fares to one penny). Then we’ll hit Pacific Dining Car for an apres-theatre bite before heading home… probably still to turn in before midnight.

But! On the off chance I’m still awake to ring in the new year, I might endeavor to stay awake another hour or so until 1:11 a.m. since it just dawned on me that the inaugural day of the new year will be one of those that are numerologically redundant, namely: 1/1/11. Yeah… I’m one of those geeks who actually watched a clock a couple years ago as it turned 4:56 on 7/8/09. Don’t judge. And you know I was all over 10.10.10, wherein at 10:10 a.m. I was somewhere bicycling the CicLAvia route!

More than likely I’ll miss that first alignment and so instead will keep an eye out for the second one at 11:11 a.m., or maybe again at 1:11 p.m. at which point I will most certainly be cheering on my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide who are hopefully kicking some Michigan State Spartan ass in the Capital One Bowl. In the meantime, be safe, be happy — and mark your calendars in November: 11/11/11!

GTD This Weekend: New Year’s, If You’re Into That Sort of Thing

My neighbor says that I have to celebrate the New Year’s on-time arrival even if I think it’s the most overrated, and anti-climatic, of all holidays.  If I don’t, “It’s like you’re old people.”  Bah, humbug.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

  • For those of you who are not a Grinch on New Year’s Eve, Caroline on Crack has a great roundup of parties with open bars.  Ideally, you’ll remember what you were doing the second when 2010 became 2011, but if you’re like me at an open bar, you’ll be lucky if you remember where you’re crashing for the night.
  • For the slightly more refined, Kristin Chenoweth has a one-woman concert at the Walt Disney Hall.  Tickets are expensive and don’t include drinks, but I did say this is the more refined option, right?  Ticket prices from expensive ($74) to very expensive ($191). 7:00pm and 10:30pm at the Walt Disney Hall downtown.
SATURDAY
  • Assuming you’re not old people and celebrated the turn of the clock from 11:59pm to 12:00am, you’re probably hungover from all that champagne and wine and other libations.  Susan Feniger has a special New Year’s Hangover Brunch Menu at Street, as does Dominick’s in West Hollywood.  LA Weekly has a nifty list of other brunch leads, some with morning alcohol libations, so you can party like it was 2010.
  • The annual Rose Parade starts at 7am, so my advice to you is to avoid Pasadena altogether unless your vehicle of choice is a lawn chair.  Frazgo has details of the related road closures here.
  • After the traffic nightmare officially ends, do what you can’t do even if you watched the parade live: stop and smell the flowers.  After the parade, the floats will be parked at the end of the route for public viewing.  If you have any questions, White Suiters will be around to answer them.  Ah, Pasadena, where all your old money fairy tales come true.  $10, free for kids 5 and under.  The floats are on display from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday at Sierra Madre and Washington in Pasadena.  Full details here.
  • What better way to kick off the new year than a cemetery tour of celebrity graves?  Karen Bible leads you through the “Cemetary of the Stars Tour”, which is sort of like a guided tour of celebrity homes, except the celebrities are dead, and the homes are their final resting spots.  You’ll visit the sites of Cecil DeMille, Tyrone Power, and other superstars of the studio system yesteryear.  $12.  Meet at the flower shop of the Hollywood Forever Cemetary at noon.
  • Here’s one I always wanted to see on the big screen: The Egyptian will be showing off a restored print of The Godfather Part II.  An industry town need not be reminded that this is one of the greatest movies ever made, ever.  $7-11.  Showtime is at 7:30 at the Egyptian Theater.
SUNDAY
  • Bleedfest is a monthly film festival featuring “edgy genre work” by women filmmakers.  The organizers go there even if you didn’t (you didn’t?):  “Just like women’s monthly friend, Bleedfest comes like clockwork!”  – meaning, the first Sunday of the month is their time of the month.  Sunday’s theme is “Western and Genre Goulash.”  $10, which includes a ticket to all shows and an open bar.  11am to 3:30pm at the CAP Theater, 13752 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks.
  • Ice Age Encounters at the Natural History Museum is a special exhibit with a life-sized saber-toothed … cat puppet.  Yes, I also thought I was going to see a Power Ranger, but alas.  The puppet roars, it hunts, it’s “realistic enough to take your breath away.”  In case you didn’t get the idea, the museum warns, “Please note, this is not a small hand puppet.”  The exhibit teaches about the trials and tribulations of the cat as it tries to survive Snowpacolypse, Ice Age edition.  Don’t tell me how it ends.   Free with museum admission.  Wander the halls, then go to the show at 12pm and again at 3:30.  The Natural History Museum is located at 900 Exposition Blvd, near USC.
  • The Egyptian Theater shows off another great series, this time a triple feature of the Indiana Jones trilogy.  Yes, I’m aware that there was a fourth, but it was as non-existent as Superman IV: The Quest for Blahblah.  $7-11.  The series kicks off at 3pm at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, in Hollywood.
  • Double negatives are often the best way to describe something.  Take, for example, Upright Citizen Brigade’s Not Inappropriate Show, a properly rated comedy show by adults for kids.  Parents who put helmets and kneepads on their poor child before letting them ride the trusty trike may be unnecessarily wary of sketches like  “Animal Stars,” a Sea World version of Creature Comforts. For parents who still let their kids ride a trike sans overly protective gear: bring the family and enjoy the show.  $12.  4pm at the UCB Theater, 5919 Franklin in Hollywood.  The show is recommended for kids 8 and up.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihhq5_2kaWQ[/youtube]

Happy new year, everyone!

The Sad, Lonely Existence Of The Night Shifter

This evening, when I got excited because I realized my local WalMart is open 24 hours, I remembered how boring it can be to be a night shifter. I recently became a night shifter with my new job. I worked night shift briefly once before, but my girlfriend (now wife) worked days and most of my friends worked days, so I was constantly switching to accommodate to them. Now my wife also works nights, so that’s nice, but what do I do when I’m off and she’s not (which happens all too often)? And what do we do together for that matter? I have never been one to sit around the house. I mean, I have my days of lazy, but usually I love to just be outside.

Do we have any followers out there who work night shift? What do you do? I know I could go to a bar or club until 2am, but I have to be in the mood for that. I know there are some 24 hour diners, but what if I’m not hungry? I’m open to any ideas. It’s times like these where I wish I lived in a city like New York (except for the blizzard part), where there’s ALWAYS something to do.

Help me out fellow Angelenos!
(And if you know of something close to Long Beach, I’ll be extra, super special excited)

The “Well That Blows” Edition Of Guess The Amount: Frond Farewells

In the wake of last night’s seriously strong winds (in which window rattling was the norm and some howling gusts blasted the north side of our Silver Lake house hard enough to make it creak and shrug and leave me fitfully dreaming about waking up atop the Wicked Witch of the East in the Land of Oz), I’m relieved to report that other than a potted plant or two, there was no damage sustained — and I hope the same can be said for you.

But of course, there was the inevitable “just put those anywhere” backyard redecorating our twin palms do with their never-ending supply of dead fronds, like so:

Which I then gathered into the following pile, all the better for you to take a guess in the comments how many there were and win the temporary adulation of all of us at Blogging.la (as well as perhaps some sort of semi-trivial prize):

Next comes the joy of bundling them into manageable sub-piles for a sanitation department bulky item pick-up date to be named later.

How to Get Reimbursed for Damages Caused by a Pothole (Maybe)

Last night, KTLA had a news story about potholes.  Councilman Eric Garcetti has resolved to fix as many potholes in what is called Operation Pothole of 2011 (like any unresolved war, this is not the first time extra troops are being deployed.  In 2005’s Operation Pothole, 80,172 potholes were filled during a 14-week period (curious about that number?  So was LA Observed.)).  In anticipation of Op. Pothole 2011, the city is asking you, dear residents, to call 311 with information about your unfriendly neighborhood pothole.  You also can submit the information online here.  On January 8 and 9, the city will devote a few street maintenance crews to fill ’em up.

Good, yes, but that’s not what piqued my interest.  According to KTLA, if your vehicle sustains damage as result of hitting a pothole, you can file a claim with the city to get the cost of that repair reimbursed.  Sounds too good to be true, I thought, and it sort of is: because the city is responsible to maintaining our roads, it can be held liable for damages to personal property due to things like potholes.  However, as the Daily News pointed out earlier this year, the city must have been aware of the pothole and be given a reasonable amount of time to fix it.  The city’s Resurfacing and Reconstruction Division states that it typically responds to pothole repair requests with 24 hours; if there was a recent rainstorm (i.e., Rainpocalypse 2010), it may take longer for them to respond to the repair request.  So, if the city was not aware/claims it was not aware of the pothole before you hit it, you and your rims are SOL.

So, how do you know if the city was aware of the pothole problem and didn’t fix it within a reasonable amount of time?  No one I talked to seemed to know the answer to that question.  If I were your lawyer (and I’m not), I would suggest that you try to get a log of repair requests via a subpoena or a Public Records Act request.  File a claim with the city first, though; if they deny it, give it your all at small claims.  The claim form is here (links to a PDF).  Operation Pothole, here you come.

Rose Parade Parking, closures and Mass Transit options

Hat tip to the folks over at Total Traffic Los Angeles for twittering a link to their site outlining all the parking, road closures and Mass Transit options for the Rose Parade on Saturday morning.  Here in the SGV traffic will suck prior to and especially right after the parade, if you can take Mass Transit use that option.   Complete list from Total Traffic Los Angeles HERE.

The Metro Gold Line has several stops in Pasadena, none more than a couple of blocks from the parade route.  Metro Gold Line will have free fares for those travelling into Pasadena New Years Eve, along with extended hours according to the Pasadena Star News.  The Gold Line schedule HERE.

@iamwumrpres

@iamwumrpres (I Am With You Mr. Pres) is President Obama’s “Twitter Army” led by drummer extraordinaire Ms. Sheila E. This army of drumming tweeters will march on January 2nd, 2011, the day before the Republican Party takes control of the House of Representatives.

Don’t bring your signs, just your tweeting device of choice and join Will.i.am, Mikal Kamil and Jimmy Jean-Louis who dreamt up this Mass Twitter/Viral March. “The goal of @iamwuMRPRES is to amass 100 million tweets by 2012 and to build the President’s indestructible twitter army for the 2012 Election.”

* Admittedly I’m a tad confused because Sheila E. is leading a drum corps. but the event is dubbed “No Signs, Just Tweets.” Anyway…

On January 2nd, 3:00PM, the march will begin at Sunset and Vine, ending in front of the CNN building on Sunset and Cahuenga. Sheila E will lead the i.am W/U MR. PRES “Twitter Countdown”. After 10-9-8-7-6-5-4- 3-2-1, Obama’s Twitter Army will shout “i.am W/U MR. PRES!” and tweet #iamwumrpres to twitter.com/iamwumrpres.

Follow @iamwuMRPRES and Like (or dislike) on Facebook.

No More Free Parking at Los Feliz Post Office

At a recent blogging.la author meet-up, we discussed some of our favorite “secret” parking spots, etc. around L.A. Everyone knows that parking in Los Feliz can be tricky, especially on a weekend night. A favorite not-so-secret place to park has always been the post office lot on Vermont, just south of Franklin.

Well, I should say was. I’m not sure when the change occurred, but when I stopped at the post office on my way to work this morning to drop off some mail, I spotted a sign for $2.00/hour and a pre-pay parking box.

Say it isn’t so! I was already running a little behind, so I just snapped the one photo with my cell phone, but the signs on the side of the building indicate that you must pay anytime outside of post office hours. Bummer.

Sweet Charity:Blogging.LA’s Guide to Giving-its a wrap

Time to bring this series to an end.  To save you a lot of scrolling here’s a list of Charities, Non-profits, and other organizations that we here at Blogging. LA believe in enough to spend time helping them or donating directly to them.    Each post has ways that you can help them out if you so desire.

If you have one that you feel passionate about drop me a note at frazgo(at)mail(dot)com and I will post it for you.

Image by IronRodArt from flickr used via creative commons licence.

Sweet Charity:Blogging.LA’s Guide to Giving: Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

Anyone with kids will tell you that among the first thing cut from a public schools budget is art. I was made painfully aware of it when my oldest started kindergarten. The absence prevents a well rounded education and cuts of a small percentage of kids from their most effective way to communicate.

I got involved with the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) several years ago as I liked their mission statement and felt that I could help make a difference in the community. I don’t know how much of an impact I have had, but I know that the group has made an impact on the community both in the schools and the area at large. The mission statement is quite simple and direct:

“Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education”.

For a group of a dozen faithful art lovers we manage to do a lot during the year. We either do it ourselves or work with other non-profits in the area to help bring art to many who would not have had the opportunity if it weren’t for MAFA. Some of our activities:

  • Local Galleries including CTGY Credit Union (formerly Focus One), Monrovia City Hall and Community Center
  • Donated over $50,000 to MUSD for art education.
  • Provided art teachers and funding for Art in the Village After School Program.
  • Work with local schools in fund raising to grow their art programs.
  • Host the Monrovia Summer Art Walks.
  • Host the “Black Tie Event” giving out the “Hearts in the Arts” and “Renaissance” Awards to those in the community working in the arts or helping to bring art to the community.
  • Host October “Celebrate the Arts” 2 day art show.
  • Work with the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills with art filled field trips or events.
  • Work with Foothill Unity Center’s “Back to School” and “Holiday” events with art supplies, art projects and keepsakes.
  • Provide Mini-grants to local schools and non-profits for art education and activities
Member Lisa Barrios helps my son Joey with an Art Project.

Our members come from all over the LA area, not just Monrovia. Our members represent a varied media selection ranging from traditional painting to photography to cutting edge digital art. Both artists and art lovers are invited to join and help us meet our goals outlined in the mission statement.

One of the areas we have worked hard at is providing emerging artists and students with venues that are either free or affordable as a way to show case their art. Between the galleries that are fee free, or nominal fees of the Summer Art Walks and Celebrate the Arts we have many options for them to share their work and cultivate followers and collectors. These events and galleries are open to all artists in the LA Area. I am quite proud of our efforts to be inclusive of all media types and giving newer artists an opportunity to grow.

In order for MAFA to grow we need help with fund raising to support all of our projects. We look to a future where we have more of an impact than just the communities in our immediate area, but through out the San Gabriel Valley. If you have an art lover on your list consider one of our artists or make a donation direct to MAFA in their name. If you are an artist or art lover come join us in the fun we have putting together events that bring art to the schools and community.

MAFA meets every 2nd Tuesday at 7PM. Our meeting location is provided by the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery located at 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016. This address is also our mailing address. More information about MAFA can be found on the Web Site.  If you have any questions you can write me at frank (at)monroviafinearts (dot) org.

The never ending rain has filled Sawpit Basin

Full drainage basin on Sawpit Creek

I got the tip off from a friend a bit further up the hill from me that the Sawpit Drainage Basin here in Monrovia is full.  I popped over on my way back from a few early morning errands and not only was it full, it was actually starting to drain off the spillway.  This the first time in several years (2005?) that that has happened here.  Then again, we’ve had a relentless 6 days of rain, and with my informal measuring system not too unlike Will Campbells, we have measured close to 17″ in the Foothills since it all started.

LA has been under a series of watches and warnings since it all started.  Today is being forewarned as the worst of the storm since it all started.  Details of watches/warnings affecting us all via Accuweather are HERE.

At the rate the rain is falling, I may wait for a lull in the activity and check out the ducks and their ponds along the San Gabriel River later this morning if I can make the time to do so.

Sawpit Spillway and drainage area.