My Memorial Day Ritual

In response to KPCC soliciting input from its listeners as to what or who they will be thinking about this Memorial Day, I submitted an audio response via SoundCloud that pretty much sums up what’ll be going through my patriotic head (it’s here if you want to listen to me explain why I’ll be doing again whatever the heck I’m doing in the picture at right, taken at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood last year; click to enlarge).

The reason that I’m mentioning it here is that it’s become a tradition of me biking to the LA National Cemetery every Memorial Day in large part because it’s a pretty sweet crosstown bike ride. So, on the chance you might be staying  in town and interested in visiting the landmark hallowed ground via two wheeledness, I wanted to extend an invitation to join me… although in the interest of full fashion disclosure I just might be wearing my American flag bike jersey. It’s not a for-sure thing yet, just sayin’: you’ve been warned.

Regardless of what I’ll have on, I’ll be leaving from Silver Lake this Monday morning at 9 a.m.  It’s about 13 miles from there to the cemetery (route), which means we should get to the gate in plenty of time for the ceremony, scheduled to start at 10:30. So if you want to come along, meet me beneath the Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign at the corner or Sunset Boulevard and Benton Way (pinpoint).

Get Ready for “Carmageddon II: The Rampocalypse”

Both ways
You won't know if you're coming or going

Last summer’s blockbuster Carmageddon was such a smash hit, we’re bringing you the sequel. That’s right, fasten your seat belts for the ride of your lives. On June 22, Carmageddon II: The Rampocalypse comes to a 405 near you. In a world where L.A. area road construction causes widespread panic, “Carmageddon II” will blow your doors off!

We’ll destroy and then rebuild all the Wilshire Blvd. ramps connecting to the 405! We’ll take a year to do it! We’ll have Ramp Jam 2012, and it’s all in 3-D!

Get your tickets now!

Time Is On Our Side

It's NOT the end of the world as we know it, says Griffith Observatory Planetarium lecturer Kelley Hazen, just the daze of our lives.

I got an invite last week to come to a media preview of Time’s Up, the Griffith Observatory’s new planetarium show, so in between Good Samaritan Hospital’s never-miss Blessing of the Bikes yesterday morning and a long-overdue physical exam that afternoon, I biked up the hill to one of my favorite places in Los Angeles to take advantage of the Observatory’s hospitality and see how and why they decided to counter the anxiety being produced by those doomsdayers dead-set in their belief that the Mayans predicted the world to end this coming December 21 and that it’s so going to happen.

The answers are with a provocative and eye-popping new program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium that opens on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier, serene for a few moments until meteors start raining explosively down upon the westside, a huge tsunami closes in and a rogue planet grows larger as it bears down on its collision course with earth — accompanied by flying monkeys, of course.

Inside joke: Pictured during this doomsday scene is Lifeguard Station No. 5150. Since most of the station IDs are no more than two digits, I’m betting this was done in snarktastic reference to the police code that’s basically short for bugged-out basketcase kRaAzEe.

But just when all seems lost, Planetarium Lecturer Kelley Hazen steps in bearing a beautifully illuminated and illuminating hourglass to put a freezeframe to all the apocalyptic nonsense and go on with a visually stunning and intellectually compelling show that counters folly with fact and explores what time is all about.

Continue reading Time Is On Our Side

Get your Medieval Geek on at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

After dancing around and debating about going or not I broke down and went this weekend. Why I was putting it off I don’t know.  It was actually a lot of fun, something one needs to do at least once in their life.  There is a lot of period confusion among the fair goers, its not all pure Medieval Renaissance times with some fun in the form of trolls, ogres and fairies tossed in for good measure.  But its all in good fun.

You get a good smattering of crafts, free wine tasting courtesy San Antonio winery, beer huts, music, free shows…minstrel, comedy/variety, magic and wenches all tossed in with some pretty good food too.

This isn’t a free event. Tickets at the door are $25 head, you can purchase slightly discounted tickets at select Walgreen stores enumerated HERE.  Parking at the Santa Fe dam will also set you back $10 bones for a dirt lot.  Map to location here near the junction of the 210/605 Freeways.  Better hurry as next weekend is the last weekend it will run this year.

All pics by me. More in my flickr set HERE.

Culver City Classic Car Show this Saturday

Classic Car
One of our area's vintage cars, spotted in Santa Monica

One of my pleasures of living in the relatively dry SoCal climate is our thriving classic car culture. Part of that culture will be on display this Saturday, as downtown Culver City hosts its Crusing Back to the 50s car show right out on Culver and Washington Blvds. from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. I was there four years ago, and it was loads of fun.

In addition to a selection of over 400 classic cars, expect to see some of the world’s most famous tv show custom cars and their creator, George Barris (Batmobile, Munster Koach, etc.). There will be food, music, and car-related merchandise on hand as well. Oh, and did I mention that admission to the show is free?

Moon Shot

I’m a sucker for a fuller-than-usual moon and couldn’t wait for tonight’s so-called Super Moon to rise high enough to be visible from ground-level in my backyard. So, shortly after it rose tonight, I scrambled up to the tippy-top of my steeply pitched roof in Silver Lake and at 8:54 p.m., put my point-and-shoot camera up to the eyepiece of tripod-mounted 60x spotting scope and shot this frame (click it to biggify):

Metro Fail: Taps For A TAP Card

Way back near the end of the aughts — July of 2009 to be more exact — is when my disenchantment with Metro’s TAP cards began, producing two posts, linked below should you be interested in what a pain in the ass it was:

The card’s usage on various bus and rail lines in the interim since had been entirely without incident, until yesterday when I biked downtown to 7th Street to take my first trip on the shiny new Expo Line. The thrill at riding fresh rails into the westside was somewhat buzzkilled when I went to purchase my one-way ticket with my TAP card only to have the machine tell me that it had “expired,” and suggesting I visit a Metro customer service center for assistance.

Though I’m predisposed to some pretty elaborate grousing displays, I kept my outward petulance to a minimum and instead fished out the $1.50 needed for the fare. With ticket in hand I boarded the appropriate train, deciding that I’d bike back up to the Metro customer office on the corner of La Brea and Wilshire to have a representative answer me as to why the fuck does a damn TAP card still loaded with about $13 of my own money expire?

Short answer: So Metro can rip off TAP card-holding riders every three years.

Longer answer after the jump. Oh yeah: and it turns out the card hadn’t expired yet.

Continue reading Metro Fail: Taps For A TAP Card

Hollywood Sign Traffic Jam

I’ve lived in the Hollywood Hills for a while now. Used to be that navigating around the hills was a breeze, slow and easy, like a drive on a country road. Seriously, it was cool.
Not anymore. It’s turned into a crazy, frenetic, traffic-filled, tourist-stopping-in-the-middle-of-the-road-to-take-pictures mess.
In Beachwood Canyon especially. On the overlook up on Mulholland between the obnoxious tour buses, rental cars and hordes of people taking pictures, you take your life in your hands going around the bend. Forget parking laws, people stop suddenly in the street and jump out of their cars blocking traffic, which is a nightmare anyway on the narrow twists and turns. If you ask them kindly to move their car (it is, after all, stopped on a highway on a curve and a true scary traffic hazard) you usually get the finger and some shouting!
Relief may be in sight though.
After many meetings with Councilman Tom LaBonge, and assorted other corporate entities, Google has agreed not to include directions to the area for Hollywood sign seekers anymore. More importantly, most of the major GPS makers (Garmin most specifically) have agreed not to put it in the GPS units that go into rental cars out of LAX and Burbank airport.
It will be interesting to see in this age of people not looking on maps if this helps.
Now, if we could just find a way to eliminate the tour buses. Which are illegal and not supposed to drive (weight limits) on these streets!
Hello traffic control: Want to write some easy tickets? Just hang up there on any sunny day and wait! Tour bus after illegal tour bus will be stop as will lots of illegally parked cars!

Hero Complex Film Festival May 18-21

Hero ComplexSuperheroes, nasty villains, and zombies will visit us as the Hero Complex Film Festival returns to Los Angeles on May 18-21, at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. Cinema classics will be screened with stars and creators of the movies, such as RoboCop with an appearance by Peter Weller, Shaun of the Dead featuring director Edgar Wright, and A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell. On Monday, pioneer comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) will be there for a not yet announced screening. Although the $105 festival pass is listed as sold out, individual screening passes can be had for $20, which isn’t much more than a movie ticket on a weekend night nowadays.

See link above for full schedule and details.