All posts by Kevin Ott

Kevin was discovered in 1987 by a team of climatologists deep within a Greenland glacier, wearing a flight engineer's coveralls and carrying what appeared to be a United States nickel dated 1332 and bearing the image of Tomas de Torquemada. After years of socialization and language training (he only spoke Middle French and had a paralyzing fear of birds), he was allowed to rejoin modern society. Today he lives in Los Feliz with his girlfriend, Alanna, and makes a hobo's ransom working as a freelance writer.

Locks of Love in Los Feliz

I guess you could say I’m pretty much in love. My significant other and I text each other frequent reminders of our affection, leave love notes in strategic spots around the apartment, and employ amusing pet names such as “Stinky” and “Stinky Pudd’n.” What we have yet failed to do, however, is commemorate our more-than-just-friends-ness by applying padlocks to the fence that blocks the under-street passageway crossing Hollywood Boulevard just east of its intersection with Vermont.

These can be found right at the corner of Hollywood and New Hampshire.
These can be found right at the corner of Hollywood and New Hampshire.

Walking east into Los Feliz Village on Hollywood, it’s hard to miss this particular bit of artistic commons, right at the corner of Hollywood an New Hampshire. Even harder is figuring out just what in the world is going on. Is it a forgotten art installation? A weirdly cryptic ad for the locksmith around the corner? No, no: It’s love. Sweet, sweet love. Hey, it’s cheaper than a ring.
Continue reading Locks of Love in Los Feliz

An Open Letter to the LAX Cop Who Threatened To Write My Girlfriend A TIcket on Monday

Dear LAX Cop Who Threatened To Write My Girlfriend A Ticket Last Monday:

I know you have kind of a thankless job. Really, I can only imagine the absolute nonsense you’re forced to deal with on a daily basis: People wanting to cross streets, people wanting to drive their cars on those same streets, people asking for directions to terminals — many of whom probably don’t display a fraction of the deference you’d like them to, given your position of relative authority. And probably less than .0000001 percent of them are terrorists, which doesn’t afford you much to write about in your weekly letters to Jack Bauer. The headaches you face must be tremendous.

So I can kind of understand why you started to write my girlfriend a ticket when she picked me up from the airport last week. You asked me where I was going, I told you I was quickly hopping into her stopped-in-traffic car, and then you ordered me, apparently under your breath, to get into the car via a different curb, one reserved for passenger pick-ups. When I didn’t obey, you showed me you meant business by threatening a woman who had no role in our prior interaction. And when I asked why you were writing a ticket, you were rightly annoyed with me, and said that you had already told me that I could only get into the car in the designated pick-up area. I’m so sorry I didn’t hear your mush-mouthed order over the echoing din of honking horns and revving engines. These stupid ears of mine! I really should have listened to you more closely, just in case you were commanding me to do something totally inefficient and pointless.

Sure, she was waiting in a line of cars that wasn’t moving at all, and sure, I didn’t have to walk into the street or disrupt traffic in any way to get into her car. Sure, her passenger side opened onto an empty curb, and sure, it took me all of three seconds to get into the car, during which traffic didn’t move at all. And sure, if you had just let us go on our way, it would have actually alleviated traffic overall, since we wouldn’t have needed to merge or change lanes. Sure, it would have saved everyone, including yourself, time and frustration. But you have authority to maintain, oh LAX Cop Who Threatened To Write My Girlfriend A Ticket Last Monday. And you can’t just have people flouting your rules and getting into cars willy-nilly. In a properly functioning society, the letter of the law always supersedes the spirit, and the stripes on your arm are all the proof of this anyone should need.

Thank you, oh LAX Cop Who Threatened To Write My Girlfriend A Ticket Last Monday. Thank you for showing me that order is only maintained through a healthy respect for authority, and that the best way to communicate with a recalcitrant citizen is to threaten a woman until he complies.

Operation Chihuahua Drop

Remember that kids’ movie that came out a few months ago? Something about Chihuahuas and offensive Mexican stereotypes? It was called, like, Viva Chihuahua or something. And like most movies about cute dogs, it resulted in a slew of parents buying Chihuahuas for their squalling little larvae, which in turn resulted in a slew of Chihuahuas being deposited in animal shelters when those same parents realized that it’s harder to teach kids to housetrain a dog than it is to just get rid of the dog and ply the kids with Hannah Montana crap until they stop crying.

Which is why — and this is the cool part — the SPCALA is doing a Chihuahua airlift today. Let’s say that again in all caps for good measure: CHIHUAHUA AIRLIFT. Awesome.

Chubbers, one of the dogs making the trek.
Chubbers, one of the dogs making the trek.

Because Chihuahuas are the most popular breed of dog in LA, the SPCALA, which has shelters in Hawthorne and Long Beach, has more Chihuahuas than any other type of dog. It’s been that way for the past three years, and the problem is only getting worse. With shelter space at a premium, there weren’t many options available.
Continue reading Operation Chihuahua Drop

Really, Terrorists? Really?

Raise your hand if you’re out of town this weekend, and ever since you heard the story of our latest adventures in international terrorism, you’re dreading the increased labyrinthine draconian-ness of the TSA’s vile ministrations, all in the name of Keeping Us Safe From Harm.

On the way out of LA, I remarked to the guy in back of me in the security line — as we were both struggling to stuff laptops back into bags and tie shoelaces at the same time — that “I feel safer already,” adding a quick smirk to let him know it was just a joke. The smirk didn’t do its job, apparently, because in return all I got was that wide-eyed look of terror that says “Shut up, you fool! Are you trying to get us all THROWN IN GITMO?” I thought we’d be a bit more lighthearted in Obama’s America, but I guess not.

I’ve always found LAX to be one of the more relatively sedate airports in terms of security, owing, I suppose, to the fact that the good folks at Homeland Security don’t seem to care too much about any state west of the Mississippi that doesn’t have the words “liberty,” “tyrrany,” or “muzzle velocity” in its state motto. LA and San Francisco don’t get much in the way of security dollars, but you can be sure that the God-fearing Palinites in Butt Nugget, Idaho will be able to afford whatever cutting-edge technology they need to defeat the Saracen hordes.

Continue reading Really, Terrorists? Really?

Toy Drives: It’s Not Too Late!

Here’s my favorite personal Christmas story: One year when I was very young, I got a package of cheap off-brand glow-in-the-dark action figures. They had no faces and chintzy vinyl capes. For reasons I still can’t explain, I loved these guys — I played with them until their capes frayed and their joints (I think there was a grand total of, like, four on each figure) loosened.

Years later, when I was out of college, my single mom mentioned to me that her hardest Christmas was the one where she had just lost her job and was forced to go on welfare. She hadn’t been able to afford Christmas presents for me, so as soon as she got her first welfare check she went directly to the toy store and made the entire thing stretch as far as she could. That was the year she got me the glow-in-the-dark action figures. I don’t think she ever knew that I loved them so much.

So why am I telling you this? Because there are still plenty of kids out there whose parents can’t even afford the cheapest plastic aliens, and that’s where we come in. There are tons of toy drives and holiday charity events going on all around LA; here are the two I’ve heard about in the past week or so.

Spark of Love. Run by the LAFD, the Spark of Love toy drive collects new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment at every fire station in Los Angeles. Click here to find your local firehouse.

Season of Giving.
This is a series of events, all of which take place at LA Live. Each night spotlights a different local charity.

What other toy drives are going on in town? Share yours in the comments.

This is Why I Have a Brita

IMG_1639Pop quiz, hotshot: Where do you think Los Angeles tap water ranks on a list compared to, say, 99 other cities in the United States? Let’s designate #1 as “good quality,” and #100 as “more of an industrial-strength varnish removal agent than a potable source of human hydration.” Go on, guess. Number 12, maybe? Number 18 at the worst? Come on, we’re a major metropolitan area with access to the latest advances in technology, right? No way we’re anywhere lower than the top 20!

Try 83.

That’s right: In a survey of the most common pollutants present in municipal drinking water, Los Angeles ranked 83rd in the nation. That means the Department of Water and Power, an organization that routinely cashes the checks I write them, has allowed to seep into our drinking water 25 separate chemicals, including — seriously — chloroform. No wonder I’m so sleepy all the time.

Continue reading This is Why I Have a Brita

Still Life With Cheesesteaks at South Philly Experience

So let’s just get one thing clear right off the bat: I freakin’ love Los Angeles. I love my neighborhood, love California, love the west coast, love the whole majestic and mountainous western half of these United States.

But there are things I miss about my homeland. Like good cheesesteaks.


Out here they’re called “Philly cheesesteaks,” which, frankly, I find a little odd (as though there’s some other city that has cheesesteaks), but don’t feel bad. They call them that everywhere west of about Harrisburg. For the most part real cheesesteaks are absolutely impossible to find, partly because the requisite ingredients aren’t easily obtained outside of any zip code that doesn’t begin with 19, but partly because even the most well-meaning and well-trained sandwich artisans just don’t get it. Enter the South Philly Experience.

Continue reading Still Life With Cheesesteaks at South Philly Experience

Breaking the Ice


You know how sometimes you’re in those business meetings or school functions where there’s a whole bunch of new people, so you all have to engage in some ice-breaker function wherein you tell everyone your name and one interesting fact about yourself, and the whole time everyone is talking you’re not listening because you’re trying desperately to think of something notable about yourself, and you start to get depressed because the best thing that you can think of is that one weekend you watched three seasons of Alias and ate nothing but frozen Marie Callender’s dinners? That’s sort of how I feel right now.

At this point you’re asking yourself: Who is this silver-tongued young buck using the power of the internet to spread such merriment? My name is Kevin Ott, and I’m a new blogger here at LA Metblogs. I’m here to bring you charming and informative stories about the sun-kissed and cosmopolitan land in which we live.

Some things about me: I’m a freelance writer; I tell people I live in Los Feliz even though technically I don’t, because many people don’t know where Greater Griffith Park is; I live with my girlfriend, who for the most part thinks I’m pretty cool; I’m originally from Philly, but spent a few years in Boston as well; I worked for daily newspapers a few years before print journalism started looking like a pigeon with a broken wing; and I’m into trivia — like, did you know that John Tyler, our 10th president, has two living grandsons? Seriously, look it up.

It’s great to be a part of LA Metblogs. I plan on giving you guys some good stuff.