Think Blue!

Not only did the Dodgers win their opening game this season, they did it by beating the hated San Francisco Giants.

Oh, and did I mention that they shut them out? Yeah, the final score was 5-0. Bite it, Giants!

In an interesting bit of trivia goodness, I just heard on TV that the Dodgers beat the Giants 50 years ago today, which obviously means that we should just pull out our record books from 1958 and place our bets for the rest of the year accordingly.

Also, as the season drags on, and the Dodgers are stranding 14 runners as they go down in flames to teams that your company’s softball team would beat, remember this: The Dodgers shut out the Giants on opening day. Trust me, we’re going to want to hold on to this one.

A guide to Downtown LA’s Gentrification

I’ve lived here my whole life (with little breaks for a few months at a time while working on location) and it’s always weirded me out more than a little bit that Downtown has — until recently — kicked everyone out at 6pm and tossed them onto the 110, so the whole place can turn into something resembling Bartertown when the sun goes down.

At Gridskipper, Omri Ceren has written an informative, interesting, and amusingly-titled guide to the ongoing efforts to redevelop Downtown to so people will live and play there long after Thunderdome’s been closed down.

Downtown LA For Residents, Tourists, and People Who Sometimes Require Hookers And Blow breaks Downtown into different neighborhoods, attempts to let us know what makes each one a precious little snowflake, and how developers plan to melt those snowflakes into a slushy mass of crap.

Examples on the other side of what the damn kids today call “the jump.”
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The Echo Park Time Travel Mart

There are a lot of reasons to hate Los Angeles: endless traffic jams, worthless public transportation, underachieving sports teams, the Westside (I keed! I keed!) . . . but whenever I think about leaving, I remember that I can spend an entire day on my patio reading a book — dressed only in my shorts and a T-shirt — in February.

While searching for the end of the Internet yesterday, I came across another reason to love our fair city: The Echo Park Time Travel Mart, which is one of the most beautiful and awesome art installations I think I’ve ever seen.

Randy Newman, sing me a song, because I love L.A.

City Council Takes Action!

Having solved all the problems facing Los Angeles, including a useless mass transit system, too many pot holes in our streets to count, crumbling infrastructure in our underperforming schools, rampant gang violence everywhere and graffiti polluting all of our once beautiful murals, our esteemed Los Angeles City Council has finally tackled the issue that we Angelenos have been begging them to address since . . . never.
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Tornado Warning for Long Beach, most of Southwest Los Angeles

I’m sitting here, watching the Kings play the Ducks, and I casually mention to my son that the Kings are playing so well tonight, it’s a sign of the apocalypse.

Then I see a real sign of the apocalypse: there’s a freaking tornado warning for Long Beach, Lakewood, San Pedro, and Norwalk. (Update from Markland: add all of Southwest LA to the list, including Topanga, Malibu, and Palisades. Yikes.)

Earlier today, Warren Ellis Twitter’d to Sean, “sounds like the fucking apocalypse over there.”

Maybe, Uncle Warren. Maybe.

Kings go for season-high fourth win in a row! Wait. Fourth?

Our beloved basement-dwelling Los Angeles Kings — who are playing so horribly they should really be wearing the old Purple and Gold to complete the flashback to 1981 — are chasing their season-high fourth win in a row tonight.

Yeah, that’s right: four games in a row. Four. Cuatro. IV.

The only thing sadder and more pathetic than the Kings having the worst record in the NHL? Their current winning streak (of three games) is one of the longest in the league.

Are there any Kings fans reading blogging.la? It’s painful to watch them the last few years because they Suck. So. Much. But I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember (Triple Crown line FTW!) and once held season tickets in the good old Fabulous Forum days.

ICME: Things you can’t ship at the UPS store

Do_not_accept.jpegI went to the UPS store this afternoon to ship some stuff to out of state friends and family, and saw this rather amusing sign of the things the UPS Store will not accept.

I snapped this with my Helio Ocean, and thought it was on higher resolution than it is, so squint along with me as I point out some of the things you can not ship this holiday season. Or ever:

  • Snakes.
  • $50,001 of gold bullion.
  • Poison Gas
  • A 37 cent Elvis stamp.
  • Tarantulas.
  • Stacks of coins.
  • Scottie dogs.
  • Walter Donnie*, from The big Lebowski.

Needless to say, I’m going to end up hand delivering a lot of gifts this year. I hope my friends and family will try to look surprised.

*Oops. I conflated Lebowski with The ‘Burbs. My bad.

Secret LA Parking Tip: Old Town Pasadena

Old Town Pasadena has changed a lot since I was in high school, when it was a glorious dump that felt a little dangerous. I wrote in my book Just a Geek:

Thanks to the efforts of the Pasadena preservationists, the historical building facades haven’t changed, but they are the only thing which remain the same. The empty doorway where a punk rocker once sneered at passing businessmen is now a Pottery Barn, occupied by a San Marino yuppie who screams into her cell phone. The eclectic record store where we’d buy imported Smiths singles is now a Sam Goody, its windows plastered with posters announcing the latest release from Justin Timberlake. Tourists stand uncomfortably at crosswalks, trying to ignore the homeless who have come to enjoy the trickle down economics of a prospering shopping thoroughfare.

All of this progress is not without its benefits, though. Old Town is safe, if sanitized, and several good restaurants have moved into the area.

Yeah, it’s been gentrified all to hell, and the only real risk to anyone who goes there for Pinkberry, H&M, or the Apple Store, is not finding a good parking place — or, at this time of year, any parking place at all.

Hi. I’m Wil, and I’m here to help you park your car when you come to spend money in my city.

Continue reading “Secret LA Parking Tip: Old Town Pasadena”

empty spaces

IMG_2076

I drove up to Malibu for an audition this afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve been up there since the fires devastated the city, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I mean, I figured the hills would be blackened, but I wasn’t prepared for just how close the destruction actually came to businesses. I knew that over 50 homes had been destroyed, and when I saw the news coverage of it live my heart ached for the people who lost them, but it wasn’t until I saw what was once Castle Kashan that it became real for me.

I know that sounds incredibly insensitive, but I don’t mean to minimize in any way the very real losses so many people suffered. What I mean is, watching it on television it became an abstract montage of tragedy after tragedy, but seeing with my own eyes the empty space where Castle Kashan used to be made it more personal.

When I was a kid, my dad surfed in Malibu all the time, so we drove over Malibu or Topanga or Kanan-Dume at least once a week. When they were old enough to know what was going on, my brother and sister and I would play two games: first to see the ocean, and first to see the castle. Now, it’s gone, and with it goes a touchstone from my childhood. Again, I know that pales in comparison to the massive losses of homes and businesses, and I’m grateful that this picture represents the only “loss” I personally have from the fire.

It was grey and starting to rain when I drove away from my audition today, and I noticed a lot of traffic as I waited to make my turn back onto PCH to come home. There were a lot of residents shopping, eating, and walking from one place to another. It was good to see that, though they were surrounded by tragedy and destruction, they were going on with their lives. I hope the people who lost their homes are able to do the same.

The men who are charged with starting the Corral fire were supposed to be arraigned today, but it’s been put off until February 14th. I hope they get a fair trial. If they’re convicted, I hope they’re held accountable for their actions.

Write Aid: a benefit for film industry workers affected by the strike

I completely support the WGA, and I hope that the guild is successful in getting the media moguls to engage in meaningful negotiations soon. What the WGA is asking for is entirely reasonable, and it’s the same thing SAG will be asking for in just a few months, so while this isn’t directly my fight at the moment, it’s going to be, soon enough.

The strike is affecting a lot of people who aren’t WGA or SAG, though: I have several friends who work in various film crew jobs who aren’t able to go to work because of the strike, and they’re starting to feel the impact of the studio’s greed, as well.

This Friday, the some WGA members have put together a benefit concert to raise money to provide assistance to industry workers who are affected by the strike.

Check out the details for Write Aid:

Performers currently scheduled:

Eddie Izzard

Lewis Black

Patton Oswalt

Sarah Silverman

Tenacious D (Jack Black & Kyle Gass)

ONE NIGHT ONLY!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14th at 8 p.m.

ROYCE HALL at UCLA

Tickets are $75 each, and can be purchased by visiting ULCAlive.org, Ticketbastard, or by calling (310) 825-2102.

UCLA vs. USC

Local news took a break from STORMWATCH!!1 last night to remind me that today is the big UCLA vs. USC football game.

On paper, it looks like USC will make UCLA its bitch, and will likely want to do that after the Bruins gave them their only loss last year, but with the Rose Bowl on the line for both teams, it’s going to be much more than a bragging rights game today.

I don’t have a particular allegiance to either team (and I’m not a huge fan of college sports in general) but it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement today, especially when I go outside and see my suburban neighborhood filled with flags and banners declaring each house’s favored team.

I counted them on my walk this morning, and decided that I’d go against all my neighbors and pull for UCLA. Ha! Suck it, University of Spoiled Children! Woo!

If you’re watching, who are you cheering for today?

A Halloween activity with (possible) real blood

If you want a chance to watch something truly scary — with a chance of real blood — this Halloween, head down to Staples Center and watch the Kings (6-6-0) take on Columbus (6-3-1).

To maximize the Halloween spirit, the first 1000 kids to show up will get glow in the dark hockey masks (sadly, there will be no accompanying axe or scary butcher knife) and the Kings are donating 10% of their ticket sales to UNICEF. Isn’t that nice of them? You won’t even have to carry around that silly little animal crackers box to do a good deed.

The game starts at 7:30, tickets are still available.

FEMA does a heckuva job, again.

When I heard that FEMA was coming to Southern California earlier this week, I had the same thought Mack had: No, thanks.

Excuse me for being a little unimpressed, but based on the agency’s recent record, I hoped they’d let the professionals who were already on the ground keep doing what they were doing, do their stupid press conference and photo-op, and get the hell out of town before they fucked anything up.

Well, it turns out that FEMA can’t even do a press conference correctly. They faked it.
Continue reading “FEMA does a heckuva job, again.”