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1975 LA County Sheriff training film – call it retro Sunday

September 8, 2013 in Driving, Entertainment, History, LA, LA bloggers, Vintage

Or how to drive a tank fast on bias ply tires!

This film is a hoot.  The tips apply if you drive a rear wheel drive tank on bias ply tires.  The commentary is still sorta relevant when it comes to fast driving a car with rear wheel drive.  I love the brown haze they called sky back in the day, my how things have improved!

Tip o the hat to Sergeant Tom LeVeque at Arcadia Pd who found this old video.

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Grazing your way through the L.A. County Fair

September 1, 2013 in coffee, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA, News, Seasonal, Shopping

official post card

Well, its that time of year again, and boy howdy did I have fun grazin’ my way through the Los Angeles County Fair the other day. It was Foodie night the other night, an invitation only event for us media and blogger types.  A great selection of vendors were open showing off their wares for our consumtion…and blogging later.

Of course for me it wasn’t all grazing, it was imbibing in some wonderful booze and wine and a detour through the Los Angeles County Model Railroads exhibit next to the food court.  The best part about the latter is that you get to go beyond the fence and get up close and personal with the trains and dioramas.  Win!  Read the rest of this entry →

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Pacific Plate Brewery : great microbrewery with a twist opens in my ‘hood

September 1, 2013 in Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley

Yup, Pacific Plate Brewery is gonna put Monrovia on the map of microbrewers.  Great beers with a twist…flavors kicked up a notch with real fruit in the case of the Mango IPA.  My favorite however was the Cardamom Ginger Saison, a wonderfully spicy beer.

Pacific Plate is an interesting brewery.  They make craft beers with a twist as you might have guessed.  They start with whole grains they mill themselves. They add flavor pairings that compliment each other to create very different beers than you typically find on the shelves of your local groc.  Each batch is brewed by the barrel, not by the bajillion barrels that gives them better control over the final product.  They even grow their own yeast to maintain the quality of their beer.  All good stuff. Read the rest of this entry →

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Hong Kong Supermarket FINALLY opens in Monrovia

July 21, 2013 in Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping


After over a year of delays and general dicking around the Hong Kong Supermarket finally opened.  I am ecstatic.  No more trekking to Alhambra or China Town just for miso paste, thai red chili, or kecap manis (sort of a sweetened soy sauce).  I can get it where I live.  Yahoo…especially handy since we do meatless mondays around here. Read the rest of this entry →

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Nice parking ace…did you really have to do it?

June 26, 2013 in Driving, LA, Transportation

Ok…I’m in as much a hurry as anyone. Today was my neuro appt at Kaiser Sunset. Parking was always rough there until 2 years ago when they instituted complimentary valet parking. Its well signed too.

So…I left early to allow for parking dilemmas, and knew that if all else failed I could use the handy valet service.  Zipping around the corner in my nifty new compact I came across this idiot hogging 2 compact spaces.  Absolute genius.  Didn’t even make an effort to fit in one compact space, but angled in blocking another.  It was clearly marked as they pulled in “small car” and “compact car” only, a redundancy that escaped them.  The worst thing was that if they followed the signs up one more level they would have had the use of free valet service.

There’s an app being tried somewhere in Canada that will PAY people to report parking ‘tards such as this one.  Not sure when or if ever it will make it to L.A.  But when it does I will be rich.

Pic by me…love how the license plate glows in the dark.

For The Sake Of The Lake

June 17, 2013 in Events, LA, News

The return of Echo Park Lake to the people this past weekend after an almost two-year closure for renovation, was both a highly anticipated event for those in the surrounding communities, and big enough to warrant coverage by a lot of the local media outlets.

Me? I stayed the heck away on Saturday, opting instead to visit on the far less-hectic day after, with the crowds far less madding and the number of pontificating politicians reduced to zero.

What a beautiful old new place it is. An absolute jewel. My favorite sight? This specimen (click it for the bigger picture):

It did my heart good to see the lotuses once again thriving in the north lagoon.

Re Creo Underground Supper

May 21, 2013 in Downtown, Food & Drink, LA

Lately, most of my adventures have been in food.  A great deal of it has centered around my proximity to Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet of Mo-Chica, Picca and now Paiche fame.  They are my bosses.  (Amazing bosses, by the way.)  So, I’ve had the chance to eat some of the best food being created in LA.

Part of what happens when you are in the nexus of awesome energy is you meet a vast array of amazing people.  DTLA people are quickly becoming my favorite sorts.  They are artsy, creative, edgy, a little dangerous and full of life.  One of those people is Jean Francoise Valcarcel.

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Fabulous Fords Forever car show coming Sunday 4/21

April 12, 2013 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, LA, Transportation, Which Side?

Fabulous Fords Forever

The absolute biggest single make auto show on the west coast is the Fabulous Fords Forever show. It got started here at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center at Griffith Park in 1984. It has grown so big its since been moved to Knott’s Berry Farm. It is one of my all time favorite shows. Its about a lot of cars, fun people and celebrities. I had the chance to meet the legendary racer/builder Carroll Shelby two years ago, Henry Ford III last year.  Hell, I even absent-minded walked right into Jack Nicholson while I was all agog over the cars.

Every year there is a new theme to the show with new guests as well.  This year among the 2000+ cars, it will be celebrating 110 years of Ford Motor Company with a display of milestone cars. Additional features are 85 years of the Ford Model A, 45 years of the Torino and 20 years of SVT. They have cars registered from 13 states and Canada, covering 55 classes of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks, plus several displays of the latest from Ford and Ford Racing.

The guest of honor is the celebrated Formula Drift Champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr., who will have his latest drifting Mustang on display along with his RTR Mustang stable.  Linda Vaughn will be in attendance with a team of legendary 1960’s drag racers of California fame. Meet and greets will be available with them.

Deets: Sunday April 21, 2013 from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Knott’s Berry Farm,8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620  MAP HERE 

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Do you have a contractor horror story? Reality TV may be calling you.

March 28, 2013 in LA, Television, Which Side?

You can read the full news release I got in my email after the jump.  But the short version is if you had a reno or remodel done to your home and got screwed by your contractor an LA casting producer from Shed Media is looking to talk to you.  The Casting Producer is Ben Selle and he is looking for a homeowner willing to spare a few hours filming with a hopeful host for a soon to launch major cable network reality show about contractor horrors.

I’ve tossed my hat into the ring for this one. We did an addition for a studio/game room and a patio redo.  The job should have taken 2 months, but took 10 as the contractor kept disappearing and dodging phone calls.  Worse after going over budget the work has aged very poorly…drywall seams showing and cracking, slate tiles popping up or disintegrating.  Sigh.  Eventually we fired him and hired someone else to finish the job.  Now we are finding out how shoddy his work was and we have no recourse.

To make things uber easy write Ben directly at [email protected] with your story of woe.  Include pictures of the problem, yourself since you will be on camera, and your location in L.A.

The press release after the jump… Read the rest of this entry →

‘Paperman’ Producer Kicked Out of Oscars for Throwing Paper Airplanes

February 26, 2013 in Entertainment, Hollywood, LA, Movies, People

Congratulations go out to Kristina Reed, also known as wife of long-time blogging.LA’s Mack Reed not (just) for producing the Academy Award-winning Animated Short Paperman, but for getting kicked out of (and getting let back into) the 2013 Oscars.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

After Disney’s Paperman won the Academy Award for best animated short Sunday, producer Kristina Reed began throwing paper airplanes, about three or four — with kisses on them, like the ones seen in the film — from her seat in the mezzanine.

The paper planes were nowhere near the stage, instead shooting straight down from the balcony. It went largely unnoticed by the crowd, but security didn’t think the act was very sweet, kicking her out of the Dolby Theatre auditorium.

It would turn out to be temporary. After a short protest, security brought her back to her seat about five to 10 minutes later.

The story has been picked up by Gawker, HuffPo, ABC, MSN, and more.

(Photo lifted from Mack’s Facebook feed… thanks, Mack!)

Elisa Lam: Body of Missing Canadian Tourist Discovered in Downtown Hotel Water Tank

February 21, 2013 in Downtown, LA, News, Obituaries, People


The body of missing Canadian tourist, Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British Columbia, was found in the water tank of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Lam had traveled to California by herself on January 27, en route to Santa Cruz, and was last seen by workers at the hotel on January 31.

Although Lam was scheduled to check out of the hotel on February 1, she had disappeared, despite being in daily contact with her family up until this point. By February 6, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had released details about the suspicious disappearance of Lam and on February 7, a press conference was held about the case.

A week later, on February 14, the LAPD released a disturbing surveillance video of the 21 year old University of British Columbia (UBC) student darting in and out of the hotel’s elevators.

Earlier this week, on February 19, guests at the Cecil Hotel complain about low water pressure and a worker checks the hotel’s water tanks and discovers Lam’s body. Guests staying at the hotel had likely been bathing, brushing their teeth and drinking water from a tank in which Lam’s body had been likely decomposing for more than two weeks.

Photo courtesy: LAPD

George Tetsuo Aratani, Nisei Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Passes Away at Age 95

February 20, 2013 in Downtown, LA, Obituaries, People

George Aratani, a survivor of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and later successful businessman and philanthropist who founded Mikasa and Kenwood, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at the age of 95.

His legacy in philanthropy through The Aratani Foundation has supported many Japanese American organizations, but especially in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. One literally cannot walk a block in Little Tokyo without passing by a space endowed by George and Sakaye Aratani: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Aratani Japan America Theatre; the Japanese American National Museum’s George and Sakaye Central Hall; and the Union Center for the Arts’s Aratani Courtyard.

From The Nisei Week Foundation Facebook page:

The Nisei Week Foundation mourns the passing of George Aratani who passed away peacefully today [Tuesday, February 19, 2013].

Aratani successfully launched post-World War II international trade enterprises. His first was Mikasa, a tableware company which was doing $400 million in annual sales when it was sold in 2000.

Influenced by his late father and motivated by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Aratani and his wife Sakaye have donated a sizable amount of their wealth to Japanese American organizations and causes.

For More Information:
Hirahara, Naomi. An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood. Los Angeles, CA: Japanese American National Museum, 2001.

Photo credit: CalPoly Pomona, The George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden

This Is The Hollenbeck Burrito

February 14, 2013 in East Side, Food & Drink, LA, News, People

The quarter seen next to the plate is for scale. The Hollenbeck Burrito is the creation of a singular master by the name of Manuel Rojas who owned the famed Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights. But the Hollenbeck is hardly the largest burrito he makes — or I should say made, since sad news came yesterday that Señor Rojas has died at the age of 79 after a half-century of  serving them up.

That distinction belongs to any variety of Manuel’s Special burritos, each of which roughly calculates out to being about 250 cubic inches of gut-busting deliciousness (here’s an example with the unknown patron exhibiting the appropriate level of shock and awe). Simply laying my eyes on such massiveness the one and only time I ordered a Manuel’s Special was almost enough to stave off my worst hunger pangs. Since then, it’s been Hollenbecks for me and they’re pleeeeeenty! But if the previously mentioned dimensional quantification is hard to wrap your head around, try this alternative: it weighs in at five pounds.

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around Rojas no longer overseeing the construction of his classics, but I take solace that they live on, and I will most certainly be paying a visit in the near future to honor him by digging into one — and taking the inevitable leftovers home.

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Q&A with Dan Lin, Producer of ‘Gangster Squad’

January 11, 2013 in Crime, LA, Law Enforcement, Movies

This article was originally published at 8Asians.com and has been reposted here with permission.

Terminator Salvation. Sherlock Holmes 1,2, and 3. Lego: The Piece of Resistance. Godzilla. Stephen King’s It. Death Note. Justice League. What do all these disparate movies past, present, and future have in common? One amazing Taiwanese American producer, Dan Lin.

And you might have heard of his latest film Gangster Squad, an LAPD period movie about a battle to take back LA from the mafia. Named back in 2008 by Variety as one of top 10 producers to watch, Lin has definitely lived up to the title, and with all the classic blockbusters being tacked to his name, he and everything he does will be worth watching for long after Gangster Squad hits the streets this Friday.

Here are 8Questions with Dan Lin about his new film and more from a roundtable press interview:

Read the rest of this entry →

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Christmas from back in the day where everyone dressed for the holiday

December 24, 2012 in History, Hollywood, LA, Seasonal, Vintage

Love this video, just wish it had a sound track.  Love the old stock footage from 1940’s Los Angeles where they really went out of their way to decorate for Christmas in Hollywood.

Merry Christmas all…