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by frazgo

Drive Carbon Free for 2 years with a New Car

March 8, 2013 in Driving, environment, Events, News, Social issues, Transportation

No, I’m not talking a short term lease on an electric car, its on a gasser.  Suburban Simi Valley Ford is buying carbon offsets on any new car/truck you buy from them now through Earth Day (April 22, 2013).  They will purchase a 2 year carbon offset in your name from Carbonfund.org who in turn sends you a certificate for this purchase.

I talked with Mike Shell the leasing manager at Simi Valley Ford yesterday getting details on this program.  SVF is doing this because they want to leave a legacy and be a leader in helping to bring about an end to climate change.  So far since the Drive to Save the Environment Campaign started they have offset 1 Million, yes 1,000,000 pounds of carbon going into the air.  They hope that other dealers, including other brands will follow suit with this project in coming years. Read the rest of this entry →

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4 Local Bands make it to the 2014 Rose Parade

February 22, 2013 in Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Which Side?

Just got the press release.  Congrats to the 4 local marching bands that made it into the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade.

They are:
Glendora Tartan Band and Pageantry, Glendora
Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band, Los Angeles
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band & Herald Trumpets, Pasadena
The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band

 

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by frazgo

Metro cans more carpool lanes for Lexus Lanes – SGV hit this time around

February 22, 2013 in Driving, Law, Law Enforcement, News, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation

lexus lane transponder

Yup, as I mentioned in a post a while back, the HOV to HOT lane conversion is coming to me in the San Gabriel Valley.  The 10 from Alameda/Union Station to the 605 will be the affected area.  The change becomes effective 2-23-2013 at 12:01AM.

The transponders aren’t cheap, and then again using the lanes isn’t cheap if you are not in a carpool either.  Yes, you are required to have a transponder in your car if you use the lane.  There is no $3.00 service fee charged if you use it at least 3 times a month.

Metro is so “convinced” you will love it they are running a contest that ends today to get you to sign up.  Enter HERE.

AAA offers discounts on the transponders if you purchase it through them. This deal is open only to AAA members. The offer is as follows: Receive 20% off the initial pre-paid toll deposit of $40. AAA members will pay $32 for $40 worth of toll credits. Maximum discount is $8 per new account set-up.

My question is why hasn’t the 10 from DTLA to SaMo or the 405 from say the 101 to the 10 not been hit with the Lexus Lanes as well?  Certainly they are as congested as bad or worse than the freeways chosen so far.

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.

Pondering The Transponder: Sell Your Soul, Pay The Toll

November 13, 2012 in Driving, LA, News, Politics, Rants, Technology, Transportation

Following Frazgo’s November 9 post announcing the somewhat chagrin-filled arrival of toll lanes that have now turned a stretch of the 110 Freeway (and soon part of the 10 Freeway) into a Costway, I whatthehell’d it and decided to drink the koolaid and go get myself outfitted with one of the required tracking devices so my vehicular movements and non-movements could be monitored by 24/7 by the MTA and Caltrans, AAA via a combination of roadway implant receivers and suborbital satellites. Oops! Sorry!! My inherent schizoid-based distrust of any transmitters forced upon us by the government is showing. Let me zip that up. What I really meant to call the technology was “The completely harmless and entirely loveable Metro Expresslane FasTrak Transponder.”

Anyway, it’s not like I really need one. I’m rarely on the 110 and even rarer in its HOV lanes so my initial reaction was basically “fuck that bullshit” followed by about eight exclamation points.

Then my resolve weakened when the doomsday scenario occurred to me that there might come that anxiety-ridden day when I’m stuck southbound on the gridlocked Harbor coming through Exposition Park, 149 hopeless minutes away from a flight at LAX that’s leaving in 91 minutes. At that moment somewhere in a bunker deeeeeeeep under the city an MTA operative monitoring my biometric activity being sent via the chip embedded in the TAP card in my wallet smiled and told a failsafe colleague “We’ve almost got another one!”

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Did you film or video the Endeavour today?

September 21, 2012 in Events, LA, News, Photography, Which Side?

I am pretty amazed by the number of YouTube videos or flickr sets of the shuttle Endeavour’s tour of L.A. today.  Did you post any pics or videos today of the Endeavour?  If so please share the links to them in the comments section.

Endeavor Over Silver Lake

September 21, 2012 in News, Science, Transportation

I’d originally planned to bike up to the Observatory and hike to the top of Mt. Hollywood for a nice vantage point of the shuttle as it did its Los Angeles flyover this morning, but I instead opted just to park a rickety old adirondack chair up on the apex of our steeply pitched Silver Lake roof and camp out there with a camera. And not fall down.

Low and behold, at high noon, that blessed spacebird flew into view atop her trusty 747 transport and accompanied by two fighter jet escorts and literally arced around my gleeful self as if the pilots  saw me and said to hell with the Observatory let’s give THAT GUY over their in the chair on that roof a treat.

Of course I hastily snapped off a few frames as I sat gape-mouthed in awe of her relative proximity, the best of which is below when she’s west from me across Silver Lake gulch and over the Micheltorena Ridge and banking southeast to go to downtown. Just awesome (click to enlargify):

PS. I also set up a timelapse cam beside me to autosnap me up on the roof snapping the shuttle, after the jump…

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Bamboo Charlie, Rest In Peace

September 2, 2012 in Events, News, Obituaries

http://youtu.be/SCUKzjBeBMA

I was seriously  saddened to read in today’s LA Times that Charles Ray Walker (aka Bamboo Charlie) was found dead August 26. I first learned of him and the wonderful Boyle Heights space he transformed a couple years ago:

From the LA Times story today by Hector Becerra:

What Walker did, over two decades, was turn something grim into a wonderland garden of edibles and toys. He grew fruits and vegetables on bare slopes. He took discarded toys and whimsical signs and decorated terraces and elaborate stairwells he carved out of the dirt. He built a shack, and under the cool shade of a tree, a home entertainment room with a television set and sofa.

I’d always meant to go there and say hello. Now it’s too late for that. Now, all I can do is go and pay my respects.

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Comedian Phyllis Diller dies at age 95.

August 20, 2012 in News, Obituaries, People

Funny lady and long time Angeleno (Brentwood to be precise) passed away today.  There is a great article in the LA times about her HERE.  There is more on her life HERE in the wiki.

RIP and thanks for all the laughs over the years.

Do turn up the audio on the video as it isn’t that good of a sound quality.

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by frazgo

Community Policing, LAPD says this is why we are becoming one of the safest cities in the U.S.

July 29, 2012 in Crime, News, Social issues, The Valley

When I was a Valley dweller back when we were first married in Valley Village our neighborhood started experiencing gang related activity and auto thefts.  We were in the LAPD’s North Hollywood divisions policing territory.  They worked with us to establish a Neighborhood Watch and worked with us on a variety of community issues.  We became friends with several of the officers that patrolled our area. Community Policing now as outlined in the video has grown and is helping to make the neighborhoods in North Hollywood safer.

On a sidebar if you haven’t subscribed to the LAPD’s YouTube channel yet you might want to consider as aside from the infomercials and PSA’s they also have regular crime tips and vids seeking info on crimes.  You can subscribe on their channel HERE.

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Help a Whittier Student win a 25K scholarship, vote for her video.

July 12, 2012 in Driving, Events, News, People

The video is by Whittier student Kimberly Schiazza.  It was entered in the Bridgestone Teen Drive Smart video contest. The contest entailed them making a PSA on distracted driving.  She made it to the finals, its up to the votes to determine if she get’s the 25K prize.

The video is simply titled “Save a Life” and is in the top 10 of those submitted.  You can vote HERE.  (More on the contest HERE). Voting ends July 23 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. The top three videos will be announced August 1 on Teens Drive Smart.

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by ruth666

Please tell the City not to ban medical marijuana collectives!

June 20, 2012 in Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, News, Politics, Rants

UPDATE:

We just received word that the vote, and all action at City Hall, has been POSTPONED until further notice.

Please continue to Support Unionized Medical Cannabis Workers, and your right to Safe Access, in LA by writing a letter to your council person at www.ufcw770.org/cannabis.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Here’s my original post:

The city is set to vote to ban collectives this Friday.

Yes, you read that right.

Currently there are 8 votes in favor of banning ALL L.A. medical marijuana collectives. In order to overturn that, we need to make sure Busciano, LaBonge, or Krekorian lean in our favor. If all three of them vote to ban… It’s referendum time.

Unless we turn just ONE VOTE by Friday, all LA collectives will be banned.

To be clear, there could very well be 8 votes to ban right now because 3 of those votes have been holding their cards close to their chest.

If you can (and you care) please show up this Friday, June 22, 2012 at 9am, at LA City Hall East () for a press conference with Union Members, Patients, and Community Allies, to preserve safe access. This is important and very real; your voice can help keep collectives open to the law-abiding citizens who use them.

Please call and write to your councilmember in the meantime: www.ufcw770.org/cannabis

Hey Is That A Planet On Your Thumb Or Is Venus In Transit?

June 5, 2012 in News, Science

My first effort to document the last transiting Venus that any of us’ll ever see, ain’t much to crow about, but here’s what I got at 3:35 p.m. as the sun shined through my 20X spotting scope onto a piece of paper on my Silver Lake front porch as I took the snapshot with one hand and used my other to give some contrast to the blinding rays reflecting on the blinding paper, while trying not to move lest the scope shake like a polaroid picture.

Annular eclipses are soooooooo much easier to shoot.

UPDATE (4:35 p.m.): Here’s one that’s a bit more civilized after the jump, shot at 4:11 p.m. I’ll add any later ones that might be worthy of sharing.

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