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I know, its silly. Ring in the New Year at midnight, but in my little corner of L.A it isn’t New Years Day until 8:02AM when the B2 bomber banks over my house for its second swipe at the Rose Parade. Pretty nifty stuff.
More pics by me in my flickr set just in case our trusty old server doesn’t want to take my upload.
Happy New Year L.A.
Do you watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day? (That’s tomorrow, FYI.) Have you wondered what those floats look like up close but have no desire to spend the night in freezing temperatures? (It’s going to get into the mid-30s tonight, that is close enough to freezing for me.) You can! It’s become a custom to view the parked floats for a few days after the parade. This year you can view them tomorrow (Jan. 1), Friday and Saturday (Jan. 2-3). It will cost you $10 per person and the money goes to the Tournament of Roses Foundation. For that entry fee, you can walk all along the floats (but no touching, please) and even talk with white jacketed volunteers who will tell you more about them.
The floats are viewable:
January 1: 1:00 – 5:00PM
January 2: 9:00 – 5:00PM
January 3: 9:00 – 5:00PM
Senior citizens and disabled persons are welcome from 7:00 – 9:00am both days for less crowded viewing.
You can buy tickets online here or you can buy tickets on-site until 3pm each day.
UPDATE: You can only buy tickets online if you plan to pick them up by 5pm TODAY at the ticketing office (See link). Otherwise, you must buy them on site.
Also, there is a Park and Ride Shuttle ($3 for those 6 years old and above) to ease in the parking situation as street parking nearby is limited.
I plan on getting there early on Saturday in warm cozy clothes.
Happy New Year!
During the “12 Days of Giving” series here highlighting various awesome and local organizations that deserve your considerations and donations, I wrote about a 137-year-old institution near and dear to my heart (and my bank balance seeing as I work there): the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).
In that post, I talked about the ginormous difference between spcaLA and the ASPCA (whose heart-wrenching ads are all over the end-of-year airwaves), and at the end I threw in a twist by promising to donate to spcaLA the spare change my wife and I have collected in that half-gallon jug pictured at left (click to biggify) over the last five or so years, and also to donate it in honor of whoever came closest to the amount all that coinage added up to.
I was actually surprised I didn’t get a few more stabs at the amount, but I’m nevertheless thankful to have received the following guesses in the comments to that post:
- Frazgo: $72.96
- JozJozJoz: $89.27
- LucindaMichele: $82.50
- Jodi Kurland: $65.37
- Alexandra Apollini: $89.23
- BikingInLA: $97.13
- DavidDavidDavidDavidDavid: $87.84
After the jump, find out what it took to get the coins counted, who the honoree is and how totally far off from the actual amount they all were…
This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.
Do you remember your first tricycle or bicycle? I remember several from my childhood and have fond memories of receiving one of them for Christmas one year. I was in my early teens and there was an elaborate scavenger hunt of clues that ultimately led to the new wheels in the garage. While I rarely ride now, as a child I loved having a bike. It was a means of some freedom and independence long before being able to drive a car.
I know I’m not alone in my nostalgia, which is why I wanted to bring some awareness to an awesome organization called Red Star Riders. Red Star Riders is a non-profit group started by Los Angeles area pediatric physical therapists. Their mission is to raise funds for families of children with special needs to purchase AmTryke® therapeutic tricycles. Not only do these dedicated professionals hold fundraising events, but they also donate their time to assist the children in being properly fit for each customized bike*.
Through some targeted fundraising, Red Star Riders has been able to assist several families in getting bikes for their kids this holiday season. However, letters like the one below keep coming in. Jocelyn is a 6-year-old girl with Rett Syndrome. She cannot walk, cannot talk and has little function of her hands. Jocelyn’s mother sent the flollowing:
My typical daughter, Rylee, is 4 years old and Santa is bringing her a big girl bike for Christmas. I know I have to give her a typical childhood, but my heart is breaking with sympathetic envy for my 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who has Rett Syndrome and cannot ride a typical bike. I have been searching for a modified bike for her to have under the tree Christmas morning right next to her sister’s. What a Christmas morning that would be for her! However, special bikes are over $1000 and, embarrassingly and regrettably, that is not something we can afford for Jocelyn. Christmas is always bitter sweet for us. She is a happy girl, regardless of her daily struggles and limitations. She loves being outside and a family bike ride seems like a fantasy, but I have hope that one day, we will be able to have one.
Jocelyn’s bike will cost $815. Jocelyn’s story is similar to many of the families waiting for bikes for their kids. Your donation can help joy, self confidence, independence, improved quality of life, physical activity, and so much to the children on the waiting list. Please click HERE to make your tax deductible donation.
*Yes, the term “bike” is used loosely here. Kids “ride bikes.” So what if they have three wheels, a seat belt, trunk supports, or other adaptations. It’s a bike.
All photos and the contents of the letter used with permission by Red Star Riders.
Fun little video recapping some of the more spectacluar reveals at this years L.A. Auto Show. I can tell you from experience we’re getting better stuff shown here than Detroit for the most part.
In just 3 weeks I’ll be at NAIAS in Detroit. Its a fun show, but ours is way bigger physically and has the best reveals. They still get North American Truck and Car of the year, so we need to figure out how to wrangle that out of their meat hooks.
Preamble/Disclosure: There’s a subset of the fine folks who know I’ve been a scrivener for Blogging.la going way back to March 2004, who also know that back in 2011, despite all appearances of sanity, sensibility and advanced middle age, I committed to making a rather drastic career change in leaving behind a 20-odd year (emphasis on the word “odd’) career in journalism to become a humane law enforcement officer, more commonly known as an “animal cop.” Soon after that decision, I undertook what would become a lengthy, arduous and challenging process of training and preparation and hiring — I call it a “journey of a thousand hurdles” — that culminated this past summer when I was sworn in as a Level 1 Humane Officer working for, you guessed it: the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).
But enough about me. More importantly, I need to clear up an important misconception. You know those heart-wrenching ads that inundate your TV screens around this time of year, soundtracked by Sarah McG’s “Angel” and featuring some celeb (last year it was the guy from “Will & Grace”) guilting the hell out of you to donate NOWRIGHTNOW while a slideshow of horribly mistreated animals scrolls by? Yeah: that’s soooooo not spcaLA. That’s a whole different animal: That’s ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
But Will, you ask, isn’t ASPCA the “parent” of spcaLA? Great question! Answer: Not in any way, shape or form. They are entirely individual and separate entities. It’s a common mistake people make believing that ASPCA is some sort of national umbrella under which all SPCAs in the country operate. But they don’t. Each and every SPCA is its own independent organization. The same goes with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They have absolutely nothing to do with, say, the Pasadena Humane Society.
But Will, you ask, why should that matter to me? Another valid query! As an Angeleno it should matter to you because at the end of one of those above-mentioned ASPCA ads that will be dominating the local year-end airwaves, when you rush to your computer or telephone, whip out your credit card and ship some money to their headquarters across the country in New York City, not a penny of it will benefit any of the animals in your own neighborhoods. Think of it like donating blood to your local hospital versus the American Red Cross. In both worthy cases, the precious resource will almost certainly go to someone who needs it, but the chances are exponentially greater that the blood you gave at, say, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will go to a child at that hospital. Donate locally, I say… which rhymes with spcaLA!
After the jump, a bit of history before we get to the fun part.
2014 has been a great year for my family. It wasn’t always like this. We’ve had some pretty lean years in the past but hard work, faith, and determination put us on a blessed path. There are plenty of places in the world where, no matter how hard citizens try, those qualities still don’t offer up a dream life. This year, I felt it was important to give back to the universe that has created joy and plenty in my life but still finds so many people suffering around the world. My husband and I both come from from traditions of charitable giving and volunteership. No matter how impoverished we’ve been, we could always put food on the table and our parents taught us that meant we were still fortunate and it was our duty to offer assistance to those without.
So our regular checks to charitable organizations weren’t good enough this year. A stellar year means we’d have to reach a little deeper. But I’m lazy and volunteering with an infant while my husband is working overseas is more difficult than I can manage. Instead, I found a great way to give while doing my regular weekly shopping at the Culver City Farmers Market. The Whole 9 Gallery had a booth I could not avoid. So many cute and cool things to buy! And what’s this?? The money spent helps to support their charity The Peace Project?? Perfect! Holiday shopping AND charitable giving, combined! I bought more gifts than I had people to give to just so I could throw more money at a worthy cause. And all of it was reasonably priced and very well made and unique.
The Peace Project is an effort by The Whole 9 online creative community to transform lives globally. Started in 2010 by the community’s founder, the project has distributed crutches to amputees and victims of civil war in Sierra Leone, sponsored educational grants for African school-age children, built houses for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines, and been the benefactor for several artists on six continents. Through their works, they’ve used art to bridge the gap between necessary resources and the community members who desperately require them. The Whole 9 Gallery in Culver City sells the wares for several artists whose proceeds fund these works abroad.
To learn more about The Peace Project or to donate directly, visit http://thepeaceproject.com/donate.php. Just want some last minute gifts that will fund the future happiness of others in our world? Check out The Whole 9 Gallery at 3830 Main Street, Culver City, CA 90232.
I braved not one but TWO crowds today. First up… The Echo Park Holiday Parade!!! I had high hopes for this because I’d heard a bunch of Krampus revelers were going to be there and I was not disappointed. If you’re one of the uninitiated, “Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved… Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children and drag them off into the black forest.” (wiki)
Krampus was made popular a couple years ago by a viral video of hairy-costumed nightmares rampaging through a northern Italian mountain community and beating the ever-loving crap out of passersby. I needed the little one to see this so she’d be on her best behavior for the next couple weeks. But unlike Italy where it is apparently legal to beat innocent tourists, it’s frowned upon here, especially for 6 month olds. That’s probably for the best.
There were other parade participants but I honestly can’t remember who they were after seeing the Krampus steam engine car built by Bay Area artist-engineer Kimeric Smythe. Also several members of the Salzburg-area Alt Gnigler Krampus and Perchten Troupe joined the parade of domestic brand Krampus… Krampuses? Krampen? Krampai? Whatever. It was a hoot.
As if seeing Krampus in Echo Park wasn’t enough, I dragged the kid downtown to Grand Park for the Renegade Craft Fair. It’s one of my favorites. Although I had nothing to buy this time (poor wallet…), I got to see some new friends like the ladies at Ave Dee. I bought a fanny pack from them at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach and it’s been my saving grace on short outings with the kid. Contrary to what movies tell you, you do not need to travel everywhere with a full diaper bag breaking your back. Sometimes you just need your wallet, cell phone, car keys, and an emergency pacifier. Maybe some chapstick. Ave Dee’s fanny packs are the perfect hands-free device for busy mommas like me. And they’re cool! Anyone who says fanny packs are lame are probably pretty lame themselves. And I guarantee you they’re carrying around way too much crap.
I also stopped in on good friends and former roommates extraordinare from Outlaw Soaps, Russ & Danielle Vincent. These amazing villians started their business in our house just a couple years ago and look at them now! Masters of saponification. Lauded by the mighty Oprah herself, even. I highly recommend you jump on their bandwagon, stat; they’re moving their productions from Oakland to a little parcel of land just southeast of Lake Tahoe and they’ve quit soap making until the new digs are up and running in January. When I saw them today, they had very little stock left. That’s what happens when your goods are being bought for wholesale by the likes of national retailers like Urban Outfitters and ThinkGeek! I’m so proud of them, I could scream.