I’ll Be Back For The Recount

isfox.jpgThis is going to be weird. On the eve of what’s certainly the most crucial election this country’s faced in my lifetime, I’m leaving. Well, not outta the country so much, just off the mainland to Santa Cruz Island.

I’m part of a short-notice trip arranged for a small group of Los Angeles Zoo volunteers who were essentially able to drop everything and spend the next four days roughing it and building pens that will help establish a breeding colony of the Channel Island’s endangered island fox. Believe it or not that house-cat sized bundle of adorability on the right is the top terrestrial predator over on Santa Cruz Isle, but is flirting with extinction thanks primarily to non-endemic golden eagles. Beyond helping save a species, the neato part is that we get to explore closed-to-the-public lands and shack up in a 120-year-old ranch house in the island’s central valley thanks to The Nature Conservancy.

The somewhat last-minute nature of the trip left me scrambling for (and getting and completing and mailing last week) an absentee ballot, and as I sit here at this later hour going over my packing list I’m left with the strange feeling as if I’m running away from the battle. Sure, the day before, the day of, the day after, and another after Election 2004, my ass is going to be about as isolated as one can be while only being 20 miles away from civilization. But given how gaggy the fever-pitch rhetoric is making me, getting away from all of it sounds mighty fine.
Continue reading I’ll Be Back For The Recount

Packers win!

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Los Angeles doesn’t have a football team which I don’t think most angelenos care one way or the other. I certainly don’t since I like the Greenbay Packers and without a home team, this affords me a better opportunity to catch them on television. Yes, I know, I can always go to Hooters to see all of the cable televised games. But what is important is weather you should be a Packer fan or not…at least for today. There is an interesting trend that has occurred since the 1933. Whenever it is an election year, the outcome of the Washington Redskins game (in their last home game before the election) has also predicted…or determined the outcome of the presdidential race. If Washington wins, the incumbent stays in office. If their opponent wins, the challenger gets elected. The Washington Redskins play the Greenbay Packers this afternoon.

Final Score:
Greenbay: 28
Washington: 14

Scary Movies to Guarantee a Fabulous Halloween in LA

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Last night I went to my favorite local video store because I was in the mood for some 1950s-60s old horror movies (for reference I wound up getting The Bad Seed and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed). Video Journeys in Silver Lake has a great movie selection all around but they particularly have amazing horror movies. But yesterday I was in for a surprise…as I made my way around the corner I looked up to their television playing non other than one of my most favorite movies, Coffin Joe: At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul. My heart actually started beating fast. I am officially a nerd.

So, inspired by my experience and by halloween in general, I’m making six movie recommendations for you this spookola weekend. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to post them!

1. Spider Baby (or the Maddest Story Ever Told) : I love, love, love this movie. I watched it last halloween while it was raining outside. Fabulous.
2. Halloween : I like to watch this very appropriate movie while carving pumpkins.
3. House on Haunted Hill (with Vincent Price, bien sur. Actually anything with Mr. Price is worth a viewing) : a haunted castle, black and white, Vincent Price…do I have to say anything more?
4. Castle of Blood : another haunted castle, black and white movie. A little slow but worth it.
5. Devil’s Nightmare : one of my absolute favorite movies…it’s about the devil, sucubus, a family curse, and unsuspecting gluttonous victims.
6. Night of the Living Dead : zombie, zombie, zombie

Halloween Safety Tips via LAFD

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Alright kiddies, as Halloween weekend draws near I feel it’s important to pass along the Los Angeles Fire Department Halloween Safety Tips. With many sections like “Before Halloween”, “Fun Alternatives” and “After Trick-or-Treating” this website guarantees you a fun, yet safe night.

Some of my favorites are:
ï When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.
ï Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
ï Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home
ï Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.

Ok, now that you know – be safe and have fun!

Dia de los Muertos

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One of the many advantages of living in LA is how close we are to Mexico. Some of you may laugh at this comment, or remember that night you got trashed in Tijuana (as I’m sure most of us have). What I’m talking about, however, are the cultural benefits, like going down to Olvera Street to check out the Day of the Dead festivities taking place this weekend. Day of the Dead is a ceremony that traditionally takes place on the November 2, although it is often celebrated for an entire week. On these days the people of Mexico bake breads and make sugar skulls to honor the dead. They also clean their loved ones graves and make altars to honor them. I went to Olvera st. last year, and it was a blast (although a very somber one). You can go check out live music and dancing, storytelling, and a candle lit procession after dark. You can even make your own sugar skulls (it’s a workshop mainly for kids, but last year I made some bitchin skulls). This celebration is going on now through Sunday and is not to be missed.
Other Day of the Dead celebrations around the city include the celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It’s tomorrow (Sat) from 4 to 11pm and will feature altars, music, dancing, vendors (a great way to get cool Christmas gifts), food, and other fun stuff. Or you could go check out the fun at Self Help Graphics and Art’s fest, which features much of the same, but focuses on Latino and Latina artists in the East LA area, and also has face painting, a total plus.
Whichever you choose, I think everyone should get a taste of these festivals. They’re fun, free, and they’ll give you your culture fix, too.

Mr. Bones

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If you’re like me, you want your pumpkin-buying experience to include livestock, hay, a “pumpkin bounce” and overpriced Halloween decorations. Luckily, even if you don’t have the time to drive to a pumpkin farm or county fair, Los Angeles has the answer. Just east of Beverly Glen on Wilshire Boulevard, in a small vacant lot just down the street from some of the highest priced condos in the city, sits “Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch” It’s the first time I’ve ever been charged $3.00 admission to buy a gourd. Inside the confines of the hay-covered lot, there is a meager petting zoo, face painting, a maze of pumpkins and hay, and dozens of kids bouncing in an inflatable pumpkin, flitting in and out of the halloween displays and gnawing on pre-wrapped caramel apples. It feels more like a set, dressed to match someone’s imagined vision of a country pumpkin patch than anything else, but if you have kids, it’s not a bad way to blow three bucks and take home a twenty dollar pumpkin. Actually, according to the signs posted around the lot, this is the last year for Mr. Bones’ Patch at this location. I think the signs were intended to make me feel sad about the fact that someone decided to make better use of the valuable real estate (which also transforms into a Christmas Tree lot called “Mr. Greentrees” in the winter) on Wilshire, but I couldn’t muster up any such feelings for the loss of this place. There’s something weird about the whole “Pumpkin Patch” phenomenon. I thought it was limited to Los Angeles, but according to this site, it’s a much bigger trend. I had no idea that pumpkins were such a lucrative business.

You’re On Candid Camera

I’ve been asked frequently about how camera phones impact privacy and how people are supposed to react knowing that they might be photographed anywhere, anytime – and my answer is always “Do you really think this is something new?” It’s a pretty safe assumption that in this day and age anything you do in public, and possibly some stuff you do in private is being captured on video or in photos. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

That said, hearing about new cameras being installed in public places to monitor people still scares the crap out of me. Mack Reed is talking about just that. He’s got a piece over on LA Voice about a chunk of new cameras that are about to be installed in Hollywood and how our own Councilman Eric Garcetti might be behind a lot of it. He asks:

“I’d be curious to know how the residents of Garcetti’s district feel about the 14 cameras he just won a grant to install around Hollywood, Echo Park and Glassell Park to keep an eye on them. I’d also like to see Garcetti explain how he weighed the needs of law enforcement against the right to privacy.”

He also quotes a Times story asking where the LAPD will find the time to sort through the footage and how they are going to make sure the cameras don’t see anything inside people’s apartments. Those are all valid questions for sure.

There’s another school of thought that suggests measures like this actually make people less safe. Because there’s not a viable or realistic way to go though all this footage, rather than usual traditional police methods to find the bad guys, cops are wasting time trying to scan mountains of video. It’s like trying to find the needle in the haystack rather than just popping into the sewing shop next door.

Farewell Bill Liebowitz

bill-whbf.jpgI just heard the awful news that Bill Liebowitz, owner and founder of L.A. (and national) comic landmark Golden Apple passed away yesterday. This is so totally sad. Bill was a gruff, grumpy wonderful old man that loved his family and his store and yo-yo’s and everything about comics. Comic legend Mark Evanier sums him up much more eloquently than I could hope to. This is a sad, sad day for a lot of people.

California Voter Foundation

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At this point, you’re probably sure who you are going to vote for for President. But what about all of those other issues you’ll be seeing on the ballot that might take you by surprise because you’ve been so concerned about Bush or Kerry? Be an informed voter and check out the California Voter Foundation to brush up on the propositions, congress, and legislative items you’ll be finding on your ballot this Tuesday.

CVF is non-partison too. Mucho useful and happy voting!

NFS – Arnuld Would Like to be President

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And in truly shocking news, Arnold Schwarzenegger tells 60 Minutes (the one that will air this Sunday) that he would, indeed, like to change the laws so that people born in other countries could be President:

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he would like to at least be able to entertain the thought, but the U.S. Constitution prevents foreign-born people from holding America’s highest office.

So the Austrian-born governor of California tells Correspondent Morley Safer he favors a constitutional amendment to enable him to run for president.

*Schwarzenegger interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes (CBS) Sunday, Oct. 31, at 7 pm

Voting = Free Coffee

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Here’s the real reason you should vote on Tuesday:

Groundwork Coffee Co. is offering a free cup of coffee to encourage people to vote for this upcoming election.† You can get a free cup of coffee when you presents a valid voter receipt from this year’s presidential election (Campaign goes Nov 2-Nov 3) Customers who present their voter receipt will have it stamped and receive acomplimentary 12oz. cup of coffee. This applies to Downtown (811 Traction Ave), Santa Monica (2908 Main St.) and Venice (671 Rose Ave.)

From Atelier Zero