R.I.P. Pinto

The cocker spaniel from Lakewood that was attacked by bees yesterday died today. R.I.P. Pinto. May there be milk bones, fire hydrants and mailmen a plenty for you in canine heaven.

Dog stung to death by bees in Los Angeles suburb

LAKEWOOD ñ A cocker spaniel named Pinto died Tuesday after he was stung by at least 100 bees that were nesting in discarded backyard tires, authorities said.

The buff-and-white 4-year-old, was treated by a veterinarian after Monday’s attack and released but went into convulsions and died at his home in this suburb 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, apparently from the bee stings, said Capt. Aaron Reyes, director of operations for the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority.

Continue reading R.I.P. Pinto

Fasting Is Not An Option….Nor Is Plastic Surgery

I thought about starting one of my New Year resolutions on Jan 1st…but after looking at my naked body in the mirror last night, I figured I’d jump the gun and start in on the exercise plan a month early. Rampant in the girlfriend discussion department, is that in almost any other city outside of Los Angeles… especially the Mid-West, we would be smokin’ hot chicks with every night on the date dance card filled. However, here in LA, a ‘good body’ is one with hard flat abs, perfectly enhanced tits and a high round booty that brings up the rear. Okay, so my booty brings up the rear, a good push up bra keeps boob job thoughts at bay, but a flat belly is like an eternal unrequited quest. It doesn’t help that there are 100,000 tight out of work actresses milling around. So, in the desire to keep up, and with a glance at the snack pack that peeks over my jeans, I’m perusing my work-it-off options. I tried Bally’s. It’s cheap, but the pick-up scene is gross, as are the locker rooms. So I’m opting for a smaller, cushier torture chamber, the super clean Sports Center in Toluca Lake. It’s a bit clubby for me, but everyone is crazy nice. I figure I’ll jump back in with some hard core yoga at City Yoga on Fairfax and round it out with vigorous walks in the hills. Rock-hard here I come. Oh, the price of loving good food.

all you need is love

As Will and Joz mentioned earlier, it seems like San Francisco (one of my favorite cities in the entire world, for the record) has made hating on Los Angeles a fundamental part of its identity.

Personally, I just don’t get it. SF is an amazing city, (if you can afford to live there) with all sorts of amazing things to see and do. Why do they need to hate on SoCal so much?

I mean, who cares that San Francisco doesn’t have the waves at Malibu or the skiing at Big Bear or the night clubs of the Sunset Strip. They’ve got all sorts of exciting hills! And the cable cars, when they’re not swarming with those stupid tourists who’ve flocked there from Los Angeles, are a time-tested mode of mass transit. And, seriously, do you think we’ll ever see a Metro bus in any sort of product’s brand identity like we do the cable cars? And Giants fans are some of the most loyal in the world. They won’t even mention Balco when Barry Bonds comes up to bat, while Dodger fans, if they’re even in the stadium past the seventh inning, throw bottles at Milton Bradley for screwing up a play. I remember this one time, I drove through the tenderloin, and I actually lost count of the crack whores, junkies, and hookers I saw. We just don’t have someplace as diverse and interesting here in Los Angeles.

Listen, San Francisco: maybe you just don’t realize how great you’ve got it up there. Why don’t you come on down to Los Angeles on one of those days when the Santa Ana winds blow all the smog away and you can stand at the Griffith Observatory and see Catalina, Santa Monica, Mount Baldy, and all of the over-crowded city stretched out beneath you from horizon to horizon?

I’m sure you’ll retun home to the land of fog and clever advertising slogans feeling much better about yourselves.

@#$*(&! ants!!!

infestation-thumb.jpgThey come out when it rains. They come out when it doesn’t rain enough. They come marching in endless (albeit impressive) columns. They come in ones and twos and threes, in scouting missions (note to self: empty bathroom garbage often–really often).

I’m starting to think Los Angeles is built on one gigantic anthill.

Worse, ants are unbelievably resistant to the concept of boundaries. Take my hibiscus plant…please. No matter how many times I haul the thing inside to my kitchen sink and meticulously (but safely!) de-infest it with hot water and dish soap, within hours they and their symbiotic playmates, the aphids, are massing all over the buds on my poor little Charlie-Brown plant. That bud in the above pic is BRIGHT FREAKIN’ ORANGE, people! It is only black because it is lousy with ants.

I refuse to give in; I refuse to get chemical on their asses. Any tips from you Sunset Garden Book types? Anyone?

No, not in L.A.

I was perusing some of the metblogs, and came upon this post in sf.metblogs.com by Christiana Dominguez about an ad campaign for SF called notinla.com (which takes you to onlyinsf.com). At the end of the post, she says:

One thing I don’t get, however, is the extent to which NorCal types seem hell bent on poking at those of us south of SLO. I can assure you that down there, we just didn’t spend that much time thinking about San Francisco. But whatever.

I’m with Christiana on this one… many NoCal’ers have this bizarre hatred from SoCal’ers (with a special contempt for L.A. folk!). I know one thing that is (generally) not in L.A… a hatred for those up north! Some might say that the folks here wouldn’t give two sh!ts about those up north, certainly not enough to hate them, anyway… what’s up with this North -> South rivalry (not North/South)? Is it really the water we supposedly steal? Is it envy for our great weather?

Which brings me to two points:

1) Of course there is a ton of stuff to do in SF that you can’t do in LA… it works the other way around, too! What is your favorite “only in L.A.” thing?

2) Have you checked out some of the other metblogs? I don’t have time to keep track of every single one of them, but I really enjoy reading istanbul.metblogs.com and also dc.metblogs.com. Aside from blogging.la, do you have any favorite metblogs?

UPDATE: I didn’t realize Will Campbell had posted about the same ad campaign a few hours before I did!

More Ads That Suck (latest in a very occasional series)

notinla.jpgThumbing through the current issue of Time magazine I found this full-pager teasing to a website of mysterious repute: NotinLAdotcom. The coy developers of this promotion probably thought the photo would draw a blank for most ó and maybe it will. They even added some smarmy fine print at the bottom of the page that reads: “So you thought you might find out more reading this bit of small text running under the ad… okay here’s a hint, it’s not Vegas either.”

Aided by the obvious anti-Los Angeles sentiment in the website’s snarky address it only took me a second to recognize the top of the landmark TransAmerica tower poking like the tip of a tapered middle finger through the mother of all cloud banks. It was none other than San Francisco, and its visitors bureau had opted to perpetuate the tiresome rivalry by smacking down my hometown as lacking.

Lest I be gotten wrong: I adore SF. Been there plenty of times and once left my heart there and everything. But you go ahead you ‘Frisco kidders, with your fog often so dense you can spray paint on it and a sleety wind that can ice the warmest of intentions and dampen the most enthused of enthusiasms ó you go ahead and tune up your second fiddle and do your ever-hating best to sell the rest of the world that the City by the Bay is a way better place than L.A. to spend some of your discontented winter chilling. Literally.

Well That’s a New One…

I had to go to the gas station this morning, and as Lisa mentioned already, it’s been cold lately.

At any rate, an older woman, who was probably in her 50s, got in line behind me at the cash register inside, commented on how cold it was outside, and asked me the following:

“How do you say ‘cold’ in *Asian*?”

I thought I was hearing things.

I paused, and responded with:

“Well, in *Japanese*, you say ‘samuii.'”

I didn’t feel like correcting her about it, other than emphasizing “Japanese,” and even then, it was pretty subtle. I didn’t try and beat her over her head with a fish about it.

Anyways, every one of my friends whom I mentioned this to, most of whom are non-Asian, laughed at my recollection.

First time for everything, eh?

THE SURVEY SAYS

Last night I started my holiday shopping online. While I didn’t have to wait in line for an hour, I discovered my impulse buying in brick-and-mortar stores carries over into my online spending when I decided to cancel one of the items I had just purchased for a friend on Sephora for something at UrbanOutfitters instead. Obviously I’m going to have to learn to “browse” a bit.

I take comfort in knowing that I probably wasn’t the only one in Los Angeles shopping online last night. AOL announced today that Los Angeles is No. 2 on its list of “Most Wired Shopping Cities” from its third annual “Online Shopping Cities” survey. L.A. holds onto its No. 2 ranking from last year, as our West Coast neighbors, San Francisco and San Diego, climbed to the top three.

Hopefully this means easier parking at the Third Street Promenade and Westside Pavillion this season if I decide to do some “live” shopping. A girl can dream, can’t she?

UPDATE: The press release is actually from last week, but it’s still relevant. My bad. Come on, I’m new!

Feeling kind of dumb (and cold)

When I moved to L.A. in May, I was under the impression that the coldest it ever got here was maybe about 70 degrees. I think I got this idea from years of watching California TV shows — nobody ever looked cold on 90210 or Melrose Place or The O.C. — and because there are palm trees everywhere (I thought they only grew in places that were really warm all year) and because when I visited L.A. last February, it was 13 degrees in New York and 70 here. I told everyone back home that I wanted to move to L.A. so I could wear tube tops and flip flops year round. I guess they were all under the same mistaken impression about L.A.’s weather, because nobody bothered to correct me.

I do love it here, in my cute little apartment with a swimming pool. But instead of the “summer all year” weather I was expecting, it’s in the 30s at night and 50s during the day, and the gas person isn’t coming to light the pilot light in my heater until Wednesday. Instead of tube tops and flip flops, I’m wearing lots of layers and piling extra blankets on the bed. What’s next? Is it going to snow or something?

We don’t need no stinkin’ Nutcracker

weird_thumb.jpgThe holidays are upon us, alright. I can tell because the entryway of every 99-seat theater in town is lousy with flyers for holiday shows…and I do mean lousy.

The Nutcracker has its place, yo, and I’ll be the first to say how much I dug it when I saw it back in Chicago. When I was ten. But there are far cooler, far sexier ways to ring in the holidays here in L.A.

First off: make your reservations NOW (I mean it…go! Now!) for the ninth incarnation of Bob’s Holiday Office Party. Running three weeks only at the teeny-tiny (but lovely, in its way) 3rd Stage Theater in Burbank. Justin Tanner directs a crack team of comic actors in what is definitely the filthiest holiday show and possibly one of the funniest show-shows I’ve ever seen, period. I bow down before the magnificent Ann Randolph, and you should, too. You should also pee first. Yes, it’s that funny.

Next, my one-and-only (I promise!) shameless plug for this year’s all-new version of Ken Roht‘s super-freaky holiday operetta, Peace Squad Goes 99: The Greatest 99¢ Only Story Ever Told…Ever! Everything in the whole rip-snortin’ hootenanny (except for load-bearing items like my stilts) is from the 99¢ Only Stores (the show’s co-sponsors) which sounds chintzy but in the hands of some of L.A. theater’s finest designers, most certainly is not. At Evidence Room through December 19th. Cool for the under-12 set, too.

Finally, I have not yet seen Bill Robens’s celebrated holiday musical, A Mulholland Christmas Carol, but it’s won so many danged awards and so many danged people keep telling me to go go go that I am considering the unthinkable and giving up my last free Thursday to do so this year. At Theatre of NOTE through December 18.

A little late, but here’s a photo of my Thanksgiving Tonkatsu…

Among the many things I am grateful for, I am always especially grateful for my family & loved ones. Although my Mom can be “a character” at times, I know that everything she does is out of love for me and my brother: we are so lucky.

Homemade tonkatsu with rice, shredded cabbage, and potato saladOur Thanksgivings are usually celebrated with our large extended family at my Aunt’s (Mom’s sister) place with the “traditional” Thanksgiving fare… and then some (i.e. – last year filet mignon was on the menu). This year, because my Aunt & Uncle are still dealing with the remodeling of their new home, their house wasn’t ready for entertaining so we decided to celebrate quietly at home.

I didn’t want Mom to go to any trouble for dinner, but unfortunately, no restaurants were open on Thanksgiving. So my Mom and I ended up making one of my favorite comfort foods, tonkatsu (see JR’s description of tonkatsu) with rice, shredded cabbage, and potato salad for Thanksgiving dinner. Not exactly “traditional,” (no, we are NOT Japanese) but still yummy and Mom-made with love.

Incidentally, Thanksgiving was also my birthday this year, so if you are all interested in some food porn, I made a giant post about food with photos here.

AHHH! The “New People” are here!!

I spent all day yesterday pouring over a ton of e-mails that people sent in begging and pleading and offering mad cash to fill the one or two spots we had to fill. It was a very hard decision. However a few new spots opened up (Jason moved to San Francisco, Chris moved to Seattle, and Greg and Bob decided to step down since they have been increasingly busy and don’t have time for us anymore, WAH!) but we were lucky enough to have some amazing people in the waiting and so we’ve filled those spots and then some. I actually didn’t want to have any more people on the site than we already had, but after chopping and chopping and weeding out and throwing darts I still couldn’t narrow the list down any further, so in the end we added 6 people to fill 4 slots. Those 6 people are the “New People.”

The “New People” are also known as Colleen Wainwright, Jim Sedgwick, Lisa Beebe, Matt Hals, Nanette Pietroforte, and Tammara Wells. But feel free to just call them “New People.” We are. You might recognize some of them from the comments, or from their own blogs, or from the street corner, or from TV commercials, or the “from” fields on spam that fills up your in box, or from missing flyers plastered all over town. Or not. I’ll let them tell you about themselves, I just wanted to let you know they are here. And that they are new.

And new people… you can go ahead and make the rest of those payoffs as previously arranged. Remember, unmarked bills.

Get Down, Eat Tom

turkey.jpgplate.jpgI’ve never been a big fan of holidays. I mean, I’m not one of those annoying people that’s always bitching about how much I hate Christmas, but it’s just not my bag. Luckily for me, my progressively minded mom was on board and for several years the tradition at my house was to order pizza and eat cheesecake for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But this year, since I now have an actual house of my very own, I figured I owed it to myself to try at least once to throw down with a traditional holiday chowfest. And whaddya know? It completely rules. That there is the very first turkey that I have ever made, and it turns out that I have some kind of freakish natural gift for roasting turkey because it was perfect. There’s also a picture of my share of the feast, a mind-numbingly fantastic amalgamation of my friends’ contributions to the buffet: brussel sprouts, bourbon sweet potatoes, orange-hazelnut-cranberry conserve. My Apple Sage Sausage Dressing was teh rock (and I have tons of it leftover to savor). We even had an Unturkey (though Delmy didn’t take to it as well as Caryn. I think I undercooked it). And a few of us washed it all down with some kick-ass mead, which is really, really hard to find when you’re not at the Ren Fair. Maybe it’s just because I was able to surround myself with people that I like instead of people that I’m related to, but Thanksgiving has a whole new glow for me. I’m always glad to learn that I’ve been wrong about how something sucks. I don’t know if I have the fortitude to do it every year, but at least I know I can if I want to.