Good thing our Governor is looking out for the people


“That cellphone users’ ‘Bill of Rights’ the California Public Utility Commission approved back in May? Yeah, they’re
not doing that any more. This past Thursday the Commission voted 3 to 1 to ‘suspend’ the Telecommunications Consumer
Bill of Rights, which gave subscribers 30 days to cancel their contract after signing up, required that rates be
spelled out more clearly, and that carriers couldn’t try to play off recovery fees (like for number portability) as
mandatory government taxes. Why the turnaround? The addition of new, more industry-friendly commissioners appointed by
Governor Schwarzenegger, who opposed the rules from day one. [Via TechDirt and Engadget]

Around Town

Going through everything I missed the last few days and here’s some interesting LA bits I found in my RSS reader…

Media Bistro has launched Fishbowl LA – this is a gossip blog about LA media.

LA Press Club is awarding bloggers – or at least, has added blogging categories to it’s awards.

LA Voice was down – but is now back – server hell. We feel their pain.

LA Blogs gets specific – The most useful blog in Los Angeles just got better. Jonah says:

In response to some feedback from bloggers as well as a brainstorming session I had with Heather and eric, there are some new features being rolled into LABLogs. The LA Digest posts are now going to be broken into more specific categories to allow for easier browsing. As you can see, this post is all about eating in Los Angeles. I thought about breaking it down into more specific categories, like cuisine type and location, but I think that this format will encourage more Los Angeles exploration.

Everyone knows I have the utmost respect for Jonah and everything he’s done with LA blogs. I’ve met Eric a few times and he’s got some great ideas. I’ve never met Heather but I love her blog and always enjoy reading her comments. If these three are teaming up, I know the results are going to be exciting.

CD on Pedro Bashing – From the LA Times no less!

Of all the days…

I should have had my camera with me today.

Came out of my office building after work and headed to the Back 40 where I parked this morning. About halfway there, a chainlink fence divides the lot, and perched on top of it were a pair of crows, yelling about something.

I glanced in the direction they were looking and stopped short, uttering a Keanu-like “Whoa.” A gorgeous red-tailed hawk was standing in the grass about 15 feet away from the crows. I realized in a moment the hawk was actually standing on top of the carcass of something I couldn’t identify quite yet. The bird occasionally reached its beak down and ripped a chunk out of its catch — what turned out to be another bird, a pigeon I think.

Disturbed by my approach, the crows gave their last yells and flew off, leaving me to watch the hawk ripping chunks of pigeon away, feathers flying, as it dug for the good meat. It spared me a few glances, but I was a good dozen yards away and not a threat as I stood there frozen for a few minutes.

Of course I didn’t bring my camera with me today.

I left the hawk in peace and continued to my car. As I was on my way out of the lot, I pulled up about where the crows had been and was able to watch the hawk through the fence, as even my car didn’t freak him out. Only another minute or two, then I continued my journey home.

Where I put the camera in my backpack.

Screenwriting Museum Project

For the past several weeks, Iíve been working with the Screenwriting Museum Project, a new non-profit in Santa Monica that is devoted to exploring the often-overlooked role of writers in film and television history. The first exhibit, currently scheduled to go up in March, is called ìTwelve Moments That Changed Screenwriting,î and Iíve been doing a lot of the research into which moments are going to make the cut. Amazingly, as of now, weíve only been able to find one book which covers screenwriting from a historical standpoint, and one book which covers television writing. Not surprisingly, they’re by the same author.

Iím hoping to get a blog started on the museum site where we can share some of things weíve uncovered in our research, as well as provide an avenue for people to share their own stories, anecdotes, or insights into Hollywood screenwriting and its neglected history. Until that happens, Iím going to post here about some of the things that I find, as a kind of open-source documenting of the process of developing this exhibit.

For example, one of the moments weíre targeting is the shift in control over television shows. One source, written in the early 80s, talks about a burgeoning trend of writers becoming producers in order to retain more creative control – specifically citing writer-producers like Norman Lear, James L. Brooks, and Garry Marshall, but also acknowledging that ìmany of the most able producers have traveled this road, but seldom have any remained in the category for extended periods.î
Continue reading Screenwriting Museum Project

Metrolink Back On Track Monday

According to this Metrolink website news story, things will be back to normal (or as normal as they can be after recent events) as of tomorrow:

Beginning Monday morning, Jan. 31, Metrolink trains will begin operating on their regular schedules on the Ventura County and Antelope Valley Lines. We would like to thank you for your continued patronage and support during these difficult times. Thank you for riding Metrolink.

On the front page, the site mentions that one of their own employees, Conductor Tom Ormiston, perished in the crash. His funeral is 11:30 tomorrow morning at Forest Lawn. (Details here regarding donations and cards.) has a list of the other folks who were lost, lives cut short in this senseless tragedy.

Voyager II

Today I went out on my second whale watch tour out of Redondo Sportfishing – I’m still in training as a docent, and a little shy about taking the mic, but it was a fabulous trip in spite of my lack of narrative input!

The seas this morning were glassy smooth, with nary a cloud in the sky (okay, I’m a little sunburned).

The trip started with the promise of a whale that was spotted off Manhattan Beach and as we searched for it we came across a spirited pod of about 200 short-beaked common dolphins. They swam with the boat, as you can see from the photos below (click for larger 100k versions), the clear water made for excellent viewing of them swimming below us.

Continue reading Voyager II

Oyez! Oyez He Can!

Just wanna shine the spotlight on commenter Don Garza who I found profiled and interviewed as downtown L.A.’s very own official town crier in the “Metropolis” feature of today’s Los Angeles Times Magazine (registration may be required).

The 33-year-old Don, as Kay Fanslow writes, is a “Gulf War veteran who has been diagnosed with demyelinating peripheral neuropathy, an autoimmune disorder,” and “lives on disability in downtown’s Central City East area where he volunteers as a community activist when not on town crier duty.”

Says Don, “I celebrate every part of downtown, whether it’s the streets, or artists-in-residence housing, or SRO-type housing or the new market-rate housing in the lofts. Neighborhood councils must have posting sites for agendas, minutes. Having a town crier go out and post in those places is something I’m supposed to do. I emcee the Artwalk in the Old Bank District. I come up with my own ideas on how to bring pageantry and ceremony to the community.”

Caryn’s Panel at artLA

As you might have heard Caryn is moderating a panel at artLA this morning called Art Criticsim Today: how techonology and accessibility are influencing art writing. Panelists include Tyler Green (MAN and Bloomberg), Doug Harvery (LA Weekly) and Christopher Miles (Artforum, Flaunt, and co-curator of THING at the Hammer). It takes place at the Double Tree Suites on 4th Street in Santa Monica – across from artLA (Civic Auditorium) in the Carousel Ballroom. It begins at 10am and tickets are $10. Anyway, since she’s going to be wrapped up with the panel she won’t be able to blog it, so I’m stepping up. There’s wi-fi at the Double Tree (unlike at artLA) so I’ll try to transcribe as much of it as I can, and post some images as well. That will be posted on of course, and I’ll try to do it real time, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: Here it is!

On A Clear Day, Baby…

I’ll dispense with my usual “Take A Hike” blatherings, in large part because today’s trek was at Runyon Canyon Park, and there’s little I can add to what I assume most might know about this popular piece of off-leash dogpark open space just a couple blocks up from Hollywood Boulevard. Suffice it to say there are tons of people with tons of dogs, and some of the most glorious views of the L.A. basin, such as the panorama below that I cobbled together from five snaps taken from the lowest of the three vista points found in the park’s 130 acres (click on it for a pop-up window for a much larger version).

2? no 3?


Putting in 10 hour + days at artLA can work up quite an appetite. However, it’s in Santa Monica which might as well be Karachi as far as I know. Luckily we were tipped off to a little heath food store that makes sandwiches and that worked out great on Thursday. Well, for the most part – Caryn and I ordered the same thing but she wanted onions, I didn’t. Both sandwiches came sans-onion. No biggie really.

Yesterday when I went for lunch I decided I was going to get Caryn her onions. So I place the order…
Me: Two avocado sandwiches
guy: OK
Me: One with onions, one without
guy: OK, so three total sandwiches?
Me: No. Two sandwiches. One with just avocado and one with avocado AND onions.
guy: right, two avocado one onion. three total.
Me: NO! Only Two.
guy: ?
Me: Look.. one sandwich I want to have avocado AND onions, just on that one sandwich – the other JUST avocado.
guy: AH! OK.

He made the sandwiches and I took them back to the art fair, where we found we had two avocado sandwiches, neither with any onion.

Jury Duty??

Does anyone know anything about reporting for Jury Duty? This post is going to make me look extremely retarded but I don’t have much other choice at the moment. In December I got a Jurry Summons and called in as requested – I was told I had to call back on or after Jan 28th for details about reporting on Monday the 31st. So I out the summons somewhere where I wouldn’t lose it and made big notes to call back on the 28th. Which is today, and I can’t find the summons anywhere. Trust me, I’ve looked. So I found this page but there’s no helpful info if you don’t have all the ID numbers from the summons. Likewise with the automated lines listed there. After 20 minutes of clicking the “I don’t have my summons” option I finally got to the directions for reporting monday, which are something along the lines of “if your summons says you are in groups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 86, 92 then you need to report to XXX at XXX, if you are in groups 6, 7, 8… etc.” Well, yeah, I don’t have the summons so I don’t know what group I’m in. This is a major nightmare….

Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting

I’m scraping all this info from the official site but it looks like a pretty cool event. Basically after 16 years of planning and fundraising, the Vincent Thomas Bridge – the offical welcoming monument of the City of Los Angeles will be lit on January 30th ( that’s this sunday). Yes, it’s San Pedro but that shouldn’t stand in your way. I say that in all honestly knowing full well that I blow off events that are happening 5 minutes from my house for being “too far” but this really does seem worthwhile. The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce has the word:

wc010afs.jpgCelebrate the lighting of “The Official Welcoming Monument of the City of Los Angeles.” Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn and Councilwoman Janice Hahn will lead the lighting of the bridge with other officials and civic leaders. The ceremony will also include a tribute to the Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting Committee and hundreds of community members who raised funds for the lights over the past 16 years. The lights will be switched on at sunset. The ceremony is open to the public.

Limited free parking is available at Berth 94, at the Catalina Express terminal. Additional free parking is available at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Ports O’ Call Village, and 22nd Street/Miner Streets, with free Red Car rides and shuttle transport to the ceremony. The public can also view the bridge lighting ceremony from many public and private locations in San Pedro, Wilmington and Rancho Palos Verdes, as the bridge is visible from many neighborhoods in the surrounding community.

Now that I’ve talked it all up I have to say that I won’t be there because I’m still working the sixspace booth at artLA, but if I wasn’t… yeah…

Playmates At Fry’s?!

Well as much as I hate mentioning Fry’s, tomorrow they are hosting autograph signings with Playboy Playmates in conjunction with the release on Tuesday of Playboy: The Mansion:

To celebrate the release of Playboy’s new video game, Playmates will be appearing at Fry’s Electronics stores around the country on January 29th. Locations and times are below:

Time: Noon – 3 p.m.
Location: 6100 Canoga Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: (818) 227-1000
Playmate(s): Deanna Brooks, Miss May 1998

Time: Noon – 3 p.m.
Location: 10800 Kalama River Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Phone: (714) 378-4400
Playmate(s): Julie McCullough, Miss February 1986

Time: Noon – 3 p.m.
Location: 3370 East La Palma Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806
Phone: (714) 688-3000
Playmate(s): Jennifer Walcott, Miss August 2001

Hm, Playboy Playmates at Fry’s… talk about worlds colliding!

Crossing without a Light

Yesterday I asked the gentle readers of this blog for some help and they responded. It was sad news that three pedestrians were struck on Santa Monica Blvd. between Gower and Bronson (from what I witnessed of the street closure, I’m guessing it was at about Tamarind and Santa Monica.).

Eliza provided this information from the wire services:

A 10-year-old girl died at a hospital today after being struck by a car as she and a friend tried to cross a Hollywood street, a police officer said. Her companion, a 9-year-old girl, remained in critical condition, Officer Ursula Guillory said. Guillory said the driver was being held for manslaughter. Paramedics were called to the scene in the 5800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard about 7:45 a.m., said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. A third person suffered minor injuries, Humphrey said.

Sadly, she’s not the first person to be hurt on this stretch of street and unless something is done, she won’t be the last.

click for 225K image
Continue reading Crossing without a Light