Red Flags: Again the restrictions are lifted

I know you’re probably getting tired of all these Red Flags up/Red Flags down posts, but here’s the info anyway:

The National Weather Service has lifted its Red Flag warning. The no parking, priority program, will not be in effect as of 08:00 P.M. today.

You may resume normal parking conditions.

Your Los Angeles Fire Department thanks you for your cooperation.

Oh Christmas Tree Someday To Be

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What you’re seeing at right is two full fantasticated feet of thriving afghan pine (click to triplify) that a mere 10 months ago was nothing much more than a twig. To call it a sapling back might have been technically correct back then, but it would have been a bit of a stretch. Crapling’s more like it.

I came into possession of the little tyke after making my regular post-holiday sweep around the neighborhood, picking up the inevitable trees kicked to the inevitable curbs by the inevitable inconsiderata who think the world is their trashcan that someone else dumps. Hauling my copious catch off to the tree recycling post in the L.A. Zoo parking lot, I was rewarded with coupons for free mulch, a couple energy-efficient light bulbs and my choice of tiny trees: the aforementioned evergreen or a Carolina cherry.

“Go on and take one of each if you want,” the city recycling dude said. And so I did (the cherry tree’s doing just as fine in case you’re wondering).

Being somewhat hit-or-miss in the green thumb arena, I transplanted the little fellow with my fingers crossed. Sure, it’s not rocket science but I still breathed a sigh of relief when it didn’t brown out and die and instead took to its new digs and took off growing. We’ll still be off to the local tree lot in a couple weeks to drop the usual $80-plus for a dead fresh-cut one, but if all continues to go and grow well we’ll be transplanting this living gift to a larger pot in 2008 and it could be we’ll haul it into the foyer to decorate for the 2008 holidays and those to come until it’s too big to bring inside and then we’ll install it in the backyard where the sky’s the limit.

Beverly Hills Free Parking for the Holidays

Occasionally I venture into the wild hinterlands of Beverly Hills. I’m always happy that the city provides one free hour of parking in their structures.
(HELLLOOOOO!!!! Hollywood! Get a clue from BH and SM!)

So I was thrilled when I read that this December, they were giving TWO free hours.
Yippeee! I thought.

Today I went in and parked in my usual Bedford Drive structure, one of the largest in the city. I frittered away the two hours, buying bread, cupcakes, dreaming about shoes at Saks….. just making it out in time. But alas, my bill was $4.50.

What gives? Well, apparently only special ‘designated’ lots have two free hours. Hmmph! Irritating. Smelled of bait and switch if you ask me.

Almost as irritating as the dowagers who pull into the lot and wait wait wait while someone slowly unlocks their car, arranges their stuff and at a snails pace pulls out. When just up the lot are tons of open spaces. Doesn’t anyone know about driving etiquette and moving until the next available space opens up? Not slamming on your brakes when you see someone ambling towards their car. Jeez!

Don’t mind me. I’m just crabby about paying for parking, which I fantasized would be free.

Why people hate the valley, reason #812

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/11/800px-Blake_Dante_Hell_V-thumb.jpgDriving into Chatsworth this morning felt just a wee bit like driving into the second circle of hell. There’s a wind advisory today for LA’s valleys, and I’m here to tell you it’s gosh darned windy here in the north SFV. It feels in fact, not unlike being in the spin cycle of the drier. Fifteen minutes outside and I need to rehydrate, put on skin lotion and pick the leaves out of my hair. I’m really over this wind. It’s the sort of weather where you expect mean ladies in bicycles to ride by in midair or something.

(Blake’s illustration of the second circle courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

LAUSD is All About Image

LAUSD.jpg Hmm, this strikes me as a tad backward. The Los Angeles Unified School District has apparently hired image consultants and a PR firm to handle some recent negative publicity. Way to use the ol’ taxpayer money:

The recent hirings come in addition to a six-person communications staff with a nearly $1.4 million budget, an overall $10 million communications budget, and a separate consulting contract with Darry Sragow, who helps LAUSD develop communications strategies and policy issues.

One of the district’s recent hires is Victor Abalos, a communications consultant for Superintendent David Brewer III who has been signed to a one-year, $178,000 contract to develop communication strategies including restructuring LAUSD’s communications department.

LAUSD also has hired consultant Michael Bustamante under a six-month, $90,000 contract to deal with communications strictly related to the district’s electronic payroll system.

Here’s an even better way to change your image, and it probably won’t cost you as much moolah: figure out what you’re doing wrong, and then fix it. United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy is inclined to agree with me.

“Don’t spend $10 million for spin doctors to weave their webs that try to show the world that they’re really good guys. Actually do it right.”

SUPERsmall – tomorrow at Largo

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[click to actually see something]

[photo is Paul Fieg (Creator of Freaks and Geeks) interviewing Will Wrights (creator of Sims/Sims City/Spore) robot “MoonBot” at the last SuperBall event]

Have you heard about “supersmall?”

It’s a new event series created by the folks behind the now legendary SuperBall events!

“supersmall” is a fundraising effort to benefit individuals with Trisomy 21, which is the official medical term for Down syndrome.

“supersmall” happens tomorrow, Thurday, November 29th, at Largo.

Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m.

The $30.00 cash entrance fee goes directly into the fund benefiting
those with Trisomy 21 (Down sydrome).

The supersmall.org site has a complete guide to who will be¬†performing, what will be auctioned, what kind of food and drink the venue serves, directions to Largo, and what exactly a SuperBall/”supersmall” event is!!!

So check it out. An insider tells me there are still a couple of tables open so you can take in the event in comfort and style –

Cupcake Drive Through

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I know there are many good places to get delicious cupcakes in Los Angeles, but how many places have a stand alone pick up window? Just in time for last minute holiday party bring-alongs, Sprinkles Cupcakes let’s you do just that. While you can still order ahead at the Beverly Hills location and go right to the front of the line to pick up your order, you can now call the Sprinkles Pantry to order your Red Velvets or Chai Latte flavored yummies and drive right to the window. But advanced orders only. (You can’t just be driving along La Cienega (between Beverly and Melrose) with a hankering for cream cheese frosting and stop in for one.)

Pantry–Advance Orders Only
422 North La Cienega Blvd.
310-657-4102

Beverly Hills Location
9635 Little Santa Monica
310-274-8765

Mmmmm. Cupcakes.

By the way, Auntie Em’s in Eagle Rock makes awesome cupcakes too, with mini versions of each flavor — AND they now have table service. Joy.

Who wins your “Clark Griswold Award”?

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In my little ‘hood in outer Monrovia it started as a joke at one of our block parties. The “Clark Griswold” award is for the most over the top in the spirit of Christmas yard decorations. Shane is currently in the lead. Prior winners Bill and Mike haven’t started so it’s still a toss up as to who will win this year. They may have competition as a few others who have never put up a light are already at it.

Judging comes down to informal votes and in the event of a tie we check to see who has the fastest spinning power meter to determine who wins.

The competition has gotten so intense that in years past harmless little pranks have taken place. Those wire reindeer and inflatable Santa’s make for great impromptu arrangement that would add new chapters to the Karma Sutra . The best prank is chalked up to “Dad’s Gone Bad” and if the culprit cops to it they at least get toasted by the rest of us.

Pic by me…get’s bigger with a little elfin magic and a click on the image. More pics in my Flickr set HERE

Johnny Ryan’s HORRORSHOW This Friday

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[click for the full embiggenation]

Comic genius Johhny Ryan has been hard at work at some amazing new artwork. Artwork that’s finally ready to be unveiled – this Friday at Secret Headquarters.

No kidding, Johnny’s got dozens of new paintings inspired by cult, horror and exploitation films. And if that is not enough for you, there will be popcorn and movie inspired snacks. And if you’re STILL not convinced, MALO-CANTINA will be providing margaritas.

Did I mention there’ll be margaritas? And snacks? Because there will be.

7-10pm Friday
3817 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Zoinks! It’s Ghostland Observatory Tickets from bLA!

ghost.jpgI first heard Ghostland Observatory about a year ago on Little Radio (my reliable source for the coolest new music), with their single Sad Sad City, and immediately bought both their albums off the tubes of the Internet. GhOb is two guys–just two–who blend the slick blippy electro sound of Daft Punk or Laurent Garnier with the strutting soul-rock of The Clash or Bowie. It makes for a combo that’s utterly irresistible–it’s hard not to car-dance whenever they come on my ipod during my daily commute.

New to the band? Listen to Sad Sad City, Silver City or Victory Lap on iTunes. For a while they were my Indie-Cred Trump Card, the band I’d whip out to prove how in the loop I was. Now everyone knows they rawk. They play at the Fonda this Friday the 30th.

Well, if you’re one of the folks who know they rawk, or if you’re one of the folks who don’t but have now listened and agree that they rawk, here’s a chance to win tickets! Just email me your answer to this question: What song did GhOb play in their recent appearance on Conan O’Brien? Answers posted in comments will not be considered.

Vegetables, made with L.O.V.E.

love.gif Because I am lazy and forget to go to the farmers market a lot of the time, I signed up in June for Los Angeles Organic Vegetable Delivery – L.O.V.E. for short. These deliveries are customizable boxes of local-area vegetables, delivered to my door each Wednesday. Then I try to come up with creative ways to cook them – usually using the non-local ReBar Cookbook (or, as my fiance calls it, “that cookbook from Jillian’s homeland where every single recipe seems to contain a dozen vegetables”)

Organic vegetable delivery is about the last service I would have thought would exist in L.A. – but the business seems to be doing well enough. Probably from people like me, late twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings who are trying to make better choices in consumption. After all, I’m a big fan of eating local organic where possible. It saves the carbon emissions of transporting the food, and means that you get healthier, more nutritious foods, with fewer preservatives and pesticides and all those sort of P-words. I’m not the other P-word – paranoid – about my groceries, but I do like knowing where my food comes from.

Anyways. Behind the jump is this week’s sample box lineup and what I will use it for:
Continue reading Vegetables, made with L.O.V.E.

The Official Los Angeles Christmas Tree

San Francisco gets it. Los Angeles does not.

You hate to hear it. You hate to even think about it. But, deep down, you know it’s the truth. San Francisco is winning the holiday game. You can’t see it on the scoreboard, because we haven’t built it yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Los Angeles. It’s where I live, work, and play. I want it to be the city we all know it can be. I want to believe that L.A. does holiday better than anyone. Boston. New York. Chicago. San Francisco.

But, it doesn’t.

Photo of what looks to be Pershing Square, but isn’t, courtesy of etslee’s flickr stream

Continue reading The Official Los Angeles Christmas Tree

Cinefamily Waives Admission for Writers

More good news for writers that may be getting low on goin’ out funds: according to a recent newsletter and more recent blog post, Cinefamly (mentioned here previously by Ben) is following in the footsetps of the Roxy and offering free admission to writers for the duration of the strike:

Every day on the way to work, I pass by the writers striking in front of the CBS building. I usually feel terrible that these guys are out of work, but still have to get up before me in the morning. If you don’t get to sleep in when striking, when do you? I only get up that early when I’m picking someone up at the airport. I also feel terrible, cause I like writers–without whom we wouldn’t have very many good movies, and I found myself thinking about them throughout my day, and how I should bring them the extra cupcakes we’re gonna have to throw away, even though that’s something you do for homeless people, not striking writers, who may look similar, but are actually quite different breeds. Well, I may still go down and give ’em some cupcakes, but I’ve got something better to offer.

Free movies.

Tonight would be an A-plus time to take them up on that as they’re hosting the DVD release for Wholpin #5. Or, if that’s not heavy enough for you, try Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey on Thursday instead. It’s worth watching for Sam Dunn’s interview with Gaahl of Gorgoroth alone.