Ford Takes the LA Beaches and aims for a little more.

Escape Hybrid is the official vehicle of LA County Life Guards
Escape Hybrid is the official vehicle of LA County Life Guards

 It is no secret I love cars.  Also it is no secret that I jump at the chance to see the new ones and let the manufacturer show off a bit.  Tuesday was Ford’s 2009 Model Ride and Drive for the media.  Very clear- Ford loves bloggers.  They view, respect and treat us like the traditional media. Bloggers and online media outnumbered the traditional media at this event.

Short version of my day with Ford:  The Escape Hybrid is the official vehicle of LA County Life Guards.  They are proud of it and should be.  They have some great little cars for us now and on the way.  They have some good alternatives to the SUV with their variety of Cross-over vehicles.  The latest version of Sync kicks Onstar into the dirt and rubs its face in the mud. 

For all the blather about the media event, the PR guys showing off the cars and my take on a few of the cars you need to make the jump.

Continue reading Ford Takes the LA Beaches and aims for a little more.

Gamma Ray Space Telescope Name Announced! We Didn’t Win.

I know you have all been DYING to find out if our name for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) won the contest NASA set up earlier this year.  Alas, even with the awesome-ness that was the Los Angeles contribution:  “Gamma Gamma Hey!”  We didn’t win.  They decided to go with “The Enrico Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.”  Whatever.  Here are their reasons:

Enrico Fermi was an Italian-American physicist who devised what is still the most plausible explanation for the acceleration mechanism responsible for high-energy cosmic rays, and hence, for cosmic gamma rays. In addition, Fermi made important contributions to our understanding of quantum statistics and also atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. He is generally considered to be one of the outstanding scientists of the 20th Century.

He may have won the Nobel Prize, but did he know how to rock and roll?

Thanks again for those who voted way back in March.

For some of the first images taken from the Fermi and a cool satellite tracking website, join me after the break.

Continue reading Gamma Ray Space Telescope Name Announced! We Didn’t Win.

More Overzealous Security Shennanigans: Hollywood Bowl Guards Allegedly Beat Group Off-Property and in Front of LAPD

The LA Weekly’s Play blog is reporting that a group of Hollywood Bowl security guards allegedly assaulted a videographer and his associates outside of the Radiohead show in an effort to acquire a tape of the guards forcibly ejecting a patron earlier in the night. It’s an infuriating story that just gets more infuriating as it progresses:

“I figured, there’s no way that the security guards are just going to assault this random dude in front of a cop.” He was wrong. Remembers Dawes: “It landed within five feet of me. I leaned down to pick it up and I got tackled by two of the dudes. They threw me into that ivy-covered wall and I was trying to get them off me. At one point there were three guards on me. I threw the tape to Sean, and that’s when it got really ugly.” Dawes alleges that one of the security guards threw Carlson into an electrical box. “He hurled him into it, then threw him onto the ground — at this point there are two or three officers there. [The security guards] smashed his head into the pavement as they’re trying to cuff him, the cops aren’t doing anything. I’m yelling, ‘Officer, this is your jurisdiction — this isn’t Hollywood Bowl property anymore. Don’t let them do this.’” Dawes recalls that the officers replied that they “give event staff leeway.”

“They beat the shit out of him in front of a cop,” says Reich, “and the cop was like, ‘What do you mean? We didn’t see that.’” He adds that despite the officers witnessing Reich get hit by a car, they did not call an ambulance or offer any support.

Carlson, who had bore the brunt of the action, was screaming for help as the guards were trying to subdue him. “The cop told me to stop crying,” he recalls.

If you were inclined to call the Bowl in order to tell them your concerns about attending events staffed by guards that behave like street thugs, the number for their Community/Public Affairs office is 213.972.7297. Likewise, Tom LaBonge’s office, within whom’s district the Bowl sits, may be interested to hear about how the LAPD handled the situation: 213.485.3337.

LA Sensations

Thanks to our own Faboomama for the helicopter photo.
Thanks to our own Faboomama for the helicopter photo.

Every morning on my way to work I round the corner from Burbank onto Balboa. There is a copse of Eucalyptus trees right on that corner, and when my windows are down, which is most of the time, the smell of Eucalyptus comes flooding into the car and totally crashes my I-hate-everyone-and-everything-crabby-morning-commute party. It never fails: I can be in the middle of cursing some ginormous road-hogging SUV or a cyclist who is riding past the “please walk bikes” sign at either end of the crosswalk, and that smell comes in the window and I just think “God damn, I love LA.” Wherever I have lived there are certain sensations that seem to belong to that city. When I left DC and moved to the wholesome midwest, sad to say, police sirens and that hot-day, humid garbage smell would make me homesick. To this day, the cicada noise on summer nights brings me right back to my growing-up years.

Wherever I may end up if I ever leave this crazy city, I know that the thick scent of jasmine on a summer night, or the sound of helicopters circling overhead, or the smell of Eucalyptus coming through a car window will always remind me of this place. What about you? What are your LA sensations?

Federal Rent-A-Pig Boots Van Nuys Woman from Building for Wearing “Lesbian.com” Shirt

In yet another infuriating example of how the war on terror has done little but empower bullies looking to live out their revenge fantasies, the Daily News reports that a guard working for a private firm on behalf of the DHS kicked a woman out of a federal building in Van Nuys for wearing a shirt bearing the phrase “lesbian.com.” The guard claimed that “The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property” gave him jurisdiction over her clothing, though according to the News it doesn’t, in fact, address what type of clothing is allowed in Federal buildings. I’m tempted to don my years-old “Fuck Art, Let’s Kill” shirt and head up to Van Nuys to see if it merits a similar response.

Live web seminar on Quakes with Dr. Lucy Jones today 11AM

Dr. Lucy Jones is holding an online seminar this morning from 10AM -11AM.  She will be talking about the science behind the “big one”, the potential damage all in preparation for the “Shake Out” on November 13.  (The Shake Out as I wrote about before is the BIGGEST Earthquake Drill ever).

To view the seminar you do need to register with the Shake Out and can do so HERE

The complete email press release can be found after the jump. Continue reading Live web seminar on Quakes with Dr. Lucy Jones today 11AM

CBS2 isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions

A lot of people have been talking about Michelle Obama’s speech to the DNC last night, and our local crew at CBS2, as always, had their finger on the pulse of Los Angeles, challenging their viewers (and website readers) to really think deeply about the event:

For fuck’s sake. You know what’s even worse? People are actually casting votes on the goddamn thing. “She didn’t” is currently leading with 56%, in this crucial test for the Democratic party.

Surfrider Brings Celeb Surfathon to MSA Classic

Photy by Flickr user imagebysp, used under Creative Commons license.
Photo by Flickr user imagebysp, used under Creative Commons license.
Next weekend my friends at the Malibu Surfing Association are throwing down for the 45th anniversary of the MSA Classic, the longest running longboard competition in Southern California. This time around, the Surfrider Foundation is tagging along with a “Celebrity Expression Session:”

An event like no other, the Surfrider Foundation’s Celebrity Expression Session allows celebrities to show off their surfing skills and moves in a free surf format. In addition, celebrities can win prizes for every wave they catch and ride courtesy of Project Blue, a collective between six of the surf industry’s top brands to raise funds aimed at supporting the Surfrider Foundation. Celebrities taking part in the surf session include Jason Mraz, Flea, Sal Masekela, Peter DiStefano, Chad Lowe, Richard Burgi, Brandon Cruz and David Chokachi.

They may be playing a little loose with the definition of “celebrity,” but I’d love to see Flea in the water. The MSA Classic takes place at Surfrider Beach and events are free of charge and open to the public. Early rounds begin on Saturday, September 6th and run through Sunday, September 7th.

Win tickets to see Hot Water Music this Friday

This Friday (the 29th) Hot Water Music is playing with Strike Anywhere and In The Red @ the El Rey and I’ve got a few tickets to give away. The HWM fans I’ve talked to about this are doing damn backflips to see these guys (who (un)officially broke up a few years ago) play again and my understanding is it’s going to be packed as all get out. I’m sure the show will be super fun, so if you want some free tickets post a comment and tell me what your favorite HWM song is and why. I’ll pick a few winners and send you on your way. Bonus points go to anyone with an HWM related tattoo who can show it off using the video comments. Go!

UPDATE: Ok, they are all gone! Thanks for playing!

I’m a big, fat Radiohead loser, part 2

The conclusion to my better-late-than-never-but-still-a-loser ticket buying adventure for the Radiohead concert last night at the Hollywood Bowl.

Make that winner. The Radiohead concert last night at the Bowl, the second of a two-night stand in Los Angeles, was a riveting spectacle, musically as well as visually, and worth any amount one could afford.

And by purchasing the tickets I may have become an inadvertent donor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign fund.

The $39 tickets that I bought online via Turbo Tickets cost me $115 each and arrived via Fed Ex with a PO box return address for DSP Productions in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

The original purchaser’s name, Douglas Preistap, was printed on the tickets. A search on his name produced a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign donor list with his name (and address, also in Rio Rancho NM) listed as a contributor of $500, given on March 19, 2008. He is listed as the owner of DSP Productions, although no information on what it produced was available.

Priestap was thoughtful enough to obscure the $39 price he paid with a black marker.

Found On Road Alive: TR7

Following in Frazgo’s footsteps on documenting unexpected cars alive and (seemingly) well on the streets of LA, I found this gem on my morning constitutional today.  The Triumph TR7.

This British import lasted from about 1975 to 1981 and had the dubious distinction of being on Time Magazine’s list of the 50 Worst Cars Of All Time. The TR7 joins the ranks with such classics as the ’71 Ford Pinto, the ’76 Chevy Chevette (“It will drive you happy!”) the ’78 Pacer, the ’85 Yugo and the ’86 Adobe.  (Oh wait, that was a Saturday Night Live sketch).

But the real reason it caught my eye was because years ago it caught my heart.  Click onto the way back button to learn more about the tv habits of my youth…

Continue reading Found On Road Alive: TR7

Is Huffing While Driving a Reportable Offense?

Recently, I wrote a post about a young female driver illegally holding her cell phone up to her ear and talking on it while driving, without using a hands-free device or the speakerphone. I included pictures of the offender. There was a split of opinion in the comments as to whether it was useful to try to change the behavior of such drivers by photographing them, speaking to them, and highlighting them on L.A. Metblogs. Today, I saw a guy huffing behind the wheel. I’d like to know what, if anything, readers think should be done about him.

Inhale the rest of the huffing post, after the jump

Huell Howser on Life, Death and Celebrity as told to a blogger

Being a blogger in LA opens up doors that a blogger in say, Bakersfield will never have.  First is we get access to some really interesting people.  At a bloggers picnic you get to meet other bloggers in the area and share ideas on how to be more than a gabacho on a keyboard.  I met Aaron Proctor at an LA Bloggers picnic a while back.  AP has managed to parlay his blogging into some tradtional writing and published with ink not electrons.

I wrote a while back about his interview with Huell Howser for the Pasadena Weekly.  The interview went well and the actual article was on the stands late last week.  You can read it online “Lunch with Huell”.  It is actually a fun read, the most entertaining part was Huell’s wishes for his own death.

“I heard somewhere that you want to die on the air …

I want it to happen at the end of a show. I’m saying my goodbyes to everyone and then suddenly I clutch my heart and fall over. The credits roll as the dust covers me and everyone at home says, ‘Well, Huell had a good run but I think that’s his last episode.’ … I want to be cremated. I’ve made a list of my favorite 20 places in California, and it’s going to be a two-week vacation where [my sister and her husband] come to California and get my urn full of ashes and go to these 20 places, staying in the best hotels, eating at the finest restaurants, and at each place they leave a piece of Huell.”

Up for discussion is what locations in LA will be home to some of his ashes.  My guess for at least one is the Aztec Hotel here in outer Monrovia as he spent a lot of time there once exploring the hotel with the owner Kathie Reece. He even showed up for the party there on night the episode aired.  Your guess where he’ll leave a little ash in LA?

(ps…I have the permission of the blogger author to borrow the quote).