It’s not too late to blame the dragons.

A few short hours ago it looked like my gut reaction that the Angeles National Forest fire had been caused by a fiendish rapscallion (I’m no longer using the word “terrorist”) wasn’t far off the mark.

But wait, what’s this? A new report on KNX 1070 says that the U.S. Forest Service has retracted its earlier “human caused” statement about the fire.

What does this mean? It means my two-year-old daughter’s assertion that dragons are behind the blaze may still be a valid theory.

You can run, Puff, but you can’t hide.

Image: A Michael Martchenko illustration from Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess.

Real lesbians of Los Angeles coming to Showtime

Showtime’s answer to Bravo’s Real Housewives series will be The Real L Word: Los Angeles, a reality show that will follow six real, live LA lesbians “as they go about their lives,” according to Variety. Or at least as they go about their lives with a camera crew trailing them. (And producers liquoring them up and pissing them off by telling them what their showmates are saying about them behind their backs. Ah, reality is always so much better when you plan it out.)

The show is from Ilene Chaikan, the creator of The L Word, Showtime’s scripted drama about LA lesbians that completed a six-season run this past spring.

Squirrel Crossing

Photo by Anika Malone
Photo by Anika Malone

Several days ago, while driving around Montecito Heights looking for vantage points to take photos of the Station fire, I came across this whimsical sign at a curve in the road. It’s cute, to be sure, but now I’m curious about how it came to be.  And I kind of want one.

Station Fire, Station Fail


What can local TV stations learn from Stationgate? Should they be held more accountable when it comes to informing the public about its city burning to the ground? Yes. Were viewers, bloggers, journalists, and tweeters overreacting for calling out the networks on their non-coverage of the impending doom? No.

TV and radio are old media. But, they’re still the first place that people turn when something happens. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. 9/11. There is a responsibility for stations to serve the citizens when they need it most. This includes weekends when your back porch is engulfed in a ring of fire. It is more important than any car chase, funeral procession, or award show after party interview about a $20,000 dress.

Local network executives, who today defended their “coverage” of the “brush fires” should be embarrassed. They should be ashamed. They should probably be fired. Next time, at the very least, throw up an on-screen ticker with evacuation information. That way you can still show your precious Hanna Montana.

As for defending your coverage in light of viewer outrage… How dare you. We are the reason you exist. We are the customer. And we are always, ALWAYS right.

The Untidy Germaphobe

The Untidy Germaphobe
The Untidy Germaphobe

Today in LA fashion I bring you the “Untidy Germaphobe,” as spotted on the Metro Red Line to Union Station. Yeah, yeah, I know. Criticizing fashion on the Metro is too easy, but I go with what I know.

When I first saw the “Untidy Germaphobe” sitting across from me on the train, I only noticed his surgical mask.

“He must be wearing that because of the poor air quality due to the Station Fire,” I thought to myself, smirking arrogantly at my own reflection in my iPod.

Then my eyes moved down to his hands, which were tautly sheathed in blue latex gloves, perfectly color coordinated to match his jaunty mask.

“Hmm. Germaphobe,” I nodded, feeling quite satisfied that I had him all figured out.

Glancing over one more time, I took in the rest of his ensemble, which continued to vex me for at least three more minutes, or however long it takes to get from Hollywood & Highland to Sunset & Vermont.  The gloves and the mask seemed to match a Mysophobic personality disorder sure, but what the hell was going on with the rest of his scene? First of all, his clothes and boots were visibly filthy. Not approved Germaphobe attire. Second, he smelled like he had not showered in quite some time. Definitely the type of violation that could get you kicked out of Germaphobe Camp.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I finally narrowed this guy down to one of three stereotypes, placing the most weight of course on his peculiar outfit (who wears a snow hat in LA during a heat wave?):

1. Recently discharged Vietnam War veteran

2. Construction worker from the 1950’s

3. Anti-government militia soldier

I can’t decide which one, so I’m leaving it up to you fine readers to decide. What’s this dude’s deal? Feel free to offer your own guess.

Where the Angels Fly

IMG_1667The picture at left is a view of the Station Fire, taken from Marina del Rey yesterday.  According to news reports, the fire is still threatening the communications facilities and the observatory atop Mount Wilson.  It has already burned its way through and past the fabulously scenic Angeles Crest Highway.  Just three months after a major stretch of the Highway was opened after having been closed for over four years, the Highway is closed once again.

I am reminded, however, of the great day I spent on top of Mount Wilson and driving the Angeles Crest Highway last Thanksgiving weekend.  It was the last weekend before a portion of the Highway was to be closed for the winter.  We took a gorgeous drive up the Highway, and took the side trip to the Mount Wilson Observatory for a picnic lunch with dizzying views.
Tour the Highway and Mt. Wilson, after the jump

Juxtaposing: Pyro-Cumulus With Cumulo-Nimbus

per1 per2

Certainly the timelapse video footage screencap’d on the left that I caught of the Station Fire late Sunday afternoon from the roof of my Silver Lake house is neither as compelling nor as dramatic as others made much closer to the devastation being wrought.

But it immediately reminded me of the timelapse video screencap’d on the right that I made a couple days shy of two years ago from the exact same location of the exact same landscape, only this time the billowing clouds were strictly meteorological in nature, not pyrological.

Both videos are available after the jump, and it’s interesting to see them play out together from a then-and-now perspective.

Continue reading Juxtaposing: Pyro-Cumulus With Cumulo-Nimbus