Healthy Spot in WeHo

11570_197498378462_147337263462_3086760_3288802_nI’ve written about Healthy Spot before.  It’s my neighborhood dog store; it’s my dog’s version of “Cheers.”  Because, really, everyone there knows her name, from the groomers to the girl in charge of their doggie daycare to the owners.  I wish I frequented a store catered to humans where the people knew my name, and what my favorite treat is (FYI: for future reference, it’s those tiny Andes thin mints – so tasty and satisfying).  Healthy Spot opened near me in Santa Monica in 2008; now, not even two full years later, they’re bringing the cheers, the organic, not-recalled dog food, and their dog-related services to West Hollywood.  Located on Santa Monica and La Cienega in a space that formerly housed a Famima!!, Saturday is their grand opening bash.  You’ll get to sample their store, peek inside their doggie daycare, check out the grooming salon, and, most importantly, get free stuff.  There will be doggie bags full of samples for the first 200 dogs; complimentary nail clippings with any purchase; and a raffle and silent auction in support of Best Friends LA.  Cheers!

The West Hollywood branch of Healthy Spot is at 8525 Santa Monica Boulevard.  The grand opening party is from 10am – 4pm.

It Caught My Eye: Panes In The Glass


With the amount of biking I do across this city I’ve passed a lot of weird shit dumped on the roadways, but this find stands as one of the most unique. For the better part of this work week I’ve pedaled past the above plate glass panes and after doing so yesterday I vowed that if they were still sitting there and intact this morning at their location on the north side of 4th Street immediately west of Western Avenue I’d post about it in case someone/anyone out there might possibly be able to make use of what I expect would cost a pretty penny to purchase (or maybe know someone who could).

The two panes are between 0.50″-0.75″ thick and are identical in dimensions, roughly 8′ x 3.5′. That’s some big pieces of glass.

While the possibility exists that they are somebody’s property, I just can’t imagine after several days of them sitting there on the street that they’re anything but discards — and frankly even if they aren’t it’s amazing that no one’s come along and smashed them. So go take ’em before someone breaks ’em.

I need your spare gold tooth to help my kid’s High School out.

Monrovia High School, pic by me.
Monrovia High School, pic by me.

I got this email last night via “School Loop”.  My son’s High School is running a fund raiser.  What got my attention was the inclusion of “dental” in the list of gold sources that a buyer from Glitterbug will purchase.  Yup, dental so if you have a gold tooth you aren’t using please let me know.   Times are tough for our schools, but who knew they were resorting to this.

The email:

Come to the CASH FOR GOLD FUNDRAISER AT Monrovia High School on Wednesday, 2/3/10, 6-8 pm in the PDC.

Students:  Let your parents know of this fundraiser and/or bring your unwanted gold.
Parents/Teachers/Staff:  Rummage around you r house for your unwanted yellow or white gold (dental, watches, class rings, necklaces etc.)  A Glitterbug Gold Buyer will evaluate your gold on the spot and offer you the opportunity to trade them for cash.  Stones may be removed and returned to you.  See the website or attachment for more details.  There is never an obligation;You may choose to keep your gold.  You will be surprised at how much $ money you will get for just a few gold pieces  No amount is too small.  (It should only take 10-15 minutes to evaluate your gold pieces–dependent on the number of people present.)  MHS’ BSU will be paid for every transaction.  This is a “Win, Win” fundraiser because you wi ll get a check and the school’s club will get a percentage of the sales.”

Details: Weds 2/3/10 6-9PM Monrovia High School, 845 W Colorado Blvd, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE

Attack of the Giant Microbes at NHM this weekend

Remember that one time in college when you drank an entire Costco-sized bottle of Benadryl in two minutes because your roommate bet you twelve bucks you couldn’t do it? And afterwards you had to lay down on your couch for three hours because all of the microorganisms in the room had ballooned to the size of cocker spaniels and were pestering you to join the United Workers of the World and protest NAFTA by burning down an International House of Pancakes? Remember how the only way you could block out their droning voices was to tear up your bedsheets and wrap them around your head?

Pollen, as seen through a scanning electron microscope.
Pollen, as seen through a scanning electron microscope.

If you still remember that, it might be a good idea to stay away from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County this weekend.

But for those of us who don’t have terrifying hallucinogenic memories of gigantic microbes, there’s a treat: Tomorrow, the museum will display a slew of images taken by a scanning electron microscope, or SEM. An SEM takes pictures of all things ridiculously tiny by firing electrons at them in a high-energy beam line by line, in a way that has entirely too much science in it for me to explain comprehensibly.

Continue reading Attack of the Giant Microbes at NHM this weekend

Classic Eats #8: Downtown Delightful! (And I Mean FULL!)

LangerswipeThanks to everyone who made Classic Eats #8 a smashing success! What a great way to start the Classic Eats New Year!

We started at Langers at 2:30, Metblogs signage in hand. We waited for a few minutes until Mr. Langer himself came out to greet us, then we were bumped ahead of the line (sorry!) to a table that expanded to hold 16 of us!  We gorged on delicious sandwiches then some of us moved on to Cole’s at 6th and Main.

It was a great time, great stories, lots of history and delicious food!

Save the date for Classic Eats #9: February  27.


Click past the jump to see more photos and hear more about the afternoon/evening.

Continue reading Classic Eats #8: Downtown Delightful! (And I Mean FULL!)

Consider the Library Card

Pasadena Public LibraryA library card lives a dreadful and exciting life.

Indeed, the library card’s chances of survival after the owner reaches the age of, oh, 21 is slim, as the card, once swiped weekly, is needed less and less over time as buying books – or not reading them – becomes more and more of the norm.  Yesterday, “Save the local library!”; today, “Save the local bookstore!”

About two weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of taking (forcing) a friend to get a library card.  Not just any library card; no, it was the first library card she’s had in 13 years.  I don’t think there was a moment in my life after 7 when I didn’t have a library card in my wallet.  It was a necessity – we didn’t buy a whole lot of books when I was a kid.  Not even school-sanctioned books, like those that came in the Scholastic book catalogues. See, while my classmates eagerly circled the books they would ask their parents to buy, I was stuck in my little corner, eagerly circling the books I was going to check out.  But then, we all ended up reading the same books, and so all was right.  After that, it never struck me to not have a library card, in the same way it never struck me to stop reading books.

There seems to be three types of library card users: those who are loose-minded sports who will check out anything and everything that their card allows – fiction, non-fiction, history, new books, old – as long as it is a book; those who use their card in order to access the library in its rawest form as an academic and research institution; and those with equal severity who will use their card to check out only the newest and latest releases, and not much else.  If I had to choose, I’d fall into the first category.  We have more fun.

The library card represents to me a certain access to freedom and equality: literary liberation, if you will.  Some public library cards are better than others, I think, at representing this liberty.  For example, take the Los Angeles Public Library’s card.  The card’s Crayola design clearly represents intellectual freedom, books, and the magic of imagination … as interpreted by the children’s section of the 1980s.

See what I mean after the jump.

Continue reading Consider the Library Card

Explore the Hidden World at the Natural History Museum

artandscience Remember that movie poster for THEM! with the giant ants crushing Los Angeles? And the woman screaming, “Kill one and two take its place?” And the cop all agitated and yelling, “This city is under martial law until we annihilate Them!?”

Remember that?

Yeah, that was awesome!

This Saturday, as part of it’s Art+Science series for families, the Natural History Museum (NHM) is doing something pretty awesome too. It’s presenting “The Hidden World,” a day-long (10 am – 4 pm) opportunity for visitors to “view a variety of photographs of life forms taken by a high powered SEM (scanning electron microcscope) and get acquainted with the microscopic world.”

So, “Science?” Check. But where’s the “Art?”

That’s courtesy of Jason Hackenwerth and his large-scale megamite sculptures made entirely of balloons. If you haven’t seen his work before, you need to put down the bunsen burner, son, and get over to the NHM to see him in action.

(With apologies to Chris Farley.)

Images: A playful megamite (top) © Jason Heckenworth; An ant under an SEM, via the NHM.

Buy Cheap Stuff and Help the Kittehs

Mink's feral cat photo used through Creative Commons
Mink's feral cat photo used through Creative Commons

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, the Stray Cat Alliance is having a giant indoor “yard” sale at 2201 Westwood (the site of the former Hollywood Video store on the corner of Olympic). The sale runs Saturday (Caturday as some would have it) 30 January from 8am to 3pm and Sunday 31 January from 9am to noon. The Stray Cat Alliance are those folks who care for strays, trying to match them with people, neuter and spay where needed and generally do what they can to work toward a “no kill nation.” So yeah, come buy things and help save the wild kittehs

To donate items, please email: [email protected] or call (310) 281-6973

To volunteer the week before or during the sale, email: [email protected]

ICME: totally sweet mid-century architecture in Norwalk

P1010215A couple of weekends ago, a friend and I got slightly lost on a morning breakfast adventure, and, as luck would have it, wound up over by Cerritos College in Norwalk, where they’ve got some of the neatest mid-century architecture that you ever did see.  It was cloudy that day, so, sadly, my pictures don’t really show how amazingly turquoise and awesome the place was.  I’ve scoured the interwebs for any info on which architectural genius was responsible for this glorious gymnasium, but no luck, so if anyone knows anything, comment below!

Groovin’ to R-Stew in LA’s Hippest Enclave

So, I’m in one of my favorite coffee haunts — Silverlake Coffee — doing some work and hanging out, as I often do. I’m a cheap bastard so I tend to get an iced tea (lots of caffeine, and among the least expensive drinks on the menu), do my work, and grab a dollar refill on the way out. They also have free wi-fi and don’t quibble about the fact that I spend three to five hours there and spend a grand total of three dollars and fifty cents. I try to tip well. I often fail. I’m sorry, Silverlake Coffee.

Here’s the odd thing about Silverlake Coffee, though, and I in no way mean this as a slight: The music. Right now I’m listening to Van Morrison. Earlier it was Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart! “Forever Young!” Before I moved to LA, I assumed all the coffeeshops would be blaring the hippest new music that you never heard of. Hey, that’s how it was when I lived in Boston. It was also freezing cold all the time, which is why I left.

But yeah, here I am listening to soft rock. It’s kinda cool in a weird dadaesque, juxtapositionish way, like wearing a tailored suit in a homeless shelter, or washing your hair with dish soap, or eating a vegetarian hot dog.

So: Do you care about the music your favorite coffeeshop plays? Or do you just stick headphones in your ears and turn up your own music, like the guy at the next table I’m silently making fun of? Hey! Hipster at the next table! Trim your damn beard! You look like Osama bin Amish!

As you can see, it’s a slow week for me.

PS: While I was writing this they played Rod Stewart again. “Maggie May” this time, which you gotta admit is a pretty good song.

Independent 3-D Film Comes To Downtown L.A.-TONIGHT!

45b746ca3769e280_landingLast August, the L.A. 3-D Club participated in the Downtown Film Festival and presented an international program of 3-D shorts. Since then, the organization has worked on forming a partnership with the Downtown Independent Theater to provide a venue to show independent 3-D movies. Thanks to a generous silver screen donation from USC and the club’s recent acquisition of a pair of large venue projectors, the theater is fully outfitted for 3-D.

Tonight, the L.A. 3-D Club’s Movie Division is holding an “Open Screen 3-D Movie Night.” Anyone is invited to bring their stereoscopic video content to add to the mix. The club will continue to curate monthly public screenings at the Downtown Independent. By the way, if you haven’t checked out this theater yet, you are missing out. It’s gorgeous and has a fun vibe.

LA3D Movie Division “Open Screen 3-D Movie Night” is TONIGHT!
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 8-11pm
Downtown Independent Theater
251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Admission to the event is $10 at the theater box-office, free with USC Student ID. Paid parking is available at many lots in the area. The theater is about a 10 minute walk from the Pershing Square Red Line station.

See the event page on Facebook for details such as file formats if you’d like to submit material to screen.

Be A Subscription Drive Volunteer at KCRW

KCRW logoKCRW is starting its pledge drive this Friday, January 29 and they need volunteers. They have volunteer shifts through the day and evening that run two to three hours each. There is free parking, lots of delicious snacks and drinks and a lot of fun people to work with, all while helping the station meet its financial goals.

I’m practicing what I preach and have signed up for two shifts. I’m a morning person so I’ll be answering phones the next two Fridays (1/29 and 1/4) from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. I’ve done it once before and really had a good time. In fact, I found when I was volunteering last time, I never changed stations during the drive as I was so invested in the outcome.

Go to KCRW’s Drive Volunteer page and read more, then sign up. They especially need people for early morning shifts. The pledge drive lasts from January 29 through February 8. Plenty of shifts to cover! KCRW is located on the campus of Santa Monica College.

If you can’t volunteer this time, consider becoming a member (if you aren’t already) or make sure to renew your membership. Call before 8 this Friday morning and it might be me taking your pledge!

L.A. City Council Press Releases: French, Football, or Fail?

If you take a look at the “Press Releases” section of the Los Angeles City Council’s website, there seems to be something funny going on regarding the listed dates of the Council’s press releases.  Some of the dates, as late as 12/2/10, have not yet occurred.  If you click on the press releases in question, you get a mixture of press releases dated in 2009 and earlier in January 2010.

Thus far, I have come up with three possibilities as to what’s going on:

1.  The Council has gone French on us, and is using European-style dates, ordered by date/month/year.  However, even that would not explain the 12/2/10 listing.

2.  There’s a combination of 2009/2010 wrong year fail and mistakenly listing the dates of planned events in the “date” column of the website, rather than the more correct date of the press release.  However, if you continue to click down the list of press releases, you also see a jumble of correct press release dates listed along with dates that correspond neither to the date of the press release nor to the event described in the press release.

3.  The L.A. City Council has the ability to see into the future.  If that’s the case, then please, Council members, issue a press release dated February 7, 2010 naming the winner of the Super Bowl.  I’m looking up my bookie’s phone number right now.

Who Says Drum Machines Have No Soul?

karmetic Until there’s a Robot Coachella, the best way to see virtuoso percussionists MahaDeviBot (pictured, left), Tammy (center) and GanaPatiBot (right) will be to attend tomorrow night’s Scream Festival at REDCAT, where the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra will be making their world premiere.

The brainchild of Ajay Kapur, director of the Music Technology: Interaction, Intelligence & Design Program at CalArts, the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra describes itself as bringing together “custom-built robotic musical instruments and human performers with modified instruments, unique musical interfaces, and hemispherical speaker-pods” and promises “a night of new compositions and robotics.”

The Orchestra will also feature performances by humans: North Indian sarodist Ustad Aashish Kahn, electronic artist Curtis Bahn, Balinese gamelan master Nyoman Wenten and vocal synthesis innovator Perry Cook will be on hand for the evening. And if they’re smart, they’ll heed the relatively unknown Fourth Law of Robotics: “A robot shall not let an inferior biological life form upstage him at a concert.”

New LA “Job Czar” Hired: Well, That’s One New Job Created

funny-pictures-beaver-wants-a-job-applicationIt’s not often I get to feel glad that I’m not a (reported) billionaire, but I’m glad I am not 49-year-old private equity investor and newly fledged Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner.

Beutner was last week appointed the mayor’s new deputy  and chief executive for economic and business policy. The media title is “Job Czar.”  He will also have, quoting the Times, “a new line of direct authority over the Department of Water and Power, the Port of Los Angeles and the economic and business policies at Los Angeles World Airports.”

Columnists at the Times and the Daily News acclaimed the appointment of Mr B, of whom almost no one had ever heard. Local unemployment stands at over 12 percent. It’s much higher in the neighborhoods where the major current career opportunities are with the Crips and Salvator Maratrucha. Clearly, jobs are a huge priority. Said the mayor, “Austin has a real vision for economic development and job creation.”

First and foremost, Beutner said he’d try to make LA  (the Times said) “a friendlier place for the sort of businesses that create well-paying jobs.”  Excuse me, but this is where I came in. For 30 years and four mayoral administrations, mayors and deputy mayors have promised exactly the same thing. As a result, tax structures have been gently shuffled, regulatory bureaucracies have received many a mild tweak and national campaigns have been launched to sell the world on LA’s commerce-friendly attractions.

No one has claimed these measures turned LA into a business paradise. But during this period, two utterly contradictory business developments did take place…

Continue reading New LA “Job Czar” Hired: Well, That’s One New Job Created