Weather Or Not

A late-afternoon search yesterday seeking a post-surgery collar option for our dog that would be even slightly less medieval than those demoralizing plastic cones of doom the vet’s office default on (found one), brought me to the Burbank Petco on Victory Boulevard and Hollywood Way and right through the most amazing meteorological event I’ve experienced in all my years as a native angeleno.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGT1HZ20sSY[/youtube]

Apologies for such over-excitement, which in fact took me by surprise since I’m someone who normally shakes my head at all the STORMWATCH excitement manufactured by our local media anytime the weather drops below 70 and a cloud forms in the sky. But this was pretty jaw-droppingly unique and I was blown away by whatever it is you want to call whatever got dumped there: snow, sleet, icy rain, hail. A weatherman on CBS2 used a term I’d never heard before that sounded like “grapple.” I just call it stop-get-out-the-car-and-snap-pix amazing:

 

GTD This Weekend: Elmo’s Birfday, Too Much James Franco

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc-G4obKicY[/youtube]

Happy birthday, Elmo!!!

SATURDAY

  • OMFG it’s Elmo’s birfday’s month!  The furry red monster who taught me how to count to 10 celebrated his third-and-a-half birthday on February 3, and Borders (well, the ones that are still open) will be have a belated birthday celebration with all sorts of family-friendly events.  Free.  The Borders at Hollywood and Vine will be celebrating; check the site for your local Borders celebration.
  • I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: there are people other than lesbians who enjoy folk music.  Case in point: the New Los Angeles Folk Festival at Joshua Tree will celebrate “the emergence of new LA Folk in all its shapes and contrasts” with none other than Amanda Jo Williams and He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, among others.  That’s right, the spirit of Peter, Paul & Mary lives on outside of the Michigan Womyn’s Fest.  $10+.  The shows will on Saturday and Sunday in and around Joshua Tree; RSVP for full details.
  • It’s probably going to rain, but how about staying warm with some heated Derby Dolls competition?  It’s LA versus NYC at the Doll Factory on Saturday night: the city’s roller derby all-star team Ri-Ettes will square off against the Gotham Girls Roller Derby.  Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets are $18 (GA) and $40 (VIP), but I would check Goldstar first.  Doors open at 6pm at the Doll Factory, 1910 W. Temple St.
  • After the Derby Dolls bout, the appropriate thing to do would be to pick up your own pair of skates and roller the night away.  The World on Wheels Roller Skating Rink holds its monthly disco roller fest with plenty of DJs, a bar, and a smoking patio.  It’ll be like the 1970s all over again.  $12, which includes skate rental.  Party starts at 10:30pm at the World on Wheels, 4645 1/2 Venice Blvd.
  • Who constructed James Franco, why did he suddenly explode as a hipster jack-of-all-trades, and does anyone else remember when he was an extra in an episode of The X-Files?  These questions probably will not be answered, but others probably will crop up, at Unfinished, a curious collaboration between Franco and director Gus Van Sant at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.  Van Sant apparently gave Franco free unpoetic license to tinker and edit with deleted scenes, alternate takes, and other excess footage from My Own Private Idaho; the result is not one but two films.  The first, Endless Idaho, is presumably named because that will be how it feels to watch the 12-hour film that Franco cobbled together; the second, My Own Private River, is a portrait of River Phoenix’s character in My Own Private Idaho.  The press release makes a point to tell us that the score for the latter film is by Michael Stipe, “who is an art school drop-out.”  My eyes had better things to do today that read that pointless bit of uninteresting trivia. Free.  Daily screenings until April 9 at Gagosian Gallery, 456 North Camden Dr. in Beverly Hills.

SUNDAY

  • It’s Oscar Sunday, the most important day of the year to people you know exist, but possibly have never met.   A few options for those of you who want some company while watching James Franco and Anne Hathaway: at the Cinefamily Awards Oscar viewing party, the Oscars will be screened appropriately on a big screen (no, not on IMAX 3D, sorry and/or you’re welcome) and ticket proceeds will go towards supporting the non-profit theater. For you downtown folk, the Downtown Independent will hold its Oscar screening complete with a drinking game.  And for those who want to eat while you drinking game, Akasha in Culver City will have a special Oscar-themed menu and happy hour at the bar during the show.  Whatever you do, just avoid Hollywood – they’re not going to let you in on their viewing party.
  • Femme Festivale is a nifty gathering of local women and the businesses they own.  This Sunday’s edition will include food trucks (Lake Street Creamery), a mannequin art installation, and photography.  Free admission to the gathering; prices vary by vendor.  1pm to 8pm at The Other Door, 10437 Burbank Blvd. in the SFV.
  • For the family that seeks to bond over art, participate in one of the Hammer Museum’s workshops on making art using ordinary found objects.  Parents and children will learn how to create using what resources they have, a lesson that we all probably need to learn and re-learn from time to time.  Free; a $25 refundable fee is required to hold your place.  From 1pm to 3pm at the Hammer Museum.

 

A Few Moments To Trouble You Pet Owners With A Trivial Matter

In my backyard right now is this magnificent male malamute, who in a case of exquisite timing on his part appeared alone on the street around noon yesterday in front of my house in Silver Lake at the exact same moment I randomly looked out the front window. Helpless not to help a lost dog, I’ve since posted the find to a local email list, tweeted about it, and gone on walks with the canine, canvassing my immediate neighbor either for signs he might recognize his home, or that someone might recognize him.

No go.

He is beautiful, ridiculously intelligent and wonderfully dispositioned (other than having an understandable urgency to chase any of our cats and mate with our female border collie/shepherd mix), and not very street saavy. And he is lost, which means after an overnight hoping for a miracle in reconnecting the dog to his guardians who I’m sure miss him terribly, my next course of action is to contact Animal Services, wherein if he’s microchipped they might be able to facilitate a reunion, or at least an adoption to a new home… or at worst his destruction. That chokes me up to no end just thinking about.

Which brings me to the entirely trivial matter this post is about: the need for animal caretakers to keep their critters collared and tagged and to keep those collars and tags maintained. So if right now — meaning right this very instant — you have a dog or cat or any other pet with access to the outdoors and a potential for escape and it’s lacking anything that might identify where it belongs, please resolve that. And if you know of or see anyone whose animal is similarly and so riskily unadorned, point it out to them. The heartbreak you save might be yours. And mine.

Screams from a Storm Drain

This morning started out calmly enough. A brisk walk with the dog in the hills of Hollywood. Then we came upon a storm drain. The dog went crazy sniffing and suddenly I heard screams. High pitched loud ones coming from the storm drain. I yelled down that I would get help. The moaning stopped. I tried to make contact. Silence. Was it a baby? A woman couldn’t fit down there. A small dog? A cat?

I ran home and dialed 911 and explained the situation to the fire department. To their immense credit, they were there in 15 minutes. They pried the manhole off the storm drain, and we heard the screams again. Much more woefully. They insisted it was an animal. They couldn’t risk going down and perhaps injuring themselves if it was a wild animal. “this happens all the time”.

I went home and called animal control. They listened and said they would try and get a field officer out there, no guarantee. An hour later, I got a call asking me to go out to the area, a couple of blocks away and show the officer where the animal was crying.

I left my house… but there was no animal control officer anywhere! I waited and waited. The cries continued. Hours had gone by.
Later, I ran into a neighbor and they told me that an animal control truck had circled the area but hadn’t stopped.
The screaming has stopped, no sound is coming out of the drain seven hours later. Perhaps the animal got loose and is okay. More likely, it gave up and died. Really hard to not be able to help.

ICME: Obscenely High Gas Prices

Sigh.  From the very handy but depressing GasBuddy, gas prices are above the $3.50 mark all over the city, and some poor motorists in North Hollywood are seeing $4.00 a gallon.  The LA Times blames the rising prices on “unrest” in the Middle East, but exporting the blame is too easy. Politicians haven’t really followed through on vague promises to reduce dependence on foreign oil; we like big cars; and someone (not Ed Begley, Jr.) killed the electric car.  Public transportation, anyone?

4 Angelenos on a reality adventure

It starts with a call from Ford if you’re Matt Farah from Redondo Beach who runs the Los Angeles based “The Smoking Tire”. For others like Donna Ruko in the Focus Rally America it was answering a post in a trade paper promising a reality show based on a cross country road trip.  For those that answered the call and got chosen its been an adventure unlike anything they’ve ever done before.

Four Los Angelenos have been on that adventure for 3 weeks now, due to end sometime in the next couple of weeks (my personal guess is somewhere here in LA). They are Matt Farah (Redondo Beach) and Brittany Boddington (Northridge) making up Team Red. Team Yellow also representing LA is Donna Ruko (Los Angeles) and Bryn Dresher (West Hollywood).

All of them are dialed into the social networking scene to a degree. The most notable is Matt Farah of the red team who owns The Smoking Tire the blog and on twitter as @thesmokingtire. His rally partner Brittany Boddington set up a tumblr blog just before this race and is on twitter as @britboddington. Donna Ruko has her own site and can be followed on twitter at @donnaruko. The only one without a significant web presence is Bryn. Complete bios are at their Rally America pages for Team Red and Team Yellow.

As racers in the Rally America part of their challenges involves their followers. Team Red currently has nearly double the amount of followers of its nearest competitors (8049) and Team Yellow is mid pack (3790). Why is this important? Well as a team follower you can interact with them while they are driving and help them solve challenges. As an example, today the followers had to find objects starting with specific letters and upload them to a facebook page, with check in at the checkpoint based on your completion time. Sort of an interactive Amazing Race.

Their days are planned out by the production team, but they have no idea what is in store for them when they wake up every day. Their days are so busy with challenges, checkpoint and jump start that they have no time to do touristy stuff, and if they do have some down time they all have to agree on what they do and do it together. For Donna she says she has seen so much of this country this trip that she is looking to going back to many of the places and being a tourist and just check out what she missed.

When I talked with them this morning they had plenty of good things to say about this adventure, but they all missed LA to a degree. For Matt, Brittany and Bryn its the homey things like their own bed, their cats and friends here in the city. For Donna its hikes up behind the Hollywood sign that she misses the most. Regardless, their adventures will be over soon and they’ll be back to life in LA and its adventures.

When we travel we all miss something from home, these guys have been on the road 25 days already and told me what they missed about LA. What do you miss most about LA when you travel? Just curious.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWhKnfJnlco&NR=1[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5hrT30-Pwc[/youtube]

Screen grab with the permission of Focus Rally America

ICME: Where to Buy Your Stupid Man Suit

All Kinds of Crazy on Sale

Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

While it doesn’t answer the question the question why he’s wearing it, now we know where Donnie Darko may have got his stupid man suit.

Korea Town, Western and 3rd.

I’m not sure it’s very convincing, though.

(Pic taken w/my phone.)

Favorite L.A. Area Spots: Culver City Park & Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

I was driving West on Jefferson Blvd. in Culver City recently, when a steep hill and sign touting the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook caught my eye.  I quickly turned in, followed the winding road uphill, passed several hikers huffing and puffing in the roadway, then turned around before reaching the top when I saw the sign: “Parking $6”.

Continue reading Favorite L.A. Area Spots: Culver City Park & Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Snow Rhymes With Whoa!

Which is what I said when I looked out my kitchen window and saw how low the snow did go thanks to yesterday’s storm and last night’s chilly temps.

So as is my sworn duty, I clambered out atop our steeply pitched roof  of our Silver Lake abode and from the 10 snaps I made across the vista to the north I cobbled together a panorama I’m not too modest too say kicks total panorama ass:

Click to enormificationalize this baby:

More ammo against cyclist harassment

“people have a right to ride a bicycle in the City of Los Angeles”

A soon to be law makes harassing (previously only assaulting was a crime) a cyclist illegal. Which opens the doors to civil suits for those convicted of harassing someone simply for riding a bike. Any cyclist in Los Angeles will tell you harassment is an almost daily event which makes this news huge. Much more info about this over on the LA DOT Bike Blog but needless to say, this is a fantastic step in the right direction towards making LA a better city for everyone.

LAFD Firefighter Glenn Allen, Rest In Peace And Honor

I’d heard of the house fire in the Hollywood Hills Wednesday night and of the firefighter on-scene who was gravely injured as a result of the blaze.  It just so happens that the day after the tragedy, a morning bike ride took me past the LAFD training center in Elysian Park. Veering into the parking lot I found myself before the 9/11 memorial and saying a prayer for the firefighter’s recovery.

It’s a prayer that went unanswered and I was saddened to hear that Glen L. Allen, a 36-year veteran of the department, succumbed to his injuries yesterday. He is the 61st Los Angeles firefighter to die in the line of duty in the department’s 125-year history.

The department is a collective force of many but its core strength comes from individuals like Glen Allen who without fail are ready to plunge headlong into danger, to risk their lives in service of others. It’s important to remember not just those heroes who we lost yesterday, but those who will not hesitate to put the uniform on and endanger themselves similarly tomorrow. To Firefighter Allen and to all emergency personnel who answer the call, who put the lives of others ahead of their own, all I can say as a proud citizen of this city is thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My thoughts are with Allen’s family and friends and my hopes are ever for the safety of all his fellow firefighters.

Family Dance Party today at 4pm!

A family that dances together is…embarrassed together? As a new Mom, I am forced to do all sorts of things I would have stayed a mile away from pre-child, couple that with Los Angeles having weather issues, and this party at The Echo Center seems like a fun idea!

If you don’t see yourself performing a few disco moves, there are plenty of other things to do: Art Activities, Face Painting, Hula-hoops, Scarves, Healthy Snacks, Drinks, and Music.

The doors are open to all ages, so bring your toddlers, teenagers and grampa too. Keep in mind that this is for FAMILY so you can’t just drop your kid and take off.

Here are the deets:

The Echo Center
1226 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Date: February 19, 2011
Time: 4:00pm–7:00pm
EAT, LAUGH & DANCE!

Admission:
$20 per family (but if you can’t afford it, you will still be welcome!)

Classic Eats #14 – See You Tomorrow Night!

Rain or Shine – we’ll be at Traxx and Phillipe’s! looking forward to seeing you there.

Classic Eats #14 – Downtown Delights
Saturday February 19
5:30 at Traxx inside Union Station
7:00 (ish) at Phillipe’s

Union Station – Traxx – Classic cocktails in a classic location. All your train travel fantasies come true.

Phillipe‘s – They claim to be the original french dip sandwich place! Their mustard is pretty damn good too. I should know.

GTD This Weekend: Slake, Arianna, Mothra

A relatively quiet, rainy holiday weekend this weekend, with just enough to do to get you out of the house for an hour or two before returning you indoors for some well-deserved you time.

SATURDAY

  • For those of you who doubt that this city has literature outside the Courier New words on spec sripts, witness the second – yes, the second! – volume of Slake, the literary journal for literary Angelenos.  On Saturday, a few of the contributing writers, including Amy Scattergood, Hank Cherry, and Jackie Gorman, will be at Stories for a little reading.  Gather ’round the shiny Algonquin Table, kids, it’s arrived in LA.  Free.  The reading starts at 7:30pm at Stories, 1716 W. Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.
  • For a decidedly different perspective on the future of writing, see Arianna Huffington, who either brilliantly sold her Huffington Post to AOL for some $315 million or simply just sold out.  She’ll be CSUN-Northridge to talk about this and other ideas about the future of not paying bloggers for their content.  $15-$66.50.  8pm at the Valley Performing Arts Center at CSU-Northridge.
  • “Giant caterpillar-turned-avenging-insect Mothra wreaks havoc on Japan when its best friends – two tiny, telepathic, singing sisters – are kidnapped by an unscrupulous promoter and forced to perform in a Tokyo nightclub” sounds like a Funny or Die sketch starring The Smothers Brothers in drag.  But no, it’s not — it’s the plot to Ishiro Honda’s 1961 cult classic Mothra, and this year marks its 50th anniversary.  The Egyptian will monster mash the classic with the more recent (2001) Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.  The former is dubbed in English; the latter has English subtitles.  You decide which one better enhances the experience.  $7-11.  The tiny, telepathic, singing sisters start their swan song at 7:30pm at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

SUNDAY

  • The NBA All-Stars game is at Staples Center this year, which means only one thing: unless you have to go to there, avoid Downtown.  See the full map of street closures here [links to PDF].
  • The Flying Pie Man creates delicious savory meat pies, perfect for this chilly weather.  He’ll be at the Eagle Rock Brewery on Sunday afternoon so you can wash down that pie with a growler on tap.  I’m getting all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about this lovely pairing.  Pie prices are around $5.  12pm to 6pm at Eagle Rock Brewery, 3056 Roswell Street in Eagle Rock.
  • For the budding or blossomed artist, this one’s for you and definitely not me: during the Getty Drawing Hour, an artist will be on hand to provide some pointers while you look and sketch, look and sketch, erase, and sketch again in one of the beautiful galleries at the Getty.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  BYODPAP (Bring your own drawing pads and pencils).  Sign-up at the Information Desk at 2:30; the sketching begins at 3:30 at the Getty.

Very nifty photo courtesy nicadlr via the Blogging LA Flickr pool.

Two area Blogger’s take exception to the presence and accuracy of Patch

Not that many months ago Patch, AOL’s news group came to LA with the promise of hyper local news reporting. I have to admit I had high hopes for them to be digging into local news that the bigger outlets don’t tackle as it just wouldn’t generate the ratings. Not all the bloggers held the same high hopes, some certainly have taken exception to the presence of “McBlog”.

Here in the SGV two bloggers in particular have focused on what Patch is doing in their communities. Sierra Madre Tattler and Monrovia City Watch believe that Patch reporters don’t report accurately or in depth.  Allegations are also made of censored comments and out right banning from comments.

On the first topic Sierra Madre Tattler is more adamant about the shortcomings of patch. John Crawford has numerous posts up on Tattler regarding the short comings of the legal understanding and accuracy of reporting. He has openly challenged the stories on their controversial water rate hikes. He and many believe that procedurally the city didn’t follow the law regarding hearing notices etc.,. When challenged Sierra Madre Patch ultimately stood behind the report even though Sierra Tattler believes they gave them all that was needed for a retraction. (As a side bar the Howard Jarvis folks are looking into the rate issue and may sue over how it was done).

He summed up Patch in a recent email “he reporting on Patch is lame at best, disinformation at worst. The Sierra Madre version of America’s 800 site McBlog has resorted to telling the worst kinds of lies in what is a rather pathetic attempt to curry favor with City Hall.” He also said in a blog post “Sierra Madre has long been beset by media that thinks people here are only interested in reading hollow press releases and brain numbing boosterism. Material coming from the same small handful of people, over and over again.”  More on his thoughts HERE.

My emails to Sierra Madre Patch editor John Stevens for comment on the allegations made by Sierra Madre were not responded to.

Here in Monrovia, Monrovia City Watch takes exception with the depth and accuracy as well, but is more concerned with censorship of comments. Recently there was an unfortunate loss of life in a fire and comments went off topic into the effectiveness and compensation of the local firefighters. In it Cyrus posted a link to a youtube video that was, according to Nathan McIntire of Monrovia Patch, flagged by 3 locals as “inappropriate”.

After that Cyrus made several additional comments regarding the “censor” of his comment. He has stated to me that those comments were all removed as well as those made by Nathan to remove the entire chain of comments so no one could read into what had transpired.

Nathan commented on Cyrus’ allegations in an email to me:

As far as the depth of our coverage, I think it speaks for itself. We cover Monrovia on a daily basis and are grateful to have been embraced by nearly everyone in the community, including Mr. Kemp (who was a very active user), before this unfortunate incident.

Regarding Mr. Kemp’s charge that he was “censored” on our site: the only comment of his that was ever removed–before our regional editor removed his recent threat to spam our site–was removed by other users. It was a link to a video deriding firefighters (in vulgar language) that was posted to a story about a local woman dying in a fire. Three users flagged the post as inappropriate, and it was automatically removed by our system.

Cyrus reponds that it is pure “bullshit”, that he was banned because he got into “Nathan’s face over the depth and accuracy of the fire reporting”. He agrees that the video had what some would consider vulgar language, but he believes that the link alone could have been deleted. If they felt his including his blog URL in the comment was spam they shouldn’t have included a spot to put ones URL in the comment in the first place. Banning him outright was just “Bullshit and hiding behind the TOS was equally so”.  (It appears that flagging results in automatic removal of comments by the Patch system based on Nathan’s comments).

Bloggers like Cyrus and John get it that comments aren’t always nice or for the thin skinned. Certainly life isn’t always nice-nice, but is the AOL TOS for Patch just a little rigid?  (I get it they are a big corporation and can set their own terms of service).  Anyone else running into similar with Patch?

(screen grab of the patch sign-in courtesy of Cyrus Kemp and it does get bigger with a click)