Blogging (in) LA Now a Weekly Series

xkcd blogging
another excellent xkcd comic

If you’re a regular Blogging.la reader you’ve seen some of our Blogging (in) LA posts by now. We’ve tried to be fair, covering some of our favorites like Weho Daily and the perhaps regrettably named Eastsider LA, as well as at least one that we wish might be different. We’ve interviewed the bloggers responsible for L.A. Can’t Drive and Green LA Girl. We’ve done a round-up of photo blogs and touched on food, real estate, and public service blogs.

Of course, the smattering of blogs we’ve covered over the past two weeks represent not even an iceberg tip of the sites devoted to LA, and we plan to keep highlighting one or two of our favorite and not-so-favorite LA blogs weekly. Drop a comment or write to one of us if you have a site you’d like to have us check out.

It Caught My Eye: Slice O’ Life & Death

Had to go down to the Central Library Friday afternoon to pick up a book I’d put a hold on. Opted to leave the bike at home and instead catch the No. 4 bus from Silver Lake to Pershing Square, where I walk along Fifth Street from Hill past the park, Olive, the Biltmore and Grand. When I leave the library with book in hand, I decide not to return the way I came and instead step on Hope south to 7th and go underground, hopping the Red Line back up to Vermonica from there to stride the rest of the way home. On impulse I veer into the parking lot to make a stop at the Rite Aid, which puts me in the direct trajectory of a young lady who steps out from behind a car wanting to know if I speak English. I successfully fight back the urge to ask “What other do you think this loaf of Wonder Bread might speak?” and instead politely confirm that I do have a passing familiarity with that language. In turn, she casts out a weary line about trying to get Pizza Hut’s finest for her kids, but her debit card was refused and could I maybe spare some—.

“Sure!” I said, cutting her off. “I’ll buy the pizzas for you. How many you need?”

As expected she hadn’t set up for the curveball I pitched and the words stumble out of her mouth wondering if it would be OK if I just gave her the cash. I told her all I had was my debit card at which she shook her head. Her “Thanks anyway,” confirmed my suspicions that the pizza story was a fiction, and for their sake hopefully the children were, too.

Out from the Rite Aid the young lady starts for me again until realizing she’d hit me already and sharply turns away as if I don’t exist. As I head east on Santa Monica Boulevard I wonder if it’ll ever dawn on her that duh, she missed an opp for free pizza that if nothing else could’ve helped fuel the drive to her next fix. Oh well.

I pass the stately Cahuenga branch of the library where I startle a homeless woman who is changing clothes in the relative privacy of the library’s locked-up lower entryway. I pass the Little Temple club, cross Virgil, and look down upon the shack that used to be the beloved Jake’s Jay’s Burgers, but now since its eviction is home to the latest in a succession of nondescript and noninteresting eateries.

Next I eye a small mural and double back to get this snap of it (after the jump; click for slight enlargification):

Continue reading It Caught My Eye: Slice O’ Life & Death

It Caught My Eye: Boom Go The Box

Until I happened to rather randomly pedal a detour through MacArthur Park last Thursday morning during Bike Week LA on my way downtown, I was monumentally unaware that Los Angeles is home to an immortalization of that 1970s-’80s icon otherwise known as the Boom Box (a quadrophonic double-decker, no less; artist unknown), and I am now more pop-culturally enriched because of its awesomeness (click to embiginate):

Boom Box Monument

Blogging (in) LA: Reddit Los Angeles

OK, so it’s not technically a blog. Or, I dunno, is it?

Spend more than five or so hours a week on the Internet and you’re bound, at some point, to come across Reddit: A group blog with about a zillion users who post questions to other members, links to interesting (or, more often, snicker-inducing) content, conversation starters and the like. The entire site is composed of smaller “subreddits” that focus on specific topics, like world news or sandwiches.

One of the best is Reddit Los Angeles, where users post all sorts of stuff about our fair city, like this reminder that LACMA is free on Memorial Day, or this picture of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile at Griffith Park Observatory, or this discussion of street-paving inequality.

If you want to post or take part in the discussions, you have to be a registered Reddit member, which takes nothing more than a username and password (you don’t even need to give ’em an email). But lurking really gives you everything you need, whether it’s a primer on local brewpubs, a food truck alert, or tips on living in LA without air conditioning.  Of course, if you do sign up, you can take part in meetups, buy some dude’s fish tank, join a D&D group, or share vital information about a missing dog.

I kind of prefer Reddit Los Angeles to a lot of other LA blogs; because there’s such a broad diversity of personalities among members, you don’t get that off-putting sense of you-should-totally-care-what-I-think self-importance that many individual bloggers seem to develop (a phenomenon that isn’t at all limited to LA blogs). It’s not exactly a good place to read a good restaurant review or an account of someone’s urban expedition, but  it’s an excellent resource for finding other LA-related web resources. And the conversations are good, too.

Sustainable future for the Auto in L.A.?

running red test
Intelligent Vehicle in a "running the red" test.

Yesterday I sat in on a panel discussion with some pretty esteemed folks discussing the future of the automobile and its sustainability as a transportation mode in the Los Angeles “Megacity” of the future.  The panel consisted of local government bodies, think tanks and the like.  All agreed that the freeways now are full and it will only get worse when a project 50% population growth takes place over the next couple of decades.  There is no money for new freeways or other transportation infrastructure so we have to make the best of what we have.  That means finding ways to reduce congestion and traffic which will help with air quality and general quality of life.

One of the solutions is “intelligent vehicles” that communicate with each other to avoid accidents that cause congestion and traffic jams in the first place.  Other solutions to reduce traffic include “congestion taxes” in certain population centers in the area as well as “road taxes”.  These taxes will be used to fund the infrastructure needed to make intelligent vehicles work.

An intelligent vehicle is one that communicates with others on the roadway.  It shares basic info such as direction of travel and speed and allows the systems to warn each other of potential hazards.  Alarms go off when such a hazard is detected to alert driver to potential problems to make decisions on how to avoid a collision.  Further down the road there will be sensors on the roadways that collect data from numerous cars on the road to alert them of problems and alternate routes to avoid congestion or jams. Continue reading Sustainable future for the Auto in L.A.?

Blogging (in) LA: kevinEats

Twice-Seared Duck from Playa (photography by kevinEats)

In the lovely Blogging (in) LA series thus far, there has been a wide variety of news worthy, photographically stunning, and extremely useful blogs covered, but I’m here to bring in a little sweet & savory into the mix.  Food.

Foodies and Food Bloggers in Los Angeles are making a huge impact in the landscape of both culinary invention as well as the venues in which food is both served and enjoyed.  They are at the forefront of defining a new set of guidelines on which a restaurants success or failure can be measured, and perhaps one of the most prolific (& one of my personal favorites) food bloggers is kevinEats.  (http://www.kevineats.com/)

If you haven’t ever read his reviews, you are in for an undeniable treat.  A well versed photographer who is able to capture the mouthwatering essence of high end dining, kevinEats‘s knowledge of chefs du jour as well as their master counterparts is astounding, and his posts which generally pre-empt the debut of new restaurants to hit the LA scene exquisitely summarize  the experience and tantalize his readers to follow in his footsteps.  If there’s a new chef in town, you can bet that kevinEats will be there, hobnobbing with the staff, part-taking in tasting menus designed to make us wish we had better paying jobs and in general giving us a glimpse into which restaurants SHOULD be added to our never-ending bucket list.

But, reader be warned… this is not a blog to be consumed on an empty stomach, or you’ll find yourself angry that you’re not sitting in front of a plate of teriyaki foie gras or squid ink pasta.  Well, you might still be angry on a full stomach, but it won’t be quite as painful.

[This post is part of our Blogging (in) LA series]

Blogging (in) LA: Root Simple

I love Rootsimple, an LA blog about living an urban life and staying in touch with nature. It has terrific posts and ideas that range from beekeeping in the city, to making Nasturtium pesto!
I got turned on to it from my son, who has taken up beekeeping in my backyard, which at first alarmed me, but now I’m thrilled to have fresh honey!

Rootsimple is run by ‘the homegrowns’ Erik and Kelly, a couple in Silverlake who have also written several books about urban homesteading, “The Urban Homestead: and “Making It: Radical Home Ec in a Post-Consumer World”.
I particularly love that they talk a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in growing things to eat in Los Angeles.
There are all sorts of tips for eating, growing, raising, making and baking just about everything you can think of.

I also like that through their projects, I can fantasize about what it would be like to live on a farm (albeit in LA). I’m a city girl with a garden, so almost all of their projects call out to me!
Reading about their chickens, I yearn for a chicken coop so I can have fresh eggs. But alas, no one in my household (including queen me) wants to clean up their poop or battle the coyotes!
Ahh to dream!

Literary Break Brought to You by Sarah Labrie and This Recording

Sarah Labrie’s short piece “On (Not) Leaving Los Angeles” over at This Recording is really gorgeous. Go read it.

Lately, your life has been falling into place along a strange Los Angeles logic. That morning you got a $50 parking ticket, but last night you went to a party at Bret Easton Ellis’ house. The party was exactly what you expected, down to the minimalist monochrome décor, the celebrities famous for reasons no one could define. In an apartment overlooking Beverly Hills, you lived out the wildest dream of the college sophomore version of yourself. A gleam hovered over the fading film stars, the impeccable bartender, the party guests caught up in Bret’s orbit as he circled the room, glass in hand, imitating perfectly the person everyone assumes he is.

Thanks to Annie for the link.

Time Machine: Hollywood Hills, 1965

Found thanks to LA Observed. A YouTube clip titled “John Cassavetes Hollywood 1965” featuring the actor/director cruising Mulholland in a convertible and listening to the Beach Boys on the radio while talking about why he doesn’t like Los Angeles and wanting to make a musical from Dostoesvsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” Taken from an episode of the ongoing television documentary series “Cineaste de Notre Temps” (Filmmakers of Our Times):

Humma Time!

Hummingbird

As far as the roughed-up hummingbird on my kitchen floor before the paws of our cat Jiggy was concerned, I couldn’t have picked a better time to come get a drink. No doubt had a few more Tuesday afternoon minutes (or even moments) passed alone with the looming feline they would have been its last, but instead of grabbing a Coke Zero I put my thirst on hold and got a hold of the tiny creature.

Was it a chick fresh out of the nest that hadn’t yet found flight? Or was it an adult that Jig — a masterful hunter, with a five-foot vertical leap — had managed to snatch, perhaps straight out of the air? But none of the that mattered so much as it looked OK. Seriously ruffled, yes, but uninjured — at least externally. And seemingly fully relaxed in the palm of my hand, in no hurry to leave.

I have to tell you, there is nothing quite as contradictory as holding what looks to be an exhausted hummingbird looking ready either to die or take a nap, yet feeling its heart beating against the palm of your hand. “Beating” doesn’t do the sensation justice, because even at rest (or perhaps in this case: in relief) this bird’s heartrate doesn’t go lower than 250 beats a minute; maximum somewhere around 1,200 per. This one’s was somewhere between that. It was like the world’s smallest drummer was playing his fastest snare drum roll against the base of my index finger.

After a few minutes of us hanging out like that, we paid a visit to the backyard, where I hoped I might find its frantic momma out there clicking and peeping. There were hummingbirds out there but none showed an interest in this one as their chick, leaving me understanding that I faced the daunting task of caring for this one, or finding an organization better equipped and informed and willing to do so.

Then at that instant, almost as if we were on the same wavelength, the little bird perked up, shook itself fully alert and lifted off from my hand flying strongly up over the blooming bouganvillea, around the nearest palm tree trunk, and beyond it over the giant bird of paradises, lifting my sagging spirits up with it out of sight.

 

 

 

July CicLAvia Canceled; October is a Go

CicLAviaFirst, the bad news: Earlier rumors from Twitter are true. There will be no CicLAvia this July. Bike all you want, but the cars ain’t stopping.

The good news: CicLAvia is expanding into South Los Angeles and deeper into Boyle Heights. More room for more people doing more things. Sounds like this thing is a hit. Since you guys are taking time off to do a little more planning, maybe we could get this thing up to Hollywood and the Valley? Pretty please?

The official post is after the jump.

Continue reading July CicLAvia Canceled; October is a Go

Blogging (in) LA: Curbed

I admit it: I love Curbed LA. It’s a guilty pleasure and a sort of embarrassing confession from someone who doesn’t even get TV reception. Curbed is blogging junk food. It’s like cheetos or red vines–empty calories, but sometimes just exactly what you want.

For the unitiated, Curbed covers, for the most part, LA real estate. They do link round-ups of stories from around the blogosphere and occasional tangential news stories, as well as “rent check” posts about apartments for rent around LA, but their meat-and-potatoes posts are the ones that detail extraordinary houses/palaces/design catastrophes for sale. I’m sure my fascination with, for instance, this Versailles-lite Sunset Boulevard mansion is the same sort of engine that drives so many of those house-oriented shows on television, but somehow Curbed delivers it in a way that I find compelling instead of off-putting. Who hasn’t always wanted to see inside the House of Davids??!! I know I have. Thank you, Curbed, for making it possible. It is, in fact, more atrocious than I imagined.  

But it’s not all architectural traffic accidents on Curbed, there are also posts like this one that make me wish I had a spare $629,000 sitting around. Or this one that makes me want to organize a b.la expedition to explore the old Nazi ruins in LA.

So thanks, Curbed, for being consistently entertaining and letting me peak inside some of LA’s interior decorating travesties.