What to Get the One Percent

It’s become our custom at b.la to share some ideas about how to help those in need during the holidays. We’ve been posting about places or organizations where you can volunteer your time or donate your money and truly participate in the spirit of giving this holiday season. But I know what some of you are thinking: All this helping-the-less-fortunate is well and good but what about the 1%? What to get them this holiday season? Thanks to a Thrillist email a few days ago, I have the answer for you. Continue reading What to Get the One Percent

Occupy the Rose Parade

It is what it is and this spokesperson at least gives a cohesive reason why the parade should be disrupted.  Although I don’t agree with it in its entirety, something has gone horribly wrong where this once largely free event is now costing us a fortune to even view the floats after the fact at Victory Park.  Hell, even some of the floats charge “Volunteers” for the privilege of helping to decorate.  If they disrupt I fear they stand more to lose more potential followers than they can gain. Is this being naughty or nice is up for debate.

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: Five Acres

5 acres logo
5 acres logo

Five Acres is a child services organization in Altadena that specializes in helping abused kids.  It started in 1888 as an orphanage for Los Angeles County and today has grown to include full service to families where child abuse and neglect is an issue.  They have been creamed with the loss of government and private grants as the economy has tanked yet the kids needs has not changed.  They are in need of financial assistance now more than ever.

I apologize for the late notice but they are in need of help with their “Holidays and Family Angels” program.  They have a deadline of today to help if you can.  What they need is volunteers to adopt a family of 2-10 members and provide them with Holiday gifts.  If you can spare the extra right now this is a great way to bring a little joy to the season for a family.  More information can be had on this program by contacting Danielle Barr at 626-798-6793 ext 2250 or emailing her at [email protected]

For more information visit their web. Other contact information on the group: Five Acres – The Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society of Los Angeles County,760 W Mountain View St.Altadena,CA 91001, (626) 798-6793

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: Occupy L.A. and the Occupy Movement

Occupy Venice
Venice, home of the World's smallest Occupy protest

This Christmas, amid all my gift-giving, I’m thinking of the Occupy protesters, who have been out there for up to three months, fighting for the rights of regular folks like you and me. That’s why I’m highlighting the Occupy movement for this Blogging Los Angeles series on holiday giving.

In the Los Angeles area, we have Occupy Los Angeles, one of the largest Occupy protests in the U.S. (Note: the LAPD evicted the Occupy L.A. protesters from their encampment a couple of weeks ago, but, as their website indicates, the protesters are holding many daytime and evening assemblies). Occupy L.A.’s website has a Donate” section, where they ask for cash or other supplies.

Continue reading Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: Occupy L.A. and the Occupy Movement

Blogging.LA Holiday Living: Cri-Help Treatment Centers

This post is part of our Blogging.LA Holiday Giving series.

The holidays, for many, can be a time to excuse a bit more indulgence than usual. A few extra drinks at the office Christmas party, perhaps. But then, most offices have that guy or that gal—you know the one—who takes it to another level. Slurring, stumbling, making inappropriate comments and feeling like a total asshole upon waking up coming to the next morning. Or maybe it’s the one who spends an inordinate amount of time in the restroom, talking like Charlie Sheen when they finally emerge. Winning! Continue reading Blogging.LA Holiday Living: Cri-Help Treatment Centers

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: Foothill Unity Center

Serving families in need in the SGV is the Foothill Unity Center.  They are in need of more help than ever due to the ever increasing demands on them as a resource for families in distress.  Over Thanksgiving they served over 2,000 families up from some 1,600 a year ago.  Things aren’t getting better and they need all the help they can get for this Holiday Season.

They have a nifty page on what they need right now to get ready for Christmas.  They need food items.  They need gifts for kids.  They need to have volunteers to help with the distribution.  That is 3 ways to help them out, not including the constant need for cash donations.

If you have someone on your list that has everything, consider making a gift to the Foothill Unity Center in their name this Holiday Season.

For more complete information on the Foothill Unity Center visit their web site.

Monrovia Center: 415 W. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia 91016 Phone: (626) 358-3486 / Fax: (626) 358-8224 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

Pasadena Center: 191 N. Oak Ave., Pasadena 91107 Phone: (626) 584-7420 / Fax: (626) 584-7422 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving: FixNation

I was not a cat person.

I didn’t like cats. My family always had dogs. Dogs were congenial, enthusiastic, stoked. Cats were diffident, seemed to not form attachments, and were generally a pain in the ass with zero ROI.

Then I moved into the Little House In Canoga Park.

Ok, so this little house had a bunch of feral cats living around it. Scads of ’em. Everywhere! The place was filthy with cats! They were all terrified of me. The house was surrounded by trees and undergrowth, and the cats ran and hid under bushes, amidst vines, and in the crawl space under the Little House. I was determined to not become attached to them.

That endeavor did not succeed.

I began feeding the cats.  They warmed up to me. They curled around my feet and purred. They licked my arm when I petted them. My heart melted. I started to see how many little ones would show up, be cute, then…disappear. I tried not to think about what became of those kittens.

I had to try to get these cats all spayed and neutered, but how? Vets charge a lot for that. My search led me to FixNation, a nonprofit that offers free spay and neuter services for homeless cats. Slowly, over the course of about two years, I got all the cats trapped, taken to FixNation where they were sterilized and vaccinated, and then released them again. They mellowed out. They became cool cats. They chilled, lounged and rolled around adorably. Distinct personalities could be detected. They snuggled up to one another–I’d always thought cats were loners! Not these guys. They were friends. They were a pack. Team Meow.

It’s great that these guys are all doing so well, with me looking after them, but if they’d kept reproducing, the resultant kittens would NOT be doing well. And they’re NOT doing well all over the city. It’s awful. But FixNation is leading the charge to prevent the uncontrolled breeding.  Their mission is to reduce the population of homeless cats and kittens in Los Angeles by sterilizing as many as possible. To date, FixNation has spayed and neutered over 65,000 cats.

I know that there’s great suffering all over, in our communities. Homelessness and poverty are becoming ever more evident. And we all could stand to help out our fellow man. But it’s in the way we treat those who are small, who are relatively powerless, that grace is found. All creatures great and small, we should be responsible stewards of them all.

One donation of $40 neuters one male cat. You improve the quality of his life, and prevent the needless suffering of untold others. Thank you to FixNation for doing this work.

Blogging.LA Holiday Giving

Christmas in full swing in my 'hood

Over the next several days the writers here at Blogging.LA will be sharing with you ideas to help those in need in the Los Angeles Area.  We will cover a variety of ways to help from charities to causes that we hold near to our hearts.  And giving doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be your labors, your gifts in kind even raiding your pantry to help others out.  You don’t have to be religious either, much of what we share will strike a cord at least with your humanist and spiritual side.

Of course, feel free to jump in on the comments with your favorite charity or cause that needs a little extra help this time of year…include links where possible so others can help if they are so inclined.

No Festival of Lights for us this year

screen grab with the announcement no Fesitval of Lights

Busy looking for things to do different than the Hastings Ranch or Christmas Tree Lane displays to take the out-of-towners to this year I decided to look for the details on the Festival of Lights.  Imagine my surprise to learn that an infrastructure project has it cancelled for this year. More details on the cancellation HERE.  With Griffith Park out of the picture am on the hunt for something equally grand…ideas anyone?

Two Days, Two Holiday Boat Parades

Boat Channel
Marina Boat Channel by day

If you’re an L.A. lover of the life aquatic, you’re in luck: this weekend, we’ve got two boat parades in a row.

First up, on Saturday, December 10, is the Marina Holiday Boat Parade at the Boat Channel in Marina del Rey. The boat parade, where the vessels are decked out in lit holiday splendor, begins at 6 p.m., preceded by a fireworks show at 5:55, which some people may be eager to see after the annual July 4 fireworks display was canceled due to budget cuts. There will be judging in various categories for the boats. See the first link above for all details.

Continue reading Two Days, Two Holiday Boat Parades

ICME: Who Ya Gonna Call?

ECTO 300
I ain't afraida no ghosts

Spotted this Chrysler 300 with license plates “ECTO 300” and ghost-catching gear attached heading down Ventura Boulevard Sunday afternoon, but this was the only decent pic I was able to snap. I saw another Ghostbusters logo on the side of the vehicle as I passed, but no phone number to call when there’s somethin strange in your neighborhood. No indication as to whether this might be part of a rumored third installment in the Ghostbusters series, but I doubt it.

For old time’s sake:

Midnight Ridazz 6th-Annual All-City Toy Ride Is This Friday

Electric Santa, 4th Street Bridge. Weeeell after midnight. All is calm. All is quiet.

It’s not every Friday night of the year I dress up in an electric santa suit and go biking around Los Angeles  — just this one upcoming Friday night for the Midnight Ridazz 6th-Annual All-City Toy Ride.

This yearly convergence of multiple rides starting at various points around the greater Los Angeles area will bring hundreds  of toy-bearing cyclists together December 9 at 10 p.m. at the historic Plaza de Los Angeles gazebo to donate their gifts to The Alliance for Children’s Rights a worthy organization serving children in need.

All participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy valued at $5-$25. The celebration will then continue after the toy collection with a ride through downtown that will end up at what I’m feeling will be the most kick ass after-party in the history of All-City Toy Rides, where there will be delicious foods, drinks, musics and funs.

The satellite rides to Olvera Street that are presently organized are as follows, so find the one nearest you and get yourself some of the most unique holiday spirit to be found in town (with or without an electric santa suit):

IMPORTANT: The post-ride party will have a guest list and you won’t be able to get in if you don’t RSVP, so if you’re coming do so either through the All-City Toy Ride’s Facebook page or via email at [email protected]

Monday Morning Diversion: Birdz & Beatz

By way of backstory, our previously existing birdbath proved to be low enough for our cats to nab the occasional sipping or splashing birdy — the most recent victim being a yellow-rumped warbler on Friday. So with a step ladder found discarded on the street last week I raised the water’s level to an elevation more than double its previous height and thus far more advantageous to our feathered friends rather than my beloved feline fiends. Then of course, I set up a camera up yesterday to timelapse the popular new set-up, and set the ensuing clip to a techno dance track that occasionally syncs with the birds’ movements so that it seems they’re boogeying more than bathing. Enjoy.