All posts by Janna Smith

Janna was born on a chilly October night in Minnesota... long story short, she ended up in L.A. for college (graduating from USC with degrees in Creative Writing, Broadcast Journalism, and Football Fandom), moved to Eagle Rock, and still doesn't have a car. She spends her free time watching cartoons and ESPN, exercising her internet addiction, and defeating her cat, Pete, in Scrabble. You can cyber-stalk her on Twitter AND Facebook. E-mails welcome at [email protected].

Feeling Like a Tourist Less Than Four Miles From My Apartment… At the BCS Title Game

Thursday night, the 2009-2010 College Football Season culminated in the National Championship BCS Title Game, held right here at the Rose Bowl. Though I don’t have connections to either Alabama’s Crimson Tide or the Texas Longhorns (besides my unreasonable dislike towards the Longhorns), I decided to drop a sizable chunk of change and attend the game. I didn’t have to travel; they brought the game to me, so why not?

Photo by me! I even upgraded from my usual cell phone camera for this special occasion.
Photo by me! I even upgraded from my usual cell phone camera for this special occasion.

Thing is, much like the Rose Parade last week, I’ve never gone to the Rose Bowl as just a spectator, either, so it was a completely new experience for me. I went crazy taking pictures inside and outside the stadium and reveling in the gorgeous weather and how easy it was to simply walk there from Old Town Pasadena. But as I took in the tailgating scene and then settled into my seat for the game, I realized… I was, like, the only person who actually lives here.

That’s a slight exaggeration, of course (I’m pretty sure I did see Jason Schwartzman. He’s an actor, he does live here, right?). I’m sure there’s Alabama fans in LA, and there are tons of Texas alumni in this town. But damned if I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of tourists the entire night. The people I sat near were dudes who flew in from Austin, people who possessed awesome/ridiculous Southern accents, or were the brothers (one a Crimson Tide fan, one a Longhorns fan) who drove up from San Diego.

Continue reading Feeling Like a Tourist Less Than Four Miles From My Apartment… At the BCS Title Game

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love… Sitting Outside In Pasadena All Night

The annual Tournament of Roses Parade is easily one of my favorite Southern California holiday traditions. This year I got the opportunity to experience it in a totally new way – actually watching the parade.

These lumps of blankets are actually people (mostly) sleeping at 5:30 this morning
These lumps of blanket are actually people (mostly) sleeping at 5:30 this morning

As I write this, I am camped out on Colorado Blvd. (in front of the Apple Store for easy WiFi, natch), having braved the chilly night with a friend with whom I’ve marched in five Rose Parades. It wasn’t enough to just watch on TV or pay for a seat for our first time on the sidelines; we decided to go all-out and spend the night on the streets of Pasadena, finally experiencing this ridiculous tradition we’ve so far only known by the aftermath seen in the morning. I thought by now I’d be an expert in all things Rose Parade, but as a n00b, it turns out I had a lot to learn about this “spectator” thing.

Lesson #1: Getting a good spot is much less stressful than you think it will be.

The City of Pasadena says you can start staking out your spot at Noon on the 31st. You don’t need to be there that early. I got here at 9:00 PM, which was good for people-watching while Old Town was still full of restaurant- and bar-goers. Even at my pretty prime location near the beginning of the parade, There was still space for a few people to set up camp. Lots of people had set out dozens of folding chairs, though, which still have yet to be filled (turns out nobody really enforces this supposed “no seat-saving” rule). Lots of parade viewers start to arrive after 3:00 AM, after they’ve celebrated the New Year elsewhere, and after many of the parking structures open for parade parking only. And though I thoroughly enjoyed the company of the fellow Apple nerd and his Chihuahua sitting next to us, I felt kinda bad that he had been sitting there a whole 10 hours more than us to get pretty much the same view.

Continue reading How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love… Sitting Outside In Pasadena All Night

Can ESPNLosAngeles.com Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

ESPN’s new online hub for local sports, ESPNLosAngeles.com, officially launched today, providing a new source for LA Sports news, as well as a new home for several LA Sports writers, including the LA Times’ (former) Lakers bloggers.

ESPNLosAngeles.comMeant as a hub for local online sports coverage one could set as their homepage, the site features SoCal-specific “SportsCenter” segments, local breaking news, and direct links to pages for all the major pro teams, including the Galaxy, Chivas USA, the LA Sparks, as well as the Angels and Ducks. There’s also a “Headlines” tab you can click to view nationwide sports headlines, in case you care about what happens outside of our little bubble. ESPN launched similar local sites for Dallas, Boston and Chicago earlier this year, and the sports network opened a new broadcast studio (along with an ESPN Zone sports bar) Downtown at LA Live this past spring.

But the best part of the site is the local team blogs and columnists, providing quick-access to news and columns about your favorite teams that is also easy to subscribe to by e-mail or RSS feed to keep up on everything. The other ESPN city sites have Twitter accounts you can follow as well, but as of this writing, @ESPNLosAngeles exists but hasn’t tweeted a thing. The @ESPNLosAngeles Twitter account is also up and running, providing links to stories on the site. So far there’s a USC blog (but no UCLA blog yet), a Clippers blog (sort of – it links to the outside ClipperBlog.com, part of an ESPN affiliate network), and of course, that Lakers Blog, which is basically a direct transplant from the LA Times’ Lakers Blog. Brian and Andy Kamenetzky, who just yesterday afternoon announced their departure from LATimes.com, pick up at ESPN right where they left off, except now the blog is called “Land O’ Lakers”. The Lakers Blog was regularly one of the most-visited on the site, sometimes getting over a million page views per month. No announcement has been made yet as to who or what will replace the brothers at LATimes.com. It seems that, at least for now, a few different staff writers are taking turns contributing posts to the Lakers Blog to keep it going.

Continue reading Can ESPNLosAngeles.com Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

SoCal’s Big Bowls Not Only In January – How About This Weekend?

It’s good to know California’s high school athletes are being properly prepared for college. At least, they’ll be prepared for college football’s broken, convoluted system of determining a league champion, the Bowl Championship Series (more commonly known as the BCS).

Crenshaw's Hayes Pullard avoids Narbonne coverage in the Los Angeles City Sectional Championship game, Dec. 12, 2009

Crenshaw’s Hayes Pullard avoids Narbonne coverage in the Los Angeles City Sectional Championship game, Dec. 12, 2009. Photo by Robert Helfman

Many of our state’s most promising young athletes will converge on the Home Depot Center in Carson this Friday and Saturday for the California State Football Championship games (proudly representing Los Angeles will be undefeated Crenshaw – Go Cougars!).

But for 80 years, California didn’t even crown a state champion in high school football. It wasn’t until 2006 that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the state’s high school sports governing body, created a small “bowl” system in which some of the best teams play each other for championships in four divisions (determined by school enrollment). And this year is the second the top two teams from all divisions will play each other in an “Open Division” bowl to determine who’s the greatest in the Golden State.

However, with such a limited numbers of bowls, not even all Section champions get to play in these big games. Unlike other large states like Texas or Florida, or, well, any other state in the union besides New Jersey, there is no state playoff in California. And, just like in big-time college football, not everybody’s too happy with that.

Did I mention that the bowls only match up a team from the Northern half of the state with one from the South? Even if the two best teams were both from SoCal, they couldn’t play each other for the title. This just adds to the controversy, as Ben Bolch pointed out in the LA Times Tuesday:

Yet, none of those teams will play one another under the format that matches section champions from Southern California and Northern California. A proposal to add a regional playoff round was shot down last year by the California Interscholastic Federation’s state federated council.

“Because of the way we’re structured, the size of our state, you can’t have a true champion unless you legitimately start playing everybody off, and we’re just too large to do that,” Marie Ishida, CIF executive director, said Monday at the Home Depot Center in Carson. “This is our next-best thing, and so far it’s worked for us.”

Continue reading SoCal’s Big Bowls Not Only In January – How About This Weekend?

All Great Deeds and All Great Thoughts Have A Ridiculous Beginning

Hi there! This is the part where I introduce myself as the rookie, the freshman, the n00b, whatever you want to call LA Metblogs’ newest contributor. I look forward to inundating your RSS reader, your Inbox, your Twitter, your Facebook, or any other sort of internet-y things with a variety of random thoughts, insights, observations, opinions, and every now and then some useful information. And plenty of overuse and abuse of the exclamation point!

Janna Banana.My adventures in blogging began many, many years ago, when I first sat down in front of Netscape Navigator and didn’t have a clue where to start. So I went to Disney.com and played some 101 Dalmatians games, and thus my love affair with the internet was born. Somewhere in the middle there I made a website with a dizzying checked purple background that consisted mostly of silly quotes and pictures of Smurfs (It remained online for a really long time until Geocities kicked the bucket. Yes, I saved it all.). Nowadays I am constantly on Facebook and I blog for free.

A few other good things to know: I hail from a part of the American Midwest so far north I am almost Canadian. I’ve lived in Los Angeles about 6.5 years. I spend all my money on shoes, football tickets, and traveling to other cities, mostly just to try out their public transit. I am not a vegetarian, but I do not eat meat on pizza.

Thanks for having me! And thanks in advance for your unwavering support in my 12-step program to overcome my debilitating addiction to the Oxford Comma.